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The Ides of March: Like Julius Caesar Like Sanusi?

By S. O. Akobe, Esq.

The Origin of the term "the Ides of March"

Whenever the term "the ides of March" is used, William Shakespeare's Play entitled "Julius Caesar" readily comes to mind. Anyone, who has read that Play, would definitely remember the soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar to “Beware the ides of March,”!

Well, while the term ides of March was made popular in William Shakepeares' Julius Caesar, the term itself did not actually originate from the Play. The earliest Roman calendar, which consisted of ten months beginning with Martius (March), was believed to have been created by King Romulus around 753 B.C. At that time, dates were expressed in relation to the lunar phase of the month using three markers: Kalends (Kal), Nones (Non) and Ides (Id). The first phase of the moon, the new moon, was denoted by Kalends and signified the first day of the month; the first quarter moon fell on either the fifth or seventh day of the month and was referred to as Nones; the full moon fell on either the 13th or 15th day of the month and was referred to as "Ides". The ides of March—March 15—initially marked the first full moon of a new year.

During the late Roman Republic, a new year’s festival was held on the ides of March in which people would gather a mile outside of Rome on the Via Flaminia by the banks of the Tiber River. Participants celebrated with food, wine and music and offered sacrifices to the Roman deity Anna Perenna for a happy and prosperous new year. Between 222 and 153 B.C., the ides of March also signaled the beginning of the new consular year, in which two annually-elected consuls took office as leaders of the republic.

In 46 B.C., after consulting with the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar by adding ten days to the 355- day year, instituting January 1 as the first day of the new year (beginning in

45 B.C.) and introducing a leap year every four years. Shortly thereafter, he was granted the title Dictator Perpetuus or “dictator for life.” Concerned with Caesar’s increasing power and monarchical leanings, a group of Roman senators stabbed the ruler to death on March 15, 44 B.C.—forever linking the ides of March with the assassination of Julius Caesar.

Thus, traditionally, The Ides of March is simply March 15 in the Roman Calendar. As earlier pointed out, although the term predated William Shakespeare, the Play, "Julius Caesar" in which the main character, Caesar was killed on March 15 despite a forewarning from the Soothsayer, has made the day become ominous. No fewer than sixty conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius were involved in the attack. Since then, The Ides of March as a phrase, has become mostly associated with anything negative, evil or unpleasant even when such events did not take place in the month of March. While going to the Theatre of Pompey, where he was later killed, Caesar had passed the Soothsayer, and feeling confident that he was already in the middle of March and yet still alive contrary to the prophecy that he would be killed, he jokingly told the soothsayer, “The Ides of March are come”. By that he meant that the prophecy had come to a nullity, but the soothsayer replied him; “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” Indeed, the Ides of March was not gone as Caesar was later assassinated as predicted by the soothsayer.

The Man Called "Sanusi Lamido Sanusi"

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was one time the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. In 2014, he was suspended from Office as the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor by former President Goodluck Jonathan for "financial recklessness and misconduct". Mr Sanusi is widely respected for the reforms he carried out in the banking sector since his appointment in 2009. He was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2010 by Banker Magazine.

Shortly after he was removed as Central Bank Governor, Sanusi was appointed as the Emir of Kano on the 9th of June, 2014, following the death of his predecessor in office. Everything went well for Sanusi until when

things fell apart between him and the Governor of Kano State.

Sanusi, a very well-schooled, astute banker, who rose to the position of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in the good old days of Jonathan's administration, found himself by reason of cultural patrimony or heritage, in the hallowed seat of royalty as the Emir of Kano. Of course, Mr. Sanusi never knew what fate awaited him in the month of March six years after!

As a vocal and fluent man, Sanusi was amongst the important personalities that fiercely criticized President Goodluck Jonathan's government and spoke truth to power. Although, some of his criticisms may have been political having been made at a time when majority of men were doing the biddings of General Muhammed Buhari who was subtly presented as Nigeria's Messiah at that time, Mr. Sanusi's position then, however, won the admiration of many people because of some obvious truths embedded in them. In one of his criticisms, he alleged that $20bn (£12bn) in oil revenue had gone missing under Jonathan's government!

Of course, Sanusi must have enjoyed the moment of freedom of expression or speech while it lasted but he did soon realized the fulfillment of the political "prophecy" of a "Soothsayer" from Otuoke in Bayelsa State who once said: "I am the most abused and insulted President in the world, but when I leave office, you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed under my government." To me, no political prophecy in Nigeria has ever been more accurate than this!

Jonathan, a man who meant well for this Country albeit limited by his own peculiar infirmity as a leader from a minority tribe, became a victim of Northern conspiracy which included people in his own government like Sanusi but Sanusi himself in a twinkling of an eye in less than six years after, has become a villain of a dictatorial regime by a conscienceless Governor who prefers to desecrate the crown rather than tolerate other peoples' opinions and criticisms.

In a Country where uttering the truth is an offence, Sanusi has become a sacrificial lamb on the altar of Northern Characters with whom he

conspired to ensure that former President Jonathan did not remain in Office beyond 2015. Can it be said that Aso Rock has no hands in the tragic fall of Sanusi? If yes, why has Aso Rock not cautioned the wild Governor called Ganduje?

Ganduje, a man caught on camera on a serious corruption scandal of bribery (in dollars) under the watch of a self-acclaimed "corruption-fighter- President", smuggled himself into office by force to complete his second tenure as Governor of Kano State contrary to the wishes of the electorate, thanks to the Tribunal's verdict and the subsequent affirmation of same by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court!

Sanusi was not only deposed in a manner that is worst than military coup, he was reportedly banished from Kano State and whisked away by Security Forces who took him to Nassarawa State by air. How do you explain to Sanusi that having woken up from bed in his beautiful Palace as the Emir of Kano on the 9th of March, 2020, he would soon be sent on exile by force? Does the Kano State Government have the power to banish Sanusi from Kano State or to send him on exile? The answer is no, having regard to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

Thus, while Sanusi's deposition may be quashed by the Court at the end of it all, he should 'beware the Ides of March'. Many great men and women had their tragic falls in the month of March. The Adams Oshomole's dramatic episode who was recently sacked by a Court as APC Chairman in this same month of March, is still far from being over. In the ides of March, some have lost their lives like Julius Ceasar. For Sanusi yet, it is already a tragic fall, but whether he will be assassinated as well like Julius Ceasar is a question of time! But, as it is now, it is like I am still hearing the voice of Antony at Caesar's funeral saying: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears". This voice has suddenly faded and what I am hearing now is something like: "People of Kano, would you weep or rejoice? Your Emir is gone!

(S. O. Akobe, a Legal Practitioner and Poet, writes from Abuja, Nigeria)

Your Comment
 
 
 

Gabriel smart victor | 4/9/2020 6:16:00 PM
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Gabriel smart victor | 4/9/2020 6:20:00 PM
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