Sanusi’s Road To The Throne

Sanusi’s Road To The Throne

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:57 am

Kwankwaso handing over appointment letter to new Emir Sanusi

Kwankwaso handing over appointment letter to new Emir Sanusi

Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano

As the tradition goes, hours after the burial of the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, who died on Friday, 6 June, the four Kano king-makers, Alhaji Yusuf Nabahani (Madakin Kano), Alhaji Sarki Abdullahi (Makaman Kano), Alhaji Bello Tuta (Sarki Dawaki Mai-Tuta), and Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan (Sarki Bai), held closed-door meetings and streamlined the number of candidates jostling to succeed Ado Bayero to three.

The names of the immediate-past Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; the eldest son of the late Emir, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi Ado Bayero, and Alhaji Yahaya Inuwa Abbas, son of the late Emir Muhammadu Inuwa Abbas, who reigned for six months before his death in 1963 and was succeeded by the late Ado Bayero, were subjected to Governor Musa Kwankwaso for verifications. Between Saturday, 7 June and Sunday, there was serious tension on the emergence of the new Emir. Several calls were made between Kano and Abuja and a number of interests clashed.

Sources close to this magazine revealed that foot-soldiers were deployed from the Presidency to ensure that anyone who would emerge as Ado Bayero’s successor must be in the good books of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is reputed to have had high regard for the late Emir. There were, however, insinuations that the Presidency preferred Lamido Sanusi Ado Bayero to succeed his father.

In fact, reports on social media had it that Sanusi Ado Bayero had already been chosen as the new Emir. Upon hearing the rumour, Kwankwaso had to come out to state that the process to select a new Emir was still on.

Then late Sunday afternoon, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Engr. Rabi’u Suleiman Bichi, made public the choice of the new Emir. It was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Mixed reactions, however, followed the announcement, culminating in violent protest and counter-accusations.

In fact, there was even rumour that some APC chieftains, who were in Kano on Sunday shortly before the announcement of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had a hand in his emergence. Thus, some APC top notchers who flew into Kano to commiserate with Kwankwaso on the death of Emir Ado Bayero were harassed by federal powers.

For instance, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State told the media that his private jet was grounded at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, and his entourage embarrassed when they flew into Kano to pay condolence on the death of Emir Ado Bayero. According to Amaechi, who denied coming to Kano to influence the choice of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir, his entourage had to use physical force to pass through the exit gate.

Those with Amaechi during the visit were Senator Danjuma Goje, Senator Shaba Lafiagi and Alhaji Kawu Baraje, former chairman of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP.

Narrating their ordeal Amaechi said: “We made contact with the tower to depart and they said we cannot leave, that the airport commandant said that no private jet can leave or enter Kano today. We thought it was a joke. We then called the airport commandant and I again called the Governor (Kwankwaso) to intervene and the governor called the commandant, who said that it was the order he got from Abuja. Then five minutes after, they locked us inside the airport. They locked all the exits to the airport and we had to break the key to one of the exits and then we stepped out. We had to take a big decision.”

The new Emir of Kano, His Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi responding to an address by Gov. Musa Kwankwaso after formally receiving his letter of appointment.

The new Emir of Kano, His Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi responding to an address by Gov. Musa Kwankwaso after formally receiving his letter of appointment.

He added that the team called the governor, who said he was sending cars to bring them to Government House and they agreed. He revealed further: “But we made a decision that when the cars [from Government House] came, we would tell them to go back and not to tell the governor where we were. So, we entered our car, got instruction to put off our phones and I drove from Kano to Abuja. We arrived Abuja 2 a.m. We arrived after the announcement [of a new Emir] and [our plane was] impounded because they did not get what they wanted. The kingmakers selected Sanusi as number one, Ado Bayero as number two. Do I know any kingmaker? We all went for condolence visit. We are in a dictatorship and it is supposed to be a democracy and everybody has a right to disagree with the President.”

For those who are pro-Jonathan, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended by the Federal Government over the revelations he made on missing monies – particularly an alleged $20 billion – from the coffers of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, coupled with his stubborn stance on national issues, should not be allowed to hold a traditional stool as important as that of Emir of Kano.

TheNEWS learnt that the presidency’s biggest concern is the 2015 general elections. “You know how strategic Kano is in terms of population and political conscientiousness; and you can take it from that. No matter who occupies the stool, a Kano man listens to his Emir. Now, the new Emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has fallen out with President Jonathan and if nothing is done now, it may be difficult for President Jonathan to get enough votes from Kano and other parts of the North if his emergence as the new Emir of Kano is not checked. It is either he is curbed or made to face charges of corruption hanging around his neck,” a source in the presidency told this magazine.

