The death of Emir Ado Bayero of Kano in 2014 had coincided with a defining moment in Nigeria’s political history with certain individuals from his domain playing central roles in what eventually culminated into the loss of power by the ruling PDP to then opposition APC in the 2015 general elections.
Two of these individuals were then Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and a prominent member of the ruling house of the Kano Emirate, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and then Governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
The failure of PDP after 16 years of dominating political power in Nigeria’s inability to record satisfactory achievements in socio-economic and infrastructural development was easily attributable to corruption and financial recklessness.
Disappointed and dissatisfied, the Nigerian people came to regard the PDP as a symbol of corruption and misrule. By 2014, majority of Nigerians had reached a near consensus that endemic corruption, which the PDP represented, was the main cause of Nigeria’s socio-economic and infrastructural dwarfism.
Therefore, when Sanusi Lamido as CBN governor raised an alarm of unremitted billions of dollars from crude oil sales into the federation account; it resonated with a large section of the Nigerian public even though his allegations were proved inaccurate by other corroborative authorities.
The embarrassment caused to the Goodluck Jonathan administration by Sanusi Lamido’s ‘’false’’ alarm, was unfortunately aggravated by the mismanagement of the situation by a government whose public perception was at its lowest after being rocked by a series of corruption scandals.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration clearly believing Lamido Sanusi’s false alarm to be a deliberate act of sabotage, scripted by the opposition APC to bring down his government through an irredeemable reputational internal haemorrhage on the eve of election 2015 launched a counter offensive against him.
The marking of Sanusi Lamido as a regime enemy and his hounding out of office as CBN governor on a counter accusation of financial recklessness coming after he raised concerns about unremitted monies from crude oil sales boomeranged into a public relations fatality for the Goodluck Jonathan administration; a situation the APC exploited to their fullest advantage.
Pushed away by the government of the day and pressed towards the then opposition APC, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a man whose ultimate desire in life was to be the Emir of Kano just like his grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I emerged the preferred choice of the Kwankwaso led APC state government of Kano state to succeed his recently departed uncle and father in law, Ado Bayero.
In addition to spiting the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the appointment of Sanusi Lamido, a man who was considered an outsider to the royal court of Kano Emirate, by then Governor Kwankwaso, as the Emir of Kano over his other rival claimants to the throne who were better groomed in the etiquette of the conservational traditional leadership institution of northern Nigeria was borne out of the political expediency of securing Nigeria’s largest voter demography for the APC in the epic battle ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
Whereas, the role played by Kwankwaso in the ‘’change’’ revolution of 2015 was by design, that of Sanusi Lamido, was by default. The alarm sounded by Sanusi Lamido was not a deliberate act of insider sabotage but an unintended error of arithmetic arising from a genuine concern about the possibilities of unremitted monies from crude oil sales; an act that shouldn’t have been met with hostilities by the Goodluck Jonathan administration but appreciated as a precautionary effort in what is supposed to be a collective war on corruption.
By mistaking Sanusi Lamido as a friend who is an enemy of their enemy, the Kwankwaso led APC government of Kano state made the political miscalculation of appointing a man as Emir of Kano who was imbued with a restless spirit of intellectual activism and social reform advocacy, who was not likely to conform with the norms and royal etiquettes expected of the head of deeply conservative traditional rulership institution.
Emirs are to be seen but not heard as symbols of tradition and must maintain political neutrality at all times.
And when Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II of Kano began to live up to this reputation as a traditional ruler that will not only be seen but heard loudly and clearly, his former friends became his enemies. It wasn’t a matter of ‘’if’’ but ‘’when’’ Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano will be dethroned from the throne of the largest and most important Emirate of the Sokoto caliphate.
However, the contemporary socio-economic conditions of the Muslim north of Nigeria is an emergency situation that makes the royal etiquette of silence no longer a golden virtue but a conspiracy with the region’s corrupt political leadership to condemn the people into perpetual poverty, illiteracy, disease and insecurity.
As a result of the 84% poverty rate in the Muslim north, Nigeria is today the poverty capital of the world. Plagued by a complex web of complicated security challenges ranging from Boko haram insurgency in the north east, cross border banditry in the northwest and killer herdsmen in the north central, Nigeria is now designated the third most terrorized country on earth.
At the root of these socio-economic crises is the low level of education coupled with a tradition of archaic religious and cultural practices that have greatly impeded the socio-economic development of the Muslim north.
The religious and cultural self-immolation of the Muslim north has potentials of incinerating the entire Nigeria, except urgent systemic reforms are carried out. It is these reforms that Emir Sanusi consistently called for by speaking the home truth to power and constituted authority even at the risk of committing a class suicide; a reformed society in line with Emir Sanusi’s vision will signal the end of feudal privileges that define the current Emirate system in Northern Nigeria.
Emir Sanusi’s call for unreserved embrace of education and the roll back of the out of school children menace through responsible parenting as well as drawing from his experiences as an economist to offer pragmatic solutions on the economic management of the revenue challenged states of the Muslim north clearly stood him out as one of Nigeria’s foremost reform advocates.
The educational backwardness in the Muslim north has limited its socio-economic advancement necessitating the obnoxious affirmative action of quota system and federal character that have arrested the collective development and progress of the educationally advanced parts of Nigeria; a situation Emir Sanusi warned was no longer sustainable as seen in the sustained clamour for Nigeria’s restructuring.
However, after six years as an activist traditional ruler, Emir Sanusi was cast aside from the throne in a move that followed a predictably familiar pattern. Five years after the ‘’change’’ revolution, the ruling APC party has surpassed the record of PDP’s previous 16 years rule in every aspect of misrule and administrative banditry in addition to breaking new grounds in unbridled corrupt practices and graft.
In all of these, Emir Sanusi who was rewarded with the prestigious throne of Kano Emirate for his role in the ‘’missing’’ oil money saga in the previous administration was expected to keep mute with a royal veil wrapped around his mouth.
APC’s Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, who was caught on tape pilfering public funds through kickbacks from a government contractor, was sufficiently incensed enough to go after Emir Sanusi, for his alleged refusal to support his re-election bid.
In a fit of rage like a bull in China shop, Governor Ganduje in order to reduce the influence of Emir Sanusi pulled down the largest and most important Emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate into five splinter emirates and in the process brought to an inglorious end a royal heritage that has survived several centuries.
Not done yet, Governor Ganduje eventually dethroned Emir Sanusi via executive fiat and banished him from Kano Emirate all together. The same ‘’truth’’ he spoke against the previous PDP administration that made his dream of being an Emir come true is the same truth that got him into a nightmare of dethronement and banishment.
The tragedy of this inglorious end of an era is that it will be recorded in history that the ancient Emirate of Kano was reduced to robbles by the same hand that was caught on tape receiving and stashing dollar denominated bribes into his pockets.
And for Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, Governor Ganduje has secured for him a special place in history as the last Emir of Kano.
Discernibly, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was neither a foe of the PDP nor a friend of the APC. His only friend was his convictions no matter how flawed or inaccurate.