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The Prince and The kleptomaniac: A Tussle For The Soul of Kano
The Prince and The kleptomaniac: A Tussle For The Soul of Kano

By - Adedoyin Shittu

Posted - 14-03-2020

The power tussle between the Governor of Kano State of Nigeria, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje,  and the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS) reached a new climax when the state government  issued a letter to the emirate of Kano, over alleged financial misappropriation by Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II.


Letter sent to Kano Emirate
Copy of Letter from Governor to the office of the Emirate

Below is the content of the letter:

The Kano State Government is in receipt of a Report by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission dated May 31, 2019, as per copy attached herewith, on the on-going investigation by the Commission involving the misappropriation of the total sum of N3.4 Billion Naira by the Kano State Emirate Council under your leadership between the Years 2014 – 2017. Specifically the Report has indicated the aspects of the allegations and recommendations as set out at pages 14 – 16 therein.

Accordingly, the Commission in its Report under reference, has recommended for your suspension and all other suspects connected with the issue pending the outcome of the case, and in order to allow for unhindered investigative processes.

In the light of the foregoing, therefore, I am to request you to give satisfactory explanations on the allegations raised within 48 hours of the receipt at this letter to allow Government to take appropriate decision on the issue in earnest.

This is coming in less than two days after the Emir and the State governor shook hands and prayed together during the eid-el-fitr celebrations.

Both has endured a frosty relationship that had sparked violence between supporters of both parties and create a tense environment in the State.

As tension brew between supporters as a result of this query, the Kano State Police Command has banned any form of rally, demonstration, procession or assembly in the state until further notice.

The Peoples Princely advocate

Sanusi had made it his mission to continue to lend his voice to the plight of the people, this made him very unpopular among the ruling class, especially in the Northern part of the country.

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.”
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

This would not be the first time Sanusi would be victimised and intimidated while holding a leadership position.

Before he was appointed as the 14th Emir of Kano in 2014, he was fired from the office as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) due to his voicing out of the missing million of dollars in the NNPC vault. During his tenure as CBN governor, Sanusi did not shy from voicing his ills he saw in the system.

He successfully fixed the banking sector as the governor of CBN.

He shocked many Nigerians when he announced the removal of managing directors and executive directors of four banks where major corporate governance failures were discovered. He then replaced them with the CBN-appointed managements. He was able to reform the failed banks and re-capitalized them.  Sanusi performed a delicate task of infusing capital into the banking sector without overheating the economy.

History of ruffling feathers

Goodluck Jonathan’s government alleged that Sanusi’s tenure as the Govrenor of The Central Bank of Nigeria was “characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct and He was removed in 2014 after serving for five years as the governor.

But many are of the opinion that it was political in nature as Sanusi as used his platform as CBN governor to criticise Jonathan’s government. He also raised the alarm over the alleged stealing of $20 Billion (Twenty Billion Dollars) under the then petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

During the 100 year anniversary of Union bank, he lamented about the poverty rate in the Northern part of the country. He also spoke about the Almajiri system which has ravaged the north in recent times at an investment forum in Kaduna State.

His views on the system, is that parents should give birth only to the number of children for which they can cater.  According to him, You can’t just produce children and leave them on the streets begging and out of school.

Sanusi also called on governors of northern states to convert mosques to primary schools, especially in the villages, stating that mosques were not meant for prayers alone, but for other things like scholarly activities and leadership development.

Sanusi also called for an half cut in the salaries of each member of the National Assembly. According to him, “If the salary of each member of the National Assembly was divided into two, it would go a long way to provide more jobs for 70,400 jobless Nigerians at between N90, 000 and N92, 500 monthly salary.”. According to him “A senator receives N36 million monthly. If this is divided into two, it comes to N18 million. The second half of N18 million can be used to create jobs for 200 Nigerians, each earning N90, 000 monthly.  

On the call for restructuring, Sanusi had this to say, “restructuring will not work because restructuring has been turned into a fault line that is been manipulated and exploited by the elites”.

Sanusi also lent out his voice to victims of the killer herdsmen when he called on the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to expose the criminals among them.

The president have also been criticised by Sanusi, The Emir once cautioned the President Muhammadu on his borrowing spree. He said there is no way the administration could pay back its debt, instead the government should invite the private sector to grow the economy.

Sanusi has also voiced out his displeasure on how matters of his State is handled but the straw that broke the camels back was when Sanusi supported the opposition party during the last election.

It is believed that as a traditional leader and royal father, Sanusi should not dabble into partisan politics, but Sanusi was not cut out to play a puppets role, and has used every platform open to him to voice his views.

Emir Sanusi openly backed Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the March 9 governorship election in Kano.

Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the election after the first ballot

Yusuf polled 1,014,353 votes ahead of Ganduje who secured 953,522 votes–annexing the first ballot with a margin of 26,655 votes.

The election was declared ‘inconclusive’ by the electoral commission after the first ballot.

