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Opinion

Sanusi: A coup de grace to the ailing traditional institutions

The decision of the State is best described as the enthronement of a bad precedent, an omen to abrogation of traditional institutions and a catalyst for the evacuation of collective heritage.

On Monday, March 9, the news of the dethronement of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II as the Emir of Kano by the Ganduge-led Kano state government beclouded the Nigeria media space.

While the news still remains a rude shock to many, others have moved on however not without holding that the action of the state government was nothing but a coup de grace to the traditional system of the people involved. To them, simply put, it is a pure case of arbitrary use of power by the State superintendent which should be condemned, strongly.

Regardless of the varying polemics and emotions, the fact is, until recently, the deposed Emir is now in the remote village of Awe in Nassarawa State where he had been banished to. What this posits is that the snarl has come with a deep cut vestige that will take more than a lifetime to wash away.

Traditions and its symbols from time immemorial have always been integral components of African socio-cultural system. It is unapologetically believed amongst the natives that a dent to any cultural or traditional symbol is like casting aspersion on the entire cultural value system. This consequently is considered a blunder that should never even be attempted by any sane clan member.

Talking of the nation of people that holds their heritage in high esteem, Hausa nation in Nigeria no doubt is no exception. Same can be said of other tribes fold the country together as a nation-state.

For no other reasons other than the belief that preservation of cultural heritage amounts to preservation of its people’s identity.

Surprisingly, the unfolding imbroglio in Kano state between the political and traditional institutions has cast a new shade and level of loyalty and patriotism to the traditional system. Thus giving birth to new political possibilities.

This redefinition of cultural and traditional value systems has added another ton of variables in the political calculations of the country.

Most interesting scenario of this new political fraction will best play out at state and local levels where the constitution has made the survival or otherwise of traditional system a subject of political discretion — of the state — which, often than not, is overwhelmed by political prejudice.

This new political factor is not a Kano sole affair or the North as a region, but completely across African nation-states where the practice of admixture of political system is on course.

An instance of what just happened Kano can be traced to Ogun state during the regime of former Governor Gbenga Daniel. The only difference is that in that it was subdued by many forces and subsequently it cascaded fashioned out to mean a mere threat to the throne of the then Alake of Egba.

Daniel’s threat of dethronement of the then Alake came out to be an eye-opener to many political office holders as it would now make them rave the section of the constitution that allows the jurisprudential power of enthronement or otherwise to the executive arm of the state.

Moral aspect of this power exercise is non-granta in the scrabble board of the political calculations. It simply means that adherence to morality in the eyes of legality is subjected to so many variables, prominent of which is political manoeuvring.

This new-found treasure amidst the political system has then placed the fate of traditional institutions in the merciful hands of political gladiators masquerading as constituted authorities.

To be or not to be of any traditional ruler’s fate, irrespective of the cause – just or unjust – is now at the discretion of the serving political superintendent.

Recalled that the dethrone Emir Muhammad Sanusi II has been a loud critic of his state government on multiple issues that affect his people’s lives and rights, and of course, society at large.

His travail is then not against the backdrop of incessant criticism of the state government being led by a governor who once caught on camera stuffing hard currencies in the pocket of his babariga.

The reasons for Sanusi’s dethronement as enunciated by the state machinery can best be seen as a mere smokescreen.

In the letter signed by the Secretary to the state government and made circulated in the public spheres, the allegations that saw Sanusi dethroned are such that many political analysts may be conveniently termed flimsy. Considering the fact that many lethal offences have been the hallmarks of many ally political gladiators, and yet no one loses sleep not to talk of throne.

The dethroned Emir, in the circulated letter, is accused of gross insubordination and constant disregards to the constituted authority – possibly the governor in this instance, and his cohorts. The letter further reads “total disrespect to lawful instructions from the of the state government”. These allegations, to many onlookers are a mere plot to justify the state’s action; it is more of a cover-up to silence a voice of the critic.

Going by this, it then gives credence to the fear that the advisory role of the traditional institutions as prescribed in the constitution can be easily influenced  and twisted by the state machinery. Especially when such advice is perceived as being aim at undermining the superiority and ingenuity of a political officeholder.

Sanusi saga may go on to die a natural death, with or without any remedy to the scathed traditional institutions right there in Kano. However, it should be taken as an omen to many of such situations in many unsuspecting traditional institutions in our society.

Because as it stands now, none of such institutions is safe. A smoke of it has been seen in the far hilly city of Ekiti just while people are yet to contend with Kano saga.

State may come out to twist it to mean ‘pure administrative’ routines. But people with keen interest in Sanusi-Ganduge episode know every plot of it began with just ‘pure administrative’ routines.

Nigerian traditional rulers should be on look-out and be prepared as the next gesture from any government’s machinery may be a deposition letter.

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