The standoff between Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II is rising to a disturbing crescendo.
The governor, yesterday, queried the traditional ruler and gave him 24 hours to respond to allegations of misappropriation. The latest action followed the June 5, 2019 restriction of Sanusi’s sallah activities to the palace. Ganduje’s restriction order brought to a sudden halt the 105-year-old Hauwa Nassarawa, the emir’s annual line of activities that include traditional homage to Government House, royal sight-seeing around Kano metropolis and other important places before returning to his palace. Sources close to both parties said that Ganduje’s decision to call off the emir’s graceful outing and its colorful ceremonies was a fallout of their political disagreement in the run-up to the 2019 elections, a development that is already threatening the security architecture of the state more than two months after the polls.
The monarch has until this morning to respond to the issues raised in the query. Following a government-sanctioned probe of the emirate, the commission had indicted the Emirate Council of misappropriation of about N4 billion. The emir’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Munir Sanusi confirmed receipt of the query in a telephone interview with The Guardian. Ganduje was absent on Wednesday when the Hauwa Dauche, a presumably largest assembly of horses in Africa, turned bloody at the Kofar Kudu’s emir palace. An unconfirmed number of persons were reported dead and many sustained wounds as palace guards and local hunters confronted hoodlums who attempted to disrupt the ceremony. A statement by Ganduje’s Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, gave reasons for the Kano State Government’s actions against the emir, citing security threat, among others.
“After a security meeting that was held between governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje with all the security agencies concerning all sallah celebrations, as it is usually done, there was an intelligence report of fear of breach of peace during the upcoming event. For this reason and the intelligence report, the state government declares Hauwa Nassarawa cancelled,” he said. “Government, however, wants residents to feel free to go about their normal sallah celebrations because security measures are on top gear,” Anwar said.
“Beyond security reasons, Ganduje might have suspended the sallah activities to prevent Emir Sanusi from out-shining the newly created first-class emirs of equal privilege,” another Government House source said: “You should not be surprised at Ganduje’s action because, for now, anything could happen. Don’t forget we have other first-class emirs now – those of Bichi, Karaye, Rano and Gaya.
Now, if the State Government allows Emir Sanusi to hold the procession and homage, it would not be just to other emirs who also have equal rights. So, as far as I’m concerned, the decision is right. The other emirs might also want to move out at the same time; and you know the implication”, a reliable source at the Government House argued. A Kano resident, Alhaji Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, who expressed displeasure with the development, wondered why an age-long tradition was brought to a sudden end this year. “It is unfortunate, because the people are not happy with the fact that a tradition that has lasted more then 500 years is cancelled. People all over the world are in Kano as usual to celebrate with the emir on an occasion like this. But for reasons best known to the government, it was cancelled. Honestly, we are not happy,” Kurawa lamented.
Another resident, who identified himself as Umar Haruna argued that the crisis that erupted during the Durbar was pre-planned to deliberately give an alibi for the cancellation. Haruna lamented that the Ganduje’s government had wanted to remove the emir at all costs and was looking for reasons to do so. The Guardian learnt that the newly installed Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Ado Bayero might take the place of Sanusi as chairman of Kano Emirate Council, another tactical maneuver to return power to the late Ado Bayero’s progeny. Meanwhile, tension is already brewing between a pro-Sanusi group, comprising supporters of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, and pro-Ganduje group, as the impasse gets messier. Just recently, the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abba Kabiru Yusuf paid a solidarity visit to the palace and pledged to revoke Ganduje’s new emirate councils, if declared winner at tribunal. Governor Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had, in controversial supplementary poll, defeated Yusuf after the electoral umpire failed to declare a winner on the election day. The outcome is still a subject of litigation at the state election tribunal.
However, Yusuf’s pledge to dissolve Ganduje’s newly created emirates, if favoured by the tribunal’s verdict, did not go down well with the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Muktar, who insisted that the councils had come to stay. A Kano court had ordered all parties to maintain status quo. Sanusi’s disagreement with Ganduje could be traced to his alleged meddling in the government policies and administration. Sanusi’s criticism of education, health and infrastructural development has not only cast doubt on the credibility of Ganduje’s government, but attracted uncomplimentary remarks of other stakeholders on his administration. For instance, the emir’s condemnation of Ganduje’s $1.8 billion loan from a Chinese bank was a headache to the Kano government. Sanusi, a former banker and Central Bank governor was accused by government officials of funding the opposition PDP and Kwankwasiyya group during the 2019 poll. The support almost stopped Ganduje from actualising his second term bid.
With the Kano anti-graft panel’s investigation into an alleged financial misconduct of Sanusi, Ganduje could seize every opportunity to take his pound of flesh. Already, the Muhuyi Magagi-led chairman of the agency has submitted preliminary reports to Governor Ganduje with a recommendation for Sanusi’s suspension to enable a smooth investigation. It was learnt that prominent leaders, including Africa’s richest man Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC’s national leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu have been prevailing on Ganduje to sheathe his sword. There are indications however that the Kano State government is bent on emasculating the emir