However, after a supplementary election was conducted and Ganduje was subsequently declared the winner by a margin of 8,982 votes

The Prince Emir of Kano
Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

The Governor Acts Against The Traditional Emirate

After the election, Ganduje wasted no time watering down the Emir’s influence in the State. Like his in-law did, the former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi. Governor Ganduje hastily signed a bill submitted to him by the Kano State House of Assembly.

This bill asked for an upgrade of some traditional rulers to the status of First Class Emirs. With the bill now signed into Law, Kano state now had five emirates, namely: Kano, Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi and the Emir of Kano was now only to control 10 local government out of the 44 local governments of the state.

Also the Hauwan Nassarawa procession of the Emir of Kano during a Sallah celebration, which involved paying homage to the state governor, was cancelled on the orders of Ganduje this year.

Ancient wall of Kano
Ancient wall of Kano

Hawan Nasarawa is a traditional visit of the sitting Emir of kano to the governor at the Government House two days after Eid as a mark of allegiance to the political authority.

In a statement released by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State, Malam Abba Anwar, he explained that after security meeting that was held between governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje with all the security agencies, concerning all Sallah celebrations, as it is usually done, there was intelligence report for the fear of breach of peace during the upcoming event.

The statement therefore said: “It is clear to all that, Governor Ganduje is a peace loving leader, who doesn’t toy with safety and security of his people and all other citizens living in Kano.

Anwar therefore advised the people to “move and feel free in these days of Sallah celebration and beyond. As every measure for the state to remain peaceful is taken with all seriousness.”

No doubt, as a mortal, Sanusi is not flawless. As a royal father, he should not be seen dabbling into partisan politics. But it seems Sanusi is no puppet and cannot help himself.

The President Intervenes

Following the raging battle between Ganduje and Sanusi, the president, Muhammadu Buhari, move to intervene on Friday (June 7).

A peace meeting was held in Abuja and a few notable persons were present.  a credible source at the Presidency told DAILY NIGERIAN that the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, chaired the meeting

At the peace meeting, a truce was reached and the governor and emir agreed to sheath the sword for the interest of Kano as well as to de-escalate tension and prevent break down of law and order.

DAILY NIGERIAN also gathered that despite the truce, the Emir has chosen to clear his name by responding to the query of the state government regarding allegations leveled against him by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ganduje Sacks Sanusi As Emir Of Kano

Usman Alhaji, the State Secretary to the Government announced the removal/dethronement of Muhammadu Sanusi II as the Emir of Kano on March 9, 2020. In his statement, he remarked that the Emir is being removed for his total disrespect to the lawful instructions from the government and the lawful authorities.

Buhari and Sanusi
Buhari and Emir Sanusi

“We are removing him for his disrespect for lawful instructions from the office of the Governor and lawful authorities including his persistent refusal to attend official meetings and programmes organized by the government without any lawful justification which amount to total insubordination”.

The government went on further to say he was removed “in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige of the Kano emirate”, accusing the emir of “total disrespect” of institutions and the governor’s office.

After the rift between the emir and governor, Muhammadu Sanusi II did not attend any state functions and official meetings, which the government said amounted to “total insubordination”.

His (the emir) refusal to appear before a panel investigating allegations of corruption against him also did not go down well with the government.

Aminu Ado Bayero, the son of Muhammadu Sanusi’s predecessor who ruled Kano for more than half a century until his death in 2014, has been chosen as the new emir by the local authorities.

Muhammadu Sanusi II has since been banished to a remote local government in Nasarawa State.

The Hypocrisy Of It All

The political witch-hunting of the Emir by the Governor shows how hypocritical our leaders are. This is a case of the “Thief” becoming the “Judge”. Tragic but also funny.

It could be recalled that in the later end of 2018, governor Ganduje was enrobed with a scandal and that is where his nickname – Gandollar – sprung from (his love for dollars).

Daily Nigerian, an online newspaper released a series of videos showing Ganduje receiving bales of dollars, which are alleged to be kickbacks from contractors in the state.

The matter was proved by the state house and the newspaper was invited to prove the authenticity of the videos.

Jaafar Jaafar,  publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper, appeared before the state house of assembly, and made a case for the authenticity of the video.

“Before DAILY NIGERIAN publishes stories, pictures or videos on its website, the editors subject them to rigors of verification to establish their authenticity or otherwise,” he said.

“In the case the video clips in question, our in-house technical expert, the editor-in-chief and editorial adviser certified that the videos were original and not doctored contents.

“Experts from Amnesty International Nigeria and British Broadcasting Network (BBC) also watched the clips and certified their authenticity before we went to press.”

Ironically, the state house has stopped the probe of the governor, as a result of a court order, mandating them to halt the process and Ganduje went ahead to win the governorship election in the state in a controversial way. Now less to nothing is heard of the dollar case and the contractors were reported to be fired.

Sanusi is no saint but it is glaring that the fight of the governor is personal but the governor should remember that his tenure is only 4 years – Here today and gone tomorrow.

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