To many, Sanusi was dethroned more than once, the first time was when Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje created four other emirates within the same state. The second, when he deposed then banished to Nasarawa state.
Though the banishment was later overturned by a Federal High Court in Abuja and remains dethroned, many believe he is not a man without complexities, and Ganduje is perhaps his nemesis. Some of his sins include looking away when a 13-year-old childbride, Ese Oruru was abducted to his palace, for ratting on his boss a former president.
According to a Pulse article, to enforce his dethronement, Sanusi had police and security operatives storming his residence and marching him to a waiting car and aircraft like a common thief. All in a day’s job.
I have always liked him, he seems relatable, though high strung, and I always wondered how he coped with the weight of all the cumbersome regalia, silk scarves, damasks and the other ornamental articles of clothing his role as a king demanded he wears.
Muhammadu Sanusi II (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; born 31 July 1961) was the 14th Emir of Kano from the Fulani Sullubawa clan. He ascended the throne in 2014, following the death of his great uncle Ado Bayero. On 9 March 2020, he was deposed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
My introduction to man Sanusi was during his time as head of the CBN and the televised town hall meetings him, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and their boss the then-president Goodluck Jonathan organized. They were trying, albeit unsuccessfully convince us of the accruable benefits of subsidy removal, to expose subsidy fraud.
No stranger to conspiracy, He served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014 when he was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan after raising the alarm on the US$20 billion NNPC scandal. He remains a brilliant man and someone not afraid to stand by his convictions however unpopular.
Sanusi grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi 1 was also deposed in circumstances similar to his, The power tussle between him and his distant cousin Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto is believed to have resulted in his dethronement and confinement in Azare 1963.
When the news of his dethronement broke, a former aid of Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri took to twitter to mock him ‘He tweeted: “Last year, I said everyone who falsely accused @GEJonathan, would pay for it. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a liar and a manipulative individual, who deliberately lied against GEJ to facilitate the election of General @MBuhari. He has his Buhari. Is he happy?”
One day I stumbled on his Instagram page( well the page was that was later said to be fake, but how the impostor got hold of at his private family pictures is baffling still) and I thought to myself this was no emir! This is a man who probably watches romcom and chick flicks at home with family. I assume he is heart is in the right place and puts his family first.
We all imagine emirs to be the poster children of stoicism, seriousness, those people that look through people, not at them. But not him, he appeared to be more interested in being a great dad and a loyal friend. In 2014 when he became the emir of Kano. Kano is one of the most prosperous cities in Nigeria. And he replaced his bow ties with ornate robes, his best friends now bowing at feet. But he didn’t put himself into the role of a leader who enabled the poor north to remain poor by using silence to support backward practices. He imagined he was still, perhaps a bank CEO charged with the responsibility of leading his people to grow.
In a March 2018 article by the Washington Post. He is quoted saying ‘People have this idea of what an emir should be — He is elderly, he is quiet, he is detached. ‘
As I read more and more about him, I had to stop my sentimental musing. This man wasn’t a softie, he wanted to be Emir! Sanusi was selected to succeed his granduncle, Ado Bayero, as the Emir of Kano on 8 June 2014. His appointment was controversial, with some believing that it was a politically motivated move to avoid fraud charges from his tenure at the central bank. Many expected Bayero’s son to succeed him as Emir and protested Sanusi’s appointment.
But he also didn’t want to let go of his ‘informed’ beliefs and for as long as we remember has is a recurring figure in “embarrassing the North” as a sharp-shooting, cerebral social commentator, more previously, monarch.
In Nigeria, monarchs are not exactly influential, they rarely maintain any opinions and as the Sanusi was intended to serve as an unheard and rarely seen advisor, like the other hundreds of other “monarchs” playing the same role in the regions and all over the country.
Consequently, when Sanusi was selected to succeed his granduncle, Ado Bayero, as the Emir of Kano on 8 June 2014. His appointment was controversial, with some believing it was a politically-motivated move to avoid fraud charges from his tenure at the central bank. Many expected Bayero’s son to invariably succeed him as Emir and protested Sanusi’s appointment.
