Officials move to make Sanusi’s exile less painful


El-Rufai appoints former emir to Kaduna investment board
• Senior advocate issues 24-hour ultimatum for client’s release
• Abolish monarchies now, says top Islamic cleric Gumi
• Presidency sends conflicting signals over Kano gov’s action

Hundreds of miles away from the prying eyes and punitive hands of the Kano State government, some political bigwigs in the country may have rallied around deposed Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi with a view to giving him a less painful exile.

The deposition script handed down by the Kano government would have had Sanusi spend the rest of his days in Loko community, a border town between Nasarawa and Benue States.

With its harsh weather, bad roads, lack of electricity and susceptibility to attacks by armed criminals, however, Loko appeared the perfect setting for a vindictive plot against Sanusi.

Barely 12 hours after he arrived in Loko, a police helicopter at about 1:45 p.m. yesterday flew the former emir to Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, amid tight security.

The Guardian learned that the powerbrokers were disappointed at the way the Kano State government had treated the ruler and had vowed to make life more comfortable for him.

The emir of Loko, Alhaji Abubakar Sabo, had earlier disclosed that upon departure from the town, Sanusi would touch down at another community in Awe Local Government Council where he would be expected to live out his banishment. Sanusi arrived there at about 6:00 p.m.

This came as the Kaduna State government disclosed that it has appointed Sanusi to the board of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA).

“The appointment is part of the reconstitution of the board of KADIPA, which is statutorily chaired by the deputy governor and has as internal members and other senior officials of the Kaduna State government.

“Kaduna State hopes to benefit from the profile, experience, intellect, and networks of His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi, who before becoming emir, had built a solid reputation in global financial circles.

“Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that Kaduna State is honoured to be able to call on the services of a man of such calibre to drive its development,” said a statement by Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser on Media and Communication.

Reacting to the ordeal of his client yesterday, Sanusi’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), asking them to release the deposed emir or face litigation. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said a letter to that effect had already been forwarded to the concerned.

Sanusi, meanwhile, has described his dethronement as an act of God.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, whose grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I, was equally deposed in 1963, said he was glad to have followed in the footsteps of his forebear.

In a short video clip, which emerged on social media early Tuesday, Sanusi said he vacated the throne a fulfilled and happy man, urging Kano residents to remain calm and accept the development in good faith.

He said: “Everything that has a beginning has an end. The throne of an emir is not permanent. Every king and leader should know this. If it were a permanent throne, I wouldn’t have been the emir of Kano.

“Before I came, someone was the emir. And before him, someone else was there. Therefore, it’s nothing that should shock anybody. The people of Kano should accept any person who succeeds me so that he can end well.

“God does not make a mistake. Whatever he gives is the best. Today, don’t be disturbed. Whatever thing God has started, it is the end we hope for. And may God help this to end well.

“We thank the entire Muslims who have been supporting us year by year and the entire people of Kano. May God give us a good leader and give our land back to us.”

Flanked by a mammoth crowd, the new Emir of Kano Aminu Ado Bayero yesterday performed his first public task with a visit to the tomb of his ancestors at Gidan Nasarawa in the Kano metropolis.

Although he is yet to officially receive the traditional staff of authority, the rites leading to the ceremony are expected to begin today.

The emir offered prayers at the tomb. Thereafter, he visited his mother’s residence at the Gandu Albasa quarters where he sought her blessings.

Accompanied by a retinue of kingmakers, district heads and traditional titleholders, his long convoy moved through the streets amid heavy security.

Ado Bayero has since returned to his private residence at the Nasarawa quarters where he has continued to receive homage from well-wishers.

But the Kano royal crisis has continued to generate reactions.

The Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations described the dethronement as reckless and dangerous.

In a statement, the convener of the group, Murtala Abubakar, warned that the action could have socio-economic and security implications for Kano State and the region.

“The crisis that lingered between the governor and the emir, which culminated in Emir Muhammadu Sanusi’s dethronement, could have been resolved long ago if northern Nigeria had a committed leadership that lives above board and carries the interests of the region far and above other considerations.

“As a youth organization, our group will hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible in the event of any breakdown of law and order as a result of the reckless action of Ganduje.

“The president’s body language when Governor Ganduje visited him alongside the Emir of Bichi, a few days ago, and earlier statements credited to the president, explaining why he did not intervene in the crisis, clearly demonstrate to every discerning mind how Buhari gave Ganduje the green light to move against the emir,” the statement reads.

Also, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it had earlier intervened in the feud between the Kano State government and the Kano Emirate Council and called for an amicable resolution of the crisis.

In a reaction, Secretary-General Muhammad Ibrahim Biu said: “With the turn of events, the ACF calls for calm and understanding especially among the good people of Kano State.”

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) faulted the action by the Kano State government.

Its Executive Director Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani in a statement described the decision as an infringement on Sanusi’s fundamental rights as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35, 36, 40 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.

He argued that Sanusi should have been allowed to move freely throughout Nigeria and reside in any part as enshrined in the constitution.

“We vehemently and categorically uphold our position on citizens’ right to freedom of expression and movement as guaranteed under Section 39 and 41 of the Constitution. There is no justification for the humiliation, inhumane and degrading treatments imposed on Sanusi upon his banishment.

“We are amused at the open display of rascality and disproportionate deployment of some government mercenaries including police force and other security institutions to amplify tussles, public harassment, extrajudicial implementation of imposition of restriction of movement and personal liberty of the dethroned monarch without iota of respect for the rule of law and various constitutional provisions.”

Rafsanjani added: “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sincerely and constructively intervene by upholding the constitutional provisions, to ensure that the rule of laws is adhered to and the dethroned Sanusi enjoys all his rights and freedom of movement, as clear demonstration of leadership, respect for civility, democratic core values and the constitution.”

But Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, took a swipe against monarchies, calling for their abolition.

In a post on one of his social media accounts, Gumi said the time had come “to restructure the nation on a viable and clean foundation for generations to come.”

According to him, “The system has outlived its usefulness and relevance. It has reached a point of diminishing returns. It has no place in modern times except in the annals of history books. It has become contradictory and retrogressive in a dynamic changing world of speed and space.”

Titled, ‘Let Us Face It: Enough Of This Feudal Society’, Gumi said: “The Sokoto Jihad was primarily aimed at religious and social reforms that should tally with the pristine Islamic agitation for justice, equality, and mercy. Islam abhors the bowing down of people to mortals except to Allah alone. One cannot claim to be a custodian of Islam and its culture and perpetuate the subservience of man towards a fellow human.

“This negative trend is unfortunately what the present-day monarchy only represents. You can be as mean as anything, yet Allah The al-Mighty will give you respite but don’t hide behind the cloak of religion to spread mischief. Your exposure will be quick.

“That is the reason Allah has now systematically reduced the monarchy to trash. The best way out is to abolish it completely. Let the ‘royal’ blood prove itself like any other citizen without any privileges (moreover not even accorded by Allah) and be law-abiding citizens.”

In another development, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday refused to corroborate or fault the viewpoint of Special Assistant to the President on New Media Tolu Ogunlesi on the deposition of Sanusi.

Ogunlesi had been quoted as saying: “A sitting governor can dethrone anybody; they have the power. That is the way the system is set up. Nobody is above being dethroned. Governors formally appoint them, present them the staff of office and fund their offices.”

Asked what he made of Ogunlesi’s words, Adesina simply replied: “No comments.”

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