The Presidency on Saturday vehemently rejected accusation that it was a collaborator in last Monday’s dethronement of Mallam Sanusi Lamido as Emir of Kano by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
It said suggestions that President Muhammadu Buhari either instigated the emir’s sack or did not intervene to save him were far from the truth.
Among other critics, the immediate past governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, claimed that Buhari gave the order to remove the emir, while a former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said that Sanusi would not have been sacked if the president had intervened.
A highly placed Presidency source faulted both views yesterday.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recalled how Buhari, in 2017, stopped the first move by Ganduje to depose the former emir.
Said the source: “When the Governor Ganduje’s administration made up its mind to remove Emir Sanusi as far back as 2017, the governor informed President Buhari of this decision. He, however, asked for advice and guidance, President Buhari said it was inappropriate and requested that the plan be shelved.”
Buhari was said to have followed up his verbal position on the planned deposition with a November 17, 2017 letter to Ganduje to put his view in a clearer perspective.
The president further directed his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, to follow up for a peaceful resolution of the crisis of confidence between the two, the source said.
Buhari also set up a committee made up of five state governors led by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State to handle the crisis.
“They did their best,” the source said of the committee.
“Calm returned but occasional flare-ups continued and were aggravated by the tense situations under which the governor re-emerged for his second term in the 2019 general elections.
“In the course of that period, Governor Fayemi, his Jigawa State counterpart, Abubakar Badaru, and, to some extent, the Inspector General of Police made several expeditions to Kano, to prevail on the governor to not remove the Emir in those tense moments in the interest of peace and security.
“The main grouse of the administration was that the Emir had failed to stay above the fray of partisan politics, especially as it related to the governor’s re-election.”
The source said that at some point, senior citizens including Generals Babangida, Wushishi and Abdulsalami Abubakar, among others, came into the picture and offered suggestions on how the matter could be resolved.
He said: “the Chief of Staff (Abba Kyari) sought permission and gave the green light for the commencement of work by the Abdulsalami Abubakar committee.
“The committee members sat down with the president at the Villa to discuss their mission.
“At this meeting, the president outlined the efforts he put into the resolution of the conflict in Kano and said he had had enough.
“He gave assurances of support and put at their disposal, the use of the presidential aircraft, then wished them the best of luck. But he did make clear that if the situation warranted it, he would not hesitate to clamp an emergency rule on the state.”
The source said Governor Ganduje gave conditions for peace, including the withdrawal of court cases by Emir Sanusi against the state government.
Sanusi allegedly agreed to withdraw some of the cases, but stood his ground on the others, including a suit filed by Alhaji Bashir Tofa and his group who the state government alleged to be Sanusi’s proxy in the case.
“The governor insisted that the newly-created emirates must be kept but acceded to the former emir that four of the five kingmakers whose districts were excised from Kano be reinstated. Sanusi agreed not to appeal the decision to uphold the emirates by the courts.
“It was clear all this while that the inflexibility to meet some of the conditions for peace by both (sides) have added complications that made peace almost impossible. For example, the former Emir had wanted the Kano State Anti-Corruption Commission to stop its case against him completely.
“He stood firmly that the case he instituted against the Code of Conduct Bureau would not be withdrawn because, in his view, he needed to pursue it to clear his name, a demand that Gov Ganduje rejected.”
The source said the report turned in by the Abubabar Committee did not give any glimmer of hope for ending the crisis, as “a mediator’s success depends largely on the cooperation of the parties involved.”
Undaunted by some hiccups, Buhari, according to the source, pressed ahead with his search for peace in Kano.
The source cited fresh meetings which the Chief of Staff had with Ganduje and Sanusi in Kano when he led a delegation to condole the former Emir over the death of Ambassador Sunusi, the late Dan Iyan Kano, and the former Emir’s uncle.
The discussions were aimed at reconciling the feuding parties, he said.
“Having gone to this extent for peace, it is uncharitable and baseless to accuse President Buhari of ordering Ganduje to depose Sanusi,” he said, adding: “the President holds Sanusi in the highest esteem and has nothing personal against him and, therefore, he couldn’t have told Ganduje to depose him.
“Allegations that ‘Abuja,’ referring indirectly to President Buhari, is complicit in the Emir’s alleged forceful removal from the palace and exile to Nasarawa are equally ‘nonsensical’.
“Chieftaincy law in Northern Nigeria going back to 1919 makes for the deposition and confinement of Emirs and Chiefs. Sarki Alu of Kano was removed by the colonial administration using this law and was walked to Lokoja on foot to start a life of exile.
“State governments have used that law to full effect dealing with Sultan Dasuki in Sokoto, removed and kept in Zing, Taraba State and Emir Jokolo of Gwandu, Kebbi State, who has been kept away from the state now for over two decades. Kano State did not need President Buhari’s authorisation for anyone to remove and exile emirs and chiefs.”
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, speaking on the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA) last week, had said Sanusi would probably have remained on the throne if Buhari had intervened.
He said the committee he headed to reconcile Sanusi and Ganduje did its best by holding separate meetings with the governor and the former emir, and even left the duo to discuss.
“After conclusion of the assignment, we realised that there was amicable resolution to the crisis. Surprisingly, this is what happened at last,” he said.
“I can’t really say whether Buhari has a hand in the matter because I am currently not in Nigeria. But before I left the country, we submitted our report to him, and he expressed willingness to intervene in the matter in order to have amicable resolution, despite being a constitutional matter. I really don’t know if he had intervened.”
Former Governor Kwankwaso said on BBC Hausa Service that Buhari gave the order to dethrone Sanusi as emir.
“You see leaders here in Kano State government themselves are saying they were given the order to dethrone the emir. He (President Muhammadu Buhari) is the one that gave them the order.”
Source: The Nation