3 years of Emir Sanusi’s eventful reign
On June 8, 2017, the 14th Kano Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, clocked three years on the throne, having assumed office on June 8, 2014, two days after the demise of Emir Ado Bayero.
Shortly after he assumed office, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) made it clear that his grandfather, the late Emir Sanusi would be his role model. Since then, his leadership style has been seen by many people, including members of the royal family and other traditional rulers, as strange to the Kano Emirate. He has brought some innovations to the Emirate, including the renovation of some parts of the palace, review of staff salaries, purchase of new vehicles and review of retirement age of staff members.
He also introduced some laws aimed at improving the lives of Kano people, such as the proposed Kano Emirate Family Law and Kano Emirate Council Committees on Health (KECCOH). However, while some of the innovations and laws were warmly accepted by the people, others have generated serious outcry in the state and beyond.
Sanusi’s actions and comments have always been subjects of debate in the state and the country as a whole. For instance, his remarks on the symbolic stoning of the devil during hajj, subsidy removal, devaluation of the naira and polygamy, generated a lot of debate in the country.
Also, his marriage to an 18-year-old princess, the sack of some traditional title- holders and his attempt to demolish some historic structures in the palace, have attracted public attention within and outside the state.
Statement on Jamrat
His statement on the symbolic stoning of the devil during pilgrimage attracted a lot of public criticism. He was quoted to have said Nigerian pilgrims would stop partaking in the symbolic stoning of the devil if the Saudi authorities failed to do something to reduce congestion at the Jamrat. Quoting several verses of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W), Sanusi insisted that skipping the stoning exercise would not in any way invalidate one’s pilgrimage.
Marriage to 18-year-old Adamawa princess
Shortly after the controversy about the symbolic stoning of the devil, the emir was again attacked by critics for marrying a teenage princess from Adamawa, Hajiya Sa’adatu Barkindo Mustapha.
Subsidy and naira devaluation
Again, the emir’s call on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy and devaluate the naira caused him a lot of trouble. He made the call at the 15th Joint Planning Board (JPB) and National Council on Development Planning meeting held in Kano.
Criticising the Buhari-led government he said, “If the present government continues to behave the way the immediate past government did, it would end up where the Jonathan-led government ended. You may not like it, but that is the truth. What kind of economy are we running? Who is advising the government?
He, however, commended the Buhari-led administration for making some changes in the economy, such as the removal of “wasteful subsidies.” He noted that the country should rather subsidise in production, not consumption.
One of the initiatives of Emir Sanusi, which has direct bearing on the lives of the common man, is the inauguration of the 7,664 committees on health. They were established to facilitate health care delivery at local and ward levels in the state.
Sanusi said the Emirate Council deemed it necessary to support the federal and state governments in the fight against polio and other related diseases. The committees were set up at local, village and ward levels. He said the main duty of the committees was to enlighten the people on the importance of routine immunisation, ante-natal, post-natal checkups, as well as child and maternal deaths, among other health-related issues.
“It is part of our duties as leaders to improve the health conditions of our subjects at all levels. We introduced the committees just to help government achieve its goals in the health sector. All the district, village and ward heads will be incorporated into the committees so that people can be enlightened on every health activity, especially the routine immunisation,” he said.
The proposed family law
Emir Sanusi proposed a family law aimed at regulating family issues, including right to marry up to four wives. This also led to another round of controversy in the state and the country in general. He explained that the law was to guide Muslims on how to conduct their family affairs in line with teachings of Islam. The law was greeted with serious criticism by Islamic scholars, academic, women groups and other stakeholders from within and outside Kano. But despite criticism, the emir insisted that nothing would stop him from ensuring the enactment of the law.
Speaking during a mass wedding of 1,520 couples sponsored by the Kano State Government, he said although the law was not meant to stop Muslims from marrying up to four wives, it aims at regulating how they should treat their wives and children in line with the dictates of Islam.
“Our people are facing serious challenges in their family affairs. We have heard a series of complaints, including where a father forced his daughter to marry someone against her wish. We have heard so many cases where people marry additional wives while they could not feed them well, clothe them well or give them good shelter.
“In this case, the proposed law provides that a court of law would take something out of the man’s wealth to feed his family, give them shelter and cloths. In the event the man makes any attempt to resist the court’s directives, then the law takes necessary action against him. If you know your salary cannot take care of more than one wife, you should not get additional wife.
“As a leader I would be accountable to the predicaments of my subjects, therefore, I would not allow them to deviate from the right path. I would continue to draw their attention to the right thing until they understand,” he said.
The sack of traditional titleholders
Furthermore, Emir Sanusi removed some traditional rulers, including the eldest son of the late Emir Ado Bayero, Sanusi Ado Bayero, who was the Ciroman Kano, citing different offences. He announced the sack of the former Ciroma on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, through a senior council member of the Emirate Council, the Galadiman Kano, Alhaji Abbas Sanusi.
The former Ciroma was sacked for alleged disloyalty to the emir and absconding from his duty post. His younger brother, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero was later appointed as the new Ciroman Kano.
Another traditional titleholder who lost his position was the village head of Ganduje, Alhaji Sani Umar. The village head, who is a younger brother to the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, was sacked for allegedly defrauding some intending pilgrims.
Recently, the emir also sacked his private secretary, Alhaji Isa Sanusi Bayero, popularly known as Isa Pilot, over an alleged leakage of vital information from the palace. He was also the private secretary to the late Emir Ado Bayero for many years.
In 2015, Emir Sanusi was dragged to court by his uncle, Alhaji Salim Abubakar Bayero, over an alleged plan to demolish some historical structures in the palace: Ka’iya and Kachako sections. Other structures marked for demolition were 13 thumbs of the past emirs. The emir’s plan was to build offices for the district heads in place of the old structures. However, two days after filing the case, Bayero succumbed to pressure and withdrew it.
On his part, Emir Sanusi also dragged Sheikh Bazallah Nasir Kabara to court over alleged defamation of character. Sheikh Bazallah is the son of a renowned Kano Islamic scholar, the late Sheikh Muhammad Nasir Kabara.
He was arraigned before a Senior Magistrate’s Court on a three-count charge of inciting disturbance, defamation of character/insult and attempt to breach peace. The offences contradicted sections 114, 392 and 399 of the Penal Code.
Senior Magistrate Hassan Ahmad granted the accused person bail in the sum of N1million, with two sureties in like sum.
The Kano Emirate Council probe
For the first time in the history of Kano, the Emirate Council was probed by the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission, over an alleged “questionable expenditure.” The investigation was based on petitions by some individuals, who accused the Council of embezzling over N4billion within three years.
Some officials of the Emirate Council, including the treasurer and secretary, were invited for questioning. Few weeks into the investigation, the Kano State House of Assembly launched a fresh investigation following a motion of public importance raised by a member representing Nassarawa constituency, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad Gama, who accused the emir of committing eight offences.
The House, therefore, constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the emir.
Following the development, the Kano anti-corruption commission suspended its probe, saying the matter was before the State Assembly.
However, the probe was suspended after a few days, following a letter from Governor Ganduje.
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