There is a pantheon of Nigerians who can bend the law to their will. Their wish is a command. They are always indulged, whether at the expense of the sacred or the profane.
The name of this charmed circle is ‘omnipotent’. They may hand the most damned soul a lifeline. They can save your neck from the noose with a single telephone call.
When they deign to pick up the phone and express interest in your case, your case dies. The executor drops the rope. And you are instantly acquitted, regardless of the particulars of your wrongdoing.
This circle of special beings, however, does not intervene on behalf of non-persons. They live in their own separate universe, and as so, can expend concern for the commoner existing elsewhere. They are only mindful of members of their privileged community, whom they must move to quickly rescue when the need arises.
Last week, that club of most influential Nigerians gave the Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi II, a timely respite. With a concert of phone calls, they interposed and truncated the nascent probe of the Kano State House of Assembly into allegation of the misappropriation of 3.4 billion naira Kano Emirate Council fund by Emir Sanusi. They effectively guilted the probe team into admitting the offense of lèse-majesté.
That elite rescue team that cajoled the Kano House of Assembly into abandoning their legitimate legislative duty of investigating alleged abuse of public funds by Sanusi was led by Acting President Yemi Osibanjo. Osibanjo, a professor of Law, who cannot claim ignorance of the meaning of obstruction of justice, weaponized the presidency against the law. He threw the weight of Aso Rock on that subject of legislative inquiry…and crushed it!
Other interveners included former heads of state, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar; Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar; and businessmen and indigenes of the state, Aliko Dangote and Aminu Dantata. These five men represent the cream of the Northern oligarchy. They are all multi-billionaires. There is no little irony in the fact they felt obligated to squelch an inquiry into a multibillion naira corruption case!
The interlopers who saved Sanusi from the probe purported to be peacemakers. They pretended that, absent their involvement, the probe would morph into an ungovernable crisis. They went out of their way to mediate for the sake of stability. And the only way they could forestall chaos was to have the corruption allegation swept under the rug!
The real motivation of ‘the foresighted do-gooders’ is easily discernable. They were actuated by class loyalty. They moved to protect one of their own, to preserve the communal immunity of their fold. Because the demystification of one permits the denudation of the rest.
They forced the miscarriage of the probe because they couldn’t imagine the Emir being subjected to the ‘indignity’of a legislative probe. They would not allow Sanusi to suffer humiliation in the hands of his own ‘subjects’. Men who were ‘inferior’ to His Majesty should not question him!
In addition, the do-gooders were mortally afraid of the likely findings of the probe. They weren’t so sure that if the probe ran its course that Sanusi would be found to be without blemish. They feared that if the Pandora’s Box was opened, they would be unable to manage the aftermath.
Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, urged the House of Assembly to suspend the probe because Sanusi ‘’has admitted all his faults and mistakes and agreed to make adjustment.’’ So, Sanusi was manifestly unwilling and unready to prove his innocence. He elected to apologize and prevail on his friends to help him kill the probe!
It’s a shame!
Sanusi attained the height of his national popularity as a non-conformist whistleblower. As governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he exposed the diversion of 20 billion dollars from the national treasury. When President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi for speaking out, Sanusi replied that ‘’you can suspend a man, but you cannot suspend the truth.’’
Just before the empanelling of the House of Assembly probe team, Emir Sanusi chastised Governor Ganduje for squandering public funds on a meaningless month-long visit to China. It turned out the visit lasted four days.
It is, therefore, very telling that when the selfsame Sanusi was accused of squandering public money in his trust, he declined to clear his name. He elected, instead, to orchestrate the abortion of the probe. He massaged egos and unleashed his contacts!
This is hypocrisy!
Since his ascendance to the throne, Emir Sanusi has been playing the part of a radical reformer. But only the gullible can be deceived by his pretensions. His deeds do not mesh with his rhetoric.
During the commemoration of the third anniversary of the kidnap of Chibok Girls, Sanusi sent his daughter to read his speech at the occasion. He said he sent the girl to represent him because he wanted to demonstrate his commitment to the cause of the empowerment of the girl child. But that’s a lie: Sanusi is no hero of the girl child.
Upon becoming Emir, Sanusi, then 54, strained at the leash to marry the 17 year-old daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa. He managed to wait for the girl to turn 18 before taking her as wife in order to avoid media backlash. Yet, that ‘wait’ only made him a more patient and considerate cradle-snatcher than ‘Senator’ Sani Yerima!
The other day, Sanusi advocated for the conversion of muslim worship centers in the North into primary schools. He said, ‘’If you look at our educational needs vis-à-vis the infrastructure deficit, it becomes imperative to convert existing mosques to primary schools, and aside cost reduction on this era of recession, it would accelerate education development in the region.”
On the surface, that’s a good idea. Northern Nigeria needs more schools than mosques. And Southern Nigeria needs more schools than churches. We generally need more education than religion as a country and a people.
But if you carefully consider that Sanusi proposition, you will recognize a self-righteous emir externalizing blame for the educational backwardness of the North. As far as he was concerned, the number of mosques scattered all over the place was responsible for the high level of illiteracy in the North. Neither he nor the outmoded monarchical institution he represents has anything to do with the problem.
That is vintage Sanusi. He excels in finger-pointing. And he is blind to the truism that more fingers point toward him who points at others.
Sanusi, a highly educated banker and intelligent thinker, cut short his promising career to become the head of a high-maintenance anachronism that parasitizes the poor. A monarchy that owes its sustenance to the diversion of public funds to the palace. An emirate that adds no value to the life of its inhabitants.
Sanusi has always made clear that his greatest life ambition was to become Emir of Kano. For him, enjoying that apotheosis sometimes means parading his latest exotic car around Kano and ravishing the sight of his poor ‘subjects’ waving at him and staring at his flashy toy. He would excite his domain with the Dino Melaye pageantry and leave his spectators salivating after the show!
This Emir likes to point out that Northern political leaders are perpetuating poverty in the North. He is part of the problem. The fate of the people of the North and the contours of that region will change within the shortest period of time if the resources that are lavished on him and his ilk are re-channeled to improving the life of the poor.
Sanusi called on Northern governors to convert some mosques in their states to primary schools. The 3.4 billion naira he is alleged to have misappropriated was allocated to him by Kano State government. That sum of money can build at least six modest primary schools, fully equipped with furniture, libraries and computers.
If Sanusi was a true proponent of education for all, he would have long abdicated the throne and started canvassing for the abolishment of all emirates, obadoms and ezedoms as a private citizen!
Same goes for the Sultan of Sokoto. Last week, he decried the normalization of street begging in the North and pronounced the almajiri culture un-Islamic. He is part of the problem. The resources that are wasted on his palace every year can change the prospect of thousands of street kids in Sokoto.
The emirates, obadoms and ezedoms don’t do anybody any good, save the lucky heads of those domains. They are installed to be leeches. Their real job is to drain the poor of lifeblood!
The most disappointing part of this aborted probe is the role of Osibanjo. He rubbished the anti-corruption construct that is the centerpiece of the Buhari-Osibanjo presidency. It doesn’t matter whether he intruded of own volition or acted on the instruction of his boss, President Buhari: Osibanjo telegraphed that anti-corruption is also fighting anti-corruption!
Probe or no probe, Sanusi needs to open the books of Kano Emirate Council to the world. The telephone calls of his friends have yet to save him. A dark cloud still hangs over his turban!
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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