The appointment of Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano last weekend was a fulfillment of the former CBN governor’s long-standing craving for that symbol of traditional power. It is at once a personal victory as well as a sweet ‘revenge’ against the forces that battled and ultimately banished his late grandfather, Alhaji Muahmmadu Sanusi, the Emir of Kano from 1953-1963, into exile in Azare.
Muahmmadu Sanusi’s 10-year tenure as emir was tempestuous, highlighted mainly by his power tussles with the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello. It was a war waged on many fronts: from the political to the traditional, but the Sardauna ultimately prevailed. Muhammadu Sanusi’s grandson, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was named after him, is no less hungry for power and has, over the years, shown an inclination to be controversial. He is a chip off the old block, so to say, and many are already worried he is toeing the path of defiance which brought down the elder Sanusi.
His tenure as governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank was anything but distinguished, owing to the inglorious manner in which he exited. By 2009 when he was appointed by the late President Umar Yar’Adua, his predecessor, Chukwuma Soludo, had brought so much clout to the office with his wide-ranging reforms which created some of Africa’s biggest financial services institutions and deepened the country’s capital markets. With Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the expectations were even higher, but as it turned out, the expectations were far-fetched.
In his nearly five years at the helm of CBN affairs, Sanusi did not only stray from the primary focus of the bank, he went down the path of profligacy and hugged all forms of controversy. He was roundly accused of politicizing decision-making at the apex bank and his financial indiscipline had led to his tenure being investigated for breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN. Not only was he alleged to have signed off over N160 billion by fiat, he had run the CBN as a fiefdom. By the time he was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2014, he was seen by many as a distraction to the bank’s primary functions.
In a story that went like his grandfather’s, he also lost that enviable position before the due date. His resort to the courts to extricate him from the allegations and possibly to return him to the CBN chair he sorely missed, were fruitless until June 3, when he was effectively replaced by Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
His elevation to Kano’s emirship has no doubt raised some questions. While the CBN tenure has ended, did the plethora of allegations hanging over him evaporate with the tenure lapse? Does his recent elevation render the allegations of financial impropriety a nullity? Why did the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in Kano break all the rules to make him emir, even when his large gown is dripping with official malfeasance?
The implication of his appointment as emir of Kano, is obvious: not only has the governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, brought the stool to ridicule, a large chunk of respect it once commanded will be difficult to attract henceforth. Since he became emir, Kano has not known peace, owing largely to the belief that it was manipulated. His ascension has generated so much bad blood that the APC government in the state has relentlessly tried to explain how it arrived at the choice of Sanusi.
If the people’s will had mattered, the Ciroman Kano, Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero, would have succeeded his father, but the kingmakers of Kano, prodded by the state government, thought otherwise. With the former CBN governor’s grouses with President Jonathan, it was obvious the APC governor will be more comfortable with his as the emir, at least to spite the President. So for Kano state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who was all the time the selection process lasted in his best partisan political elements, Sanusi’s choice was a fait accompli.
The rioting which followed the announcement of Kwankwaso’s choice was to be expected, just like the chants of “Ba muso, bamuso’’, meaning, “we don’t want, we don’t want’’. While the shouting may die down sooner or later, the headache will not. To the average Kano man, the emir is next to God; he is revered by all and sundry but he must also earn their trust and their reverence. As one who sits in judgment over them, he must be above reproach and must maintain a certain level of decorum. Will Sanusi ever fully recover from the smear of his disastrous tenure in the CBN and the allegation against him that may never be settled? And that brings the other question: will he ever fully earn the trust and respect of his subjects?
Abba Adakole is reachable on linkedIn