Emir Sanusi and the aborted probe
With the abrupt termination of the probe of Emir of Kano Mallam Muhammad Sanusi 11, we have been denied the opportunity to witness a shamefaced confirmation or a smug rebuttal of the allegation of financial sleaze against him. Is the allegation that he mismanaged N6 billion of his emirate a mere canard peddled to sully his hard-earned reputation? This remains unresolved. It was the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission that first started a probe of Sanusi before the state House of Assembly launched an investigation into the same matter.
The investigations were provoked by his trenchant criticism of the northern establishment. He drew the ire of his highly conservative leaders when he accused Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari of not only failing to take action to check the outbreak of meningitis but for regarding the affliction as a direct comeuppance for his people’s violation of divine stipulations against fornication and adultery.
It is by no means a surprise that Sanusi has been embroiled in another controversy. For him, controversy is a veritable staple of life. Therefore, if controversy does not come on its own, Sanusi courts it with aplomb. Then the approbation follows. He is seen as one of the enlightened people from the north who could speak truth to power. It was a controversy that he triggered by accusing the Goodluck Jonathan government of corruption that led to his removal as Central Bank governor.
But whether this controversial streak would be excised with the way the investigation by the state House of Assembly has been terminated would be seen in the days ahead. It was reported that Sanusi apologised to his state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and that prominent citizens including Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, former Heads of State Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’adu Abubakar and billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote begged for Sanusi. It was on the basis of this that the governor wrote to the state House of Assembly pleading with it to stop the probe of Sanusi.
The probe was stopped obviously to avoid embarrassing Sanusi. But the many questions left unanswered with the termination of the probe have not stopped the reputation of Sanusi from being tarnished. Or, if Sanusi had nothing to hide about his financial dealings why did he apologise? Worse still, those who begged for him willingly took their reputations to the slaughter slab.
Let’s take Osinbajo for example. Why should the acting president who ought to defend transparency in a government that claims to loathe corruption be the one that would shield a suspected corrupt person from being probed? By this singular action, Osinbajo has lost his right to champion any anti-corruption fight. The action of Osinbajo shows that in the country, there are no laws that prohibit corruption. Or, if such laws exist they are meant only for the mere mortals of the country and not super humans like Sanusi in their royal immunity.
The aborted probe thus gives an insight into everything that is wrong about the nation. There is no development because of double standard. There are two sets of laws: one for the rich while the other is for the poor. This is why while our leaders preach transparency, they do everything that breeds corruption. They preach unity, but they do everything that causes disunity. They see some people as their own while others are not. This was why President Muhammadu Buhari considered some people in a section of the country as those he would neglect because they did not give him as many votes as others. Buhari has also demonstrated this scant regard for the unity of the nation by giving a bulk of positions in the country to people from his northern region. He continues in this trajectory as despite the criticism that greeted his making all security positions to be filled by northerners, he has filled the Department of State Services with people from his northern part of the country.
Again, the double standard is seen in the fact that while the poor citizen can go to jail for stealing a mobile phone, those who steal billions are allowed to go untried or they are taken through a travestied prosecution before they are released under the guise of a plea bargain. This is why a man is being tried for naming his dog Buhari while thieves who have ruined the economy are allowed to go home.
We must equally note how the past of the nation stalks its presence and future. Of course, we do not seek a total hiatus between the past and the present in a people’s life. There should be a certain complementarity of the past and the present for an even development. In this case, there are some lessons to be learnt from the past; there are some noble values to be taken from the past to the present and the future. But when we look back and see only wasted opportunities, the architects of that wasteful past should not be allowed to shape the present and the future. For in their intervening in the affairs of the present and the future, they can only seek to corrupt them with their values of the past. Now, can we say that the intervention of Babangida in the Sanusi saga is for the good of the nation? Has he not tried to make the values of the corrupt era he superintended to afflict the present?
Sanusi cannot claim to be an exemplar of a higher and better way of life while he is still being allegedly bogged down by corruption. After all, it was the same Sanusi who took banks from their owners after accusing them of corruption. If Sanusi is corrupt, does it mean that the policies and decisions he took as the nation’s CBN governor were underwritten by a corrupt template of action? Does he preach one thing and do the opposite? Is Sanusi living a double life when he hectors the northern establishment about the danger of early marriage and the lack of the education of the girl-child and boasts about the self-assurance of his daughters but goes ahead to marry an 18-year-old teenager as his fourth wife ? So just stopping the probe is not the best response to the situation of Sanusi. The probe must continue for the public to know the truth.
For the suspension of the probe can only leave the impression that Sanusi is using the billions of the emirate to live a life of grandeur while all the bulk of his people need are just education and the necessities of life.
Ultimately, there is the need to abolish the traditional institution with its many parasites who live lavishly on the people’s commonwealth. It is not enough that there are no roles for traditional rulers in the constitution; they should not be recognised at all as part of our life. They belong to an antediluvian era that has no relevance to modern existence. Or, do they really guarantee peace and development in their communities when right under their noses, carnage, rape, kidnapping and grinding poverty are plaguing their people? Those who are enamoured of that past and who want to recover it are free to do that at their own expense. The monarchs are free to luxuriate in royal splendour marked by Rolls Royce and private jets as long as they work for their money. But these ogres and their sybaritic lifestyles must not be sustained on the back of the suffering citizens.