Posted by News Express | 19 March 2020 | 3,912 times
By DESMOND MGBOH, Kano
Second Republic politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has cautioned traditional rulers in the North to submit themselves to political authorities, insisting that he who has powers to appoint them, should naturally have powers to depose them. He acknowledged that the deposition of His Highness, Mallam Sanusi Muhammad was most unfortunate, but admitted that Kano has to move forward. The elder statesman expressed optimism that the new Emir, Alhaji Aminu Bayero would live up to the expectation of the people of the emirate council.
On Monday, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi was deposed as the Emir of Kano. As an elder in the state and the region, a lot of people would want to hear your perspective to what had happened.
In the history of Kano, a total of 15 rulers were, for one reason or the other, deposed from the time of what they call Hagbe- which is not a complementary word to the Fulani dynasty. So it (deposition) is not something new in Kano. But in a situation like this, we have people with their sympathies, some people are in support of the government’s action while some other people are not. This is natural. So, this is something that I think our people should take it as it came and let the state move on. I know that both the deposed Emir and the governor, their offices aside are my children. So as a father, I prefer to see them live with one another in peace and where some infraction had happened, there is nothing anybody can do. The important thing is let the state remain in peace and let Nigeria remain in tranquility.
Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of influencing the deposition of Emir Sanusi; how do you react to that?
This is highly political. If you look at the situation, Kwankwaso was among the founding members of APC who made it possible for Buhari to become the President and he left the party and went back to his PDP. If the people make statement like this, you have to examine the statement in its context. Buhari made a statement recently before the removal of the Emir, stating that the issue of the Emir and the governor were purely state matters. By the provision of the constitution, the President has no power on this matter. If probably he can intervene, it was probably in his private capacity. Now, whether he has done that or not, I cannot say because I am not in a position to say that. But certainly and constitutionally, he has very little role to play. Something like this had happened in this country. If you remember, Sultan Dasuki was removed by the governor of Sokoto State. The Emir of Gwandu was also removed by the governor of Sokoto State. The Federal Government, at that time, did not intervene because they have no constitutional authority to intervene. All in all, like I was saying that from the beginning of traditional rulership in Kano to date, about 10 or more rulers were deposed. The removal of Sanusi is not by itself an aberration. His grand father was removed by Sardauna, his best friend.
Let us look at the interventions of the elders of the North at various levels and why they failed. I just went through the recommendation of the Abdulsalam committee and it was excellent. What happened?
Well, there is something which you may not know. Even before the Abdulsalam committee decided to intervene, there were local efforts to resolve this dispute. There are records, but they did not succeed. When people are quarreling and they are not prepared to settle, of course, you cannot force them to settle. It was only when the local intervention did not succeed that the outside interventions found the opportunity to come into the matter. If the local interventions had succeeded, outsiders would not have been in the position to enter the matter.
With what has just happened to Emir Sanusi, which has belittled the traditional stool, what would happen to the traditional authority, respect, the grace and the glamour they enjoy?
I will say something which may not be palatable to you or to many people. My experience is that in many areas in Northern Nigeria, there are Emirs who agree to submit themselves to the authority of the state government. There are, however, those who are not willing to submit themselves to the authorities of the government. Well, it is common sense that he who has powers to appoint you shall automatically have powers to remove you. This is the crux of the matter. I am telling you that this is the experience that came before and even during the First Republic. It is the reason why during the First Republic, the Emir of Kano, Sir Muhammad Sanusi, who like I said was the best friend of Sardauna, was deposed by the same Sardauna. I will appeal to all the traditional rulers to do just two things. One is to accept the truth that who is in the position to appoint them is their superior and therefore they should respect him. Secondly, we should all know that the name and nomenclature of traditional ruler or traditional institution is no where mentioned in the Constitution of Nigeria. It is absolutely a regional issue and so, it behoves on the subordinate in authority to submit themselves to the authority of the subordinate. That would guarantee peace and tranquility in the region.
Do we still have to send to exile and banish traditional rulers in the wake of their dethronement in the light of the fact that this action is a stranger in the 1999 Constitution?
This is a matter for the court to decide. My perspective is that it has happened before. If you remember, very few years ago, Sultan Dasuki was banished. The Sultan is the paramount traditional ruler in the Sokoto Emirate. He was deposed and banished. The next in rank in Fulani dynasty in Northern Nigeria, the Emir of Gwandu, Jokolo was also deposed and banished. I don’t know what the authorities rely in to continue to banish traditional rulers. I know that the belief, long before the colonial era, is that if they were left in their domains or within their jurisdictions, maybe they would influence the happening in these domains. So, they decided to keep them away. Whether there is a legal provision or constitutional provision to that effect, I am not in the position to say. It is only lawyers that are in the position. But unfortunately, there is always two sides, it is just like a coin.
