• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Like King David, like Emir Sanusi

Like King David, like Emir Sanusi

…Chased away in ignominy, returned with pomp

In politics, there is plenty of treachery. When the push becomes shove, as they say, loyalty begins to shift. Kind David experienced it firsthand.

In the days when political ambition possessed Absalom, the son of King David, he began to plot to overthrow his own father.

He began to worm his way into the hearts of the people of Israel. Before long, the Israelites began to pledge their loyalty to him (Absalom).

David flees from Jerusalem

One day, a messenger whispered to the King David that the hearts of his subjects were now with Absalom and that it was a matter of time before he would be thrown out of the palace. So, David and the officials that were with him made haste to escape.

“We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!” the King said in anguish.

It was a pitiable sight to behold as the King left his kingdom in a haste amid wailing and lamentation by his family members and some of his loyal subjects.

Even some of his most trusted allies, including Ahithophel, jumped ship. They decamped to Absalom’s “party” as it were.

The scriptural account of his escape has it thus, “David went on up the Mount of Olives crying; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and cried also. When David was told that Ahithophel had joined Absalom’s rebellion, he prayed, ‘Please, Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness!”

The worst humiliation came from a man called Shimei, who ridiculed the frustrated King as he trudged on.

What did he do? “When King David arrived at Bahurim, one of Saul’s relatives, Shimei, son of Gera, came out to meet him, cursing him as he came. Shimei started throwing stones at David and his officials, even though David was surrounded by his men and his bodyguards. Shimei cursed him and said, ‘Get out! Get out! Murderer! Criminal! You took Saul’s kingdom, and now the Lord is punishing you for murdering so many of Saul’s family. The Lord has given the kingdom to your son Absalom, and you are ruined, you murderer!”

But David’s story did not end with that disgraceful, forced exit, he also returned someday in a “blaze of glory” to the consternation of, even those that bad-mouthed him.

Can you imagine that one of the first persons that came to welcome him was the same Shimei that traduced him. He came back with his men to apologise, and David forgave him, telling Abishai (his army commander) not to smite him.

The story above is akin to what transpired on March 9, 2020 when the then-governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, dethroned Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Sanusi was said to be in his private residence in Gidan Rumfa when he learnt of his removal. While awaiting the state officials to formally serve the deposition letter, a contingent of police, military and other security operatives stormed the palace. The rest is now history.

The travails and the return

The reinstatement last Thursday of the Emir of Kano as announced by Abba Yusuf, governor of the state, followed a series of activities at the House of Assembly.

The Kano State House of Assembly had earlier on Thursday dissolved all the four newly created emirate councils in the state.

The Assembly had considered the state’s Emirate Council Amendment Bill, repealing the law that established additional four Emirates in 2019.

According to the new Act, Paragraph 5 now empowers Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf to preside over by all necessary measures the restoration of the status of the Kano Emirate System to its positions prior to the enactment of the repealed Principal Law dated 5th December, 2019, under the immediate past administration of former Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje.

The Legislative Act tagged ‘Kano State Emirate Council (repeal) Bill 2024,’ provides for the repeal of the former Law enacted in 2019, enacted by the same assembly on which bases Aminu Ado Bayero, was coronated as the 15rh emir of Kano.

The layman interpretation of the Paragraph 5 of the amended Bill was that returning to former status of the Kano emirate system implies that the former structure and appointment arrangement of the council before 2019, should be returned to.

By implication, it thus, means that the structure and appointment arrangement which have Muhammadu Sanusi 11, as the 14th Fulani Emir (Sarkin) of Kano, and other appointments, such as the ones, that recognised Aminu Ado Bayero, as Galadima, a principal title appointee in the old Kano emirate council, is what the new Act is suggesting.

Paragraph 3 of the Act reads “Kano State Emirates Council Law, 2019 (1441 A.H) dated 5th December, 2019 (1441 A.H), Kano State Emirs (Appointment and Deposition) (Amendment) Law, 2019 (1440 A.H) dated 8th May, 2019 and Kano State Emirate Council (Amendment) Law, 2020 (1442 A.H) date 5th December, 2019 (1441 A.H) are hereby repealed.

“All traditional office holders and title holders elevated or appointed to office created under the repealed Principal Law, dated 5th December, 2019 shall revert to their position where such positions previously existed under recognised custom and traditions prior to the enactment of the repealed Principal Law dated 5th December, 2019.

