Politics

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: Royal Ascension And Politics Of 2015

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Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi may have achieved his life-long ambition of ascending to the throne of his forefathers with his emergence as the 14th Emir of Kano. FELIX NWANERI of the newtelegraphonline.com, however, reports that the intrigues that played out in the process of his selection will not end with his crowning, as they are expected to shape the politics of the state, especially the outcome of the 2015 presidential election in the ancient city .

There is no doubt that this is the best of times for the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who at the weekend emerged the new emir of Kano and successor to the late Alhaji Ado Bayero, who passed on last Friday.

For Sanusi, a consummate banker and grandson of the 11th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, who was deposed by the Governor of the Northern Region, Sir Kashim Ibrahim, in 1963, it is a dream come true, as he has never pretended about his ambition of ascending to the throne of his forefathers. Sanusi’s appointment to the revered throne is on the heels of his ouster from the nation’s apex bank and the legal battle against his suspension and mounted challenge against the confiscation of his passport by the Federal Government.

The Kano State government, through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Suleiman Bichi, in announcing his emergence on Sunday, said “Allah has conferred on Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the former governor of the Central Bank, the successor to the late emir.” The four kingmakers of Kano Emirate had considered a number of names and put four of them forward to the state government for approval. They are Sanusi; the late emir’s eldest son, Sanusi Lamido Ciroma; Wamaban Kano, Abbas Sanusi and Galadiman Kano, Tijani Hashim.

However, the choice of the immediate past CBN governor, who was installed the Dan Majen Kano last year, did not go down well with some youths who immediately after the state government’s announcement spilled into the streets to protest Sanusi’s emergence instead of the late Bayero’s son. The appointment followed after 72 hours of frantic lobbying, and according to those familiar with the matter inside the royal household, it attracted some of North’s most powerful traditional rulers, including the Sultan of Sokoto.

They pressed for a less divisive candidate in one of the former emir’s sons. However, Sanusi had high-level support from politicians, former heads of state and dignitaries across the country, and the Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who had the final word, is a member of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Kwankwaso was said to have been influenced by his compatriots in the APC, who drummed it on him that Sanusi’s sympathy for their party was among the reasons why the Presidency moved against him as the CBN governor.

The party’s chieftains who kept vigil in Kano at weekend were said to have worked assiduously for the emergence of Sanusi to take their pound of flesh from the Presidency that had ousted him and consolidate their grip on the state. And while the resentment by the supporters of the late Bayero’s son is unlikely to alter the choice of Sanusi, at least for now, the former CBN governor’s emergence as Emir of Kano places him as one of the most influential traditional rulers in the North, second to the Sultan of Sokoto. The Emir of Kano is one of a triumvirate of powerful rulers in the North whose lineage dates back to the vast Hausa-Fulani and Borno empires that predated British imperial rule.

All the three traditional Muslim monarchs – Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano and Shehu of Borno are custodians of Islam and lead clerics in their areas. They have also been seen as key figures bridging the often fractious divide between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, although they have recently come under pressure to speak out more against the threat posed by the Boko Haram militants waging an increasingly violent insurgency in the North. Signs of what to come Expectedly, Sanusi’s emergence as Kano emir will further put him at loggerheads with the Presidency, as he is one of the most outspoken critics of President Goodluck Jonathan’s record on corruption.

His allegation of missing multibillion-dollar oil revenue earlier this year marked the height of his several expose` of the administration and led to his ouster from the nation’s apex bank. Though some analysts have opined that Sanusi’s running battle with the Presidency and alleged smear campaign by the latter to discredit him may cease, now that he has adorned the royal garb, others argued that it is likely to worsen. To these pessimists, the battle will escalate, as the various political parties and interest groups step up strategies for the 2015 elections. An indication of what to expect in the days ahead emerged even before Sanusi was turbaned.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gave a hint that it was not disposed to Sanusi, when it went ahead to congratulate the late Bayero’s son (Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero) as the new emir even before the Kano State government officially announced a successor to the throne. A statement by the party, signed its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, quoted its National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, as praising the Kano Emirate kingmakers “for their wise decision in choosing Alhaji Ado Bayero, the heir-apparent to the throne and adding preserving the sanctity of the throne and the confidence reposed in the revered traditional institution.”

