SANUSI Lamido Sanusi is a unique bundle of contradictions that somebody should have a doctoral thesis on. A friend of mine was saying the other day that he represents the future that he wants. I asked him if his future includes one where a herdsman will rape an underage girl in Bayelsa and Emir Sanusi would rule that a marriage had taken place by that act only for public outcry to make him to change his position.
The dethroned emir in one sense represents all that is wrong with the North which Alhaji Ahmed Joda mentioned in his “Letter to my son, Sanusi Lamidi Sanusi”. On the other hand, he presents himself as a negation of feudal north and someone who wants a progressive Arewaland, I have not seen anything to show he wants a progressive Nigeria.
In the years he was the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he reigned over the apex bank like an emir. He busied himself donating billions upon billions left right and centre and awarding frivolous contracts to his friends and cronies. As against the culture of knowing CBN Governors through their photographs and signatures on Naira notes he was dropping controversial views that have nothing to do with banking or the economy here and there.
At an open forum in April 17, 2011, the National Security Adviser, General Gusau had uncomplimentary remarks about Sanusi bank reforms.
On Sanusi’s removal of a number of bank executives since August 14, 2010, the consequent takeover of the management of these banks, the arrest and prosecution of the executives for their roles “in the grave danger” in which their organisations found themselves, Gusua remarked:
“The fragility of the economy dictates that offenders be interdicted without damaging the sector.”
But he noted that the CBN’s intervention “seems to have damaged economic activity in the country.”
Government officials, who should know better, turned themselves into Sanusi’s cheer leaders during President Umaru Yar’Adua’s leadership.
They had the backing of a chunk of the media who appeared to be carried away by Sanusi’s sensational dramas, blissfully oblivious of the damage to the economy in particular and society in general.
This is not to say that the removed bank chiefs did not have issues.
When Sanusi was eventually removed as CBN Governor from where he went to fulfil his life-long ambition to be Emir of Kano. But it was not a smooth sail for him either.
I still remember the events of June 8-10, 2014. Then Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrhahim Kwakwanso had officially presented Sanusi his letter of appointment, but there was no palace to go.
There was tension around the palace as some youths opposed to Sanusi’s appointment had surrounded the compound, with the official residence of the emir effectively under lock and key by the police.
By tradition, Sanusi was supposed to go to the palace in order to be received by the palace officials, who will pay homage to him.
The family of the late emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was not represented at the letter-presentation event which took place at the Government House, Kano.
He was believed to have been picked by political consideration in place of traditional order.
President Goodluck Jonathan, Pastor Tunde Bakare and yours truly were in a room in the villa that night. We had gone to see the President for something else. After done with the matter, Pastor Bakare brought up the issue of Sanusi who had become an emir without a palace and pleaded with the President to talk with the IGP to facilitate his access to the place.
President Jonathan initially was not going to commit himself to interfering in the process. But upon persistence by Pastor Bakare and given his calm disposition to life, he eventually agreed to speak with the IGP. And the following day, SLS was allowed into the palace.
He became the emir and continued his duality. He would rail against the culture of Almajari that keeps millions of northern children in perpetual bondage. At a conference organised by the wife of the President a month ago he said:
“Everyday wives are complaining about their husbands who claim their rights but abandon their responsibilities of marriage, women being divorced with their husbands not taking care of the children and those children ending up on the streets, drugs, political thuggery, violent extremism.
“No law that talks about consent in marriage, the rights of wives and husbands, domestic violence, rights of women divorced, the responsibilities of husbands under divorce situations, if a child is found on the streets, it is the father that is responsible and can the state hold him accountable?
“Do you just marry and have children without any responsibilities? The reason Allah send His Prophets is that there should be justice in this world. Justice in our relationship with our maker and in our relationship with our fellow human beings.
“Justice means that everyone is given his rights. If a man takes the privilege of being the head of the family, he takes the responsibilities of being the provider of the family. You cannot take that privilege and a band the responsibilities.”
Fine talk. But the same SLS reportedly spent N5billion to renovate the palace of the Emir of Kano without asking If such money was coming from what the government should have used to educate these destitute.
I do not support the virus that devoured Sanusi as emir because it is not a well-meant force. If Nigeria were a country, it harbours those who should be cooling their heels behind bars for swimming in open million-dollars bribes.
Forget all the stories, SLS crimes could be no more of politics than the corruption allegations and disrespect for the office of the governor. It is an open secret that he worked against the re-election of Ganduje. I also heard he ran into an ex-classmate who was a marked principal official of the 8th Senate in France and they had a lunch. Reports allegedly came from the security to the power seat that they went to hold some conspiracy the government.
Someone who should know told me in Abuja a week before his dethronement that he was a goner. The morning it was officially announced it didn’t come as news to me at all.
Now his “father’, Alhaji Ahmed captures the virus that devoured him as an emir succinctly:
“The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth. These forces will fight you and you know it”
He then gave SLS his idea of his new task for northern Nigeria.
“believe it is possible for a platform to be created by you and people of like minds to propagate the ideas and ideals that can emancipate Northern Nigeria from the shackles of the visionless leaderships that we have endured for so long. We need a moral leadership that is founded on sound and honest principles; of good education and of justice and fair play.
“I believe you have the courage and all that it takes to accept the challenge that your new situation has imposed on you.
“I look forward to your accepting this challenge and to your helping to create such a platform that you can lead towards the moral revolution that we so badly need and deserve.”
Nigeria as a whole can invariably benefit from this as it is going nowhere yoked with the North under its feudal leadership. In that, SLS and his colleagues should do what they have to do in that corner of the country.
But I do not see him functioning in a pan-Nigerian project as he does not seem to believe in such with his uncomplimentary views of other nationalities, he gave an acerbic and very rude views on Yoruba political elites when he wrote:
“I say all this, to support Balarabe Musa’s statement, that the greatest problem to nation-building in Nigeria are the Yoruba Bourgeoisie. I say this also to underscore my point that until they change this attitude, no conference can solve the problems of Nigeria. We cannot move forward if the leadership of one of the largest ethnic groups continues to operate, not like statesmen, but like common area boys.”
Igbos were not spared either when Sanusi said of them:
“The Igbo people of Nigeria have made a mark in the history of this nation. They led the first successful military coup which eliminated the military and political leaders of other regions while letting off Igbo leaders. Nwafor Orizu, the then Senate President, in consultation with President Azikiwe, subverted the constitution and handed over power to Aguiyi-Ironsi. Subsequent developments, including attempts at humiliating other peoples, led to the counter-coup and later the civil war. The Igbos themselves must acknowledge that they have a large part of the blame for shattering the unity of this country…Having said that, this nation must realise that Igbos have more than paid for their foolishness.”
There is also the case of the beheaded Gideon Akaluka in Kano in 1994 on which the deposed emir has to come clean on.
His advocacy of course has relevance for only northern Nigeria that had refused to modernise and would not allow the rest of Nigeria to move on as the policy is dragging the best to the level of the rest.
There was an emir!