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Sanusi, the history, nemesis and politics of his dethronement

By Seye Olumide
10 March 2020   |   3:55 am
The dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, by a special sitting of the Kano State Executive Council chaired by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje yesterday might have come as a rude shock to some quarters while in other quarters the development....

The dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, by a special sitting of the Kano State Executive Council chaired by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje yesterday might have come as a rude shock to some quarters while in other quarters the development was considered as a repeat of history because his grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I, was deposed as the 11th emir of Kano in 1963 by the then northern Nigeria regional government, led by the late Sarduana of Sokoto State, Alhaji Ahamdu Bello.

The removal of the embattled Muhammadu Sanusi II came after Governor Gandunje re-launched moves to dethrone the traditional ruler 10 months ago and part of the agenda then was the reopening of an investigation by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission into the expenditure of the state emirate council under Sanusi II.

But others said the ordeal of Sanusi II was a nemesis of how the traditional ruler contributed to the downfall of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 and the role he played in how the erstwhile Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, and former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the defunct of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru were removed from the headship of the banks.

His father, Sanusi I, replaced Abdullahi Bayero, the 10th emir of Kano, who died on December 23, 1953. Prior to this appointment, he worked as a senior councilor of the emirate council where he controlled the administration of the emirate, as the sole native authority for over a decade. Palace officials reported that the late emir had a special relationship with the emerging western educated elite that he brought many of them into the services of the native authority.

Upon his emergence as emir, he played key roles in the major shift in elite configuration in the state. He was also instrumental to the formation of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), and brought many groups into the NPC. Indeed, Sanusi I was charismatic, politically sound and influential in the northern region. Due to his Islamic ideologies, he stood firmly against injustice and oppression, seizing moments to condemn any of such acts.

However, trouble began when most of the senior members of the NPC in Kaduna resented his influence. This resentment led to the instituting of a commission of inquiry into the finances of the Kano native authority under Sanusi. A probe panel was set up and members of the native authority testified before D. J. M. Muffet, the sole commissioner. The panel recommended the resignation of the emir and the regional government implemented the recommendation, thereby requesting Sanusi I to resign. With little or no restraint, the late emir tendered his resignation to Kashim Ibrahim, the then governor of the northern region on March 28, 1963.

Like the famous Jaja of Opobo, Sanusi I went into exile at Azare, a city in Bauchi State, where he kept a low profile. He spent 20 years in exile where he later died. Sanusi I was replaced by his brother, Muhammadu Inuwa, the 12th emir of Kano, whose tenure only lasted for six months. The late Ado Bayero, who spent 51 years on the throne before he died, succeeded Inuwa. In 2014, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State, appointed Sanusi II as the 14th emir of Kano.

In 2017, a report on a television programme in Morocco, quoted Sanusi to have said that governors wanted traditional rulers to fight violence but did not question their inaction, which caused violence in the first place. According to the report, the embattled emir lambasted the governors of the northern states to the effect that despite the huge population of over three to five million children that were out of school in the region, they (governors) still travelled to China to secure $2billion loan to build light rails instead of schools.

Like what happened to his father, in June last year, the Kano anti-graft agency recommended Sanusi’s suspension, claiming that during its investigation, it discovered that N3.4 billion was misspent between 2014 and 2017 by the emirate under Sanusi II. And based on the finding, the traditional ruler was issued a query by the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) recommending his suspension. In March 2020, the commission also accused him of engaging in land racketeering, claiming, “Sanusi allegedly ordered the illegal sale of several hectares of land” and that “proceeds of the sales remitted to the emirate council’s bank account can be traced to the companies of interest to His Highness.”

A credible source linked Sanusi’s ordeal to his tough stand against the policies of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and his alleged support for the candidate of major opposition PDP in the last gubernatorial election in Kano State.

“The Muhammadu Buhari administration and APC are laying a very bad precedent that may rubbish the already embattled traditional institution in the country,” the source said.

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