It is no longer news that the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II was dethroned by Governor Ganduje. He was initially banished to Awe, Nasarawa State before a Federal High Court in Abuja, within days, declared his banishment as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, and promptly ordered that he be released from detention immediately. Subsequently, he left Awe and relocated to Lagos, where he was re-united with his family.
The decision to remove the ex-emir was conveyed by the Secretary to the Kano State Government, Usman Alhaji penultimate Monday. The state government accused the former emir of insubordination. Even before his dethronement, many people saw his exit coming. The brilliant, well-educated and exposed had a running battle with the state governor. The rift between the duo got worse in the buildup to 2019 general election, during which Sanusi was accused for supporting the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, which did not go down well with the governor.
From that time onwards and until he was deposed, the Sanusi passed through a series of coordinated turbulence orchestrated by the state government. It started with the investigation of the alleged embezzlement of emirate funds, creation of additional emirates out of Kano Emirate, to curtail Sanusi’s influence and finally dethronement. All efforts to reconcile the governor and the former emir failed to yield positive result. Now, Sanusi II has kissed his throne good bye. Although, during his farewell speech, the former emir accepted what happened to him in good faith and enjoined his supporters to extend their warm reception to his successor.
There are lessons worthy to learn from the life and times of this great former monarch. Firstly, nobody can deny the fact that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is an economist and astute banker who, besides being a lecturer, had a successful banking career. Sanusi rose to the position of Managing Director of First Bank Plc. He was also appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the administration of late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and later retained by Goodluck Jonathan government. The former emir is a radical scholar, who often speaks truth no matter whose ox is gored. As CBN governor, Sanusi became a whistleblower and exposed alleged monumental corruption in the igerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), an action that led to his sack by former President Jonathan. Even after he ascended to the throne, the gadfly emir had never stopped calling spade a spade. At every occasion he was invited, the former monarch criticized government policies and programmes that he felt were not in tandem or conformity with global best practices or realities. In facts, he became a champion for religious and cultural reforms in the backward Northern Nigeria. His radical and liberal stance pitched him against many among the conservative Northern elite. To this group, Sanusi should have shut up his mouth like other traditional rulers. Traditional rulers serve as a link between the government and the masses. They sensitize and solicit support for government policies and programmes. Like his predecessor, late Ado Bayero who hardly spoke out or criticised government policies, Sanusi had a penchant for picking holes in government policies. Some aides of the governor have accused the deposed emir for openly criticizing the governor instead of privately meeting and advising him. The politicisation of the feud between Sanusi and governor Ganduje confounded the situation and made the matters worse. Our traditional rulers should stay away from politics in other to save their integrity. His grandfather, late Emir Muhammadu Sanusi I was dethroned by the Northern regional government in 1963. Like the proverbial s statement, “Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat,” 57 years after, the grandson has also suffered similar humiliation. This is a sad experience.
• Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua wrote from, Kaduna State.