And he didn’t do much to endear his people to him when he said ‘ “The north-west and the north-east, demographically, consist of the bulk of Nigeria’s population, but look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita… The north-east and north-west Nigeria are among the poorest parts of the world.”
The Emir is a deity, nowhere in cultural history is a deity associated with highlighting the economic problems in society and criticising the government. His attempt to typically combine extensive knowledge and audacity didn’t go down considerably with the northern elites and many correctly predicted his eventual taming by the conservative establishment in his region.
The First Dethronement
In May 2019 the Governor issued appointment letters to 4 newly appointed Emirs all within Kano State and they all had signed and accepted their appointment by 1 pm. They were to be emirs of Bichi, Karaye, Rano and Gaya. This appointment was issued hours before the court pronouncements were made at 5 pm on the 10th of May. Many observers reasonably believe the creation of four other emirates had political undertones and was done to whittle down the powers of Sanusi.
This is my opinion was the 1st dethronement, done to humiliate and send a message that an emir possesses no constitutional powers and can be deposed.
In December of the same year, the Kano State House of Assembly has approved an executive bill pursuing to separate the state into five emirates through the creation of four new emirates after the courts nullified the previous appointments.
Sanusi should have walked away at this point, that had been oddly mangled political interests and pettiness. Afterall he was no longer a deity, there is nothing spiritual or powerful about a power that can be taken without consequence.
The leader of the house, Labaran Abdul-Madari, said the creation of the emirates was aimed at spreading development across the state. He said the lawmakers’ decision was in the public interest.
Sanusi didn’t throw in the towel, because in Nigeria we don’t resign even in the face of humiliation and embarrassment, we wait it out, we pray, we think of all the ways we could overcome this, what if we walk away and thing got better. ‘
We are not quitters I don’t suggest this in the same context the rest of the world view quitting. I express it in a way that means we adapt to the severest treatment and are indifferent to tyranny and oppression. Any other reaction is deemed immature.
The Second Dethronement and Banishment
This Is by far the most distressing of the two dethronements and should never have happened if he had responded appropriately. He must have underestimated the desperation to get him out of the palace by a government that appears to have to something to conceal.
Sanusi got on the governor’s nerves with his opinions on how the north should be, he challenged age-long servant-master kind of relationship between the rich and poor. The same practices the political class have done nothing about because these practices keep the people enslaved.
After he openly endorsed a candidate of the PDP, a rival party, the battle line was drawn between him and the governor.
On March 9th 2020, Sanusi was dethroned by Ganduje.
Among the reasons stated were alleged insubordination, refusal to attend official meetings and breach of Kano Emirate Law, The PUNCH reports.
His dethronement, however, was an education for the rest of the country, though the northern establishment sought to belittle him by constituting five emirates in one state, what mostly succeeded in doing was highlighting the irrelevance of the monarchy, not only in the north but all over Nigeria.
A statement by the state government reads. The removal was reached to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion, and prestige of the Kano Emirate built over a thousand years.”
After his dethronement was announced He was promptly banished to the hills of Awe, a remote location in Nassarawa State.
An Emir is expected to be a custodian of the time-honoured traditions, even the ones that held your people back, not a radical change agent. He is aware of his limits and the superiority of the government that funds his palace and gave him his staff of office. And is self-aware enough to identify the boundaries that exist. Examples abound, The other day, we saw Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State publicly dress down or insult a traditional ruler, In 1998, then the military administrator of Edo State, Navy Captain Anthony Ibe Onyearugbulem messed with the Oba of Benin when he removed the monarch as Chairman of the Edo State traditional council and heaven did not fall. Well, it may have, Onyearugbulem was found dead in a Kano hotel in 2002 under mysterious circumstances.
If I were a monarch in Nigeria, I would be worried. Ganduje exercised his power with a ruthlessness that somehow didn't hit only his mark, he shook us all, the amount of power he wielded.
If I were Sanusi, I wouldn't be humiliated, as the world expects of him. I would rather know that this whole debacle is a sign, that I did something right, rattled a man's ego so much, he had to show us what Nigeria has become.