By Promise Oshewa
Long is the road of righteousness and truth and it is often tarred with the spikes of persecution, misrepresentation and falsehood. Yet at the end of the day it is the only road that is worth taking and it is the only one that leads to lasting honour and glory.
The Truth and nothing but the truth is at the centre of what could be the greatest battle of modern day Nigeria between Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje. And there is no doubt that head or tail, Kano will never be the same again.
In what has been called a discretion of an age-long traditional institution, Governor Ganduje in connivance with the Kano State House of Assembly has signed into a bill that has divided the Kano Emirate which covered the whole 44 local Government Areas to five. With Emir Sanusi now controlling a mere 8 local governments which includes the populous Kano Municipality.
This perhaps will be heavyweight battle of the highest order and there is no doubt that many heads will roll especially as the move by the Governor is widely seen as politically-motivated.
Emir Sanusi II is no stranger to controversy, the outspoken technocrat who has never been afraid to speak truth to power has always been in the forefront of bashing the elites for their selfish neglect of the poor and also knocked the poor for lack of family planning-both actions, he said has led to the alarming poverty rate in the country.
It will be recalled that while serving as the Governor of Central Bank, he boldly accused the Jonathan administration of corruption.
According to him, 20 billion US dollars had gone missing from the account of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and he made so much fuss about it.
His attacks were so loud that it led to a spat with the then coordinating minister of the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the matter eventually led to Sanusi being suspended and relieved of his duties.
Carefully selecting his words, Sanusi who was not in the country at the time of the suspension heard of it and responded all the way from Niger Republic that; “you can suspend an individual but you can’t suspend the truth”. He then boarded a plane for Nigeria knowing full well that he could be arrested on arrival; He diverted his plan from landing in Abuja to Lagos where he was being awaited by Fmr. Minister of FCT Mallam Nasir El Rufai and friends. He was not arrested but his passport was seized.
In the whole missing money drama, after a forensic examination, Okonjo-Iweala later conceded that indeed money had gone missing from the NNPC but it was $10.5 billion and not the $20 that was mentioned.
But as fate will have it, his grand uncle, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano died and then he was crowned on 8th June 2014 as the 14th Emir of Kano. He was back at the top of national consciousness.
As Emir he has used his position to speak about various issues and sometimes his comments were deemed too controversial for a traditional ruler.
His palaver with the Kano State Government when the Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission then opened a fresh probe on the alleged financial mismanagement in Kano Emirate Council under the watch of Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II.
The commission invited two of the Emirs uncles and brothers to answer questions on what they knew over alleged financial scandal rocking the Kano Emirate Council.
A letter signed by the Commission’s Director of operations, CSP Suleiman Aliyu Gusua invited an aide of the Emir, Alhaji Isa Bayero for investigation.
The letter written on behalf of the Commission Chairman, Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado noted that Bayero was invited on alleged violation of section 26 of the Commission’s enabling law in the management of Kano State Emirate Fund.
In 2018, the same Commission had embarked on a large scale probe before the House of Assembly intervened.
It was in the midst of all these that an online news media, Daily Nigerian which has Jafar Jafar as Publisher began to release a series of videos which showed Governor Ganduje receiving dollars in cash from some people.
Jafar during a testimony before the Kano State House of Assembly were authentic and were as a result of a sting operation. He revealed that his outfit embarked on the project following complaints that Governor Ganduje was allegedly personally receiving kickbacks from contractors.
Of course the expose caused a furore around the nation, it became so band that the whole affair was dubbed the Gandollar scandal and the Kano State House of Assembly began a probe which was eventually stopped by a court.
Of course, Emir Sanusi never commented about the embarrassing affair but his body language spoke volumes. He was scandalized and embarrassed and therefore it was no surprise that during the gubernatorial elections he avoided Governor Ganduje-a sign that some said meant he was supporting his opponent, PDP’s Abba Yusuf. That was when the battle line was drawn.
It was not therefore shocking when after a hard-fought victory that included a supplementary election, supporters of Ganduje began to pull down the pictures of Emir Sanusi from Government House.
The latest twist in the tail was like a cowboy movie. It began like a joke but in no time shots were being fired from all corners.
Without any hint,Kano State House of Assembly initiated a bill to amend the Emirate law following a petition filed before the House by Ibrahim Salisu Chambers.
The Petitioner demanded an upgrading of some traditional rulers to the status of first class Emirs and went further to seek the creation of four additional emirates councils: Karaye, Bichi, Rano and Gaya.
After just a day of deliberations, the Kano State House of Assembly passed the bill without any modification and the Governor soon also signed the law.
