By Malam Muhammad Garba
Upon receipt of the interim report of the Kano State Anti-Corruption and Public Complaint Commission on the outcome of investigations into the allegations of financial misappropriation by the Kano Emirate Council under the supervision of the Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammad Sanusi 11, Kano State Government, through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) on Thursday, June 6, issued an official query to the Emir requesting him to respond to the contents of the allegations, with a view to giving him fair hearing before taking further action.
Recall that a group known as Concerned Friends of the Kano Emirate had petitioned the anti-graft agency alleging that a whopping sum of N3.4 billion was illegally expended at different transactions by the Kano Emirate Council with the express approval of the Emir. The Kano anti-graft agency has been on this very matter for about three years; and not until recently when it concluded the investigation and did the needful by forwarding the interim report to Kano state government. Suffix it to say that the state anti-corruption body, which is independent, is acting based on the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission Law 2008 (as amended).
The Executive Chairman of Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, Bar. Magaji Rimingado made it clear to journalists on June 10 that he Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje did not and will never interfere on the probe. He noted that by virtue of Section 8 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Law 2008 (as amended) which provides that, ‘in exercising its powers under this law, the Commission shall not be subjected to the direction and control of any authority.’ The Commission is not under the control or direction of any authority or person. Our preliminary report is only for the Government to act administratively so that the Commission can continue to exercise its responsibilities without any interference and nothing more. As far as the Commission is concerned, this investigation is ongoing and the Commission will do everything legally possible to deliver its mandate with respect to the case.
In this circumstance, everyone conversant with the business of running the government will not criticize or condemn the query issued to Emir Muhammad Sanusi 11 by Kano state Government. Interestingly, Emir Sanusi, in compliance with the law, has replied the query issued to him by Kano State Government. He has stated his own side of the story and I believe relevant authorities are looking into it. In this line, I believe that it is in the interest of Emir Sanusi for the probe to be completed so that the sleeping dogs may lie.
Having noted this, I wonder the real motive behind an article published on the back page of Daily Trust of Friday, June 7, entitled “Letter to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.” In that article, the writer, Jibrin Ibrahim, handed a direct ‘order’ to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, urging him to retract the query, which in his opinion, should not have been carried out in the first place!
Away from the query issue, which in itself borders solely on matters that have to do with allegations of corruption, the writer also condemned the creation of the Bichi Emirate and upgrading of the already existing Emirates of Gaya, Rano and Karaye, describing it as a direct attack on the ‘almighty’ powers of Emir Muhammad Sanusi! Lost in his voyage of magnetizing Emir Sanusi, Jibrin Ibrahim came up with the unfitting reference of events that followed when on April 1, 1981, Governor Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory, created four new Emirs of Auyo, Dutse, Gaya, and Rano. It is, however, pertinent to note here that former Governor Rimi created these Emirates without recourse to the state House of Assembly, extant laws, and other due processes; which, indeed, were religiously followed by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje before the upgrading of the Karaye, Gaya, Rano Emirates, as well as the creation of the Bichi Emirate.
It is also very important to remind Jibrin Ibrahim that the whole idea of creating new Emirates in Kano did not emanate from Governor Ganduje. Governor Ganduje did not sponsor the bill. He did not send such to the state House of Assembly; rather, he only played the required constitutional role of assenting to the bill when it was brought to his table. He appended his signature on the bill because the upgrading and creation of the Emirates in Kano came as a popular demand.
Recall that the petition for the creation of new Emirates was authored by Mr. Ibrahim Salisu Chamber. In the petition, he forwarded to the House of Assembly, he was seeking for the upgrading and creation of four additional Emirate Councils in Gaya, Karaye, Rano and Bichi, which would be accorded equal status with the Kano Emirate currently manned by the Emir Muhammad Sanusi 11.
According to Ibrahim’s petition, the establishment of the four Emirate Councils would bring more development and smoothing the process of governance through traditional institutions in the state. Ibrahim demanded the decentralization of the Emirate Council. He insisted that such move would draw the people and traditional institutions closer to the state government, adding that such development would enhance security and socio-economic development in the state.
Following Mr. Ibrahim’s valid petition, the project for the creation of four additional Emirate Councils in Kano gained grounds as the Kano state House of Assembly amended the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Law 1983, which gave the legal backing for the creation of four additional Emirate Councils. The House of Assembly did not amend the law in isolation, rather, it inaugurated a joint Standing-Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Judiciary, which consulted stakeholders, studied and upheld the petition forwarded to the House by Mr. Ibrahim Salisu Chamber. The joint standing Committee came up with its report, which was eventually adopted by the state House of Assembly. When the bill arrived at Governor Ganduje’s table, he consulted relevant stakeholders and was assured that the creation and upgrading of the four new Emirates were in the best interest of Kano state. In this circumstance, every right-thinking leader who has the interest of his people at heart would go ahead and endorse the wishes of the majority of the people—that was exactly what Governor Ganduje did by assenting to the bill that paved way for the creation and appointment of new First Class Emirs in Kano.
