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Emir Sanusi versus federal government:Kano politics feeling the heat

By Abba Anwar, Kano
11 December 2016   |   2:42 am
In what appears like twist of events for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government, the people of Kano State have resolved to support their Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi.....
Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II

In what appears like twist of events for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government, the people of Kano State have resolved to support their Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II, over his recent poser to Buhari administration over the request for foreign loan and its economic policies.

It could be recalled that at a Policy Dialogue Forum organised recently by Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, in Abuja, Emir Sanusi condemned Federal Government’s intention to borrow $30billion for funding of developmental projects.

Sanusi challenged thus: “I can tell you for free, if the Senate today approves that we can borrow $30billion, honestly, no one will lend us….it should be approved and I will like to see how you will go to the international market with an economy that has five exchange rates.”

President Buhari had in October requested the National Assembly to approve a foreign loan of $29.9billion for his administration to fund developmental projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.

Right from day one, many Nigerians condemned the intention as ill conceived and an economic blunder. A source close to the Emir of Kano, hinted that, he kicked against the idea from its birth. He tried to get across to the powers-that-be, but all attempts were frustrated.

According to the palace source, the Emir did not talk out of frustration at that event; he only proved his mettle and character. Outspoken, the radical Emir and a traditional ruler with good sense of economic expertise, reminded them that, “I cannot apologise for being who I am. The government I served, I did not keep quite. When I am not serving the government, I cannot keep quite.”

Immediately after the Emir made the statement, many of former Buhari die-hard supporters in Kano State questioned the rationale behind the intended loan. The Guardian observed that groups at different locations within the metropolis commending the courage of their Emir.

Even before the Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, responded, some social media platforms had started sharing the text of the Emir’s submission and at the same time sending kudos to the Emir.

Shehu’s response, as examined by some Kano citizens, was not able to capture and address the Emir’s poser squarely. Though Shehu dismissed the Emirs postulation as lacking in facts, Kano people were still of the view that their Emir, being an economist of high repute, was more at home with the facts than the Federal Government.

This debate has touched on how Buhari’s economic policies have frustrated ordinary voters in the state, who had thought that his coming would alleviate their worries. To that extent, some were insinuating whether Shehu, Presidential spokesperson was trying to please his paymasters, so that in return he would be offered a governorship ticket come 2019. They are of the opinion that he missed the road completely were that to be his thoughts.

There have been some speculations in some high level quarters that, either Shehu or the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Abdurrahman Dambazau (rtd), would be drafted to take over Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s job. But some alleged brains behind this move were said to be fearful of Ganduje’s achievements so far in Kano, ranging from youth empowerment programmes, access roads to so many rural communities, serious commitment to the agriculture and health.

It was also believed that one of the henchmen of Dambazau, who is also the chairman of Buhari Network for Justice, Abdulmajid Danbilki Kwamanda, was featured in a popular political programme, Kowane Gauta of Freedom Radio, Kano, to condemn the Emir’s position and set the stage to test run some political plots.

Kwamanda was tough on the Emir when he said: “His Royal Highness should not forget that the last administration, which he belonged to, they secured loans. But nobody knew what was done with it. He was part of it, that was why he didn’t say anything.”

He further said: “Some are saying he is doing this because those that helped him to become Emir are not in the good book of this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. He is only protecting the interest of the PDP, that’s all. There is no nation on this planet earth that does not have loans on its shoulders. We are trying to get this loan to better the lives of Nigerians. This loan when secured will be used to build rail lines from Lagos to Kano. As an Emir of Kano, shouldn’t people commend that? The loan will also be used in the Mambilla Power Project.”

That discussion programme didn’t go down well with the management of Freedom Radio, just few days after airing the programme, the Managing Director of the station, Abbas Dalhatu was on air assuring that, what Kwamanda said against the Emir, marked the end of his appearance in any of the station’s programmes, either news or whatever.

Dalhatu, in an emotion-laden voice, in another edition of the programme, Kowane Gauta, few days after Kwamanda’s outburst, said: “It is good to understand the difference among leaders that are respectful and those occupying political positions. The line between the two is difficult to differentiate.”

Referring to Kwamanda, though without mentioning his name, Freedom Radio boss, said, “he is not government representative, neither a mouthpiece of any political party.”

Dalhatu argued that, “what the Emir said is something that requires high level of understanding of our economy, which this man completely lacks. Kano Emir is not joking. I am telling you that this man lacks everything in the subject of economics.

This man is not the first time he would say such things. There was a time he came and said the reason for the power failure in Kano was because the overall boss of the distribution company (KEDCO) was not from Kano. This was baseless! We cannot allow him to come to our station and say all kind of things.  He can go to any other radio station, not Freedom Radio.”

Dalhatu further said: “We are really not happy about this development. Our Emir is revered, as such, we will not have anybody to just come and say bad things about him.  Not under our watch.”

Unknown to Kwamanda that what he said could further jeopardise his chances as a commentator on public issues in the state, the Association of Political Commentators, otherwise known as ‘Gauta Club’ to which he belongs, warned him against similar utterances.

The chairman of the Club, Hamisu Danwawu who was also featured in the Freedom Radio political programme, lamented that, it had been long they wanted to send recommendations to all the radio stations in the state intimating them of the Club’s resolution to stop Kwamanda from being heard in their stations.

“Freedom Radio did exactly what we wanted to do. What they did is in line with our fundamental objective,” Danwawu strengthened. It was also observed that many Kano citizens hitherto had been Buhari loyalists have found solace in the Emir’s challenge to the Federal Government.

“We dearly believe and accept the call and constructive criticism made by our revered Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II,” said one of former sympathizers of the Buhari administration.

Some political observers of Kano politics believe that, at the time when Kwamanda and his likes would be busy marketing their leaders for elections in 2019, for the Presidency and Kano Government House, forces like the Emir of Kano would be there to be reckoned with.