New Telegraph

Return of the Khalifa

The rumour has been around for some time that the sacked Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, would be reinstated by the Kano State government. And when eventually it was announced by the government of Kano State last Thursday, it came at little surprise to those who understand the intrigues that led to his ouster in the first place. The commercial city of Kano is still bubbling with the news of Sanusi’s return to the throne that was once occupied by his grandfather.

And it speaks to the expected turn of events, that Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero who reigned in his absence as 15th Emir of Kano, did not wait for the 48 hours notice given by the government before vacating the palace. The history of Kano Emirate, which dates back over a thousand years, has recorded a fair share of turmoil, but the past few decades have been turbulent indeed. After Sanusi’s grandfather, Sanusi I, was dethroned in the 50s by the powerful Sardauna, the tenure of Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi as Kano governor from 1979 to 1983, nearly tore the Emirate into different kingdoms. In the past eight years, the revered traditional Kano stool became more like the barbers chair, rotating on the dictates of the State’s political climate. Sanusi who was installed emir by Rabiu Kwankwaso when he was governor, brought so much panache to the throne. As head of the sprawling Kano Emirate once ruled by his grandfather, he exuded so much power, surpassed only by the supremacy of the Sultan of Sokoto. During his first coming, Sanusi lent the exalted stool to some intellectual combats.

A former governor of the nation’s Central Bank, he continued to pontificate on social and economic issues which many thought were non-conformist and outside the purview of a traditional ruler. So when Governor Umar Ganduje came for his neck in March 2020, it was obvious he was getting uncomfortable with his controversial viewpoints and growing political influence.

To make matters worse, Sanusi’s strong viewpoints were capable of being translated to political influence. Ganduje, who was Deputy Governor when Governor Kwankwaso installed him Emir in June 2014, also knew where the ruler’s loyalty was in the political fight that was at the time developing in Kano. However, it was convenient for him to let the people blame Sanusi’s ouster on his loquaciousness.

Truth was that Ganduje was uncomfortable with his growing influence. The Kano governorship election of 2023 was one of the most keenly contested, mainly because it became a superiority contest between Kwankwaso and Ganduje who had become his estranged political godson. In the political dogfight that ensued between their camps, Abba Yusuf who is a well-known Kwankwaso ally prevailed against Alhaji Yusuf Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress. It was such a bruising election followed by a nail-biting legal duel, and till today, the collateral damages are still unfolding.

With that background, the surprise is that Governor Abba Yusuf waited a whole year before butting off Aminu Ado Bayero. And Emir Sanusi, who has for the past x years that he was out of the throne, adopted the name Khalifa, it has turned out prophetic.

The Khalifa is a leader. Emirship is bestowed but leadership evolves. So. In one man, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a leader is enthroned the traditional and spiritual leader, not once but twice. Sanusi’s imminent return was clear from the outset. As governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Abba Yusuf gave the indication while he was campaigning for the 2023 election that he would revisit his dethronement. So when the State House of Assembly passed the bill repealing the State Emirate Council Law 2019 that gave the state five emirate councils, he claimed it was a fulfillment of his campaign promise.

That the governor signed the bill which implicitly dissolved the four additional emirates created by former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje the same day it was passed by the state lawmakers, speaks volumes of his interest in rewriting that chapter of Kano Emirate history. The bill effectively provided for the removal of the 15th Emir of Kano Aminu Ado Bayero and removal of all the five Emirs in all the five emirates.

They include the Emir of Bichi Nasir Ado Bayero, Emir of Rano Kabiru Muhammad Inuwa, Emir of Karaye Ibrahim Abubakar II and Emir of Gaya Aliyu Ibrahim Abdulkadir. It also provides for the reinstatement of the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano. The Kano emirate has indeed come full circle and for the Khalifa, it is a victory like no other. It rewrites a history that saw him repeating the inglorious fate of his grandfather. And for the second time in recent times, the Kano emirate has come from near dismemberment to return to its ancient status. Under the new Kano Emirate Repeal law 2024, the entire Kano state is now under one emirate ruled by Sanusi.

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