In an interview aired on Channels TV yesterday, Governor Ganduje noted that he had nothing personal against Emir Sanusi that he was merely carrying out the wishes of the people.
For good measure, he noted that the Emir should actually be discussing with a local govenment Chairman according to the Law and that such affairs were not the concern of a governor.
According to him “We are taking Kano to the next level and we need the active participation of the traditional system, especially in the areas of education, security, agriculture,” he said.
“By decentralising the emirate, we followed history. Years back, the situation was not like that. “So if something developed 800 years ago, things are also developing now and there will be another 800 years. So look at the history. So, it is not vendetta, I am not against him (Sanusi). In fact, he is supposed to be reporting to the local government chairman according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “It is the local government chairman that is supposed to discuss issues with him, not the governor” he concluded.
He also claimed that the balkanization of the age-long Kano Emirate into smaller units had been a subject of celebration by the people, claiming that the emergence of the new emirates would make traditional system effective in the development of Kano State.
According to the final amended copy of the law Emir Sanusi was allocated Kano Municipal, Tarauni, Dala, Nassarawa, Fagge, Gwale, Kumbutso and Ungogo Local Government Areas.
Bichi Emirate has nine local governments: Bichi, Bagwai, Tsanyawa, Kunchi, Makoda, Danbatta, Dawakin Tofa, Tofa and Minijibir.
Rano Emirate has 10 local governments: Rano, Bunkure, Kibiya, Takal, Sumaila, Kura, Dogowa, Tudun Wadam Bebeji and Garun Malam
Gaya Emirate has ten local govennments including Gaya, Ajingi, Gabasawa, Garko, Wudil, Albasu, Ajingi, Gezawa and Dawakin Kudu
Karaye Emirate has eight including: Karaye, Rogo, Gwarzo, Kabo, Rimin Gado, Madobi, Kiru and Shanono.
According to Section 4 (2) of the amended law, the Chairman of the Council of Traditional rulers shall be rotational.
“Chairman of the council shall serve for a period of 2 years; sequence of which is to be determined by the Governor”. The new law also confers right of dynasty of Kano Emirate to both Kano and Bichi Emirates.
Already reactions have begun as a result of this new law. Sources have revealed that some of those pencilled down to become Emirs have refused although a swearing and presentation of staff office has been scheduled today.
Also yesterday, four prominent Islamic scholars have tendered their letters of resignation to the Governor. While a court has ordered the Governor to stay action on setting up the new Emirates.
According to a Statement by the Kano State Commissioner of Information, the new Emirs will be installed at the Sani Abacha stadium today, Alahji Aminu Ado Bayero will be new Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Tafida Abubakar II, will become Emir of Karaye, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdukadir Gaya, Emir of Gaya and Dr Ibrahim Abubakar II, will become Emir of Rano.
Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo was one of the first to send a solidarity message to Emir Sanusi, taking to his official twitter page he wrote :”We will not be in power forever” with picture of Emir Sanusi and the hashtag #itandwithEmirSanusi
Other reactions were:
@Adeyanjudeji “When tyranny went after Saraki & NASS, what did Emir Sanusi say? When they broke into judges’ homes at night, what did he say? When they went after Onnoghen, what did he say? When they went after Zakzaky, what did he say? Like I always say, the tyranny is enough to go round.”
@Ogbenidipo “Ganduje tore apart an institution created in 1805 because of political differences. Shows how desperate some of these people are. They’re willing to pull the building down just to have their way. I feel sorry for Emir Sanusi.”
@Yunggeorge5582 “Sanusi is reaping the seed of discord sir. I can’t forget how he lambasted anx victimized Goodluck Jonathan then. He should just get a chill drink and relax over this issue.”
@CeoOgu “I think Sanusi deserves worse. He collapsed banks out of selfish interest and left the one bank that was and still not liquid(Unity Bank) because its a Northern bank. “
@Tinkizee2 “Why not just dethrone him instead of this nonsense ? Why destroy years of legacy and tradition over a petty fight?
@Kemdirimmaria “I believe HRM Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will come out stronger than his traducers. My thoughts even though it is very late, is that he wld hv aspired to rule Nig at the highest level. With his wealth of experience, he would have brought about significant changes for the betterment of Nigeria.”
@EnigmaticDan “They are not destroying Sanusi, rather they are destroying the century-long culture and tradition of Kano all for the sake of politics.”
@WaleSupo “HRH Sanusi is not being destroyed. Ganduje is just writing his name in the book of history as the destroyer of Kano Emirate.If you’d trace the lineage of Ganduje, he won’t even be a Nigerian talk less of a Kano citizen.”