Fated to fall
*How the deposed Emir talked himself into trouble
Yesterday, March 9, 2020, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State did what his former charismatic predecessor, the late Abubakar Rimi, planned to, but could not do: He deposed the Emir of Kano and split the Kano Emirate into four chiefdoms.
When it started, it was as if Ganduje was following in the footsteps of the late Rimi, because exactly 38 years before he split the Kano Emirate into four, Rimi had, as the governor of old Kano State that comprised the present day Jigawa State, carved same number of emirates with new emirs to be equal in status to the prestigious Emir of Kano.
That fateful April 1, 1981 the flamboyant governor designated Auyo, Dutse, Gaya and Rano as emirates, even as he described the office of an emir as an extension of other public servants that should be taking instructions from their local government council chairmen.
And just as Ganduje queried the deposed Emir of Kano, Rimi had in similar circumstances, in a move to humiliate and subjugate the Emir, sent a query signed by the Secretary to the Kano State Government (SSG), Alhaji Yahaya Sule Hamma, to the then Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, whose son had now benefitted from the deposition to step in the shoes of his father.
In the strongly worded query, the government accused the Emir of serially disrespecting the administration of Abubakar Rimi ever since it came on board on October 1, 1979, stressing that “the community expects of you as a matter of right to show respect to constitutionally elected government which is the vehicle of exercising the popular sovereignty of the community which is provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
In addition to accusing the Emir of undertaking “several trips either abroad or within the country without the permission of the governor,” the government listed other instances of his alleged excesses as follows:
*That on the 2nd of October, 1980 in a celebration marking the first anniversary in office of the Kano State House of Assembly, a stone’s-throw away from your palace, you disregarded the government invitation and refused to show up;
*That it has been observed by the government that you have without authority extended your 1981 annual leave beyond what was approved for you by the government.
*That you refused, in spite of invitations, to attend or send representation to the installation ceremonies of the Emirs of Gumel, Auyo, Dutse, Gaya and Rano. You may recall that the Governor of Kano State sent the Commissioner for Local Government and the Secretary to the State Government to meet you and discuss these issues on the 3rd June, 1981.
Consequently the query stated: “In the circumstances therefore, I have been directed by the Governor of Kano State to request you to forward your defence in 48 hours and to show cause why disciplinary action should not be take on you.”
However, given the strong political divisions within the state between the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) that was controlling the state and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) that was in power at the federal level, Rimi could not have his way.
Wild riot broke out in the ancient city, which led to massive killings and destruction of state government property, including the burning down of the state-owned Triumph Newspaper, which was named after Sa’ad Zungur.
It was held that the riot broke out after the state secretary of NPN, Mallam Mansur Kakarofi released a statement. In the highly inciting statement Kakarofi had declared: “The people of Kano will not allow one of our most respected institutions to be eroded by irresponsible people who by sheer political accident happen to be in the control of the Kano State Government.”
A Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice E. A. Fernandez that was set up found that even the Nigeria Police Force watched the mayhem and refused to intervene to stop the killings, buttering the general belief among Kano residents that the issue of the Emirate was made a political tool.
In fact, the governor’s Adviser on Political Affairs, Bala Mohammed (the father of the current Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, (NPA) Hadiza) was burnt alive while he was still crafting the white paper that would have led to the dethronement of the Emir.
Sanusi the jinx in his name
WHEN the former CBN governor, upon ascension to the throne as Emir of Kano chose to be addressed as Sanusi Muhammad 111, a lot of those who recalled how his grandfather was dethroned, expressed apprehension that with his acerbic tongue and radical views, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi could face similar fate.
Was the name jinxed? The genesis of events that culminated in yesterday’s action by the Governor Kano appears to support that assertion. Not minding that the former Emir was in the good books of the present administration, not long after he mounted the saddle and the former opposition politicians taken over than he started mouthing radical economic views.
When the former Governor of Zamfara State disclosed that Cholera and other killer diseases ravaging the northern part of the country were as a result of sins of adultery, Sanusi came out in strong condemnation saying that the governors should turn mosques into schools to expand and improve access to education in the area.
In a video clip that went viral, the former Emir was shown as he shed tears complaining that at the lack of health facilities in most states of the north noting that for the want of just five dollars, a woman who was waiting to see him in the palace lost her child.
That jab was taken as clever innuendo against the Kano State governor, who was at about that time shown in another video clip where he was allegedly stuffing some dollar notes, believed to be proceeds of kickback, into his flowing gown.
But the last straw that broke the camel’s back was Sanusi’s public utterances in the build up to the 2019 General Election when he urged Nigerians not to be electing uneducated persons into leadership positions, a statement which did not go down with the presidency.
Moreover it was alleged that at the height of President Buhari’s ill health, which took him to a prolonged stay in London, Sanusi was said to have lobbied Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to consider him as potential Vice President in the event that the unexpected happens to his principal.
Then Sanusi was said to have openly canvassed that Ganduje should not be returned for a second term in office in obvious effort to return the favour to Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso for making him Emir.
While the threat of his dethronement loomed, second republic lawmaker, Dr, Junaid Mohammed, told The Guardian that Sanusi ought to be in jail for the way he ran the CBN, noting that “the Emir who took money from the emirate council and has a very big case in the way he ran the CBN, he many likely be taken to court, because the case is about N300billion.”
The former lawmaker said “this is not the first time Kano has been dismembered. When Jigawa was carved out of Kano, they created five Emirs; they are still in existence and created another five in an area that is two or three times bigger than Jigawa. It is no big deal.”
Following his ultimate dethronement, Sanusi’s defiance and philosophical nature rings true as he words echo: “The throne of an emir is not permanent, every king and leader should know this.
“If it was a permanent throne, I wouldn’t have been the emir of Kano. Before I came someone was emir and before him someone else was there. Whenever God says your time on the throne is over, if you don’t leave with your legs, people will carry your body out of the palace. It is God that gives power and it is God that takes power.”