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    Thursday, May 23, 2024

    Sanusi Reinstated as Emir of Kano as Gov Yusuf Signs Bill into Law

    Four years after Muhammadu Sanusi II was deposed as the Emir of Kano, Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State has reinstated him to the throne.

    “With the full support of the kingmakers, I have approved the reappointment of Malam Sanusi Lamido,” the governor said to cheers at the Art Chamber of the Kano State Government House around 5:16 pm on Thursday.

    Emir Sanusi II, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was known as Lamido Sanusi before becoming king.

    Governor Yusuf reinstated him right after signing the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Bill 2024 into law.

    The new law replaces the Kano State Emirates Council Law, 2019, and dissolves the emirate councils created by Governor Yusuf’s predecessor Abdullahi Ganduje.

    It was that law that Ganduje used to split the Kano Emirate into five in December 2019 and deposed the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II on March 9, 2020. The emirates created by the Ganduje administration were Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya, in addition to Kano.

    The decision generated controversy back then, and in reversing it, Governor Yusuf said it was the reversal of a law “that balkanised the over 1,000-year-old Kano Emirate”.

    Based on the new law, the governor gave the emirs that held sway at the dissolved emirates 48 hours to vacate their palaces.

    “From the very moment I signed the bill into law it means that all appointments made in accordance with that 2019 law are voided and the balkanised Kano Emirate has been restored to its original pre-2019 status,” he said.

    “The repeal of the 2019 law means that there is no emir in Kano as of now except the reinstated emir.”

    The Deputy Governor of Kano State, Aminu Abdussalam, and the Speaker of the Assembly, Jibril Falgore, were present for the signing of the bill into law and for the announcement.

    Before signing the bill, the governor and both men met with traditional rulers and kingmakers behind closed doors.

    Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II began his reign on June 8, 2014, when Rabiu Kwankwaso was Governor of Kano State. He was appointed Emir less than four months after his removal as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by Goodluck Jonathan, the President at the time.

    He had fallen out with Jonathan after accusing his administration of corruption five years into his tenure as Central Bank Governor.

    A similar scenario would play out in his reign in Kano under the administration of Ganduje with things under control until three years into his reign.

    A falling out

    In 2017, Governor Ganduje and Sanusi II reportedly disagreed with the latter’s critical comments about the state government’s handling of the state’s finances. Sanusi had accused the government of mismanagement and corruption, particularly about the state’s debts.

    The disagreement between the two escalated in 2019, and the Kano State government created four additional emirates, reducing the powers of the emir.

    Sanusi challenged the creation of the emirates in court, arguing that it was politically motivated and designed to weaken his position as emir. However, in March 2020, a Kano State High Court ruled that the emirate councils were legally created.

    Shortly after, in March of that year, Sanusi was removed from his position as Emir of Kano by the Kano State government, citing insubordination and disrespect to the governor and other officials. He was also accused of corruption and investigated. Sanusi denied the allegations and challenged his removal in court, but his efforts were unsuccessful.

    He was replaced as Emir with Aminu Ado Bayero, the son of his predecessor Emir Ado Bayero, who reigned as Emir of Kano from 1963 to 2014.

    Many people believed Sanusi’s removal was political and sympathised with him viewing him as a victim and Governor Ganduje as the villain.

    The failure of Ganduje’s All Progressive Congress to win the 2023 governorship election was believed by many to have been significantly influenced by this sentiment. Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), which former governor Rabiu Kwankwaso powered, emerged victorious, benefiting from protest votes against Ganduje’s policies. The policies include the creation of new emirate councils.

    The 14th Emir of Kano is believed to have supported the NNPP in the election due to some of his actions during the race. One such action was his appearance in a white and red outfit when he visited his mother just before the election. Red and white were the colours of Kwankwaso’s Kwankwasiyya movement, and members of the NNPP’s campaign were known for wearing those colours.

    There were reports that he also financially supported the campaign of Governor Abba Kabir Yusu. Even though he was out of the country when the election was held, some believe he was in Makka praying for the victory of Yusuf.

    Since Governor Yusuf’s inauguration, especially based on his promise to undo several of Ganduje’s policies, there have been speculations and expectations that he would also undo the creation of the new emirate councils and return Sanusi to the throne.

    Early in the life of Governor Yusuf’s administration, the social media space was filled with slogans such as “Sabon Gwamna, Sabon Sarki” meaning, “new Governor, new Emir”.

    This expectation was fuelled significantly by the fact that Sanusi was enthroned as Emir by former governor Kwankwaso’s administration, and with his bloc back in power, those pinning for the 14th Emir’s return had reasons to hope.

    Kwankwaso VS Ganduje

    Kwankwaso further fuelled that hope. In an interview after Yusuf’s victory, Kwankwaso, the leader of the NNPP and presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 election, Yusuf’s administration will review the dethronement of the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

    “We tried not to intervene in the issue of bringing or removing any Emir. But, now, an opportunity has come. Those given this opportunity will sit down and see to the issues. They will look at what they are expected to do. Besides the Emir, even the emirate has been divided into five places. All these need to be studied,” Kwankwaso stated.

    He also said that as elders, they would continue to advise the incoming government to do the right thing.

    At the time, Ganduje insisted that the new emirates created by his administration would continue to exist.

    “The four new emirates are a symbol of unity, progress, and the well-being of the people. They were created to honor the people of these regions and recover the reputation of the traditional institutions,” Ganduje said on May 1, 2023, during the Workers’ Day celebrations held at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.

    The bill passed by the Kano House of Assembly paved the way for Kwankwaso, historians in favour of a single emirate in the state, supporters of Sanusi, and the man himself to have their way.

    History Repeats itself

    The last time a similar scenario played out in Kano was in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    During the administration of Governor Abubakar Rimi, there was an attempt to create five emirates in Kano State by splitting the Kano Emirate into five.

    This move was met with opposition by some members of the royal family and other traditional rulers, who saw it as an attempt to weaken the influence of the Kano Emirate.

    However, Governor Rimi went ahead with the plan and created the new emirates of Gaya, Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Kano.

    The Kano Emirate was reduced in size and given a more ceremonial role, while the new emirates were granted more administrative and political powers.

    The Emir of Kano at the time was, however, not deposed. Rather, he was suspended in 1981. The move led to riots in Kano and Rimi never recovered politically and resigned in 1983 after falling out with Aminu Kano..

    When Governor Sabo Bakin Zuwo took over in 1983, he reversed the decision and restored the Kano Emirate to its original size and status, with the other emirates abolished.

    His decision was seen as an attempt to restore the traditional balance of power and to address the concerns of those who opposed the creation of the new emirates.

    Ganduje’s move more than 35 years later has met the same fate. Like Rimi’s decision, it was met with controversy and legal challenges.

    A historian at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nadir Nasidi, is among the experts who opposed the creation of the new emirates this time around.

    “Kano is the only emirate in the country with one unifying king. The creation of unnecessary kings isn’t a palatable one. Many people including myself told the Ganduje administration that what he was doing wasn’t a good one,” he said in an interview.

    While he wasn’t sure about the possibility of bringing Sanusi back, he was adamant that the new emirates had to go.

    “The other emirates must be reduced to local chiefs under the overall emir of Kano. They can choose amongst all the kings one person to be the overall king,” he said.

    On Thursday the likes of Professor Nasidi had their wishes met. The supporters of the 14th Emir and the man himself have also been given reason to cheer with history repeating itself.

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