The battle between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has been raging for some time.
The establishment of four additional emirates in Kano State has no doubt, amplified the lingering fracas between the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
But, for those who know, the power tussle between the two prominent sons of Kano emanated from the emir’s alleged support and sympathy to the Kwankwassiyya Movement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 general elections.
Understandably, Emir Sanusi was said to have shown support to the Kwankwassiyya Group led by the immediate-past governor, Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso who actually installed him as the Emir of Kano, following the demise of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero who reigned for over 50 years.
Despite the staunch opposition to the candidacy of Emir Sanusi by loyalists of Emir Ado Bayero, who preferred his son, Aminu Ado Bayero (now Emir of Bichi) to succeed him, Kwankwaso, using his executive powers, “gave” the throne to Emir Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), whose grandfather, Emir Muhammad Sanusi I, was dethroned and sent to exile some decades ago.
It is believed that Emir Sanusi, who was well-celebrated as CBN governor, tied his life-time ambition to becoming the Emir of Kano, so as to save the embarrassment caused his lineage over the way and manner his grandfather was shown the way out of the throne.
In fact, when some of his associates were preparing the ground for him to vie for the office of the President of Nigeria, owing to his rich credentials, education, experience, and outspokenness, Emir Sanusi was said to have turned down the offer, insisting that his lifetime ambition was to become the Emir of Kano, even if it is for one day.
The opportunity then came when was to replace the late Emir Ado Bayero as he lobbied his close associate, Kwankwaso who was then the governor, to use his good office to ensure that his ambition was actualised.
Kwankwaso did not disappoint him as the deal was done and sealed in favour of the former CBN governor. In fact, the crisis generated by the installation of Emir Sanusi forced him to take refuge at Nasser House, Kano Government House for close to one month, as angry mob besieged the emir’s palace protesting against his installation.
The majority of then had expressed support and sympathy to Bayero’s son, Aminu, who incidentally, has been installed as Emir of Bichi by Governor Ganduje.
However, the political war between Ganduje and Kwankwaso dragged Emir Sanusi into the imbroglio that is today threatening to consume the throne he revered so much.
During the 2019 governorship election in Kano, it was said that Emir Sanusi tacitly showed support to Kwankwaso’s political godson and the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abba Kabir Yusuf.
A top government official who pleaded anonymity told our reporter that Ganduje is in possession of empirical evidence that indicated that Emir Sanusi worked against his victory at the 2019 gubernatorial polls, apart from the allegations that he was one of the major financiers of the Kwankwassiyya Movement.
This and several other scenarios angered Ganduje who at a point decided to dethrone Emir Sanusi, but for the interventions of some powerful personalities, including Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote who happens to be a son of the soil.
For many, Ganduje brought the idea of splitting the Kano emirates into five to actually whittle down the influence of Emir Sanusi, but the governor has consistently denied this, saying that the creation of Bichi, Gaya, Rano and Karaye emirates were the wish of the people and also to take development to the hinterlands.
In May this year, Ganduje created the four emirates and gave the emirs first-class status, just like Emir Sanusi. The action was said to have rattled Emir Sanusi and his supporters who went to court, challenging the process followed in the creation of the new emirates.
Late last month, a Kano High Court delivered judgment in favour of Emir Sanusi and faulted the process followed in the creation of the new emirates.
Many had believed that Ganduje and Kano State Government would appeal the judgment, but instead, the state executive council re-activated the process of re-establishing the four emirates quashed by the court.
Early last week, Kano State executive council approved Emirate Council Bill 2019, which provides for the establishment of additional emirates.
To this end, the council endorsed the establishment of the four new emirates, namely Rano, Gaya, Bichi and Karaye and forwarded the same to the state assembly for necessary action. In turn, the Kano State House of Assembly approved the 2019 Emirate council Bill.
Its Speaker, Alhaji Abdulaziz Garba Gafasa announced the approval during a plenary held in Kano on Thursday, last week. The bill scaled through first, second and third readings, before it was finally adopted by members of the assembly.
After the successful passage of the Executive Bill sent to the Kano State House of Assembly for the creation of four more emirates, Governor Ganduje signed the Bill into law last Thursday, at Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano. An action that now paved the way for having five emirates in the state.
Ganduje, after signing the bill into law, stated that the law provides that there will be individual emirate council in all the now five emirates. Membership of the councils is drawn from the emir, who heads the council of his own domain, Imam from the emirate, a representative of the business community, and other identified groups of people from there.
The governor said there is going to be a central Council of Emirs that will consist of all the five emirs, as well as representatives of other identified groups. The new system is more of injecting some semblance of people participating in their socio-economic development through the traditional institutions.
He said while the Chairman of the Central Council of Emirs will be appointed by the governor, who will chair the council for two years, it is again the prerogative of the governor to make sure that the chairmanship goes round all the five emirates.