There were also claims that the presidency has ordered the Police High Command to arrest him once he is sighted at the Emir’s Palace. In fact, the magazine learnt that there was a failed attempt to arrest him in his house Sunday night after the announcement of his choice as the new Emir. And it is said he is yet to gain entry into the Emir’s Palace as at the time of filing this report (Thursday). The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adenrele Shinaba, however, denied these insinuations.

Speaking to TheNEWS on Thursday, Shinaba said: “I make it clear to you that I have not received such order. If anybody should know about it, I should be the one. I have not received any order from anywhere to arrest anybody; and the police under my command has not made any attempt to arrest anybody. Our job is to maintain peace and order and we have been doing that since last Sunday. The security men you see at the Emir’s Palace are there solely to protect the palace and control those who are protesting, and that is where our job stops. As you can see, Kano remains calm security-wise and we are determined to ensure that lives and property are adequately protected.”

However, as at the time of filing this report, Sanusi was still operating from a temporary office carved out for him in Kano Government House. He receives visitors from there and his subjects, both low and mighty, troop in to pay homage. He was decorated with full traditional regalia and instrument of office on Tuesday, 10 June.

Chairman of the king makers council, Alhaji Yusuf Nabaham Cigari Ibrahim, performed the ceremony at Government House, which saw Lamido Sanusi adorned in ancestral traditional regalia. He also held the Holy Qur’an, the twin sword (Tagwayen masu), the symbolic Dabo Crown (Malafar Dabo), Wukar Yanka (a knife that signifies Supremacy of Judgment) and wore Takalmin Jimina (Ostrich plumage shoes).

While presenting the letter of appointment to Sarki Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor Kwankwaso said that the new Emir was chosen after due consulations with king-makers and relevant stakeholders and that his emergence was an act of God, coupled with his exposure, competence and experience: “Allah in His Infinite Mercy, chose the name, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano. He was among the three people nominated by the king-makers, contrary to insinuations that Sanusi’s name was not on the list submitted by the king-makers. We chose him because of his exposure, competence, experience and having lineage to the throne. As the culture and the norms of the Emirate provide, the Kano state Government has the right to select him as the new Emir of Kano. As you have seen and heard, our meeting on Sunday, 8 June, followed the previous one held on Saturday, 7 June with the king-makers where we decided to meet again the next day.”

But some enemies of the state, according to Kwankwaso, “went before we even met; and they politicised this issue by airing it on the television and radio stations even when we had not even sat down and discussed the issue of contestants to the throne. My attention was drawn to the development when we were about to enter into the meeting with the king-makers who guided me. In my capacity as the Governor of Kano State, I studied their recommendations and selected His Highness, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano. The appointment has nothing to do with politics as being peddled; some people thought the appointment of the Emir is politics while it is not; only Allah knows who has large number of supporters among those who indicated their interest on the throne, because the contest doesn’t require a vote as done in electing a Governor.

“The laws and rules of selecting an Emir don’t require the people to cast their votes. It is the king-makers that can advise the Governor and the Governor, as Allah wishes, selected the one chosen by Allah as the Emir of Kano. I therefore call on the District Heads, Village and Ward Heads to accept the appointment of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the will of Allah.”

The governor also announced that the state government has built a new home to relocate the family of the late Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, from the palace. On the protest over the selection of the new Emir, Kwankwaso said, “I am advising those paying these young children to be setting bonfires on the streets to desist from this calumny. For the past 20 years that I have been in politics, and governed the state twice, I never sponsored anybody or somebody to be a thug. We are warning them to desist from doing so. Some people are saying that His Highness’ name was not on the list. I will like to inform them that his name was not only in the list, but among the top names in that list.”

Sarki Sanusi Lamido Sanusi also views his installation as the will of God as he insisted that the Kano Royal Family is one indivisible family, adding that the protest that greeted the selection was not sponsored by the princes and princesses of the Kano Ruling House. “We thank Allah (SWT) who spared our lives to witness this day. In his Infinite Mercy, He made it possible for us to be selected with the truth that we inherited from our fore-fathers. They have nothing to say beyond what the first Caliph, Abubakar Sadeeq (RA) said. When he was as a Caliph of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he said, ‘You selected me as your leader, even though I’m neither the most pious man among you, nor the most noble, but it’s as decreed by the Almighty Allah. Obey us in whatever we did in accordance to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah of our noble Prophet, Peace Be upon Him. If we disobey Allah and His Prophet, there is no obedience in that regard.’

