Guest Post 1: The Case AGAINST Sanusi Lamido Sanusi As Emir of Kano

After SLS was announced as the new of Emir of Kano on Sunday (8th) evening, I noticed a couple of my friends from Kano were on different sides of the announcement i.e. one was happy about it and another wasn’t. So I reached out to them to write their opinions about it for the benefit of us non-Kano indigenes who might be missing some of the nuance and localised politics of the matter. 

I will be publishing the argument FOR SLS as Emir tomorrow but let’s start off with the argument AGAINST. As you know, I am probably SLS’ greatest living fan on the internet But gaskiya, I have not edited a single line or word from the post below. I have also chosen to keep them anonymous (they don’t mind being known) so that people can focus on the arguments and not attack the person making them as an agent of APC or PDP.



“Ba ma yi! Kano Sai Dan Sarki Wallahi! Gwamma ba haka mukayi da kai ba”

Roughly translated into “We don’t support this. We want the son of the Emir (Ado Bayero). Governor, this is not what we agreed with you”.

These were the cries that spontaneously greeted the announcement of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS) as the emir of Kano. In Kano, SLS has always been a divisive figure. People in Kano admire him as SLS the thoroughbred professional, and his achievements over the course of his career speak for themselves. However, a sizeable majority of people especially those close to the Kano Emirate are not fans of SLS, the prince. If Kano royalty was as straightforward as politics, then maybe he would have been the popular choice as emir.

But it is not as straightforward. And he is not the popular choice. Not by a million miles.

This was a clear imposition by the increasingly vindictive Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. It is public knowledge that Kwankwaso never forgave the late emir, Ado Bayero who in Kwankwaso’s view, did nothing to stop his defeat during the 2003 general elections. The slogan “Sabon Gwamna, Sabon Sarki” (New Governor, New Emir) was used abundantly during Kwankwaso’s 2011 campaign actively supported by the man himself. This “beef” was exacerbated by Ado Bayero’s perceived closeness to the former governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Kwankwaso’s arch-nemesis and sworn enemy.

It is also public knowledge that Kwankwaso had on several times tried to instigate disagreement (which could eventually lead to dethronement) with the late emir in the past few years (much akin to “Release our girls” protesters trying to deliberately provoke “Bring Back Our Girls” protesters into fisticuffs, designed to herald an eventual ban on protests.). All who know Ado Bayero know him as a mature and peace-loving person, and he always took the option of being the bigger man in the face of deliberate antagonism & provocation throughout his long reign.

Genesis of The ‘Beef’ 

There was the incident shortly after Kwankwaso’s swearing-in in 2011 where the late emir Ado Bayero wrote to him informing him of his inability to engage in the Hawan Nassarawa, part of the traditional Sallah festivities, due to his illness becoming increasingly severe. The Hawan Nassarawa (which was modified by the colonialists to include royal horseback visits to colonial authorities first in their initial headquarters at Bompai, then later moved to Nassarawa) is a grueling 6-hour horseback ride around town in the hot sun, which involves visiting the Government House and paying homage to the Governor. 

Though the letter clearly stated that the emir would not be embarking on Hawan Nassarawa ONLY (due to its length and general wahala not compatible with his deteriorating health) and would participate in other less grueling tasks, the governor took this as a slight and issued a statement in which he cancelled Sallah festivities in its entirety giving the official reason as due to the emir’s poor health. This was not what was agreed and the emir went ahead as he had planned, further creating lot of friction. Kwankwaso then made several subtle threats to the emir through intermediaries that he would be dethroned if he dares continue the festivities. It is a testament to Ado Bayero’s maturity that he instructed his entire district heads and titleholders to drive along with him in their cars along the same routes usually plied on horseback to go and pay homage to Kwankwaso. This defused the situation, but left Kwankwaso presumably bemoaning his inability to dethrone Ado Bayero.

