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How Ganduje’s ‘Coup’ Has Upset Kano’s Long Tradition

By The Nigerian Voice

KANO – Until lately, Kano was monolithic; knitted by religion, culture, economy and traditions that flourishes for two thousand years. Successful rulers had sustained the oneness and indivisible one strong Kano by simply choosing to draw a line where traditional authority ran contrary to political power.

The late Emir of Kano Alh Ado Bayero was once asked “how were you be able to ruled Kano for five decades (50years) without trouble? ” He replied ” I embraced everyone. As a traditional ruler I considered myself as father to all. I did stay away from politicians. And if I have any advice to give to the government. I did that, by meeting the President or any other person on a personal ground. By so doing, no one will ever know, whether my advice is adhered to or not ” I will not disgrace myself by taking side because everyone is my subject”.

Interestingly, the ascension of Muhammad Sanusi II to the throne of his forefathers in 2015 made the age-long compact state vulnerable due to combination of his activism with traditions and thus set a stage for a clash between the political authority in a royal rumble whose predictable outcome made a mincemeat of what was once revered enclave last week.

In the beginning, Sanusi four years on the throne was enmeshed in controversy. From his appointment that attracted streets protest, to his penchant of telling the truth to the power in the open, and his overt failure to hide his preference of political choices drew massive enemy from within and outside.

His open stand for a free and fair election in a contest where Ganduje was a major contestant in 2019 general elections was misrepresented as support for opposition and worsened their relationship. So it wasn’t strange during celebration of victory by Ganduje’s supporters after earning victory by hairbreadth destroyed Sanusi’s portrait hung in most government establishment in Kano.

Nevertheless, the event of last week that saw a Kano based Attorney filed a petition before the Kano House of Assembly seeking for dismemberment of the Kano emirate to four which was given accelerated hearing, subsequently passed into law by 40 man Assembly, and signed into law, and gazetted by Ganduje’s administration was seen largely by pundits as an exercise of “vengeance and vendetta” to whittled down Sanusi power and influence in a game of thrones.

Of course, the conservative city of 15m people saw the premonition and early signs clearly on the horizon of the predictable end of Ganduje /Sanusi feud, but no one, except significant few foresaw it happening in their life time.

One of those few that saw the current debacle in earnest was a Kano prince, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi Bayero who confirmed to this tabloid that Sanusi II style of traditional leadership was on a self-destruct mode. He however described the mutilation of the emirate as transfer of aggression.

Bayero posited “let’s agree, the emir crossed the red line, we expect the political authority to single him for deserved punishment, but desecrating a rich heritage spanning over two thousand for political reasons was not just a transfer of aggression, but a centenary injustice to Kano people, it’s tradition and cultural heritage”.

Bayero, the younger brother of late emir of Kano was however optimistic that Ganduje’s assault on traditional heritage of monolithic kano may not stand the test of time considering divisive tendencies embedded in it.

The Kano prince explained that the top Kano kingmakers have by Ganduje’s fiat exercised out of their kingdom. According to him, Sarkin Bai, a number one kingmaker in Kano emirate domiciled at Danbatta has been relegate, and transferred under the authority of the new emir of Bichi whose traditional authority is superior to the new monarch. Similarly, Makaman Kano, and Hakimin Wudil, the next ranking kingmaker in Kano emirate has equally been transferred under the authority of new Gaya emirate.

The fiery Kano prince argued that most of the new Emirates have it’s traditional territory, and the decision to allocate more territory through executives fiat was “ill informed, and travesty of justice.”

Indeed, Bayero was not alone in the uproar generated by the new law, in an open letter to the Governor Ganduje by a Kano based female activist with passion for gender and rural issues, Hauwa El Yaqub condemned the desecration of the emirate.

According to her “the last time I checked, Kano Emirate is the most popular Emirate not just in Nigeria, but Africa is proud of it, and to add it up, Allah blessed us with an Emir, just like the Emirate that is an icon to not just Nigeria but to the African continent and yet instead of us to support him and what he stands for he has become a target of ridicule and vindictiveness.”

The fiery activist lamented that “It’s laughable to think that we have the best Emirate in the country and yet we want to use our own hands to destroy it. Aren’t we showing the whole world that what we have in government is just a bunch of power seeking individuals who do not know their left from right and therefore do not see beyond their nose?”

She however described “the law to divide Kano Emirate, we all know is to serve the interest of few individuals in the state to help their ego and personal vendetta.”

Rising in stout defense of his action and decision, Ganduje in a session with Reporters maintained that the new law was designed to guarantee even and equitable spread of development.

The septuagenarian governor explained “by decentralising it we are following history. Years back even before the 800 years you are referring to, the situation was not that. So if something developed 800 years ago, things are also developing now and there will be another 800 years. So look at the history.”

Ganduje further said there is no love lost between him and Sanusi II, as he stressed “it is not vendetta, I am not against him, in fact he is supposed to be reporting to the local government chairman according to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.”

“It is the local government chairman that is supposed to discuss issues with him not the governor. So this is celebrated by the people of Kano and we will make sure that the new Emirate council is effective in terms of developing Kano State,” he said.

But the Kano First Front disagreed with Ganduje line of thought, as they posited that the new law would breed disunity among the citizens.

Dr Yusuf Rabiu in a chat with this newspaper lamented that Kano, the city that thrives to compete with other mega cities in Africa is being relegated to the level of baby states in Nigeria.

Dr Rabiu said the Kano State Emirs(appointment and deposition) law 2019 would surely bring disunity and enmity among our people, specifically among the four new emirates”.

Dr Rabiu in an unmistakable term maintained that the new law would “ruin our heritage that survived for over two thousand years as the grand emirate will lose prestige in the process, and finally neither of the emerging ones will fill-in the gap in this 21st century.

As it stands now, Ganduje’s coup d’etat against Sanusi II had indeed momentarily took off the shine on his power and influence, and in one breadth desecrated and demystify Kano cultural heritage, but the bad news is that despite the court order ordering status quo ante, the governor announced that the law has come to stay and irreversible.

Whether Ganduje’s new emirates will survive the test of time remain to be seen as events after the expiry of his tenure in 2023 will be interesting.

Credit: Daily Independent