“We thank all those that made this appointment possible even as we believe that all blessings and mercies are from Allah. But as the prophet said, whosoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah. Therefore, we are expressing our gratitude to those that made it possible for our appointment to come true.

“Whenever we here some insinuations in some quarters about the Kano Emirate, we are always taken by surprise because we are all united as one family. It is from outside that people are making insinuations about the Royal House, but for us, we are one family. I grew up under the care of the late Ado Bayero. I was closer to the late Emir than my father who was outside the country. The late Emir trained me. My first wife with whom I have spent over 25 years with is the daughter of the late Emir. I shared the same bed with his son, Turakin Kano, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, for over 10 years. Therefore, we are calling on those people from outside the Palace to stop interfering in the things that they didn’t understand. The Kano Emirate is one united family. Therefore, I am assuring the Governor that all these riots and protests are not from our house. None of our relatives are behind these things; and none of our relatives will sponsor such thing or be happy because of it…,” the new Emir declared.

However, President Jonathan is yet to personally congratulate Sarki Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. Governor Kwankwaso has insisted that the protest that greeted his emergence as Emir of Kano was sponsored by the presidency and the PDP. In an interview with a section of the media in his office last Wednesday, Kwankwaso said: “What business has the Federal Government to do with appointment of the Emir of Kano? If there is Emir of Nigeria let me go and appoint him. My feeling is that they have more than enough security problems, especially finding the Chibok girls, than sending police to go and block the Emir of Kano’s palace just because of Sanusi.

“Recently, we also lost a respected Emir in Gombe and the same process was followed to appoint a new Emir but because it is a PDP state, they didn’t interfere. They have their agenda, which is not good for this country. They are causing crises where there are none and no reason to. Instead of solving problems, Jonathan is creating them.”

The Politics Involved

Ayorinde Oluokun

Days after his announcement as the new Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, is still waiting for the usual congratulatory message from the Aso Rock presidential villa.

Since he became Nigeria’s president over four years ago, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has never wasted time in sending congratulatory, condolence or felicitation messages whenever the need arose. Such messages, usually signed on his behalf by Reuben Abati, his special adviser on media and publicity, usually hit the mails of journalists few hours after the occurrence of the event. Following this tradition, many Nigerians had expected that the President would have sent a message to congratulate the new Emir of Kano.

Well, the congratulatory message has not come as at the time of filing in this story. It is not certain whether the presidency will still congratulate Sanusi on his ascension to the throne of his fathers before this magazine hits the streets.

But events in the past one week, following the announcement of Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano, indicated that the Jonathan administration seemed determined to, as much as possible, take the shine off the celebration of Sanusi’s coronation as the Emir of Kano.

The Federal Government grounded a private jet that took Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and other chieftains of the opposition All Progressives Congress to Kano, disallowing it from flying back to Port Harcourt. The governor told journalists last Tuesday that he and Danjuma Goje, the former governor of Gombe State, and two others were locked in the presidential wing of the Kano Airport by the Commandant, who said he was acting on orders from above. Amaechi and his men said they had to force themselves out of the building and drove all the way from Kano to Abuja in the night.

It was also gathered that a plane which took Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nassarawa to Kano Airport on Tuesday was also not given clearance to land by the commandant of the airport.

Premium Times quoted Major General Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information, as confirming the ban on flight of private jets to Kano by the military for “security reasons”, the nature of which he failed to explain. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, also confirmed that the ban was imposed by the military.

However, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory and chieftain of APC, said the ban was part of the ongoing persecution of Sanusi by the Jonathan administration.

“Is Nigeria under military rule or martial law allowing the violation of constitutional rights with such impunity?” el-Rufai queried on his official Facebook page.

“When will the Jonathanians give up on this hopeless persecution of a good man? For how long will the Jonathanians continue to test the patience of our people and the citizens of Kano with this reckless impunity?” he added.

The relationship between President Jonathan and the former CBN governor turned sour few months before the end of his tenure at the apex bank. This followed the leakage of a letter to the President in which the former CBN governor accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, under the supervision of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, headed by Mrs. Dieziani Madueke, of failure to remit over $48 billion realised from crude oil sale into the federation account.

Mrs. Madueke, regarded as the closest minister to President Jonathan, denied the allegation and in the ensuing controversy, the President booted Sanusi, who was also accused of different allegations of financial impropriety, out of office. Sanusi’s challenge of the President’s action is still pending in court.

The PDP later issued different statements in which it accused the former CBN governor of working for the opposition APC.