Another incident still fresh in the memory of Kano people (and perhaps the most painful) is how shabbily Kwankwaso treated the emir in the last few days of his life. Ado Bayero had written to the governor informing him of his intention to turban a new Wazirin Kano, a position left vacant since the death of the renowned Islamic scholar, Mallam Isa Waziri. The governor allegedly wrote back to the Emirate asking it to suspend the turbanning for security reasons. The governor claimed to be acting based on unfavourable security reports of violent protests which may erupt following the turbanning,as the new Waziri was considered as an unpopular choice  (ironic now isn’t it?). In a classic display of treachery, it was alleged that the councillor who handles administrative matters in the Emirate (himself an aspirant to the Emirship) withheld the letter and gave the late Emir fabricated news of Kwankwaso’s “approval”, all in a bid to further strain their relationship. There is the unconfirmed allegation that he even forged a letter conveying approval.

The announcement of the planned turbanning of the new Waziri two weeks ago therefore presented an opportunity for Kwankwaso to exact his much sought revenge.  Kwankwaso’s deputy, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, a gentleman to the core, and a polar opposite to his boss tried to intervene by heading to the palace at 7am on the Friday the turbanning was to take place, one week before the Emir passed away. He was there to advise the Emir to postpone the event in the interest of peace. The same councilor who withheld the original letter kept the Deputy Governor of Kano waiting for more than 3 hours, without informing Ado Bayero. It was only at 10am when the emir came out for the turbanning scheduled at 11am that he saw Ganduje and was surprised and visibly displeased they had kept him waiting outside for so long. Having heard what Ganduje had to say, he apologized to him saying that the communication he got from Government House conveyed approval, and that having called people from all over Nigeria to witness it, it would be unfair to turn back now. He asked Ganduje to convey his apologies to the governor.

The turbanning went on as planned. What happened next is public knowledge, with Kwankwaso giving Ado Bayero a 24-hour ultimatum to reverse the turbanning or be dethroned. He also allegedly threatened to suspend the Emirate Council itself and freeze its bank accounts. It is worth noting that former Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau was turbanned as Sardaunan Kano and member of council in the twilight of his administration by Ado Bayero, and this no doubt hurt the massive ego of Kwankwaso.

It was in the midst of all this turmoil that the late Ado Bayero passed away a few days later, having been forced (by the intervention of some elder statesmen) to reverse himself on the appointment of the Waziri, to avoid embarrassment to the throne. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso flew back from Rivers State upon hearing of Ado Bayero’s  death but still REFUSED to attend the funeral of the late emir. It is also worth recalling that this public display of enmity happened despite the fact that Kwankwaso’s father, Majidadin Kano, was upgraded from his Village Head status and appointed District Head of Madobi LGA by the late emir in a display of magnanimity towards Kwankwaso (during his first term), and at the request of Kwankwaso who drove to the palace at night in a single car and sought that favour from Ado Bayero. All these things happened while the common man on the street watched with keen interest. But for the Islamic faith which strictly preaches total belief in destiny, I am sure many would have concluded that the intense  antagonism displayed by Kwankwaso towards Ado Bayero finally pushed the old man with a weak heart off the cliff.

Anybody conversant with Kano knows that historically, nobody, no matter how highly paced, (from Abubakar Rimi to Muhammadu Buhari to Sani Abacha and now Rabiu Kwankwaso) moves against Ado Bayero without the common man taking his side. This is because for the half-century he ruled, he had generally sided with the cause of the downtrodden. He was a man of justice and equity, and was loved by all his subjects and commanded unparalleled respect.

This brings us back to SLS. Why are Kano people angry at his choice?

He was never popular within Kano metropolis mainly due to the fact that he was always rancorous, argumentative and disrespectful right from childhood and was never seen to be a genuine person with genuine friends or genuine intentions. He is seen as everything a Kano prince should not be. The behaviour of a Kano Prince is guided by the 16th Century treatise, “On The Obligation of Princes” written by renowned scholar Muhammad Al-Maghili at the behest of the then Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Rumfa who contracted him to draw up a code of conduct for the Emirate.

