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Monday, 15 May 2017

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi may go the way of his grandfather

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi may go the way of his grandfather

Emir Muhammdu Sanusi 1, Ahmadu Bello and young Sanusi greeting their colonial officer guests


It was a dramatic denouement to a conflict that started months earlier.

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The setting was Government House in Kaduna in 1963 and the two characters that day were Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Governor of Northern Region and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 1, grandfather of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now Muhammadu Sanusi 11), the current occupant of that throne.

The two men exchanged greetings by shaking hands stiffly. Sir Kashim, with a probably shaky voice, delivered a bomb. Government had accepted to implement the recommendation of the probe panel, set up by Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and the Premier of Northern Region, that Sanusi should be removed from office.

“Do you have any response to this?” Sir Kashim asked, without making eye contacts. Sanusi, with the gait of a stoic, answered with philosophical equanimity: “Nothing”.

Sir Kashim, thereafter, fished out a prepared resignation letter for Sanusi to sign. He did without shaking.

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi may go the way of his grandfather

Lamido Sanusi: Emir of Kano

The Governor asked his guest further where he wanted to go into exile.

Sanusi senior chose Azare, a city in Bauchi State. Like King Jaja of Opobo, Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi of Benin or Olowo of Owo, Oba Olateru Olagbegi who were banished outside their domains by the powers that be (the first two by the British colonialists and the last, by Governor Adeyinka Adebayo of Western Region), that was the beginning of Patriarch Sanusi’s journey into exile in Azare where he spent 20 years and died.

What happened in 1963 as a result of power tussle between him and Ahmadu Bello is repeating itself in 2017 between the northern political establishment and the current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11. He too is to be probed, a situation of political deja vu.

The Kano State House of Assembly has set up an eight-man committee, headed by the Chief Whip of the House, Alhaji Labaran Abdul, to probe Sanusi II. Just like such was directed at his grandfather, questions were being raised on alleged misconduct and alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to the Kano Emirate Council.

The Speaker of the state assembly, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum accused Sanusi of spreading rumour on the trip of the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to China recently to hold discussions on a light rail project in the state, arguing that it “was capable of tarnishing the governor’s image, the state government and that of the assembly.”

The speaker added: “The emir during his speech in Kaduna, alleged that the Kano State governor and his entourage, including me as the Chairman of the House Committee on Works, wasted one month in China seeking for a loan to construct the light rail project.

The emir’s statement was not true, we spent only four days in China, and our visit was to find out the capacity of the company to handle the rail project.

His allegation has brought a lot of insults to my person, the state government and the House of Assembly by the general public in and outside the state.”

The speaker took a dig at Sanusi for acting against tradition by sending his daughter who failed to wear the “full traditional regalia”to represent him at a function organised by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group in Abuja, saying, “There are many responsible Emirate Council members who could have represented him at the programme. This is the first time we are seeing such in the history of the traditional home.”

The speaker still had more bullets to fire at Sanusi’s fragile frame, saying the traditional ruler had begun to introduce religious views that are, as ThisDay put it, contrary to the teachings of Islam, saying such things were capable of undermining the religion.

Worse still, he charged that Sanusi was “getting involved in political issues, the misappropriation of the Emirate Council’s funds and making statements against President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi may go the way of his grandfather

Sir Kashim Ibrahim

While defending himself on the one hand, Sanusi used the police and the court, on the other, to arraign a renowned cleric, Sheik Nasiru Bazallah, before a senior Kano Magistrate’s Court for allegedly insulting him.

Many Kano muslims and others in the north are actually not happy with Sanusi’s radical views and are ready to pour acid on his thyroid gland!

The prosecution alleged that the cleric tried to incite disturbances and defame the traditional ruler, alleging that the cleric acted contrary to Section 114, 392 and 399 of the Penal Code.

According to the charges against Bazallah on May 8, 2017, Emir Sanusi lodged a direct complaint to the Kano State Commissioner of Police alleging that the accused on March 20, 2017, acted in a manner that defamed his character.

As reported by ThisDay, he further alleged that the Islamic scholar criminally gathered his followers at Goron Dutse quarters, “where he made statements to incite disturbances, defamed the character of the emir and impugned his integrity.”

Also, the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission is probing the Kano Emirate Council, which Sanusi chairs given the fact that he is emir.

This development made the emirate to issue a statement claiming that contrary to the allegation that it had misappropriated N6 billion, it “had spent N4.3 billion since the enthronement of Sanusi as the Emir of Kano.” It added that at at the time Sanusi became emir in 2014, it had the sum of N1 billion in its account.

