A phantom group “Kano state for promotion of Education and Culture” led by an unknown character “Mohammed Mukhtar” has submitted a petition before the Kano state house of Assembly against His Highness the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II over what they called “…his attitude and character” which they claim were in “…dispute to our culture and religion”.
After receiving this petition on Wednesday March 4, 2020, the house constituted a committee headed by the Deputy Speaker to investigate the allegations and submit its findings within 7 days subsequent to which “appropriate actions will be taken against the Emir”
This action (reads charade), which follows a lingering and well documented cold war between the state governor and the emir, comes as no surprise. As a matter of fact, many have wondered how the latter has continued to sit on the throne despite all that has ensued between the duo. If in the event he is dethroned, it would not be unexpected. And if he should survive the former’s tenure, it would as well be nothing short of a miracle.
The history of Kano has never been short of such feuds between state administrators and her traditional rulers. From Dr. Featherstone Cargill and Emir Abbas in 1908, Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna and Sarki Sanusi I in 1963, to Abubakar Rimi and Emir Bayero in 1982. Despite the repetition of such history, none has been more vindictive, malevolent and unrelenting as the present one and this is evident in how some state institutions and arms of government have been recruited as willing tools to execute a personal grudge at the detriment of their independence and the overall peace of the entire state. Right from the initial investigation of the Emir over an alleged financial misconduct to the creation of the four new emirates and now this, one cannot fail to detach the processes involved from gross abuse of power and an absence of institutional independence. Recipes for the entrenchment of a fascist-like state. The thought of this playing out right before our very eyes, is quite unsettling to say the very least.
Most worrisome of all, is the alacrity with which the legislative arm is always willing to carry out any “hatchet” job aimed at the emir but always seems to drag its feet to more pressing issues that require maximum and speedy attention. When a state high court ruled against the creation of the 4 new emirates last year, a new bill was quickly presented to the house by the governor on a Monday and by Thursday of same week, the bill was rushed through and quickly passed without any form of recourse to the sustained public outcry against such creation. The least that could have been done was to consult widely and listen to the reasons of the people via the constitutionally provided mechanism of a public hearing. Also, when the state governor was accused of allegedly receiving bribes in a series of videos and despite being halted by a court to investigate the allegations, one would expect that the assembly would exploit other legal and viable options at their disposal to attend to the matter.
And now again, the very same scenario is playing out with the speed at which the petition was received, a committee set up and the number days (a week) allocated for it to return its findings. While it might be argued that the petition emanated from “concerned citizens” and the Assembly has a duty and responsibility to serve the interest of its citizens, series of events before this would pick holes in such argument and render it weak. A careful and diligent combing, would quickly pick up the political undertone that bellies these actions. If only such zeal was deployed into deliberating and passing the pile of people-centric bills that have gathered up dust in the hallowed chambers, the state would have been at the forefront of monumental development by now.
Finally, the allegations levelled against the emir in the petition are nothing short of mockery of our sensibilities as a people. While some of the emir’s utterances and stance on certain issues might come across as controversial, none so far have been considered a violation of our religion. As for culture, so long any of such stance of the emir is in variance with parts of our culture that have slowed our progress as a people, then it is welcomed. Moreover, who made this so called group custodian of our culture and translators of what constitutes a violation of it and of our religion? What other violation of culture and religion is more glaring than that of a Chief Executive filmed on tape pocketing wads of foreign currency into his Babar Riga? What other violation of religion is more than an Assembly who swore by the Holy Qur’an to carry out its responsibilities without fear, favor and undiluted allegiance to the people, manipulating the instruments of their offices at the detriment of the yearnings of the same people who voted them to serve them? Is our State Assembly truly independent or a rubber stamp?
The trend of manipulating state institutions and instrumentalities of law to achieve personal agenda against perceived enemies is a dangerous path that will not augur well for the future of our dear state and for the sustainability of our hard fought democracy.