Thus, when the death of Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, was announced penultimate Friday, many Nigerians had anticipated that the former CBN governor would not to be the favourite candidate of the Presidency and the PDP for the new position. This was why the PDP wasted no time in sending a congratulatory message when rumour filtered in on 8 June 2014 that the eldest son of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero, had been appointed as the new Emir of Kano.

The late Bayero was believed to have had a soft spot for President Jonathan and his son was expected to also follow the same path. The PDP later withdrew the statement and has not deemed it fit to send another to Lamido Sanusi.

Apart from the controversial way he was booted out of CBN, the presidency also believed that Sanusi is too close to the big wigs of the APC and that his ascension to the throne will affect the chances of the ruling party in the 2015 elections.

The situation in Kano was further compounded for the PDP by the fact that the state governor, Malam Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is a sworn enemy of President Jonathan and is one of the five governors who decamped from PDP for the APC in November last year.

With 5.1 million registered voters, the second highest in the country, Kano is considered strategic to winning the Presidential election in Nigeria because of its voting population. Lagos, the state with the highest voters’ population, is also under the control of APC.

This, according to sources, was why chieftains of APC stormed Kano the weekend after Bayero’s death to do the groundwork that many believed contributed to the emergence of Sanusi as the new Emir.

Sources told TheNEWS that the Presidency is still studying developments in Kano, especially in view of the protests that have greeted the announcement of the former CBN governor as the new Emir and may not be in a hurry to congratulate him.

The Man Sanusi

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was born into the Fulani Sullubawa clan of Kano on 31 July 1961. He was crowned on the 8th of June 2014 as the Emir of Kano, succeeding his late great-uncle, Dr. Ado Bayero, who died on 6 June 2014. Malam Sanusi is a ranking Hausa nobleman and respected Islamic scholar. A successful banker, he is the immediate past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

He was appointed on 3 June 2009 for a five-year term, but was suspended from office by President Jonathan on 20 February 2014, after exposing an alleged $20 billion fraud committed by the President’s appointees in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC. Malam Sanusi, according to Wikipedia, is the grandson of Muhammadu Sanusi, the 11th Fulani Emir of Kano.

The global financial intelligence magazine, The Banker, published by the Financial Times, has conferred on Sanusi two awards: the global award of Central Bank Governor of the Year, as well as Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa. TIME magazine also listed Sanusi in its list of World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2011.

In 1985 Sanusi joined Icon Limited (Merchant Bankers), a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank of New York and Baring Brothers of London. He moved to the United Bank for Africa in 1997 in the Credit and Risk Management division, rising to the position of General Manager.

In September 2005, he joined the Board of First Bank of Nigeria as an Executive Director in charge of Risk and Management Control, and was appointed Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer in January 2009. He was also the chairman, Kakawa Discount House and sat on the Board of FBN Bank (UK) Ltd.

Sanusi is recognised in the banking industry for his contribution to developing a risk management culture in Nigerian banking. First Bank is Nigeria’s oldest bank and one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa. Sanusi was the first northerner to be appointed CEO in First Bank’s history of more than a century.

President Umaru Yar’Adua nominated Sanusi as Governor of the CBN on 1 June 2009 and his appointment was confirmed by the Senate on 3 June 2009, in the middle of a global financial crisis. In August 2009, Sanusi led the Central Bank to “rescue” Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank by bailing them out with N400 billion of public money, and dismissed their chief executives.

In January 2010, Sanusi said that banks will only want to give credit to Nigeria’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) if the government gives adequate attention to the provision of infrastructure.

The Banker, in recognising him as the Central Bank Governor of the Year 2010, cited his radical anti-corruption campaign aimed at saving 24 banks on the brink of collapse and pressing for the managers involved in the most blatant cases of corruption to be charged and, in the case of two senior bankers, imprisoned. Sanusi has spoken at many distinguished events, including Warwick Economic Summit in February 2012, where he spoke about banking reforms in Nigeria and their impact on the economy.

Parallel to his banking career, Sanusi contributed to the debate on Sharia law. In 1997, Sanusi obtained a degree in Sharia and Islamic Studies from the African International University in Khartoum, Sudan. There are two underlying themes to Sanusi’s position. First, Islam is concerned with delivering justice and should not be a tool for self-seeking political agenda. Second, the Wahhabist rhetoric of fundamentalists is counter to genuine Muslim interests. He explains that Sharia is not divine but merely religious, and is neither uniform nor unchanging.

A product of King’s College, Lagos, Sarki Sanusi Lamido Sanusi also obtained a degree in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.


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