Tussle For Kano Emirate: A Call To Honour People’s Will, Heritage


The Emir Of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II

Abass Abdullahi

There is a popular saying that two kings can’t be in control of a kingdom at the same time. I believe that is the reason there is no appointment of a new king until the demise or deposition of the other.

Currently, in Kano, two kings are laying claims to the throne of the revered Kano Emirate. According to history, the two Kings, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi also known as Muhammad Sanusi II and Aminu Ado-Bayero, are Cousins.

The Deposed Emir Of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero 

The reinstated Muhammad Sanusi II is not only married to a daughter of Alhaji Ado Bayero, he is also a second cousin to Aminu Ado Bayero; his father, the late Chiroman Kano, Aminu Sanusi being a nephew to the late Emir Ado Bayero.

The two brothers are now at daggers drawn over who is the legitimate occupier of the exalted seat of the Emir of the ancient city of Kano.

While Muhammad Sanusi II, an accomplished and successful banker, risk manager and a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is known to the Emirate and Kano laws as the legitimate Emir of the Emirate, deposed Emir, Aminu Ado-Bayero, is still hanging on due to what has been alleged to be ‘unseen hands’ giving him support allegedly because of the 2027 elections.

In Nigeria, Kano is one of the three states that every would be President must win in the North-West. This is because of its population and delineation, so every incumbent President want to have it in its kitty.

Allegedly because of this, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the presidency, owing to the population and the importance of Kano State to national politics and general elections, are rumoured to providing subtle support to deposed Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero, who ascended the throne through the help of the current APC National Chairman and ex governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje on March, 9th 2020.

This is fingered as a major factor why the power brokers at the nation’s capital and seat of power are urging Ado Bayero to lay claim to the stool even though he has been legitimately dethroned after the law that brought him as Emir of the Emirate was repealed by the state House of Assembly and signed into law by the governor of the state, His Excellency, Abba Kabir, on May 23rd, 2024.

There is no gain saying the fact that the dethroned emir’s insistence on returning to Kano after being rightly dethroned was to induce tension in the Emirate. This act of the deposed Emir has, however, brought tension and brought the usually peaceful state on the edge.

Also, it’s pertinent to note that Muhammad Sanusi II has a legitimate claim to the throne. Aside being a desendant of the Dabo dynasty, he was born in Kano in 1961 into the royal family as the grandson of Muhammadu Sanusi I.

It should also be noted that he successfully succeeded his great-uncle Ado Bayero to the throne on 8 June 2014, assuming the regnal name Muhammadu Sanusi II before he was deposed by the former governor of Kano State under what is largely believed to be controversial circumstance in March 2020.
Though deposed by the Ganduje’s administration, the deposition did not erode the fact and history of Muhammad Sanusi II brilliance and accomplishment as a successful banker, risk manager that rose to become first northerner to head First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), one of Africa’s largest financial institutions and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as governor between 2019to 2014.

As fate would have it, Muhammad Sanusi II returned to the throne after the law that deposed him and balkanised the Kano Emirate into five in March 2020 was repealed by the current government of governor Abba Yusuf, on March 23rd, 2024.

This is because the Ganduje Emirate’s law of 2020 that balkanized the Emirate into five, namely; Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya, in addition to Kano, generated controversy because it distorted the over 1,000-year-old Kano Emirate history.

Historians were also against the Ganduje’s law as they argued that the Kano Emirate Council Law 2019, made the kingdom loss its identity, national dignity, created division and huge embarrassment for the Emirate.

However, it is believed that with the repeal of the Kano Emirate Council Law 2019, by the current state assembly, the Kano State Emir’s Appointment and deposition amendment Law 2019, becomes non existent, thereby, putting a legal backing to the reappointment of Muhammed Sanusi II as the new emir of Kano.

Also, a lecturer at the Department of History, Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Prof. Tijjani Naniya, described the balkanization of the Kano Emirate and the Kano Emir’s Appointment and deposition amendment Law 2019, by ex-governor Ganduje as wrong and unnecessary.

Prof. Naniya, said the repeal of the 2019 law was anticipated because the very moment the process of reproducing the law started in 2019, he warned that there would be a problem.

‘’We cautioned the then government that it should not engage in this act because it will set a precedence. Because if by virtue of the power of a governor you could do whatever you like with the traditional institution, what if a different government came into being, who would stop him?” he explained.

However, what Prof. Naniya anticipated in 2020, has come to pass and with the widely held believe in the Emirate that the current administration led by His Excellency, Abba Yusuf, has put the Emirate back on track and returned it back to its rightful place in history by righting the wrong of the 2019 law with a new law in 2024, means the reinstalled Emir Muhammad Sanusi II has the support of his followers and should be allowed to man the throne which can be said traditionally and rightfully belongs to him but was obstructed and cut short through what some quarters has described as a backdoor arrangement by the State’s political buccaneers.

History plays a vital role in the life, tradition and ancestry of a group of people, and in this instance, the Kano emirate. Politics and politicians at whatever level should be weary of not allowing or giving up themselves to be used by selfish individuals in distorting and/or destroying the heritage that it holds and portends.

Abass Abdullahi, writes from Kano

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