Sanctions are also attached for any erring emir or any traditional ruler. If an emir refuses to attend Council of Emirs meetings three times without any concrete and convincing reason, such an emir’s turban would be removed, but with the consultation of other emirs, by the governor.
Another action that attracts sanction from the provision of the new law is that, if an emir disrespects the norms and values of his people, where such an emir’s action goes against the culture and tradition of his people, he would face the music.
Ganduje warned: “Any emir or any traditional ruler who goes against the provision of this law, such a person will definitely face the music.
He will surely be punished without any wasting of time.” He, therefore, called on all those district heads that refuse to pay homage to their emirs to dress up, warning that “If you refuse to pay homage because you then prepare for being dethroned.”
He added: “There was similar demand during the reign of the late former governor of the old Kano State, Muhammad Abubakar Rimi. But, at that time the process for the creation of the then-new emirates didn’t comply with the provision of the constitution.
That made it easy for the succeeding administration to stop that action. But, with the strict following of the due process, which stems from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the new law of the emirates is strong that it has come to stay.”
He affirmed that the newly created emirate councils have come to stay because the process that led to their creation was based on due process.
He recalled how the first law was squashed by the law court, a few days back, that created the four emirate councils, as being faulty, as ruled by the court.
He explained: “In the first place (referring to the nullified law recently) the process was faulty and we agreed with the nullification.
“But, now the State Assembly followed all the procedures and we now have the Law in place.”
The impasse between Emir Sanusi and Ganduje also manifested in October when Emir Sanusi ordered the sack of Maja Siddin Sarkin Kano, Alhaji Auwalu for participating in the grand reception in honour of Ganduje.
The Maja Sidden Sarkin Kano who is in charge of decorating the emir’s horse was also asked to vacate his residence of over 30 years, simply because he raised the portrait of the late Emir of Kano, Sarkin Ado Abdullahi Bayero in celebration with Ganduje as the governor’s long convoy passed through the emir’s palace from Kano airport towards Government House.
However, in a press statement by Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Alhaji Abba Dabo, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Alhaji Bashir Yusif Ibrahim, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Bala Mohammed, Malam Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, Dr. Dalhatu Sani Yola, Lawan Audi and Prof. Farouk Sarkin Fada under the auspices of Advocates for United Kano, the group insisted that citizens of Kano State are against attempts at destroying their 1000-year-old heritage.
The statement reads: “We hereby express deep concern about the persistence of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the destruction of the Kano Emirate, a product of the efforts of our forefathers which has survived for centuries championing purposeful administration and scholarship in Kano State and beyond.
It is without a doubt that the Kano Emirate has, for centuries, been a formidable force in shaping the character and economic outlook of the Kano society in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
Unfortunately, however, the actions of Governor Ganduje which, to a greater extent, border on personal margins are unequivocally bent on destroying that legacy.
“We hereby call on the governor to, in the interest of unity, peace, and progress of Kano State, immediately cause the repeal of the obnoxious law creating the new emirates.
Our resolve in this regard was informed by careful consideration of the fact that the personal ambitions of the governor should not be allowed to jeopardize the overall common good and the harmonious relationship existing among the Kano populace.
“If, however, in the wisdom of the governor, that the new emirates are necessary in order to fast track development, then the Law must be subjected entirely to the processes of the popular will.
This is a matter of strategic public significance that should be subjected to a referendum in line with established democratic ideals. The voice of people of Kano State must be heard and respected, too.”
However, another group known as the Committee for the Restoration of Gaya, Karaye, and the Rano Emirates, took a swipe at those antagonizing the creation of four additional emirates in Kano.
The group said the three upgraded emirates were forcefully annexed to Kano emirate by the colonial force. The group’s spokesman, Haruna Dederi said the creation of the emirates is the making of history and the restoration of what was deprived of them several years ago.
Deidre who is now representing Karaye/Rogo Federal Consistency at the House of Representatives said the three emirates of Karaye, Rano, and Gaya were forcefully coerced into Kano Emirate.
He also commended Governor Ganduje for creating the Bichi Emirate where he described as, “breeding ground for Kano Emirs,” adding that with rich cultural and economic potentials, Bichi has all it takes to stand as an emirate.
Deidre, a former Commissioner of Information, said the committee has been agitating for the creation of these new Emirates for over 10 years ago.
He said: “The agitation for the restoration of Gaya, Karaye and Rano Emirates was originally started by a Committee of Concerned Indigenes of these emirates about ten years ago. For logistic and operational reasons, the efforts by that Committee slowed down.
“For about two years now, in its revival efforts, this committee under the patriotic and able leadership of Alhaji Jazuli Muhammad Gaya reignited the agitation.
“The restoration of the three Emirates is not by any means meant to despise Kano Emirate or any personality as perceived by some narrow-minded elements.
Our bond of brotherhood will continue to exist between the people of these emirates and those of Kano Emirate.”