Ganduje’s Solomon Grundy

Between the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who would you say is in the eye of the storm? Emir Sanusi is not new to controversies. In his days as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he was a one-man riot squad and gadfly who troubled the PDP government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in no small measure. Truth be told, Sanusi was one of the political enemies that cost PDP and Jonathan the 2015 presidential election. His “revelations” of the billions in US dollars of oil money corruptly diverted by the Jonathan-led administration was one of the very critical ammunitions that the then opposition APC leveraged upon to pummel and buffet that administration into submission. Because Sanusi was generally perceived to be competent, upright and outspoken on the side of the people, his criticisms of Jonathan/PDP were not only well-received by the people, they were also taken as the gospel truth. So, Sanusi helped to further dent the already bad image and reputation of PDP/Jonathan, portraying both as irredeemably corrupt. Although he kept revising downward the billions of dollars he said Jonathan/PDP stole, whichever figure he gave was still so humongous as to drop anyone’s jaw. By the time Jonathan summoned the courage to sack Sanusi, a few months to the end of the banker’s tenure, the harm had been done and the impression of Jonathan as a very weak and indecisive leader, sealed. To make matters worse, the same Sanusi waltzed and gallivanted under Jonathan’s very nose to become the Emir of Kano. Not a few had wished that Baba Olusegun Obasanjo were the president! Even if the heavens would fall, OBJ would have called the bluff of Sanusi. Rather than Sanusi crawling back to Jonathan, it was Jonathan, according to reports, who went tail between his legs to do obeisance to Emir Sanusi. But what goes around comes around!

Errant and irascible Sanusi was the toast of APC and its leaders. But, today, the tables have turned. Sanusi has become a thorn in APC’s flesh. He has been outspoken against APC and its policies. He has been blunt in his criticisms of the lacklustre leadership style and dour qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari. And he has not hidden the fact that there is no love lost between him and the Kano governor, Ganduje. The simmering crisis of confidence between both leaders, which for some time had contributed significantly into heating up the Kano polity, boiled over during the last governorship election which many believed the governor lost. Ganduje had gone into the election hobbled by allegations of corruption. He was caught pants down starching sleaze money in foreign currencies into his babariga, promptly earning himself the sobriquet “Ganddollar.” In saner climes, that would have been the end of the governor politically. He would also have ended up behind bars. But these are no sane climes! This is Nigeria! Ganduje did not only cling onto office, but he also clawed his way back to relevance. A Kano State House of Assembly in Ganduje’s pockets could not even bark, let alone bite. A Buhari/APC administration notorious for the selective manner it fights its so-called corruption war not only glossed over all the screaming evidence against the governor, it was Buhari himself who, actually, in a most ridiculous manner, crafted an ingenious defence for Ganduje. Grapevine sources said that Buhari, afterwards, wanted the governor silently eased out of the second-term contest but that it was APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his cohorts who railroaded Ganduje into the contest. APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, is not only said to belong in the same APC tendency as the Asiwaju, but also firmly ensconced in Tinubu’s pockets.

Many, therefore, thought the electorate would decide Ganduje’s fate. The electorate did try, but the forces ranged against them, which reportedly included the APC political machine, INEC, the security forces and, of course, Ganduje himself, proved too formidable. The instrumentality of “inconclusive election” as was employed in Osun State last year, again, reared its ugly head in Kano to keep Ganduje in office. Since then, it has been a tale of no longer at ease. Those who felt cheated in the election and those fighting to consolidate their hold on power have left nothing to chance. Ganduje sees Sanusi as a foe that must be cut to size. Sanusi, on the other hand, sees the governor as corrupt and inept. One must see the back of the other. It is in this wise that the decision of the Kano governor to split the vast, powerful, and influential Kano emirate into five distinct groups must be viewed. Like we have seen in Ibadan, Oyo State, Ganduje’s aim is to get the upper hand politically and make a mince meat of his opponents. The bill splintering the Kano emirate was presented to the House of Assembly on Monday; it was debated and passed into law on Tuesday; and on Wednesday, the governor wasted no time in signing it into law. As we speak, the governor has searched and found suitable persons to mount the saddle in the newly-created emirates and they have been sworn into office, not minding legal challenges or restraining orders from any court of competent jurisdiction.

And so was that nursery rhyme, Solomon Grundy, given flesh and blood before our very eyes! “Solomon Grundy/Born on Monday/Christened on Tuesday/Married on Wednesday/Took ill on Thursday/Grew worse on Friday/Died on Saturday/Buried on Sunday/That was the end of Solomon Grundy!”

