Chinelo Obogo and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
In what appeared to be a U-turn, Kano State government has said it did not banish Muhammadu Sanusi II, deposed emir, from the state.
The state executive council chaired by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had deposed Sanusi for alleged “total disrespect to the office of the governor” among other allegations.
After his dethronement, the ex-monarch was first moved to Loko community and later Awe, a small town south of Lafia, about 85 kilometres from the capital of Nasarawa State.
Sanusi’s lawyers had asked for the release of the former emir, saying his forced relocation to Nasarawa was illegal and unconstitutional.
Speaking on a live television programme yesterday, Attorney-General Ibrahim Muktar said the state government only removed Sanusi from office for insubordination.
When asked if the emir had been banished from Kano, Muktar responded: “Of course, of course.” But when the question was asked a second time, Muktar denied the banishment, saying it was not part of the state government’s decision.
He said the former emir was only taken out of Kano State by the police owing to intelligence reports, adding that he was not aware of any decision to banish Sanusi.
“If you listen to the secretary to the state government when he was addressing the press on the issue of the removal of the emir from office, there was nowhere he stated that the emir was banished from Kano State.
“So, the decision of the government when the emir was removed on Monday was that he was removed from office and a new one appointed. The issue of banishment was not part of the decision of the Kano State government.
“We have been hearing from the media that he has been banished but what I know is that he was taken out of Kano State, but banishment was not part of our decision. There is no such decision, to the best of my knowledge.”
He said the decision to dethrone Sanusi was not based on the issues in court, but on administrative grounds.
“The state government has not taken the law into its hands. Let me explain that the decision to remove the emir from office is administrative and was not based on the issues pending before the court. All the issues pending before the court have nothing to do with the removal of the emir or the dethronement,” he said.
“No decision on that actually (continuation of Sanusi’s probe). I cannot pre-empt the position of the government on whether investigation will stop or continue.”
Buhari ordered dethronement, Kwankwaso alleges
Former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of masterminding the removal of Sanusi as emir.
Speaking with BBC Hausa service yesterday, Kwankwaso described Sanusi’s removal as a sad incident for Kano and Nigeria. In 2014, Kwankwaso, as governor, appointed Sanusi as the 14th Emir of Kano after former President Goodluck Jonathan suspended him governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Kwankwaso alleged that , contrary to reports that Buhari did not interfere in the Kano emirate crisis, the President had a hand in the dethronement of Sanusi.
“We believe here in Kano that Buhari interferes where he wishes. Kano State government officials have been saying they were directed to dethrone Sanusi II. Buhari instructed them,” Kwankwaso said.
He alleged Buhari “doesn’t interfere where his intervention is needed, but interferes on issues he is supposed to be neutral about.”
Eulogising the dethroned monarch, Kwankwaso said, “Emir Sanusi is a global citizen.”
Kano State Government on Monday dethroned Sanusi as the former Emir Kano citing insubordination and refusal to attend meetings called by the state government as reasons.
Following his removal, the state government immediately named Aminu Ado Bayero, one of the sons of Ado Bayero, the late Emir of Kano, as the 15th Emir.
It’s not true –Presidency
In reaction, the Presidency has absolved President Buhari of any role in Sanusi’s ordeal.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, described insinuations linking Buhari to Sanusi’s sack as “untrue, malicious and politically motivated.”
“The President does not have a history of intervening in the affairs of any state in the country, unless the issue at hand is of national consequence. On such matters, which impinge on national security, he has a duty of involvement, as the law stipulates.
“As outlined in the Constitution, the appointment or removal of emirs and other traditional leaders is strictly within the jurisdiction of state governments. It is unfair and disingenuous of opposition politicians to try to link the situation in Kano State to the Federal Government and the Nigerian President.
“Although a retired general and former military head of state, President Buhari clearly understands that, under the current democratic dispensation, the government at the centre cannot read instructions or twist the arms of all or any of the 36 state governments making up the federation. They all have their powers specified under the Constitution.
“President Buhari commends the people of Kano for keeping calm in the past few days of the dethronement announcement. He prays that the will of Allah will be done at all times, and that the emirate/state and its people continue to experience progress, irrespective of who is on the throne,” Shehu said.
Regardless, the new home of Sanusi is reportedly undergoing construction. As at 5pm yesterday, the house, located about 500 metres from the palace of the Emir of Awe, was still undergoing renovation.
TheCable visited the exile home and saw artisans fixing barbed wire and painting the building.
A truck also delivered a heap of sand for some finishing inside the compound. It was learnt that the house belonged to Umaru Tanko Akano, chairman of Awe council.
“The house had been built before now, but it was not furnished and was rarely in use. But since Sanusi came here, they have been doing some work as you see for yourself,” Mamman Mohammed, who lived a few metres from the house, told TheCable.
Sanusi has accepted to serve as Kaduna University chancellor
Interestingly, Kaduna State government has named the ex-emir chancellor of the Kaduna State University (KASU), a day after Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, appointed him vice chairman of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency.
Muyiwa Adekeye, special adviser to the governor on media and communication, announced this in a statement yesterday, saying Sanusi had given his consent to both appointments.
The former monarch would take over from Tagwai Sambo, pioneer chancellor, who has held the position since 2005.
El-Rufai said he was convinced the former governor of the CBN would “provide symbolic and substantive leadership in raising the profile of KASU as an emerging centre of learning on the national and global level.”
“On behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai is delighted to appoint His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, as the chancellor of the Kaduna State University. In public life, His Highness has demonstrated a strong commitment to education.
“The Kaduna State government has no doubt that, as chancellor, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi, would provide symbolic and substantive leadership in raising the profile of KASU as an emerging centre of learning on the national and global level.
“This appointment of the new chancellor comes at an exciting moment for KASU, which is transiting to a multicampus structure with presence across the state.
“HH Muhammadu Sanusi II replaces the pioneer chancellor, HH Malam Tagwai Sambo, the Chief of Moro’a, who has served in that role since 2005. Governor el-Rufai has conveyed the profound appreciation of the government to HH Malam Tagwai Sambo for the long years of distinguished service to KASU and the state.
“Malam Nasir el-Rufai welcomes with gratitude the consent of HH Muhammadu Sanusi to serve as chancellor of KASU and as vice-chairman of the board of KADIPA.
“The Kaduna State government is grateful that HH Muhammadu Sanusi II continues to support and assist the realisation of the governance objectives of the Kaduna State government.”