Sanusi: A Different Kind Of Emir
Is it a matter of genealogy or sheer puffery? Only time will tell of the controversial nature of the Sarkin Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II. Right before his ascension to the revered stool of the Kano Emirate, Sanusi II has always courted controversy whether for its sake or altruistically, is what is difficult to fathom. It is on record that as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he became the first activist governor in that position, sometimes speaking contrary to the policies of a government he was part. For those who egged him on then, it was expedient for the political advantage there felt it conferred.
Exactly five years after his running encounter with former President Goodluck Jonathan, the emir is at it again, this time with the Government of Kano State. Many have wondered why a man of high standing, occupying a very traditional stool cannot exhibit the expected conservative and measured tone of the previous occupants of the office.
Emir Sansui II sees himself as the Alpha of traditional institution which even the supervising political establishment must cower before. If that were only his hubris, one can excuse him. But he is more than that – a squandermaniac, politically compromised and given to sheer debauchery.
It is important that Nigerians should not forget in a hurry the billions he squandered on assumption of office a few years on coming on as Emir. A little trip down history lane will suffice to see why Emir Sanusi should not be permitted to be the Omega in the Kano traditional firmament.
Sometime in 2017, precisely November, Sanusi II took his ITK (I Too Know) in local parlance to spreading false information on Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s then trip to China.
Governor Ganduje as part of his visionary commitment to the development of the state had taken an investment tour to China and one of the major outcome was to secure a $2 billion loan from China to finance a light rail project. Rather than see this as a veritable vehicle of development, the emir took to the media to lampoon the governor’s efforts. Even if there were issues about the loan which Sanusi felt strongly about was it not more sensible to have conferred with the governor in private to voice his concerns? For Emir Sanusi, it was an anathema as he preferred to go to the market place of the media to attempt to embarrass the governor and government of Kano state.
“We have governors, they go to China and spend one month on a tour and what do they come back with, MoU on debts,” the emir thundered on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 during a conference in Kaduna.
“China will lend you $1.8bn to build light rail. This light rail will be done by the rail workers from China. The trains will come from China. The engines will come from China. The labour comes from China. The driver is Chinese.
“At the end of the day, what do you benefit from it? Your citizen will ride on a train and when you ride on a train, in northern Nigeria, in a state like Kano or Katsina, where are you going to? You are not going to an industrial estate to work. You are not going to school? You are not going to the farm. You borrow money from China to invest in trains so that your citizens can ride on them and go for weddings and naming ceremonies,” he added.
If he were without the sin of extravagant spending, his sanctimonious position could be forgiven. While he was enjoying the klieg lights and feeling like a movie star, he was mindlessly and recklessly spending hundreds of millions of emirate funds on mundane issues.
Piqued by the development, the state assembly decided to look into the books following several complaints of free spending without proper accounting procedures by the Kano Emirate under Emir Sanusi II. The findings were shocking. It emerged that over N6 billion of the emirate funds had been squandered, though the Emirate council argued it was ONLY N4.314 billion. For instance, a princely N37,054,192.06 was spent on calls alone under a three years! Was he calling heaven?
Similarly, over N296 million was spent on the purchase of two Bullet Proof Vehicles as well as other cars. And this is for a man that indulges in finger pointing at others. How about his love for chartered flights which under just two months had raked up a bill of N14.732 million?
When these and more are taking into consideration, it makes sense that the State House of Assembly saw reason to have more emirates in the ancient city so that development cannot only get closer to the people, but also fast track the resolution of communal issues. Added to this is the fact that one single individual cannot see himself as being above all others. After all, plurality of opinions is a sign of advancement. To even imagine that a traditional ruler will be calling on security agencies to support a particular candidate in an election is an overkill that should not be allowed to fester.
All true lovers of democratic tenets and principles ought to applaud Governor Ganduje for this revolutionary move which is aimed at sanity and equality amongst the people of Kano state.
-Ipole Amajama a journalist writes this from Abuja.
Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of The Whistler.