An emir of Kano should exhibit maturity, tact and bridge-building traits, which his subjects usually draw upon for inspiration. Lamido Bobuwa (as was his derisory nickname in childhood) is not believed have those traits, based on his antecedents. People from outside Kano may think SLS is popular there, but it was a common sight during the few durbars conducted in the last few years for a sizeable chunk of spectators lining the routes to be brandishing new N1,000 notes chanting “Kudin Mu ne, zaka dawo da su wallahi” roughly translating into “it is our money, you shall return it” in reference to his renowned ostentation. He was even stoned and insulted publicly on horseback during the Hawan Daushe of Sallah 2012 at Galadanci Quarters, a sight rarely associated with traditional titleholders.

Secondly, the imposition of his candidacy after the king makers had submitted a shortlist of 3 names, consisting of the first three sons of the late emir, leaves a bitter taste. The first being Ciroman Kano, Sanusi Ado Bayero, second being the Sarkin Dawakin Tsakar Gida, Aminu Ado Bayero and the third being Turakin Kano, Nasir Ado Bayero. The kingmakers in consultation with the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Gwandu and other highly placed northern emirs settled for the eldest of them, the Ciroman Kano and communicated same to Kwankwaso on the night of Saturday, June 7, 2014. The people were generally happy with the choice, and celebrations began. So unlike the belief that it was a PDP ploy to cause public disaffection on SLS’ selection, it was actually in response to the very public knowledge within the metropolis that Sanusi Ado Bayero had been selected. That same night, Kwankwaso allegedly called the kingmakers and asked for the list to be revised and for Sanusi’s name to be included, even if Ciroma was to be the next emir, so as not to convey a feeling of disrespect to the Sanusi lineage by them not being considered entirely. The list was modified, with Sanusi Ado Bayero still as the preferred candidate, at the behest of Kwankwaso. He then allegedly refused to see the kingmakers the next day when they went to Government House to await the announcement. Allegations of financial inducement, harassment and threats to the kingmakers have been making the rounds, but cannot be taken as gospel.

The third is more sentimental than anything. The general feeling on the streets is that Ado Bayero was betrayed by both the governor and his acolytes, and do not feel SLS is mature enough to handle the throne. They feel the late emir was not treated fairly by Kwankwaso (when alive and now in death) by overlooking his sons for what seems like a vendetta against Ado Bayero coupled with political calculations. It could be seen more as an incident of Kwankwaso cutting his nose to spite his face by appointing SLS to spite his Abuja detractors. The cry of “Kano Sai Goodluck” by protesters yesterday after the announcement was made and today drives home the point. There is no place Goodluck Jonathan is more despised in Nigeria than Kano. Kwankwaso is, by this absurd appointment, certainly on the verge of displacing him in the unpopularity stakes.


The deed has been done but it is indeed a very bitter pill to swallow. With the politicization of the selection of an Emir by Kwankwaso, what we fear now is the demystification of the revered office of the emir and bringing it into disrepute. What happens now if the Presidency decides to move against him? What happens if the Emir of Kano is arrested by the SSS or EFCC and is made to come and testify in court? What happens to the common man now when his only ally and resort against injustice is now firmly and permanently indebted to Kwankwaso? Or worse still, what happens when the next governor in 2015 adopts “Sabon Gwamna, Sabon Sarki” as his campaign motto?

I wrote this piece to counter the absurd suggestions making rounds yesterday that opposition to SLS is was a PDP financed plot or that it is opposition to modernisation of the emirate and the North, opposition to girl-child education and all of that emotional blackmail. The simple reason why Kano Emirate remains such a big deal is because it has remained what it is: a TRADITIONAL institution warehousing a people’s collective culture and heritage, and has not gone down the “hip & cool” route.

The simple truth remains that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not popular with the very people he was imposed to rule.