Sanusi who does not allow a missile fired at him without intercepting it mid-air defended himself that the two Rolls Royce he uses were, according to press report, given to him as gifts, while his friends in the banking sector provided the private jets he uses for his trips.

Setting up a panel to probe any individual holding any public office, either modern or traditional, is not a bad thing. However, analysts say the only trouble is that when those setting up a panel fly off tangent to delve into matters that have no bearing with alleged financial dealings.

In other words, the speaker, in a feat of Freudian slip, veered into political matters that bear on Sanusi’s radical posture or statements that always roughen big feathers.

In fact, Sanusi was once quoted this way: “My biggest hero is my grandfather. If there’s one person that has been a constant in my life it’s been him. Now, my father had one of the greatest influences in me.

I remember one thing my father said to me; When I was 16 or 17, he said; ‘You know, you can divert a hundred things a young man wants to be, but all you need is to look at two to three things and you’ll be amazed at how by holding unto one or two simple rules, you’ll define yourself”.

I think later in life I found that one thing to define myself, which is ‘Speak Truth to Power’. If you look at my entire life, all the problems I’ve had, have had to do with that. Whether it’s National Assembly’s 25% or Jonathan’s $20 billion or debates I had within the banking system.

If you take a look at my articles, it’s always just telling myself that, ‘Look! You know what? No matter what the cost is, if this is the truth I’m going to say it.’ And that’s now what I’m known for and that’s how I hope to be remembered even after my death. You know, nothing else, just somebody who speaks the truth.”

True. In recent weeks, Sanusi has been blowing his to top against northern leaders for their conservative Islamic values, which, over time, have stood against development. In fact, he took a swipe at people who indulge in child marriage and, against the norm, advised against polygamy if there is no money to support such.

Not a man to tolerate superstition in the age when other countries are making waves in high tech and modern medicine, Sanisi came down hard on the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who reasoned that the meningitis outbreak was God’s judgment for the people’s sexual escapades!

Sanusi advised fellow muslims to “stop allowing human beings appropriate their religion for selfish reasons.” He also threatened religious and traditional leaders in his domains to stop beating their wives, failing which they would lose their titles.

When Sanusi sent his daughter, Shahida to represent him at a Chibok Girls lecture in Abuja, the conservative muslims in the north were angry with him.

At the function, she said, “My father is not afraid of giving up his throne if it stands in the way of speaking the truth. Those who think that my father would keep quiet because he wants to hold on to his throne, I think they don’t know my father.

I know that he has always wanted to be the emir of Kano but to him, if it comes between what is right, what his conscience tells him and choosing the throne, he would happily give up the throne. My father has always been a part of one controversy or the other and it’s normal for us. We are not scared anymore.

She continued, “And honestly, he has been a source of inspiration and pride. He never fails to fight. He fights for progress, liberty, justice and equality. Those who think they know my father should know that he will never be silenced by blackmail and intimidation.

He lost his position once as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and I remember his quote that you can suspend a man but you can never suspend the truth. I know he does not mind being the most unpopular emir so long he speaks the truth.”

Just as Sanusi is being probed now ( it is actually a political persecution), his grandfather Muhammed Sanusi 1, was dethroned as a result of power struggle (hidden under the cloak of a probe) between him and Ahmadu Bello. The old man also had problem with conservative northern muslims.

Muhammadu Sanusi 1 and Ahmadu Bello were great friends ab initio but their relationship became topsy turvy later. In an article by Ajiroba Yemi Kotun, entitled Road to Azare: How Emir Sanusi’s Grandfather Was Removed Due To ‘Jealousy’, published in The Nigerian Voice, originally on 23 May 2013, many factors were responsible.



First is the radical modern Islam, represented by the old Emir and the conservative, represented by the old guard. As pointed out in the article: “The Emir of Kano was the Muqqadam (Leader or High Priest) of the Tijaniyya Tariqa, a highly successful Islamic brotherhood with votaries in many parts of Northern Nigeria and an external inspiration in Senegal.

Heavily patronized by the commercial class, the brotherhood was modernist in approach and it preached a creed of self-improvement without the crippling fatalism common to its rival, the Khadiriyya, which originated in Baghdad in the 12th century, and which was headed by the Sultan of Sokoto and largely bankrolled by the Sardauna.

Despite the unserious religious differences between the two tariqa, and because the Sardauna considered himself the champion of Islam in the North, the leadership of a much more popular Islamic tariqa by the Emir of Kano was construed by him as a challenge.”

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