Sanusi’s outspokenness was his Waterloo. How do you see outspokenness as one factor that should be managed well while on the throne.
I think to be honest, the local peace initiative failed on this very issue. They tried to appeal to him to moderate his press and public intervention. You are a journalist. There is a sacrifice you make in order to keep your job. The same thing applies to governors and presidents too. There is a sacrifice you must make. You lose your liberty and freedom. Your ADC alone can stop you. The media is pushing people to doing things. Sometimes, they succeed, sometimes they don’t. People should agree that once they accept to serve as traditional rulers, they should see themselves as fathers of all and moderate their utterances in the interest of their own reign. Sometimes, if you talk too much, you may say something that is offensive to people that are in authority over you.
Looking at the reign of Sanusi as the Emir of Kano, what are the high points? What would you say that he brought to bear in his time as the ruler of the people?
To be honest, I don’t know! But if you know, just report it. I was here when he was appointed; I was here when his grandfather was appointed and I was here when his great grandfather was the Emir. If I say I don’t know something, please believe me.
The last wish of the Late Alhaji Ado Bayero was that his son should succeed him and now two of his children are back in power. Could this have been a coincidence? What does that portend for Kano?
This is really historical. This is the first time that two brothers were made Emirs in the entire history of Nigeria. They are from the same father and mother and yet two of them are Emirs now. Now he is the Emir of Kano and the other brother is the Emir of Bichi. I think that it is an act of God. It has never happened before in this land or region. I don’t know whether it has ever happened elsewhere. But it is part of our history today.
Some people claimed that this could be a reflection of the measure of love people have for their late father?
The late Alhaji Ado Bayero ruled Kano for over 50 years and therefore, he has tremendous goodwill in Kano. I think if you want to measure the amount of goodwill he enjoyed in Kano, you can measure when his most senior son was first mentioned to succeed him, and when the situation was altered, you could see the reaction of the people at that time; it was spontaneous and momentary. And you can see what happened- two of his children were appointed as Emir. Virtually, either the majority of people are happy or those who are not happy have not come out to protest. This is not because of the new Emirs, it is because of the respect that their father has been enjoying and is still enjoying among the people of Kano. He was a very careful person. He knew his limits and he accepted it; also he was one of the most popular princes in the history of Kano. There were brothers before him. Kano is divided into two, there is a section of Hagbe area and there is a section they call Fulani area. Ado Bayero, from their time, he was in mixed school to their time when he graduated and got employment with First Bank in the early period of his life; his friends were largely from the other sides of the divide. He was one of the few members of the royal family who are so endowed by God to be friendly with people from their own side and people from the other side.
How do you envisage Kano under the reign of Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero as an Emir?
We will wait to see what we happen… I know him personally. There is something which happened that reminded me of the atitude of his father. He inherited the attitude of his father, the same thing with his brother, the Emir of Bichi. They have a way of becoming the friends to everybody.
Let us look at the Kano State House of Assembly, who were supposed to check on the governor. But they appeared to have simply served the purpose of the governor without any check? How do you rate the the state House of Assembly in the state?
Do you want me to tell you the truth? The whole truth? Okay you are in Nigeria and I am in Nigeria. PDP was not a party of any single person. It did not belong to any group of Nigerians. It was a party of all its members. Before Obasanjo, PDP members exercised the right to dominate either party or public officers without any hindrances or let. Accepted that Obasanjo was not there when they formed their party, but he was elected as president. And sometimes along the period of presidency, he decided to appoint himself as the leader of the PDP, a provision that has no place in the Constitution. And in order to carry the 36 governors along, he made the governors the leaders of their respective parties in the respective states by mere pronouncement. This is the beginning of the enormous influence the governors and the President enjoy in Nigeria. Thirty seven of them decide the fate of Nigeria. They have powers over everything that affect all of us. I had complained of this before and until we change this rule, until we change the situation, it would continue to affect us differently and in very many ways- because you cannot be a candidate of the state assembly or even any other position without the expressed approval of your governor and if it is at the national level , without the approval of the President.
But we have PDP members in the same House. How come they still did not pose any serious resistance to some of these shortcuts of the process?
This is a puzzle for all of us. Why did the opposition PDP in the House agree to be the yes men in all these?
In a single assessment. credit , below credit, average. How would you assess them?
Members of the legislative arms of government, be it at the national, state level or at the local council level, are not free to exercise their authorities on the governors. I want a situation where these people would be free. I want a situation where we would have political parties that would be owned by their members. (Daily Sun)
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