“Governor shall take all necessary measures to restore the status of the Kano Emirate System to its positions prior to the enactment of the repealed Principal Law dated 5th December, 2019.

“The Commissioner responsible for Local Government shall oversee all transitional arrangements including how best to deal with assets and liabilities of the abolished emirates and new structure created under the repealed Principal Law dated 5th December, 2019,” the Assembly stated.

Muhammmed Sanusi 11, one of the Nigeria’s most influential Muslim traditional leaders, was removed from office on 9 March, 2020.

Born into the Fulani royal family, Lamido Sanusi became the 14th Emir of Kano in 2014 after the death of Ado Bayero.

He had described the post, which carries enormous weight among Nigeria’s northern Muslims, as a life-long ambition.

According to the then state government headed by Adullahi Ganduje, Sanusi was deposed for showing insubordination to the authorities of Kano State.

Sanusi, a former governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, had a frosty relation with the then Kano Governor, Ganduje, since 2017, until he was deposed in 2020.

But many of his supporters believe he was sacked for opposing Ganduje’s re-election bid in 2019.

In the 2019 gubernatorial election in Kano State, there was no clear winner in the first round of voting, but Ganduje then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won the run-off election against Abba Yusuf, the incumbent governor who was candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in controversial circumstances.

Upon assumption of office, Ganduje felt it was time to “punish” Sanusi for supporting opposition candidate against him.

Shortly after, the Kano government announced Aminu Ado Bayero, the son of Sanusi’s predecessor who ruled Kano for more than half a century until his death in 2014, as the new emir.

The deposed Sanusi was immediately removed from the palace in the city of Kano by security forces and he lived in exile in Lagos State since then.

Why was Sanusi sacked?

There are different permutations why Sanusi was deposed by the Ganduje administration. But on several occasions Sanusi had spoken out about the worsening state of insecurity in the Northern Nigeria and failure of governance.

For many, it was a departure from the past where leaders of traditional institutions in the region hardly speak publicly about leadership failure.

Sanusi was particularly concerned about the opulent lifestyle of political leaders in Northern Nigeria, despite the high poverty rate among the people of the region.

But his constant criticism of government often puts him at loggerheads with leading politicians within Northern Nigeria.

Although, the Kano government had said he was removed in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige of the Kano Emirate, many Nigerians did not believe the government.

Especially after the Kano government accused him of disrespect for institution and the governor’s office.

For a long time, due to poor relationship with the Ganduje administration, Sanusi did not attend state functions or meetings in Kano, which further complicated his relationship with the state government.

He was accused of selling property and mismanaging funds but he secured a court order stopping the probe.

The emir’s refusal to appear before a panel investigating him over allegations of corruption also did not go down well with the then government.

Consequently, to further weaken Sanusi’s powers, the Ganduje administration split the Kano Emirates into five and appointed four more emirs.

Announcement of the return

“With the full support of the kingmakers, I have approved the reappointment of Malam Sanusi Lamido,” Abba said during the announcement on Thursday.

With the governor’s proclamation, Emir Aminu Ado Bayero, who succeeded Sanusi, has been removed.

Governor Yusuf has also given the sacked emirs 48 hours to leave their palaces.

Addressing a media briefing after signing the bill into law, the governor directed the sacked monarchs to vacate official residences and palaces and handover to the Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs within two days.

Emir Ado Bayero was said to be currently out of town after he paid a courtesy call on Oba Sikiru Adetona, Awujale of Ijebuland, on Wednesday.

Congratulation greets return

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has extended his heartfelt congratulations to Sanusi on the occasion of his restoration to the esteemed position of the 14th Emir of Kano.

In a statement issued by Nelson Chukwudi, the chief press secretary to the governor, on Thursday, Fubara shared his elation over the news of the reinstatement of the ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The governor remarked that the timing of the announcement was remarkable, aligning with Sanusi’s visit to Rivers State, where he has been instrumental in supporting the state government’s initiatives aimed at economic reform.

Fubara observed that the decision by the Kano State Government to reinstate Sanusi underscores the sentiment that his removal from the throne on March 9, 2020, did not reflect the will of the Kano populace.

Describing the dethronement as a disservice to the multitudes who revered his leadership, Fubara applauded the Kano State Government for heeding the public’s call for rectification and encouraged the citizens to extend their unwavering support to the Sarki, ensuring his successful tenure.

“I wish the 14th Emir of Kano a successful and fruitful reign that will bring progress and prosperity to the people of the State,” the governor said.