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Kano Emirate and the irony of innocence By Abiodun KOMOLAFE

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There is a ticking time bomb in Kano and President Bola Tinubu has to move in quickly in a statesmanlike way to diffuse it. If centuries of upholding the tradition have brought peace to the ancient city just as we have in Ibadan, why uproot hundreds of years of history? Of course, that’s why Abdullahi Ganduje, the immediate past governor of Kano State, has to accept responsibility because he triggered this crisis.

Like it or lump it, Governor Abba Yusuf and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso also played politics. But then, Yusuf didn’t hide it, that he would remove Aminu Ado Bayero if he won the governorship election; and that promise enjoyed popular support among the people. For him therefore, he only sees Muhammadu Sanusi’s reinstatement as a fulfillment of a campaign promise and that’s what democracy is all about! Nonetheless, the irony of innocence is that nobody should be extricated from Kano’s current plight because they’re all involved!

Ganduje shouldn’t have deposed Sanusi and upset an Emirate structure that dates back to 1805. If God has structured everything to be in the right place, the former governor ought not to have kept repeating the same mistake. Instead, he should have tolerated the Emir and his excesses – real or perceived – just as former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State tolerated Lamidi Adedibu. Had he done that, the nonsense currently on rampage in Kano would have been avoided. It’s a real shame and how the state is going to get out of the quagmire will obviously now depend on the courts. One just hopes that the courts would now behave sensibly and do the needful.

The ‘wahala’ in Kano has again reinforced the urgent need for a constitutional court in Nigeria. Had there been one in place, the tendency is that it’d originate and get the matter resolved in a matter of weeks. Tragically however, the Akire stool in Osun State has sufficiently shown that only God knows the shape, size and duration of the search for justice. To put it succinctly therefore, unless God takes control, Kano is one case that’s destined to be rotating between ‘upandan’ and ‘dananup’ for a very long time to come. This is where we are and it is unfortunate!

The conflicting injunctions from the courts of concurrent jurisdictions and forum shopping by the counsels are also unhelpful as they have further de-marketed Nigeria’s judiciary which, already, is not taken seriously by the international community. One of the advantages countries like South Africa and Kenya have ahead of Nigeria is that the perception of their competitiveness is stronger than Nigeria because the world sees them as countries with very strong, independent judicial systems.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost, it becomes imperative for the gladiators to be cautious because it may be tempting for some people to contemplate a state of emergency in the state. Of course, that’d be dangerous because, unlike states like Plateau and Ekiti where a state of emergency was awarded and nothing to show for the show, Kano is a very politically explosive and threateningly sophisticated terrain. So, any government that will think of emergency rule in the state must first think of the country’s democracy which, even at 25, is still teething.

Let’s get it right, what is currently playing out in Kano is politics; and it’s always like that! From the deposition of Alaafin Adeniran Adeyemi II in 1955, to the dethronement of Oba Olateru Olagbegi in 1966, even the reduction of Oba Samuel Akinsanya’s annual salary to one penny by the Ladoke Akintola-led government in Western Nigeria, politics in this part of the world has always been a platform by the bourgeoisies and the capitalists to grab power, secure the spoils of office and pay back the favours that got them (s)elected; and it is the resources of the state that they’re leveraging. In the case of Kano, the only culprit is ambition. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with ambition. However, when ambition drowns deep in dirty politics and vain desires, it takes on an identity of significant tensions, and, if left unmanaged, the representations of its subconscious may have nothing to do with humanity.

Unlike Sanusi, that the dethroned Emir Bayero decided to return to Kano “amidst tight security” smirks of mischief and this is where Tinubu must rise above partisan politics by choosing the timing as well as what’s happening on the weather front before the crisis ultimately consumes everybody. Presently, it might look like a local Kano issue but a blowout is something that may ignite all kinds of hidden forces and, for a country already sitting on a powder keg, one cannot predict when, where or how it will end!

Let it be noted that, in terms of population and all kinds of social forces, Kano is ideologically and politically divided. Thus, any violence in the state may be another problem to contain because the country is already fragile. There could also be a domino effect in neighbouring states. Regrettably, Nigeria’s security forces are already overstretched and overstressed. Added to this is the lack of sophisticated munitions to prosecute the kind of war that’s already in our domain. So, it is a dicey situation!

The effect of the perception of Nigeria abroad – that the country has very weak institutions that can’t contain and diffuse this sort of thing – is already dire. So, Kano provides an opportunity for the president to prove the naysayers wrong! A mass showdown in a key state like Kano will not help Nigeria’s investment ratings for no man will want to invest in a country where his investments are not safe. A credit risk analyst who sits in London, analyzing the prospects of investments in Nigeria will definitely factor in a situation like Kano and come to the conclusion that the country’s climate is not conducive for investment and the spiral effects will not spare even those in Ijebu-Jesa in Osun State. All the more reason a government trying to attract investors must nip the tussle in the bud before the enthusiasm becomes uncontainable.

The beauty of the bash is that a template has already been set. But how have these ‘two-fighting’ distractions that politicians always use as a tool impacted the people and how has imposing or deposing monarchs improved the GDP level of our states? In Kano State, poverty level is very high and unemployment is also nothing to write home about. Come to think of it, state funds will be used to boost the egos of these monarchs, fight the battle in the law courts and underwrite security for those who have been deployed to keep the peace. So, what have the people gained? If Nigeria is truly a Republic, what are the roles of Obas, Obis and Emirs in this dispensation and what’s their centrality to the socioeconomic morass that is currently pushing the limit?

In practical terms, Kano is just part of the political economy that has sprung up to give Nigeria a disheveled appearance. It is nothing but a diversion of issues from the real issues of sustainable development and that’s part of what led to the abolition of the Maharajas and the Maharanis in India by Indira Gandhi and heavens did not fall! Of course, that’s what happens when people push their luck. That’s how it has been throughout history. Yes, that’s why the Bourbons are no longer on the throne in France. Pray that, one day, a power-drunk leader would not get to power only to make mincemeat of these excesses. After all, nothing lasts forever!

A word should be sufficient for the wise!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

_•ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk;_
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