I even make bold to predict that Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will be the first person to regret this appointment. There is abundant precedence here.

May the soul of our late emir rest in perfect peace

45 thoughts on “Guest Post 1: The Case AGAINST Sanusi Lamido Sanusi As Emir of Kano

  1. Well.. Nothing is as dreadful as revenge. Even if Kwanwkwaso was in the PDP- he may have acted same because from the write-up, it is clear. that his beef is personal..I await the ‘For Argument’.

  2. Pingback: Opinion: The Case AGAINST Sanusi Lamido Sanusi As Emir of Kano | NewsWireNGR

  3. Some weighty points made here, no doubt. This is looking like a replay of the Dasuki vs Maccido saga of 1988 in Sokoto. Beyond the emirship tussle, this write-up also sheds some light on the person of Kwakwanso that is not known to most folks outside Kano.Looking forward to tomorrow’s piece, but it’s almost certain that this decision will somehow rub off on Kwakwanso’s presidential ambition, positively or negatively.

  4. So, what i noticed from this write-up is there are loads of allegations, albeit unfounded. How do we believe that SLS is not the choice of the people and his ascension to the throne is politically motivated when all we have are allegations? Anyway, maybe it’s my SLS bias speaking. I shall wait till the FOR argument presents its case tomorrow.


  5. Emirship is not hereditary! I’m surprised other ruling houses were not considered by the so called kingmakers? Sanusi’s (SLS) grandfather was deposed as the emir before late Ado Bayero took reign. This happened in conjunction with the then Sardauna (Ahmadu Bello) just because he had a soft spot for Awolowo’s Action Group. I learnt princes from other parts of the north whose families have been prevented from taking up the emirship of their various domains also put pressure on Kwakwanso to select SLS. From this action by Kwakwanso, there’s hope for other ruling houses in other domains cos their sons can aspire to become emir even if their direct father is not one.

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  7. Can we then say that Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso has come to correct the wrong that Sir Ahmadu Bello caused? History is good, it only depends on how far back we want to go or that suits our temperament. If we are to be factual, the late Emir Ado Bayero was not supposed to be Emir in the first place but for Sir Ahmadu Bello who had obvious beef with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s grandfather who was the rightful Emir. How then can his children have believed that they are more entitled to be Emir over and above SLS?

    1. I agree with u. And no one is expecting the Gov decision to be generally accepted, not even with the early rumour circulating around. Anyway, let’s wish SLS well

  8. What the writer failed to mention was that it’s not the bayeros that are the only heirs to the throne and also it’s against tradition to choose from only one house. There are 3 houses entitled to the throne and they are all brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts. 1 family 3 branches

  9. To me this articles is not all about for or against SLS,it sounds like the personal opinion of one person.You mentioned kano emirate coucil is all about tradition,well to the best of my knowledge choosing a king is not restricted to only one family nor is it written anywere that the Emirs first child or any of his children must succeed him after his death.The throne is open to all male decendants of Ibrahim Dabo whether your father was a king or not as long its your paternal line.May Allah have mercy on your souls Ibrahim Dabo to Ado Bayero!

  10. The Bayero’s want to turn the emirship into a birth right. So the Sanusi family who also has equal right to the throne be left out always?.

  11. When did journalism degenerate to kitchen talk… Like old wives who have no chores but to gossip about who did what n didn’t do what… All these are tales, not that they may not be true, but they are quite irrelevant in the scheme of affairs assessing the qualifications of SLS to ascend the throne or the accuracy of the governor’s decision to select SLS.. I am not even looking forward to tmrw’s article. Thus one don do me.

    1. This is a personal blog… The idea of this post is to open it up for write-ups that “captured” both sides of the divide in this Emir SLS brouhaha.

