His background in Islamic Studies at a leading Islamic University in Khatourm, the capital of Sudan, should have ordinarily perverted critical reasoning in him, paradoxically, the recently ‘deposed’ Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11, frantically utilized Islamic knowledge as an intellectual instrument to illuminate the dark sides of his society.
Unlike his contemporaries with the same religious conviction and socio-economic status, Sanusi chooses to liberate the minds of the oppressed through deep and logical narratives on many issues others considered as sacrilegeous; obviously, his ideology frowns at conspiracy of thoughts amongst oppressors to keep common people in perpetual economic and socio-political darkness, simply to sustain exploitation of their perceived ignorance.
Sanusi, in the post – independence Nigeria remains the only Northern elite that has ever taken objective position on the variance between Northern social philosophy and global conception of modernity and civilization, coupled with fundamental psyches for development and growth.
Unfortunately, the events of the past years, starting from his stint at the United Bank for Africa to First Bank of Nigeria and lastly in the public service as the Governor of Nigeria’s Apex Bank labelled Sanusi as a Litmus Test for Orientation and Ideology of Nigeria’s nation-state, which to a very large extent had determined where we are presently as a nation and the nature of our brand within the comity of nations.
Moving forward, systematic and painstaking analysis of the climax of Sanusi’s price for objectivity, truth and long sightedness came to play on February 17, during the 60th birthday of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, where he courageously warned the Northern elite of impending calamity that awaits the region as a consequence for their age-long misdeamounor.
While he observed that majority of Northern elites have been beclouded with euphoria of free monies from oil of the South South, while their homes are in serious turmoil, Sanusi cautioned that,” a Nigerian leader of northern extraction had any reason to be happy given the sorry state of insecurity, education, poverty, health care, nutrition and almajiri problem in that part of the country”.
He averred that it was worrisome that the North had the largest chunk of poverty, out-of-school children and beggars in the country and called for immediate efforts to reduce the poor statistics so as to place the region at par with other parts of the country.
According to him: “If the North does not change the situation it is grappling with today, it will destroy itself. We need to get our northern youths to study harder, get the required educational qualifications to compete with Nigerians for jobs and other positions instead of relying on quota allocations. This is because the rest of the country may not wait for the north forever”.
Unfortunately for Sanusi, the rest of Northern political elite are regrettably pretentious and passive to the present realities in their zone, believing the rest of the country are not seeing and considering the negative impact of Northern retrogressive posture on advancement and stability of other regions.
It was deduced that the Northern Oligarchy considered Sanusi’s candid submission as a sacrilege against the North, saying a Northerner of his status and stature should not have spoken that level of truth, hence, the speedy gang up that eventually resulted to his gestapotic removal as the Emir of Kano, and the rest instructively became history.
Of great concern to conscious observers around the globe was the manner in which security operatives fired tear gas to disperse a crowd at the palace, as they escorted the ‘deposed’ Emir of Kano to Nasarawa State, and the speed in which the Kano State Government announced the appointment of Aminu Bayero, who was until then the Emir of Bichi, as the new Emir of Kano.
Addressing reporters on the “dethronement, deportation and banishment,” of Sanusi on Tuesday, the leader of his legal team, Abubakar Mahmoud, described the action of Kano state government as “illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.”
He said: “We call on the authorities, in particular, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of Department State Services and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure the immediate release of HH Muhammadu Sanusi 11 so that he can be reunited with his family.
”We are concerned about the personal safety and security of HH Muhammadu Sanusi 11 and wish to call on all well meaning Nigerians and the International Community to bring their influence to bear to ensure that HH Muhammadu Sanusi regains his liberty immediately and to guarantee his safety and security.”
On his dethronement and banishment, Mahmoud said: “This action in our view is illegal and unconstitutional. The Kano State Emirate Council Law which was recently enacted by the Government of Kano State does not give the State Executive Council or the Governor of Kano State the powers to unilaterally remove the emir.
“The reason given in the letter of deposition of the Emir dated 9th March, 2020, was alleged ‘disrespect to lawful instructions from the authorities’. The Emir was also alleged to have ‘refused to attend official programmes and meetings organised by the Government.
“As far as we are aware, there has not been any notice of such disrespect ever given to the Emir or querry issued to him for refusal to attend official functions. He was never given any opportunity to defend himself against those charges. Section 13 of the Kano Emirates Council Law 2019 cited in the letter of deposition empowers the Governor to depose an Emir only after due inquiry and in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.
” We are not aware of such due inquiry nor are we aware that the Kano State Council of Chiefs was at any time summoned to any meeting much less discuss the removal of the Emir or give any advice to the Governor on the deposition. Muhammadu Sanusi II was the Chairman of the Council and if such meeting was summoned, he would have been aware.
“He would have informed us. In our view, the action was patently illegal and unconstitutional and a clear abuse of power.
Be that as it may, the decision to challenge the removal is solely that of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II. At this moment no such instruction has been given to us.”
He added: “We have not spoken to the Emir since yesterday but we understand they are at their destination somewhere in a remote part of Nassarawa State after driving for nearly seven hours in the night and arrived at about 2.00 am this morning. We understand the choice of location to detain HH Muhammadu Sanusi II was intended to cause maximum trauma and distress. This again is illegal and unconstitutional.
“According to instructions we received from the Emir through his Chief of Staff, we are directed to take legal action to challenge the legality of the Emirs detention and banishment. We are of the firm view that this action is illegal and unconstitutional.
“Section 35 of our constitution guarantees every citizen the right to personal liberty. The basis of the denial of personal liberty are set out clearly in this Section of the Constitution. None applies to the case of the Emir.
“The archaic practice of banishment of deposed Emirs, a colonial practice has no basis under Nigerian law or the Constitution. We are totally perplexed at the resort to this practice in present day Nigeria by its political leaders.
“The illegality of this practice was pronounced by the Nigerian Court of Appeal in Attorney General Kebbi State v. HRH Alhaji Al Mustapha Jakolo and ors 2013 LPELR 22349/CA where the Court pronounced it as illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the rights of the Emir.
” This is what the court said in that case: The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the Governor of Kebbi State….of the first respondent to Lafia in Nassarawa State and later to Obi also in Nassarawa State is most unconstitutional and illegal”, Mahmoud submitted .
Speaking further, a legal practitioner in Osun State, Adeolu Sanyaolu, said Sanusi is at liberty to press for his fundamental rights of freedom of association and expression irrespective of circumstances of his condition.
Sanyaolu expressed confidence in the sanctity of the judiciary for redress, saying one of the principles of rule of law is liberty and free will, adding that Sanusi remains a free person in the face of law.
”The development in Kano is worrisome and disturbing, it is inherently an aberration in a democratic system, where liberty and freedom are sacrosanct.
“The manner in which the deposed monarch was whisked away by security operatives was barbaric and uncivilized, such action must be tested in the competent court of law”, he submitted.
In as much as one is terribly taken aback and astonished by the body language and later the position of the presidency, which interestingly is headed by a man of Northern extraction, It is our firm belief that the extant law of the land in any circumstances supersedes every ordinance and gazette of various dimensions, as it places high premium on fundamental rights of every Nigerian citizenry, the privilege Sanusi still enjoys no matter who he might have offended.
Finally, it is pertinent for members of the National Assembly to take proactive steps towards reevaluating the political system in the face of lopsided structure that continues to draw the nation backwards to the days of colonial manipulation and give opportunities to critical minds to take front positions in decision-making mechanism.