Deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, on Sunday, reacted to the Nigerian Bar Association’s withdrawal of invitation from Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, as a guest speaker at its 2020 conference.
The former emir was in Kaduna on one week official visit.
The visit was the first to any northern state since he was dethroned by the Kano State Government in March.
Sanusi, who was received by Governor El-Rufai at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House at about 1 pm, cautioned the body of lawyers not to allow the controversy to take religious or ethnic dimension.
He described the NBA action as “sad for freedom of speech”, noting that that doesn’t depict those who wanted progress.
Sanusi noted that El-Rufai remained a nationalist and not an ethnic or religious bigot.
The former emir said, ”I am aware that the vast majority of NBA members do not agree with those things.
“You know if you have an opinion, people will either agree with you or disagree with you but a man who has an opinion that can be agreed with or disagreed with is always better than a man who has no opinion at all.
“Nasir always has opinions. He knows what his positions are on things. He says that position very clearly. People will like it, some people will not like it and that is what some people call controversial and being controversial is actually having an opinion.
”To be honest I do not want to join issues because we have already heard the views of Nigerians and the response.
“Everybody has a right to a fair hearing, and most importantly for me, if you feel that the Governor of Kaduna State is not doing right you should invite him to your covers and ask him to explain what he is doing.
“Tell him what you think he is doing wrong and you will learn something from him and he will learn something from you.
“That is the best way to handle issues like this. But again, I have seen the response from different branches of NBA and I hope this matter will not be turned to ethnicity and religious matter. It should be a matter of principle.”
In his response, the governor said the former Emir was in the state not only to visit him but also as a Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency.
El-Rufai said, “As you know His Highness is the Vice Chairman of Kaduna Investment, Promotion Agency chaired by the Deputy Governor.
“We hope that by this visit, he will be briefed on the activities of the investment agency and also interact with all the agencies that are working to attract investment in Kaduna State.
“Kaduna state is lucky to have him as the Vice Chairman of the State Investment Promotion Agency because of his wide global network.”