“Those who think my father would keep quiet because he wants to hold on to the throne, I think they don’t know my father. I know he has always wanted to be the Emir of Kano but to him, if it comes between what is right, what his conscience tells him and choosing the throne, he would happily give up the throne. My father has always been part of one controversy or the other and it is normal. We are not scared anymore.”
The words above were spoken by Shahida Sanusi when she represented her father, the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, at the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) 1st Annual Chibok Girs lecture with the theme “Where goes the girl, our nation goes” in April this year.
How time flies; by Thursday, 8th June, 2017 Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, the reigning Emir of Kano, will have been on the throne for three years. Recall also that Sanusi was turbaned as Dan Majen Kano on 8th June 2012 by his uncle, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, on account of his good character, knowledge of economy, experience, exposure, patriotism and philanthropy.
At the height of the debate about his suitability for the job of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria following his appointment by late President Umar Yar’adua, Sanusi had said that he would have chosen to be Emir of Kano ahead of the job of head of the apex bank. How arrogant, chorused the losers! Muhammadu Sanusi is the only heir I know of that publicly declared interest in a stool even before it became vacant. Normally, successors to emirates never announced their interests but Sanusi did and became an emir; what a feat!
Indeed, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi is one of the most fortunate persons on earth.
What is the problem with Sarkin Kano sending his daughter to represent him at the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) event? It wasn’t just because Shahida had indicated that she would not allow anybody to abuse her as a woman; for me the thing to cherish is that Sanusi has educated his daughter – and he has many of them – one capable of facing the public despite her age! Actually, my grouse was with Shahida’s dressing to the event, she shouldn’t have exposed her arms and the neck; she should have dressed like a Princess, robed top to bottom to mystify her royal self!
Although Muhammadu Sanusi II does not wield executive power or go to Abuja every month to collect federal allocation, his modest achievements are still noticeable, and I am not going to discuss his well-known triumphs when he served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. We are familiar with the fact that Emir Sanusi has improved the welfare of the workers of the Palace as well as the Ward and District Heads by increasing their salaries and allowances to decent levels. He has also assisted in the renovation of the Kofar Kudu primary and secondary schools. Of course, as he has disclosed, he has modernised the Palace of the Emirate Council as well as the Emir’s house. In addition, Sanusi has renovated Gidan Makama, Gidan Sarkin Bai, Gidan Waziri and Gidan Madaki. The Kano state government also accepted Sanusi’s recommendation for enhanced salaries and allowances for Imams and Ulama in Kano in order to shield them from the vagaries of life. More than 1000 women collect food from the Palace every blessed day, courtesy of the Emir.
At his behest, Alhaji Aliko Dangote renovated the Kano City Mosque at the cost of N50 million. Recall that the mosque was damaged when bombs suspected to have been planted by Boko Haram exploded there in November 2014 killing many people. Muhammadu Sanusi was in Saudi Arabia then but upon his return went straight to the mosque to see things for himself. Thereafter, he took three consecutive days to lead prayers at the mosque and this greatly restored the confidence of worshippers. In addition, the Emir also went to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital where he commiserated with the victims of the blasts and donated N20 million for their treatment. How else does an Emir lead? This may explain why Sanusi has now provided an ambulance in the Palace for use during emergencies.
Kano is becoming notorious for nasty rape incidents and Emir Sanusi has made input into a tough new law the state assembly is working on in order to address the menace.
Sanusi may have been chastened by those who sought to probe his financial affairs at the Kano Emirate Council as a prologue to his deposition and he’s probably not as tough as Abdullahi Bayero (1926-1953). For the story had been told of how Sarki Alhaji (so called because Abdullahi was the first Emir of Kano to go to Mecca on pilgrimage) declined to answer a British query. The then Kano Resident, Mr FM Noad went to the Palace, thinking he would get a favourable answer and after listening to his harsh statements, the Emir asked calmly “what do you intend to do now?”
“We are proposing to remove you from power unless you apologise to His Majesty’s Government”, Mr Noad replied. “Go ahead”, the Emir challenged, “we know that Allah gave us this power, not you. And if you think you can take it away, then try it.” Thereafter, Abdullahi Bayero stood up, shook the Resident’s hand and disappeared into his Palace!
Nevertheless, what distinguishes Muhammadu Sanusi from any other Emir, nay traditional ruler in Nigeria, is his steadfast support for the poor, Nigerian poor, and determination to speak truth to power irrespective of whose ox is gored. I hope to discuss this next Tuesday, God willing.