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Kano rumble: Ganduje’s power versus Sanusi’s royal stool

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
21 December 2019   |   4:28 am
Uneasy calm currently reigns around the Kano Emirate under the headship of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, over his unending feud with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

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Uneasy calm currently reigns around the Kano Emirate under the headship of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, over his unending feud with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. This is just as Sanusi has accepted his appointment as the Chairman, Kano State Council of Chiefs after Ganduje gave him a two-day ultimatum to either accept or reject the appointment.

Sanusi’s response was in a letter dated December 19, this year and signed by acting Secretary of the Kano Emirate, Abba Yusuf.The letter was addressed to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who was asked to “graciously convey to His Excellency, the Governor, the renewed assurances of the highest esteem and regards of His Highness, Sarkin Kano.”

It added: “Kindly inform His Excellency that His Highness, Sarkin Kano, has not rejected his appointment as Chairman, Kano State Council of Chiefs. His Highness accepted the appointment. In doing so, His Highness requested for further directives of His Excellency, the Governor.“For clarity, these directives may include appointment of other members of the Council, appointment of staff of the Council, provision of accommodation for the secretariat and other logistics to make the Council operational.”

The Council comprises all the five emirates in the state and other members of the traditional council.Ganduje fell out with Sanusi shortly before this year’s general elections and there were moves to dethrone Sanusi over allegations that he worked against Ganduje’s re-election.

The governor on Thursday said he has been asked to dethrone the emir.A renowned researcher in Kano, Dr. Ado Ibrahim Kurawa, insisted that the government’s action was capable of destroying the Kano Emirate. He contested, despite a court affirmation, the powers of the governor to alter the tradition and culture of the Kano.

According to Kurawa: “The traditional institution of Kano has been in existence for over 1,000 years and the governor wants to change it within 48 hours, not following the right way to do it and naturally, people who have cherished the traditional institution will challenge that action; hence several cases are now before the court against the laws.

“We are not saying the governor has no powers to create additional emirates, but to do only what the constitution allowed him to do. The emirate is a heritage and the government cannot legislate on the tradition of the people, but to concentrate on good governance and build development in the state. “We are also saying that government can only alter the tradition when it affects the fundamental rights of the citizens, but the state cannot legislate how you appoint your chiefs, because the tradition predated the Nigerian states.”

On the claim that the new emirate would develop the state, Kurawa said: “That is pure pedestrian thinking, because I don’t see how government will develop the state by creating emirates. Emirate is not a unit of government; local government is the unit of government. The emir has no legislative, judicial or executive functions and cannot do any development.

“I think it is the ignorance of our people that resorted to believing creation of new emirates will bring about development. The emirates cannot build hospitals, schools and other agents of development; it is the responsibility of the government to do that and nobody should think the creation of additional emirates would bring development when you have 44 councils you could not develop.

“It is not Ganduje who created Kano emirate, how can he direct our fathers to return to those lesser chiefs that were elevated for allegiance? It is against our tradition and that is why we are in court.”

Kurawa added: “Governors are supposed to provide services to people. That is the basic responsibility of government and the least unit where government can execute development is the councils, not the emirate council, not by creation of additional emirates.

“The Federal government releases funds to states for local governments every month. The state governments that has not allowed the local governments to function effectively because they refused to release their monthly allocations is now creating another unit from the local government and you think that sub-unit will function?

When asked how best to calm the tension, he responded: “I don’t think there is any tension, because the emir is ready to follow the law, which was why he is in the court. I think the governor should be happy that people don’t resort to crisis by challenging his action, but returning to court, which is the civil and civilised means of resolving issues.  

“It is only the governor that is trying to stir crisis, if not, why should he enact a law within 48 hours and the only thing you find therein is deposition of the emir and then sponsoring people to recommend that the emir should be sacked if he does not attend the meeting. How can you make a law just because you are after somebody?

“It is high time the governor realises that the people of Kano are not followers, but citizens.” But a professor of Mechanical Engineering, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Abdul Salihi, insisted the new emirates would engender inclusive development and reduce the burden Kano city is subjected to.

“The creation of the four emirates in Kano will bring about development in the areas and will not in any case reduce the power of the Kano Emirate, especially now that Emir of Kano has been made chairman of the Council. Sanusi is still the leader of the council.“Again, what the creation means is that the emirs are now close to the people and can easily be accessed and at the same time, the whole developmental issues at that the grassroots can be centralised to the Emir of Kano, who will take all the complaints to the state government for urgent attention.

“Ideally, this creation should not have generated any crisis and I think it is the people that are creating the tension.”On concerns that the creation was rather politically-motivated, Salihi said: “Honestly, I’m not a politician and I don’t know whether or not there is political inclination to it, but that does not separate issues like this from politics.

“Even if there are political reasons why the government took that decision, another question is, does the people of Kano want it or not? The answer, if you ask me, is yes. People want the establishment of more emirates. The fact that the people where these emirates are established are really inclined to it, politicians will want to do anything that will attract the support of the people.

“If there is crisis between the Kano Emirate and government, I don’t know, but on the creation of new emirates, I think there shouldn’t be any crisis because both arms are expected to work for the development and progress of the people. “That is why I call for solidarity and mutual understanding between the emirates and government for overall development of the state.

And if you check history, you will find out how settlements like Gaya, Karaye and Rano have been in existence before now. Hundred years ago, Rano was already an emirate, it is among the seven Hausa states, having the same status with Kano emirate. It was later merged with Kano as one emirate and today, the situation has changed and the need to recreate the emirates has come. I don’t think there is anything wrong in that and I so wonder why somebody should fight against it.

“Again, Karaye and Gaya had also been in existence as independent emirates long before Kano and that is why traditional heads of those places are being addressed as Sarki Gaya, Sarki Karaye and Sarki Gaya, they were never called district heads, like others and later, history changed, as they were all merged with Kano. “This is history, but the only difference is Bichi, which was not in the history was carved out to settle the northern part of Kano. People are simply bringing unnecessary political meaning to it to create tension.”

Salihi continued: “We should advance our state with the creation of the emirates for inclusive growth and the people in the city will have enough space and not congested hospitals, courtesy of rural people from Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi. “I think the best way to resolve this issue is for Sanusi to accept the present arrangement and do what the laws has specified. These lawmakers are representatives of the people in the state and they have found it necessarily to pass the Bill of creating new emirates and the government has signed it. Sanusi should obey the law and do what the law says. If he refused to follow the law, he is the one creating room for violence.

“The government should also handle the situation with caution, because human beings are naturally resistant to new laws and development, so it important the state handles the issue such that it doesn’t resort to crisis. “I don’t think it is necessary to remove anybody in office and the same way I don’t think it is good for anybody to reject the laws. The prayer now is for both parties to exercise caution and do the right thing.”