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Sanusi's Emergence As Emir By Charles Ofoji

June 20, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan can be accused of everything. This writer has never failed to admonish this president, when it is justified. But I fail to see his hand in the Kano Emir thing.


Chido Onumah, a master in logic and construction, said in his column last week that Nigerian leaders are, modern-day buccaneers“. I agree.

As statesmen, they believe in only three things – power, money and women. They would do everything to chase these three things. And they  would pour venom at anybody or anything which threatens or stand between them and their fixation.

As pirates in power, they would do all and toy with everything to win or retain power, which they use to run a government of themselves and for themselves. As self-servers, with a demonic grip on power, they are possessed by the obsession to retain the three things I mentioned above by every means possible.

The obsession drives them insane, so much that there are no-go-areas for them anymore. They toy with the people; they toy with everything. Nothing is sacred to them – not even the Emirship of Kano, with a proud history that dates back to 1805, when Suleiman Abu Hama ascended the throne as the first Emir  under the vassalage of the Sokoto Caliphate.

The Deputy National Chairman, Northern Elders Forum, Dr. Paul Unongo was right when he said that the Emir „is not like a chief in Tiv or Yorubaland or Igboland; this is the head of Islam in Kano.“ Yes, the Emir is an important religious leader in Kano. But the elder statesman is wrong if he holds the view that Chiefs in Tivland, Igboland and Yorubaland do not also occupy some religious office. Before the coming of Islam or Christianity, there was and there is still a religion indigenous to our people – The African Traditional Religion. So, in those parts of the country, the Chiefs are the religious leaders. To deny this, would amount to mental slavery.

Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano is not a man known for humour. But in a rare flicker of dark humour, he midwifed the emergence of former Central Bank governor, Sanusi, Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of the Kano Emirate. He later told the Press that Sanusi was „royally blooded“. This was a desperate bid to defend the role he played. And since then, Kwankwasho has gone paranoid about the whole thing. Lately, he alleged that the Jonathan has a plot to kill him and cause trouble in Kano.

President Goodluck Jonathan can be accused of everything. This writer has never failed to admonish this president, when it is justified. But I fail to see his hand in the Kano Emir thing. Rather, I saw the hand of Esau in the emergence of Sanusi as Emir.

For the avoidance of doubt, there was nothing democratic in the selection of Sanusi as Emir. It was a decision made by the “king makers”. The king makers, duly or unduly influenced by the State Governor, were vested with a prerogative to chose the next Emir. The question however is: was the prerogative judiciously  exercised in good faith and for the best interest of the people of Kano and the Emirate? When such is the case, nobody can legitimately question whoever emerges as the Emir, including Sanusi, the grandson of a former Emir, the powerful Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, who was deposed as Emir in 1962 by the more powerful Sir Ahmadu Bello, then premier of Northern Region.

Sanusi was not the next to the throne. He was not a son of the deceased Emir, who had eligible sons who could be made to succeed their father. Nevertheless, Sanusi, as an intelligent former Central Bank Governor, could be favoured if that would bring prosperity to Kano. Or he could be rewarded with the title for what he did for Kano while he was at the helm at the Central Bank, including a N100 million donation during the flood.

However, I have struggled not to believe that Kwankwaso played politics with selection of the new Emir. Sanusi was chosen as a political weapon for the APC against the 2015 ambitions of Jonathan – being an “enemy” of the president. If this be the case, those who played a role have grossly diminished the Emir stool.

There was too much presence of APC governors and heavyweights in Kano as the new Emir was chosen. If they had piled pressure on Kwankwaso to chose Sanusi, the governor was unwise to have  prevailed on the King-makers to translate the wishes of his political allies.
The Emirship is not a partisan office. The Emir is the father of all, irrespective of political inclinations. Besides, you can not pitch an Emir against the government or the President of the Republic. It is hallucination to think that an Emir could be more powerful than the Commander-in-Chief, whose favours, a wise Emir must curry.

There is a preponderance of opinion that the charges of fraud and corruption against Sanusi are politically motivated. Still, it does not take away the fact that he has a case to answer. It is unknown to me that an Emir enjoys constitutional immunity. Didn't the kingmakers reason that it would rubbish the office of the Emir of Kano if Sanusi would be one day dragged before a law court to answer the cases against him and eventually be imprisoned if found guilty?  

Charles Ofoji and be reached here: [email protected]