The new law was gazetted in Kano Government printer. The new Emirs were officially appointed and installed, even before the purported Court Order. The Court also urged parties to maintain the status quo which was clearly interpreted by the Judge, though people like Jibrin Ibrahim have gone to town turning the decision of the Court upside-down for reasons best known to them.
I will also wish to briefly take us back to history. Students of history will attest to the fact that the Gaya Emirate precedes Kano Emirate in reality. From the beginning, the blacksmiths from Gaya first settled in the famous Dutsen Dala when they were searching for ironstone. Their settlement gave rise to clustered ancient settlements of sedentary communities which later became Kano. Even with the coming of the Fulani Jihad, Gaya maintained its position as an independent and autonomous Emirate. Gaya’s original status, was, however, distorted in 1914 when it was reduced to the status of a District by the British colonialists for their administrative convenience.
More so, the Karaye Emirate had existed for several centuries as an autonomous and independent kingdom under the reign of successive SanKaraye who were able to preserve and protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Even after the Fulani Jihad, SanKaraye maintained the autonomy and independence of the Karaye Emirate. Unfortunately, the same colonial power reduced Karaye Emirate to a District for selfish reasons.
Rano Emirate was founded since 1000 A.D. It was ruled by several kings as an autonomous and independent Emirate. Those who are grounded in history will also recall that Rano, like Kano, was among the seven famous Hausa states historically known as the Hausa Bakwai founded by the powerful and legendary Bagauda. Rano remained an independent kingdom, even with the advent of the Fulani Jihad. Sadly, it was the British colonialists that removed the status of Emirate from Rano in 1908, just to have their way.
For the new Bichi Emirate, the clamour for its creation has been on for decades. It is a known fact that Bichi remained the breeding ground for Kano Emirs. Considering the geography and topography of Bichi, coupled with its socio-economic potentiality, the creation of Bichi as an Emirate is, no doubt, long overdue.
Indeed, it is not only sad but very unfortunate that somebody like Jibrin Ibrahim has become a mouthpiece for calls for breach of the peace and violence in Kano simply because he and his family do not reside here. Contrary to his claim that there is tension in Kano since May 8, residents and visitors to the ancient commercial city will attest to the fact that Kano has remained peaceful and tension-free, as it has been since the inception of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration on May 29, 2015. Even in the face of violent crimes in some neighbouring states, Kano has continued to maintain its rightful position as one of the most peaceful and violent-free states in the federation in recent times. Jibrin Ibrahim should come to terms with the realities because gone are the days when people use our hapless youths to perpetrate violence, while their own children are studying abroad. The various youth empowerment progarmmes, free-education policies, scholarship programmes and various human development initiatives embarked upon by Governor Ganduje’s administration, have liberated our youths from such mental slavery. They are now too busy and unavailable to be hired by shameless politicians and unpatriotic elite to cause mayhem for no reason.
Jibrin Ibrahim should grapple with the fact that change remains the only consistent thing in life. This is 21stcentury and Kano must move along with the tides of the times. The creation of new Emirates in Kano should not be misconstrued as a move to ‘dismantle’ the Kano Emirate and its rich cultural heritage, rather, it is a well-articulated move to expand Kano cultural heritage and take development directly to the people. These new four Emirates of Bichi, Gaya, Rano, and Karaye have come to stay. There is nothing Governor Ganduje can do now to revert it. This is a matter of law and due process. As a law-abiding leader and citizen, Governor Ganduje does not have the powers to revert the already created and established Emirates of Bichi, Karaye, Rano, and Gaya.
Finally, it is very important to commend eminent Nigerians who played vital roles to reconcile Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and His Highness, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi 11. This, indeed, is a welcome development which every peace-loving leader like Governor Ganduje will graciously embrace. However, it is very important to state that for the reconciliation to yield the desired fruits, Emir Muhammad Sanusi has a burden to publicly apologize to Governor Ganduje and the entire people of Kano state for dragging the revered image of the Kano Emirate into the mucky waters of politics.
Also, Emir Sanusi has the moral burden to withdraw all court cases he is personally sponsoring against Kano state Government. This will, indeed, demonstrate his readiness to embrace peace and forgiveness for the overall interest of Kano state and the good people of Kano.
Most importantly, Emir Sanusi should extend a hand of friendship to the Emirs of Karaye, Rano, Gaya, and Bichi; and show readiness to assume his esteemed position as the chairman of Kano State Council of Emirs. He is also expected to positively use his wealth of experience to lead other Emirs and ensure their commitment towards the socio-economic development of our great Kano state. When these are done, the reconciliation will not only become sweetest, but very rewarding.
Malam Muhammad Garba is the immediate-past Commissioner of Information, Youths, and Culture, Kano State.