  12. Jama’a SLS ya gaji sarautar nan… daga wani gida ya fito ba fa……ruwa ne ya koma kwari…..kawai mu taya shi da addu’a ALLAH yasa ya kamanta adalci…..kuma ALLAH yasa sanadiyyar shigansa gidan ALJANNA tare da dukkan musulmin dunia….Amin…….amma fa kuyi hakuri ni dan gombe ne.

  13. Are we sure that SLS will not be re removed from office if PDP wins in Kano state in 2015 just like his father if this write-up is true?

  14. So the first thing I noticed about the post is that, the writer conviniently missed the fact that SLS has as much right to be emir as the son of the deceased emir.

    Secondly, the major reason why people where skeptical about having SLS become the emir is the fact that he has been known to associate himself with the shi’a Islamic sect, and Kano is a predominantly tijjaniyya/qadiriyya/Sunni state. Most people feel a Shi’ite cannot be an emir in Kano. This mind you is an unsubstantiated claim and no one can factually say SLS is a Shi’ite.

    The writer also conviniently didn’t state that kwankwaso also had a standing beef with SLS dating back to the time he was a banker in UBA.

    The last point I’ll make is that, the four kingmakers that forwarded the names of the nominees to the governor are men of integrity and honor, they have served the former king with utmost loyalty and if they didn’t think SLS didn’t deserve that to be on that list, no amount of money or threat would sway their decision.

    I think as much as people are claiming this is a political move by the governor, we should remember that the emir is not a tenure appointment, we hope any emir that ascends the throne stays there for years, this being said, I think it is only right for us to go for someone that has more to offer Kano state.

  15. Na only bayero family wan dey chop emir?the personality of SLS aside,I think the kingmakers themselves were not being fair by short listing three names,all if them from the bayero ruling house..Worse people than SLS have been named kings elsewhere so it is left for SLS to now shed his toga of arrogance and start behaving like a king,or else he will be deposed,not even by the president but by a common governor..that is all it takes to depose this supposedly big and untouchable emir of Kano….as big as the position and titles sounds.i actually think SLS can serve nigeria in better capacities than as the emir of one wee kingdom in the northwest,but what do I know……

    1. Exactly, what do you know?! The truth is that in the lineage from which the so called 4 names came, there are tens of able and fit male people that could become Emir of Kano. If SLS died today (not wishing for him), any of his sons might not be EMIR! I believe for the king makers to choose 3 out of the hundreds that come from that blood line is a daunting, difficult task. For them to bring just SLS from the House of Sarki Sunusi is also a bold move by them. I believe whether Kwankwaso had any romance with SLS or not, I never harnessed the thought of him having the chance at being Emir and also, it could be why many people are revolting. Anyway, like Femi said, what do I know…? Power and Authority are God given, may his reign be better than HRH late Ado Bayero’s and bring many good things not just for Kano, but Nigeria as a whole because the man makes the throne, the throne does not make the man!

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  17. Let Wish Sanusi well…Nigerians for once let appreciate a Strong Charcter and Scholar ship..I think SLS is Destined to be a KING…Note it he will Bring a Lot of Development Unto the State.I pray for a Peacefull Reign for Him..God Bless Kano,God Bless Lagos,God Bless Nigeria..

  18. Pingback: Guest Post 2: The Case FOR Sanusi Lamido As Emir of Kano | Agùntáṣǫólò

  19. Pingback: Guest Post 2: The Case FOR Sanusi Lamido As Emir of Kano – Y! Opinion

  20. Obviously the Late Emir died of excessive pressure from the Governor to reverse the turbaning of the Waziri. I know him to be a peace-loving and a humble person. Obviously, SLS is not groomed nor fit for the throne, little wonder he is ruling from the Government House.

  21. Pingback: Opinion: The Case FOR Sanusi Lamido Sanusi As Emir Of Kano [Part 11] | NewsWireNGR

  22. Thanks for this insight. SLS is very qualified to be the emir. I think everyone is just concerned about his controversial nature and the allegations hanging around his neck. What if Kwankwaso was still in PDP and SLS in good terms with FG/GEJ, would there be all these noise? Would he still be the favorite?

