“When you have no one to answer to, vendetta as an investment strategy is as legitimate as anything.” – Carl Icahan
Defiant to the restraining order of the Kano State High Court, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, on Saturday, May 10, inaugurated the four newly created emirates and installed their respective Emirs with a directive to them to ensure development in education, health, security and agriculture in their areas of jurisdiction.
This was notwithstanding that the presiding judge of the high court, Justice Nasiru Saminu, in an interim injunction in response to a suit filed by one Rabiu Sule Gwarzo, had directed all parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion.
But the governor argued that the government was unaware of any court order stopping it from issuing letters of appointment to the four Emirs of the newly created Emirates. In a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Abba Auwal, he said that the letter of appointments had been served to the new Emirs before the interim order was served. The new Emirs are Aminu Ado Bayero (Bichi), Ibrahim Abdulkadir (Gaya), Tafida Abubakar (Rano), and Ibrahim Abubakar (Karaye). Their appointment followed the passage of the Kano State Emirs (Appointment and Deposition) Amended Law 2019 (1440 AH) which provides for the creation of more Emirates.
With the new creation, the embattled Emir of Kano is now left in control of only 10 out of the 44 local government areas in the state. What is curious about the whole scenario is the expeditious manner with which the state Assembly passed the amended bill. According to reports, the bill was initiated on Monday, passed first reading on Tuesday and scaled through second and third reading on Wednesday. And barely less than 48 hours, it was followed by the governor’s assent, gazette process concluded and new Emirs appointed.
While the pro-Sanusi camp has accused the governor of distorting the 800-year-old Emirate Council with the new creation, the governor has defended his position, saying it is meant to promote grassroots participation in governance. “We are taking Kano to the next level and we need the active participation of the traditional system, especially in the areas of education, security, agriculture. By decentralising the emirate, we followed history,” he insisted.
It’s been a long while since it has been raining and threatening thunders in Sanusi’s backyard. For sometimes now, the intrepid Emir has been under fire for being critical of the northern establishment for holding on to conservative Islamic values, which he said had stunted development in the region. In one of his public lectures, he had openly spoken against child marriage and counselled against the male Muslim faithful marrying more than a wife when their finances could not support a polygamous set up.
His current travail started in 2017 when he allegedly accused the governor and his entourage of wasting one month in China, seeking a loan to construct a light rail project. In a sharp reaction, the state lawmakers said that the statement attributed to the emir was capable of tarnishing the governor’s image, the state government and that of the assembly, and consequently constituted an eight-man committee to investigate the allegations of purported misconduct and misappropriation of funds belonging to the Kano Emirate Council. It took the intervention of some power brokers to halt the process.
With the current face-off, the government may have resolved to revisit the issue, as the state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has opened a fresh probe on the alleged financial mismanagement in the Kano Emirate Council. The commission is said to have invited two of the Emir’s uncles and brothers to appear before it to answer questions on what they know about the alleged financial scandal rocking the Kano Emirate Council. Those already invited, according to available reports, included Mohammad Kwaru (accountant of the council); Mannir Sanusi (Chief of staff to the emir); Isa Sanusi (former principal private secretary and half-brother to the emir) and Mujittaba Falakin Kano (private secretary to the emir). They are to shed light on spending from 2013 to 2019.
Beneath the renewed power intrigues is the alleged refusal of Emir Sanusi to support the re-election of Governor Ganduje. But dismissing the insinuation, the governor said: “It is not vendetta; I am not against him (Sanusi). In fact, he is supposed to be reporting to the local government chairman according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is the local government chairman that is supposed to discuss issues with him, not the governor.”
Ganduje insisted that the creation of the new Emirate councils was to attract more development to Kano State, adding that, “the new Emirs must keep records of school children who are not in school. They must encourage their subjects to go to hospitals for treatment. They must have interest in agriculture. They must encourage their subjects to go into farming. They should make agriculture priority and their cornerstone.”
Again, a Kano High Court has ordered the parties involved the Emirate imbroglio to return to the status quo, pending the determination of the interim injunction. This followed the petition filed against the state government by four kingmakers in the emirate. For now, the legitimacy or otherwise of the action of the governor is a matter for the judiciary to determine.
Sanusi was born into the Fulani Torobe (Sullubawa) clan of Kano on July 31, 1961. His father, Ambassador Aminu Sanusi, was a career diplomat who was the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, China and Canada and the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the grandson of Muhammadu Sanusi I, the 11th Fulani Emir of Kano, he was crowned on June 8, 2014, after the death of his granduncle, Ado Bayero (who died on June 6, 2014). A career banker, Sanusi was appointed the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 3, 2009 for a five-year term, but was suspended from office by the then President Goodluck Jonathan on February 20, 2014 after he accused the government of a $20 billion fraud in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).