The party further described the younger Bayero as an outstanding nobility who is also highly respected for his wealth of knowledge and experience as well as his statesmanly disposition and commitment to the stability and greatness of the emirate and the nation at large. It said: “Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero is a rare breed, a man of exceptional wisdom and humility. We have a new emir who, like his father, remains a detrabilised Nigerian with an unshaken belief in the unity and peaceful coexistence of our people as a nation.

“We have no doubt whatsoever that the new emir will live up to his billing by building on the solid foundation and legacies left by his father to further the greatness of the Emirate where the welfare and prosperity of all are guaranteed.” The party added that the new emir, like his father, is a “gift” not only to the Kano Emirate but to the nation in general and that he will bring to bear his wealth of knowledge acquired both in the palace and in the Public Service in discharging his duties as the emir. It also commended the other sons of the late emir for supporting their elder brother, while charging others (apparently referring to Sanusi) who nursed the ambition of becoming emir to learn from the nobility and understand that positions of authority are bestowed only by God and not something to be grabbed through political scheming or by force.

The party was to make a detour when the former CBN governor finally emerged. In a counter press statement also signed by Metuh, entitled: “RE: PDP congratulates new Emir of Kano: PDP official position,” the party said it relied on a false media report to come out with the statement. On Monday night, the PDP formally congratulated Sanusi. The party, in a statement by Metuh, advised the new Emir not to play politics with the revered traditional institution. The party said it “has an unflinching reverence for the traditional institution and in that regard extends the same reverence it had for the late Emir to Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.”

It however said it expects the new emir to remain non-partisan deserving of the exalted and revered office, like his predecessor. “The PDP holds the office of the Emir of Kano in very high esteem. We therefore give the new emir our prayers and urge him to ensure that the sanctity of the throne and the traditional institution are absolutely guarded and preserved. “We are very much aware that his status has changed and we pray the Almighty Allah, who alone confers authority, to grant him the wisdom and good health to lead his people to peace and prosperity.”

War without end Despite the PDP’s retraction, some analysts believe that the stage is set for a two-pronged war between the APC and PDP in Kano State ahead of the 2015 elections, especially that of the Presidency.

As at Monday, the Presidency has not congratulated Sanusi on his new appointment. Shortly after Sanusi’s emergence, the Federal Government banned private planes from landing at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, apparently to stop APC chieftains from visiting and paying homage to the new monarch. Brig. General Chris Olukolade, the spokesperson for the military, who explained that the ban was for “security reasons,” however declined to state the nature of the security concerns.

The news of the ban came after Umaru Al-Makura, the Nasarawa State Governor, who was said to be flying into the Kano Airport from Makurdi, Benue State on Monday morning, was denied clearance to land at the airport. But some analysts and Sanusi’s supporter, who spoke on the issue, believe the security reasons, which Olukolade alluded to for the ban was triggered by the ruling party’s statement, congratulating the late Bayero’s son, even when it was clear that his successor was yet to emerge.

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and chieftain of the APC, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who jeered at associates of President Jonathan and the PDP over the emergence of Sanusi, wrote on his Twitter handle: “Alhamdulillah. The best man has won.” And moments after the former CBN governor was named officially, he added: “SLS (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) is the Emir of Kano. Jonathanians can go jump into the lagoon.” To the national leadership of the PDP, he blasted it, saying: “The PDP out of fear and hatred of my brother SLS (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) began circulating the falsehood that someone else had been appointed Emir of Kano.

Then they congratulated the emir that had not been selected by the constituted authority.” He added: “Earlier, they had enlisted several PDP sympathiser-traditional rulers to put pressure on Governor Kwankawaso to discourage him from selecting SLS, who was recommended on merit among the aspirants by the kingmakers. “They have now withdrawn their false and contrived congratulations. PDP represents all that is evil and wrong about our nation.

