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Relief for deposed Emir Sanusi

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The deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11, who was banished to Awe in Awe Council of Nasarawa State, yesterday, arrived in Lagos after four days in exile in Awe, Nasarawa State.

His departure from Awe may have been in response to an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which yesterday, declared his banishment as unconstitutional.

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Sanusi departed Awe at exactly 4:27 p.m. after leading the Juma’at prayer at Awe Central Mosque in the company of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufia, who drove into Awe about 1:45 p.m.

Earlier yesterday, Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of former Kano monarch from ‘detention’ in Awe, Nasarawa State, where he was banished to following his dethronement on Monday by the government of Dr. Umar Ganduje.

Justice Chikere granted the interim order, yesterday, following an ex-parte application moved by his lead Counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).

The Judge equally requested that the order for the release of Sanusi 11 should be served on the respondents in the matter, which include the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu; Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; Attorney General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN).

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The Judge has fixed March 26 for hearing on the matter.

Sanusi, who was accompanied by El-Rufai, Emir of Awe, Alhaji Isa Abubakar Umar and other dignitaries, arrived at the mosque about 1:45 p.m for the prayers, which lasted from 2:00 p.m to 2:44 p.m.

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In his sermon, Sanusi called on Muslims to always trust in God in whatever they face in life, because nothing is above His power, explaining that God knows everything that ever happens to every human on earth because He is all-knowing.

He described his predicament as God’s ordained and called on all his friends and sympathisers to see it as God’s will for him at such a time as this.

He concluded with prayers to God for wisdom and good health for the leadership of the country and safety for all who came to sympathise with him in his difficult moment.

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El-Rufai’s convoy arrived at the residence about 12:45 p.m. and upon arrival, the governor went into a closed-door meeting with the deposed emir.

The meeting lasted over an hour after which the duo drove to the mosque located at the palace of the Emir of Awe, with none of them ready to speak with anxious newsmen on what they discussed.

The Emir of Awe and his Shabu counterpart, Sangari Shabu, Alhaji Mohammed Bwala, had earlier visited Sanusi.

Explaining the reason for the dethroned emir’s sudden departure from Awe, El-Rufai said that he was in Awe to sympathise with his childhood friend, who is going through some hard moments.

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“We have been a friend since childhood and he was with me when I was going through my difficult times. He stood by me and gave me all the support.

“I equally decided to give him the two appointments in my state because we need his input and experience. You know his wealth of experiences and we don’t want those virtues in him to waste,” he said.

When asked where the deposed emir was heading to, El-Rufai referred to the court order, adding: “Alhaji Sanusi is heading to Lagos, where he initially wanted to go and take his refuge. Already, some of his family members are in Lagos right now, so he will be joining them.”

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Sanusi left Awe amidst a crowded farewell from the people.

Reacting to the banishment earlier, Professor Toyin Falola, said: “Restricting the movement of a monarch that is already banished is nothing short of a house arrest. It’s only that the house where he is restricted here is bigger than a prison cell.”

Falola, a Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, United States (US), said the colonial government introduced dethronement and banishment of monarchs to consolidate on their indirect rule, pointing out, however, that banishing a monarch may not stand in a democracy that respects rule of law.

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“Insofar as there is no basis to prove that the freedom of locomotion of the monarch, as enshrined in the constitution, could result in chaos and other cancerous effects on the state. Even then, this can only be determined by the court and not the governor (of Kano), as this falls out of his jurisdiction.

“Deposed monarchs, even in the draconian colonial and post-colonial days, were banished to other towns to either protect them from attacks or ensure the serenity of the entity they presided over.

“In most cases, this is to ensure that they did not meddle in the affairs of the state, because they had the capacity to foment trouble and make the place ungovernable for the new occupier.

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“If the colonial authorities, in their most prejudiced inclination towards the people, had restricted the movement of a figure like Oba Kosoko of Lagos, how would he have exploited and established new lands like Epe that we know today? How much more a democratic government?

“The governor of Kano State can claim to have the power to dethrone, but I doubt he has the power to confine the deposed emir to the location of the governor’s choosing,” he contended.

Meanwhile, indications have emerged how Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje shunned the recommendations of the reconciliation committee led by the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), reached at the end of the parley in Abuja and went ahead to depose Sanusi.

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Other members of the committee were Gen. Muhammadu Wushishi; Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; his Katsina counterpart, Aminu Masari; Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN); Alhaji Umaru Mutallab; Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida; Sheik Shariff Ibrahim Saleh, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and Dr. Adamu Fika.

A source told The Guardian: “We held two meetings, one separately with Ganduje at Kano Government Lodge in Abuja and the other with Sanusi II at Katsina Government Lodge in Abuja. It was a separate meeting with the two figures and the intention was to capture separately their grievances.

“The second or third meeting held on January 29 at Mallam Aminu Kano House in Abuja. We meet them both and later we allowed both parties to meet in private to ventilate their differences.”

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After the exhaustive intervention, the committee revealed that frequent utterances of Sanusi during the rough days elicited disaffection and unwarranted embarrassment to the Kano State and Federal Governments, it was gathered.

An insider disclosed that the series of litigations instituted by the deposed Emir, which the state government considered as insubordination, prompted the government to create four additional emirates with first-class Emirs, deliberately to whittle the former Emir’s influence.

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The committee recommended that: “Ganduje should discontinue any contemplated decision to suspend, depose, dethrone or remove the Emir and should respect the dignity of the office of the Emir as an age-old institution of continued significance and relevance.

“Ganduje should review the emirate law, rotation of the chairmanship of the council of chiefs and automatic removal of an emir after three consecutive failure to attend council meetings.

“Ganduje should effect boundary adjustment in their newly-created emirates to accommodate historical and geographical circumstances, as well as the integrity of the existing tradition.

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“Ganduje should stop all investigations instituted against the Emir or his officials that could cause embarrassment or discomfort and also stop the arrest of persons associated with the emirate council.”

On the other hand, the committee recommended: “Sanusi should refrain from any action that might constitute an opposition to the state government or question the integrity or person of Ganduje.

“The Emir should accept the fact that the state government has prerogative over the traditional officeholders and subordinate himself to the authority of the state government.

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“Emir should restrict himself to his roles and duties as the Emir of Kano and the traditional head and spiritual leader of the people.”

In a swift reaction, Senior Special Adviser to Governor on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakassai, insisted Sanusi was rather dethroned for non-compliance with the recommendation.

Salihu, who confirmed the acceptance of the recommendations, told The Guardian that it became difficult for the governor to work around the recommendation after Sanusi’s flagrant disregard to the terms of the resolutions.

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“Let me state here categorically that the governor is democratically-elected, with constitutional powers, while Emir is appointed with cultural and traditional powers. I always feel concerned when people tend to equate the responsibilities of the governor to that of the Emir.

“With regard to the subject matter, l can confirm to you that the committee did its best to mediate between the two parties and before the committee, there are others, but from what you can see, the former Emir has never stopped from his act of insubordination.

“After the recommendations were issued, the Emir did not stop, meaning he was not ready to abide by the rules, which the governor considered not only insubordination but also outright disrespect…”

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A close associate of Sanusi, who craved anonymity, said the whole scenario was politically orchestrated ahead of 2023, claiming that even the deposed Emir was not entirely shocked by the development because he saw it coming.

“We are not surprised because we saw it coming. What Ganduje did was simply to execute the written script because all eyes are on 2023. They believe if they leave Sanusi on the throne before 2023, it will constitute a major political setback to them.”

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