We have seen the first few days of Ganduje’s own Solomon Grundy, but I dare to say that no one can yet predict the end of his struggle with Sanusi. Whether his Hitlerite “final solution” to the Sanusi problem will be a masterstroke or a political miscalculation like that of his Oyo State counterpart, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, remains to be seen. Ajimobi, angling to take firmer political control of Ibadan and whittle down the influence of the Olubadan, as Ganduje is trying to do Sanusi’s, elevated 21 chiefs of the Olubadan to crown-wearing obas. Although touted as modernisation and development, the move was generally perceived as a dangerous political manoeuvre meant to cripple the Olubadan and the political tendency that held sway under his watch, which were seen as conflicting and competing with Ajimobi’s political influence and power. The decision backfired on Ajimobi. He not only lost the argument, he also lost political support. His party lost the last governorship election, while Ajimobi himself lost his senatorial bid. It does not get worse for a sitting governor, one who once described himself as “the constituted authority” in Oyo State. It must be noted that Ajimobi and Ganduji are in-laws as the Oyo State governor’s son not long ago married the Kano governor’s daughter at a talk-of-the-town society wedding. Tongues must wag as to whether Ajimobi had a hand in Ganduje’s cut-Sanusi-to-size political dog-fight. Will what failed in Oyo work in Kano? Will Ganduje succeed where his in-law, Ajimobi, failed woefully? Time, as they say, will tell.

LAST WORD: Have you noticed the way some traditional rulers demean their stool these days, failing to comport themselves well in public and making statements unbecoming and unexpected of their high status in life? They drag not only their own name, but also the entire traditional institution in the mud when they fight and trade insults openly, with their so-called “subjects” taking this or that side! If you want to be a politician, be a politician; but if you want to be a kabiyesi, kindly be a respectable, responsible and dignified kabiyesi


Now JAMB has scaled the hurdle…

Had the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) not released last month’s exams at the time it began to do penultimate weekend, it would have lost a lot of its credibility and integrity. Everyone was already worried that it was taking like eternity for JAMB to release the results. The release should have been done in 72 hours, at the most, but it dragged for over one month with suspense all over the place.

Even at that, no one was sure what was in the offing as JAMB busied itself fighting scammers, while the scammers fought back, posting all manner of damaging stories on social media that heightened the tension. They said, at a time, that JAMB’s server had crashed and the exams would be re-taken! But it was fake news. JAMB, under current boss, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, has done marvellously well, but there is need for him to guard against “over-sabi.”

As my people would say, a masquerade who dances non-stop runs the risk of exposing his own blokos; witness biblical David! And as I said here last week, fighting the scourge of examination malpractices will prove too herculean for JAMB, if the menace is also not tackled appropriately at the secondary school/WAEC/NECO level.


Suicide becomes 10 for penny…

How do you view suicide: An act of courage/bravery or one of cowardice and irresponsible behaviour? The day I heard that one of the most brilliant writers I have ever worked with died committing suicide, I was aghast. I had brought him from a College of Education somewhere in the “Mid-West” to the Editorial Board. Level-headed, humourous, humble, and peaceable chap; he was a team player par excellence. He was fond of calling me “My Oga” or “Oga BB” and always with a smile. I understand “pressures” got too much for him at some point in life and he hung himself.

Suicide used to be uncommon and far-in-between in times past. It also used to be seen and treated as horror. In many African societies, atonements and sanctifications must follow any case of a person taking his or her own life for whatever reason. In those days, most cases of suicide were “honour-killings;” a person taking his or her own life to avoid bringing shame or witnessing the shame he/she has brought to himself/herself and or the family.

These days, however, many cases of suicide are as a result of inability to cope with one’s responsibilities and obligations. Disappointments and inabilities to meet certain expectations, unreasonably high expectations, the desire to join the Joneses and be seen to have also arrived, inability to meet up or stay up there once we have arrived, societal expectations and demands that overawe people’s capacity – these are some of the other reasons for the high rise in the incidence of suicide in our midst. Then, of course, we have the scourge of cheap access to hard drugs; the mushrooming of dangerous groups, ideas, and tendencies; the get-rich quick syndrome; and the irresponsibility of political leaders who do not care to use the youth, especially as canon-fodders, in various ways. Parents are not helping matters in the reckless way they push their wards at early age to institutions of higher learning, thereby pilling pressure on them to “achieve.” The stress we put them through this practice can be horrendous. Many are forced into circumstances that make them unhappy and depression sets in. Many suffer and ultimately die in silence. The a je butter and omo agric of today are not as strong, resilient and emotionally stable as the omo ajepako and omo atapata dide of yore. It is time to go back to the basics.