It is no longer news that the Kano emirate have been balkanized into five separate emirates by the Governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje. The news of the break up of the Kano emirate elicited a lot of reactions from Nigerians with many crying foul over the move made by the Kano State Governor and House of Assembly as they said that the move was specially orchestrated by the Executive to whittle the power and influence of Emir Sanusi in the state.
What many have found to be really baffling however, is the way the President, Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to this quite dicey issue. There have been a lot of apprehension with the reaction of the President which has made it look like the President played or is playing an active role in the whole Kano emirate saga. It may not come as a surprise however if this was actually the case as there have been some pointers in this direction with certain events which have occurred leading to the actual balkanisation of the Kano Emirate as well as after the deed was finally done.
Buhari’s Suport for Ganduje and Displeasure With sanusi
First of all, let us take a look at the body language of Mr President after the Kano State Governor was purportedly caught on tape receiving bribes as a kickback from certain contracts which were awarded by his government. These video tapes were released by a Nigerian journalist identified as Jafaar Jafaar. In the video the Governor was seen to be allegedly stuffing dollar notes in his pockets. The President was expected in many quarters to denounce the Governor but No! That was not the case, instead he was praised by both the President and his Party the APC with the Governor in turn promising to deliver a lot of votes for the President in the Presidential elections which eventually he did.
The Emir on the other hand, had been acting in a manner which was very different from what many northerners may have seen from a number of traditional rulers. The king being a very vocal and charismatic figure with recognition worldwide, especially as an advocate of anti-corruption, was not one to be gagged. His is a personality, noteworthy of speaking up when necessary as long as it is the truth. This was the king’s greatest undoing as he had in an eloquent manner, criticised the President Buhari administration as well as that of the Kano State governor as he touched on varying subjects. In a country where few people like to be told the truth, it was clear that something was going to be done to Emir Sanusi to clip his wings and subdue him as it were.
Once the elections came, Governor Ganduje was able to deliver the multitude votes for President Buhari while he struggled to win the governorship polls. Immediately it was announced that he won, it was clear that all hell was going to be let loose in no time. And so the onslaught began even before the Governor was sworn in for a second term as new emirates were created and the influence of Emir Sanusi being reduced to just ten local governments.
Ganduje’s Actions and Buhari’s Silence
It is interesting to note that this move seemed to be very unpopular with the subjects of the Emir as there were a lot of complaints recorded from different sectors in Kano. A court had ruled that the governor should not appoint the emirs but the Governor blatantly disregarded this court order. A lot of Nigerians lashed out at the Governor, with even a civil group in the state calling for the resignation of the newly appointed Emirs. But this did not deter Governor Ganduje.
A lot of people were expecting the President to say something on this new development as he was from the north, and the issue had created and is still creating a lot of tension in the state, but the President is yet to say a word. This is very surprising as President Buhari had during his days as a Military Head of State, taken action when a similar occurrence was carried out by a former governor of the State Abubakar Rimi. It is as well worrying that the Governor could go ahead to disobey a court order and nothing is being said about it.
A Lesson From History
According to the story, Governor Rimi of the old Kano State had on April 1, 1981, appointed four new emirs (Auyo, Dutse, Gaya and Rano) and made a declaration that they will be co-equal with the emir of Kano. This was no April Fool joke. Also, the other emirs who were of second-class status namely, Hadejia, Gumel and Kazaure, were also given a promotion to first class status. The then governor, Abubakar Rimi, then went a step further to declare emirs as “mere public servants working under the directives of their local government chairmen.”
Abubakar Rimi, just like Governor Ganduje, carried out this move because he wanted to take sides with the radicals in Kano over the aristocrats with the Emir as their embodiment as both groups were involved in a tussle at the time.
This move was met with staunch resistance from the populace. Eventually when President Muhammadu Buhari became Head of State via a coup which overthrew President Shehu Shagari’s Government, he reversed the decision of the then Governor to create new emirates in Kano.
It is noteworthy that now that the same issue has reared its head in Buhari’s tenure again, the Northern elders have specifically made a call to the President to wade into the crisis and revert the Kano emirate to its status quo, but the President has either knowingly or unknowingly, refused to take any action or say any word thereby refusing to address the issue which seems to be getting worse by the day.
These have left answers desired to many questions. He was able to stand up against the balkanization of the Kano emirate as Head of State, So why the silence this time from him? Not even a comment? Was it all a plan? Will this new arrangement stand the test of time or will history repeat itself? Well only time will tell.
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