    I’m looking forward to reading the ‘for SLS’ piece.

  23. Interestingly, I read the case For SLS before this one and I was appreciative of the unemotional points and lack of conspiracy theories involved. This piece could easily insinuate that Kwankwaso was the cause of the late Emir’s death! It’s laced with so much innuendos, unsubstantiated reporting of events and sentiments that I feel the writer has vested interest in the whole affair of who becomes Emir of Kano. Like I said monarchy is not a democracy, so sorry if the ‘not-popular’ rightful contender became Emir. So what makes the late Emir’s sons more traditional than the other contenders? And maybe it’s about time ‘Hip and cool’ man took over affairs in that region cos God knows a lot has to be done to develop its people and infrastructure. SLS is not a man to be cowered, he’l make his mistakes because of the educational exposure he has, but his success would also come from this exposure. Lastly, maybe if SLS’s grandfather (Emir Sanusi I) had not dropped the name ‘Bayero’ this bruhaha would be non-existent and this blog would still be in deep sleep (wink).

    (By-the-way it’s funny Kwankwaso drove to the Emir’s palace at night to ask for a favour concerning his father. Couldn’t he have paid a courtesy visit to the Emir during the day and discussed this? Are you saying that no other forum was available for this discussion apart from a night visit in a ‘singular vehicle’? …..ROTFL).

  24. Politicization of tradional institutions, if care is not taken, would polarised the entire institutions. Eventually, elected state governors would arrogate powers to themselves to dethrone and impose any emir when they so pleases, even if such an emir is alive. The reparcussion, ofcourse, if this is allow to continue, is endless. The traditional title holders shall put their heads together and think thrice. That of ado bayero is past. Its now who next? Dont say ” idan jifa ya wuce kaina, ya fada kan kowa… a bad precedence is about to be set.

  25. My worry is that northern politicians like Kwankwaso are about to make Emirship a refuge for criminal accused. The other day a judge of the FCT High was made Emir of Gumi just days to being dismissed from office, and now SLS after the unprecedented financial recklessness being investigated at the CBN. Looks like someone bought an immunity out of this appointment at the expense of the integrity and respect for the traditional institution.

    1. Since when did Emirs get immunity from prosecution or anything?
      And you cite 2 cases where nothing had been proven to make the conclusion of a ‘refuge’ …sigh.

  26. My worry is that northern politicians like Kwankwaso are about to make Emirship a refuge for criminal accused. The other day a Chief judge of the FCT High Court was made Emir of Gumi just days to being dismissed from office by the National Judicial Council and now SLS after the unprecedented financial recklessness being investigated at the CBN. Looks like someone bought an immunity out of this appointment at the expense of the integrity and respect for the traditional institution.

  27. There’s a point some of you are missing here. Nice article by the way. The 3 nominees were not chosen from Bayero family only, as someone stated above, they are all descendants of Ibrahim Dabo. So 1 from Bayero family, 1 from Sanusi family and one from Abbas i.e the family of the present Galadima of Kano. And please leave the king makers out of that allegation. They did their best to give 3 names and the governor has the final say.

  28. Pingback: Feyi Fawehinmi: Parsing The Ekiti Handwringing | NewsWireNGR

  29. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is excellent, as well as the

  30. i hope obasanjo will be ltnseied to now .you never negotiate with terrorists people blaming obasanjo should look at george bush and also algeria how they dealt with the terrorists..instead of a long drawn out media circus they took them out sharply and funny enough when they got in the terrorists had already killed some hostages meaning they would have been deceiving the govt and getting free media coverage for weeks .send intelligence people in there to gather proper intelligence and then isolate them then wipe them out,if they come at you 100 times wipe them out 150 times thats when they know that some minority cannot hold the whole of nigeria to ransom .pls check the record of terrorist attacks in algeria compared to other places..the day you start negotiation with terrorists you have shown them your weaknesses

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