May Allah separate Nigeria from this evil, divisive and poverty-inducing party.” What next? With Sanusi’s ascension to the revered Kano throne, the question is: What becomes of his indictment by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) on non compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) in its 2011/2012 financial year report? The CBN under him, was said to have budgeted N50 million in 2010; N200 million each in 2011, 2012 for International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) compliance, but did not comply with it.

The apex bank, according to the council, also budgeted N150 million for IFRS compliance, which was reflected in the 2013 financial report, but without board approval; implementation of intervention projects by each department, especially the governor’s office, including dashing out N10 million to building palaces for five royal fathers. While Sanusi has succeeded in getting the court to halt his prosecution, but lost the one challenging his subsequent suspension as the CBN governor, analysts are watching if the Federal Government will appeal the judgement and go ahead with his prosecution since his new position does not accords him immunity, or will it let sleeping dogs lie.

Should the government opt for the former, many are of the view that it will be courting fresh crisis, as Northerners revere their monarchs and can go to any length to defend their traditional and religious institutions. Political implications As old political alliances break down and new ones being formed ahead of 2015, the PDP, particularly President Jonathan would be facing a Herculean task in penetrating Kano State should he decide to contest the presidential election.

With Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano, the APC in the state solidifying its grip of the politics of the state, the recent nomination of a former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau for ministerial appointment to galvanise support for the PDP in the state may not achieve the objective. The former CBN governor is likely to seize the opportunity offered by his new position to mobilise his subjects against the ruling party in the forthcoming polls. He is widely respected among his people as one of the most courageous public intellectuals of recent times.

Internationally, he has been lauded for the role he played in sanitising the banking sector, which tackled widespread fraud and stabilised the economy. Against this backdrop, his allies believe he can use the position in the North’s main commercial centre and his experience as a top banker to galvanise action around regenerating the region’s ailing economy and in encouraging reforms in the Islamic education system.

This, will in-turn earn him the support and respect of the people that could be a political advantage to his associates in the APC. El Rufai, who attested to this, said: “Now we have someone who is modern and progressive, who can be a rallying point for the changing attitudes towards the traditional leadership. We want him to take a unifying force in the Northern renaissance.”

Kano ranks second to Lagos State in the number of registered voters. While the former has 5.1 million voters, the latter has 6.2 million. The two states with the highest number of registered voters now seem to be firmly in the hands of the opposition and between them have a combined voting population that is three quarters of the whole of the South-East and South-South, which are the President’s power base.

And within the South-East and South-South, the President and his party are not sure of two states – Imo (South-East) which has 1.6 million and Rivers (South-South) with 2.4 million voters. The governors of the two states, Rochas Okorocha and Chibuike Amaechi belong to the opposition APC. Furthermore, a quick look at the total number of registered voters in the 16 opposition states reveal that they formed 52.5 per cent of the country’s registered voters. PDP’s 18 states have a 42.5 per cent.

This means that even if the votes in Anambra and Ondo states with governors aligned to the ruling party go to the PDP it is still below the 50 per cent target. More worrisome for the ruling party is that the highest registered voters that make up its 18 states include states like Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe and Niger states (20 per cent of registered voters) won by the opposition in the last presidential election.

By this calculation, the opposition seems poised to win the majority votes in 20 out of 36 states with 65 per cent of registered voters, even if Imo, Rivers and Edo (another South-South) go to the PDP out of sympathy for the President, who is one of their own, the ruling party can only boast of 16 states with 25 per cent of registered voters at the moment.

But politics being a strife of interest masquerading as contest of principle, it would be too early for the opposition party to shout hurray, as the bad blood trailing Sanusi’s emergence may turn out a sour point in the APC’s bid to capitalise on the Kano development to have a sweet revenge on the Presidency and consolidate its grip on the politics of Kano State and by extension, Nigeria.

An Interesting Featured by Mr Felix of The New Telegraph was culled from the Newspapers website and we decided to share…

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