The removal of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has not been greet with the expected level of dissenting reactions from Kano, northern Nigeria and the rest of Nigeria.
Traditional rulers in other parts of Nigeria have been ‘diplomatic’ in their approach to the matter. This is an indication that power largely rests with the executive arm of government, against popular belief that traditional rulers are more popular and closer to the people.
The March 9 dethronement through a unanimous vote of the Kano state executive council was followed by the removal of Sanusi from his palace and escorted under tight security to nearby Nassarawa state.
However, Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ibrahim Mukhtar said the state government was not responsible for Sanusi’s detention and banishment.
Aminu Ado Bayero, son of the previous emir who died in office in 2014 has been installed as the new Emir of Kano.
Unexpectedly, Sanusi accepted his dethronement as the will of God, calling on the people to be clam and support the new Emir. Perhaps this is one of the reasons there has not been protest or civil unrest in Kano, or the Monarchical system of government is no longer strong in Nigeria.
Media reports opined that Ganduje went for Sanusi’s jugular because the latter had accused him of corruption. In 2019, Ganduje reduced Sanusi’s domain of influence by appointing other Emirs at the same level with Sanusi.
Ganduje says insurbodination is Sanusi’s main offence and his removal is imperative to preserve the integrity of the office he occupied. In the past, he had accused Sanusi of supporting his political opponents.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari has cleared himself himself of complicity in the dethronement of Sanusi II.
He said he “has no involvement whatsoever in the dethronement of HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II from the position of Emir of Kano,” emphasising: “All such insinuations are untrue, malicious and politically motivated.”
This is contrary to insinuation by the allegation of the Former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who outrightly condemned the deposition.
Kwankwaso said it was unconstitutional and alleging that Buhari was aware of the decision to remove the former emir but remained silent.
In his words: “First of all, it was a very sad day in Kano, Nigeria and the world because His Highness Emir Sanusi is a global citizen. From what we’ve seen and from what we’ve heard, no responsible government will take that kind of decision taken by the Kano State government.
Sanusi trended on Tweeter as many Nigerians symphatised with him theorising that his ouster was a move by Ganduje because Sanusi alleged he was corrupt.
Sanusi is one of Nigeria’s best brains and a former governor of the central bank. He is famous and respected internationally and has a loud anti-corruption stance.
He has also been a whistleblower with respect to state corruption, embarrassing the government of President Goodluck Jonathan with a $20 billion fraud allegation.
Muhammadu Sanusi II 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 I
NIGERIAN MONARCHY WEAKENS FURTHER
In Nigeria, the federal and state governments have little relevance for many Nigerians, especially those living in the predominately Islamic north. Many of them turn to traditional rulers for justice and resolution of disputes.
These traditional rulers have little formal, legal recognition by the Nigerian state, and they in theory are subject to the authority of governors, who can remove them from office.
April 19, 1996, Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto was deposed during the regime of late General Sani Abacha.
Without going through the traditional Sokoto system of selection, Abacha named Maccido the new Sultan and he was installed on 21 April 1996 in the Sultan Bello Mosque.
In a similar trend in South-West Nigeria, Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi battled and the former governor elevated 21 chiefs as Kings to prove to the Olubadan that the governor runs the show. Ajimobi had gone ahead to promote them in defiance of both popular opinion and the wish of the Olubadan himself.
In November 2019, after mediation by the government of Seyi Makinde, the elevation of 21 Ibadan chiefs as kings by the former governor has been rescinded.
All these Games of Thrones point to one thing: The Kings Are No Longer in Charge in Nigeria and governors want them to know this.
Removal of Kings in Nigeria by governors is constitutional. The kings are mere figure heads.