By Salisu Abdullahi Rijiyar Lemo
When Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was appointed the Emir of Kano and he became Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II he promised to support social causes as he had always done throughout his adult life. He was fifty-three years old when he was appointed and he had reached the pinnacle of his professional career. He was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua. Sanusi is a fearless man with strong opinion and high moral integrity. Hence when he was responding to distinguished senators during his confirmation hearing on the floor of the Senate he said he would prefer three-point agenda rather than the seven-point agenda of President Yar’ Adua. However, the President supported Sanusi’s reform initiatives and he cleansed the banking sector and saved it from collapse. Sanusi became the most successful Central Bank Governor in the World thus contributing to the good image of Nigeria more than any other person in recent times. It is therefore not possible for him to change overnight and continuously praise every government policy.
Things changed for Sanusi the Central Bank Governor when President Goodluck Jonathan assumed the Presidency. Sanusi fought vested interests and supported the removal of fuel subsidy he was unpopular in the media for daring but the government was happy because it wanted to remove the subsidy. He then took on corrupt public servants including the most powerful minister in the cabinet of President Jonathan. He exposed their corrupt deeds at the NNPC and their failure to remit $20 billion. This was a bombshell. It was one of the major factors that led to the collapse of that Government. He refused to compromise and President Jonathan suspended him. By Allah’s Grace he became the Emir. His criticism of the corruption in the PDP government made the international community to reach the conclusion that President Jonathan was unfit. He gave the most powerful interview against the regime in a program anchored by Christine Amanpour the world class journalist of the CNN. It nailed the coffin of the PDP and the opposition APC cashed on it. President Buhari won the election and it was a relief for Sanusi who was under siege during the regime of President Jonathan.
President Buhari’s regime faced major challenges especially dwindling oil revenue. Emir Sanusi offered professional advices on the way forward in relation to foreign exchange management and other macro-economic policies. As one of the most learned economists in the world he is a great asset. He was invited by the National Planning Commission to address a government retreat on economic policy. Journalists were allowed contrary to normal convention and he was deliberately misrepresented in the media. This infuriated some of the government officials who believe they love the regime more than the Emir. He was alienated from the Presidency with insinuations by a faction of the government. They waited on the wings to strike at appropriate time. They used one of their thwarts to abuse the Emir in his domain.
Governor Nasir El- Rufai invited Emir Sanusi to address Kaduna State Economic Summit. The Emir criticized Kano State Government for its intention to borrow from China and build a light rail in Kano. He had earlier criticized Zamfara State Governor for claiming that the deadly CSM disease was caused by the sins of Zamfara people. Immediately the opponents of the Emir sprang into action claiming that the Emir had misappropriated the funds of the Emirate Council. An online newspaper spearheaded the campaign against him and even warned him that what befell his grandfather will befall him. The newspaper went ahead and spread false allegations against the Emir to tarnish his image and pave the way for his probe and eventual deposition. Thereafter some hoodlums were hired and they spoke ill against the Emir in local radio stations.
The Kano Emirate Council had to respond to the allegations against the Emir. This was because of the attempt to use the court of public opinion to condemn him through propaganda and concocted allegations. The propagandist attempted to portray Emir Sanusi as profligate and his predecessor as prudent and frugal. The propaganda however failed because it is a free world. The malicious journalist who is a sadist wrote in the online newspaper that Emir Sanusi squandered all the N4 billion that he inherited from his grand uncle and predecessor. When in the actual fact, he inherited only N1,893,378,927.38. Also, contrary to the claim of the malicious journalist it was not Emir Sanusi who ordered the withdrawal of N981,784,503.79 but the late Emir Alhaji Ado Bayero on February 7, 2014 from the cash deposit of the Emirate totaling N2,875,163,431.17 but there was no time that Emirate had N4 billion in its accounts.
The Emirate Council gave full account of the transactions since the inception of Emir Sanusi II. The Council paid Dabo Gate N152,627,723 for furniture because all the furniture had been taken by the family of the late Emir. Similarly, the family of the late Emir were also paid the sum of N108 million for the cars he left behind. The malicious journalist also claimed that the two Rolls Royce given to the Emir by his friends were purchased by the Emirate. This is a great lie. Kano State Government had authorized the Emirate Council to purchase two bullet proof vehicles vide SSG’s letter reference SSG/S/D/A/36/TI/109 of September 17, 2014. The amount N154,873,000:00 quoted by the journalist as the cost of the two Rolls Royce was in fact the cost of the vehicles purchased to replace those destroyed by Boko Haram. There was also spinning on the issue of the Emir’s travels costs. The Emir had travelled over 50 times outside the country and throughout this period his entourage only received $50,000:00 which was the amount expended per trip by the previous Emir may Allah bless his soul.
After this press conference by Walin Kano who is the Councillor Finance of the Emirate those who are against the Emir were infuriated that Emirate responded and that they should have allowed the Emir to rubbished. Meanwhile many well-wishers of Kano were making attempts to mend all the misunderstandings between the Emir and the Kano State Government. Several meetings were held and eventually the Governor and the Emir met and seemed to have mended their fences. However, some interested parties were not happy. The Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission commenced investigations of the Emirate claiming it was based on public complaints and petitions. The Chairman of the Commission interviewed Wain Kano and so far, nothing spectacular has been uncovered.
The investigations were believed to be triggered by interested parties based in Kano and Abuja. In Kano, there are those who want the seat of the Emir. They mobilized government officials in Kano to convince the Governor that the Emir is actually a threat and that they would be more loyal. There are also politicians in Kano who believe the Emir is jeopardizing the chances of their principal the Governor to win a second term. This is because any criticism by the Emir, a global personality should not be treated lightly and they are rushing to demonstrate to their principal that they are the most loyal party men. A cabinet member even claimed that the Governor ordered the non-payment of someone who did consultancy for the Government because of his alleged link with the Emir.
The Abuja opponents of the Emir are very powerful. They use every apparatus at their disposal. They consistently bother the Governor that the Emir is against President Muhammadu Buhari and therefore he must be removed. Those who want the seat of the Emir have reached out to the Abuja big men who also pressurize the Governor. Apparently, the allegations of financial impropriety would be hard to prove as the Emir is very intelligent to get himself involved in any such act. Therefore, they are targeting the State House of Assembly where it is hoped the Honorable Members would be hoodwinked with the bogus allegation that the Emir wants to destroy the APC Federal Government. Observers are watching to see where the pendulum will swing to. Will the State House of Assembly succumb to pressure that will destroy the peace in Kano to satisfy vested interests? Any attempt to depose the Emir will be resisted by his supporters and will ultimately be used by the political opponents of the Governor. Kano cannot afford any breach of peace and it is expected that the Governor as an elder statesman will listen to advice of wise men and work harmoniously with the Emir who enjoys a lot of goodwill in and outside state.
The Kano elite are yet to come to terms of the Emirate of Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II, a great personality. Who is determined to change the way people think of traditional leaders as mere entertainers and not opinion moulders and social changers.
– Lemo wrote in from Kano