Saturday, March 14, 2020 9:50 am
When he held court as Emir of Kano, three senior journalists wrote about his forest of a thousand books. Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser, Political Matters at the Presidency, who visited Sanusi’s library wrote about his experience. A An Editor with The Nation, Olayinka Oyegbile, a bookworm too, lamented the fact that he missed visiting the library because of the removal of the Emir this month by Governor Umaru Ganduje of Kano State.
Adegbenro Adebanjo, a former Editor in Tell, now of the Public Affairs Department,
Federal University of Technology, showed, in pictorial forms, what happened to the library after the Emir was dethroned.
Below are their writings:
The Day After …. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By Adegbenro Adebanjo
The evacuation of books and memorabilia from the multi-million naira library which Muhammad Sanusi built in the Emir of Kano’s Palace following his dethronement.
Death of a dream
By Olayinka Oyegbile
A former school mate who knows about my love for books gave me a promise mid last year that she would lead me to the palace of the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II.
That was shortly after Senator Femi Ojudu visited the palace and posted the picture of the massive library on Facebook. The schoolmate read my comment and promised to facilitate my visit because she’s from Kano and close to the family.
Late last year she asked whether I was ready for the visit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t because it was the week I was travelling to Houston, Texas. Since my return earlier this year, we have not communicated. I was waiting for a better time. But that would not come to be. On Monday, March 9, the Emir was dethroned and there goes my visit to the massive library in the palace. I had before the visit even played with the headline of the story in my head. I titled it: THE EMIR AND HIS BOOKS.
It was to explore the library and interview the former Emir on his choice of books, reading culture, time and favourite books. I lost that opportunity to sit down and talk books with him as an Emir. However, I believe that opportunity may one day still present itself even if not in the palace because as our Nobel laureate WS said in his statement “The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi.”
A Night In The Inner Recess Of The Emir’s Palace
By Babafemi Ojudu, 2 February 2018
I had a rare peep into the inner recess of the palace of the Emir of Kano last night.
I have been to the Palace many times in the past and have been welcomed in the outer part.
I never knew it was that extensive.
Last night was different as the Emir ushered me and some of my younger colleagues in The Villa to this massive living room that doubles as a library.
It was not only gorgeous but a forest of books . I have not seen any private library so rich as that in Nigeria since I have traveled around and been to places as a journalist and public official.
I learnt of the famed library of the Odemo of Isara in the 60s but I am not too sure his collections could have rivaled what I saw in Kano last night.
The Emir told me what I saw was not all , that he still has close to 14,000 collections in his house in London that he is planning to bring back home. Some I could see were still in cartons in some rooms in the palace.
Well displayed and subject classified there is no topic on Africa that is not covered.
The Emir informed me yesterday that his goal is to build a huge library in the Palace that will be accessible to researchers . Where they are Now Is only accessible to family members.
He regretted a situation where vital documents and rare books collected by his predecessors were in the past lost to fire or stolen. His ambition is to build a solid library that will in a 100 years time house millions of books and documents that would have been collected by him and Emirs that will come after him.
Acquisition and production of knowledge has been fascinating to some ruling houses in the northern part of Nigeria. Some months past when I visited the Sultan of Sokoto I was given a set of books the Sultan has written by himself or commissioned. The book , The Sultans Of Sokoto, was particularly informative. It gave me a rare insight into the history, culture, philosophy, Palace intrigues of the Sultanate and literary accomplishments of some of the Sultans.
Last night I sat down with Emir Sanusi and discussed politics and the economy for hours. He was so forthcoming as well as forthright. It was a no -holds-barred lecture on the state of the economy and what should be done. By the time I left at a little past midnight I could not but be amazed at his wealth of knowledge and perspectives on issues.
Thank you Emir Sanusi for a night well spent.