Kano: What goes around…!

By Julius Ogar

Events in Kano on Thursday the 23rd of May, 2024 happened with uncanny rapidity.
From the state House of Assembly convening for a third reading and passage of the Emirate Bill; to the signing into law, the formality of convening the kingmakers and restoration of Mohammad Sanusi to the throne; it was a crescendo!

Although the restoration of the old Kano Emirate has been on the cards since the return of the popular Kwankwasiyya Movement to political authority in the State.

One quite didn’t see the speed with which events would unfurl. Politicians in our clime are not known for speed except in their own enlightened self-interest.

One man must be cringing on his chair and wondering if someone else must have gone bananas. That should and must be the immediate past governor of Kano State.

My disdain for Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the current national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), actually crystallised on the 9th of March, 2020. That was the day he announced the dethronment of Mohammad Sanusi as the 14th Emir of Kano and his banishment to exile in Nassarawa State.

Like the colonial administrators of yore, it was the worst Ganduje could do in the circumstance. He must have belched with utmost satisfaction that finally, he had tamed a lion and “off-ed” the mic.

Quite apart from a coterie of northern political elites and the socially privileged for whom Sanusi had become a thorn in the flesh and a pebble in the shoe, Ganduje struggled to convince the rest of the country that it was okay to remove Sanusi for “disrespect” or “insubordination” – whichever word served the purpose.

As if dethroning and banishing the most influential traditional ruler in northern Nigeria was not enough, Ganduje turned on the Kano Emirate, desecrating and balkanising it into miserable fragments worthy of more disrespect.

There couldn’t have been a worse demonstration of disavowal for the people of Kano than the daylight dismemberment of their royal stool and heritage by a political bull in a China shop.

What’s more, it wasn’t a conquering army or a vassal authority that committed this infraction.

Ganduje was one of their own – a son of the soil! The many centuries-old Kano emirate was eviscerated in one fell swoop by a political juggernaut, just to be satisfied he had sufficiently cut to size one man who was rousing the rabble from what is considered a quiet swivel chair.

History, tradition, prestige and significance didn’t count for Ganduje. Kill the shepherd, scatter the flock and burn the farm. Might was right!

There couldn’t have been a more profound exhibition of vendetta, and many watchers, including this writer, took it personal.

Pundits didn’t have to be natives of Kano to see through Ganduje’s political motivations calculated at levelling scores with his estranged godfather and another juggernaut, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who had, against all strings pulled from Abuja in June 2014, gone on to install Mohammad Sanusi as the 14th Emir in the first instance.

For the Emir himself, he was and has ever been as controversial as they come. Those who thought Muhammadu Sanusi would become a muted version of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, were mistaken. If there was anything like a royal radical, Sanusi personified it.

He took the microphone wherever it was offered and committed the sacrilege of telling the government, including that of Kano State, the inconvenient truth.

Sanusi the Emir was the territorial version of Sanusi the economist and Sanusi, the former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor.

While he was in the nation’s apex Bank, he had tangled with the National Assembly when in a Convocation lecture at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, he had made a remark off the cuff to the effect that Nigerian legislators were draining the national treasury – a challenge that remains to this day.

Stigmatised and embarrassed by no less than the CBN itself, the Senate had tried to corner Sanusi and extract an apology and possibly, a retraction.

In place of recompense, however, he deflated the bloated egos of the legislators right in their own chamber by telling them they weren’t more democratic than himself simply because they were senators.

More astounding, he told Iyiola Omisore’s Senate Committee that he wasn’t born a CBN Governor and so didn’t feel any sense of entitlement or attachment to the position.

Not every man carries their mojo with them when they appear before any legislative Committee in Nigeria for whatever reason.

But here was a man the legislators thought they had by his balls talking back to them with guts. They were used to grovelling public servants and appointees, but here was something they never bargained for.

Sanusi would later be directed by the Jonathan regime to vacate the CBN after he blew the whistle on shortfalls in NNPC remittances to the Federation Account to the tune of $20 billion.

President Jonathan, rather than query the then ministers of Finance and Petroleum Resources, or the NNPC Board and Management, decided that it was Sanusi who was ruffling feathers and rocking the boat.

There has been a hushed consensus that appointees don’t look appointers in the face and speak inconvenient facts with confidence.

They are supposed to toe the line, maintain peace and wait for orders. Not Sanusi! He took to the traditional stool with crusading impetusity, which many detractors saw as arrogance.

He challenged stereotypes, calling on government to arrest parents whose wards were found on the streets begging rather than being in school. Never shy of giving his opinion, Sanusi challenged the rigid adherence of the ultra-conservative practices about marriage, women education and family planning.

He made enemies by his sheer boldness and nonconformist disposition.

If Ganduje thought we had moved on from Sanusi, the coast began to clear when he failed to install Nasir Gawuna as successor in the 2023 governorship elections.

Losing all the way to the Supreme Court, and now on the edge of his seat as the national Chairman of Nigeria’s ruling party (APC), Ganduje most likely needs no persuasion that what goes around comes around – especially in politics.

There is a new sheriff in Kano, who didn’t hide the fact that he was going to revisit many a thing Ganduje had touched.

In fact, he has even asked EFCC to help with forensic evidence to ascertain whether some videos in the public domain were actual scenes of transactional governance.

Kano sai Kano, like the people of Kano like to espouse. Nothing more needs to be said other than congratulations to Mohammad Sanusi! May courage and wisdom remain his fortitudes and may he serve his people and the nation with them on the throne of his forefathers!

Julius writes from Utako, Abuja.

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