Emirate Stool: Tension as Sanusi, Bayero Divide Kano

26th May 2024

Kano State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Gumel, yesterday met with Governor Kabir Yusuf in what sources said was part of the strategy to defuse the tension sparked by the tussle for the Kano Emirate throne by the reinstated Muhammadu Sanusi and the 15th Emir, Ado Bayero.

The development has split natives and non-natives into two camps.

The meeting came moments after the governor ordered the arrest of Bayero, who returned to the metropolis amidst tight security at about 4.20 am yesterday, and moved to Gidan Nasarawa (Emir’s Lodge).

The police declined to act on the governor’s order, citing the Thursday order of a Federal High Court which restrained the state government from enforcing the Kano State Emirate Council Repeal Law and removing the emirs installed in five emirates following the 2019 dethronement of Sanusi.

Yusuf had given Bayero and the other emirs affected by the Law, a 48-hour deadline to vacate their palaces.

From the Nasarawa Palace, Bayero pledged to abide by the decision of the court on his matter, stressing that no one was above the law.

He asked the people to keep the peace.

His supporters milled around the building, shouting his name to come out for them to escort him to the main palace.

Armed soldiers, who had escorted him from the Kano Airport at about 4.20 am stayed on at the Nasarawa Palace to keep the peace.

Critics, including Kano State Deputy Governor, Aminu Gwarzo, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Yusuf’s New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), kicked over the deployment of soldiers to guard Bayero.

Gwarzo, in particular, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Dr.Abdullahi Ganduje, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, of engineering the soldiers’ deployment.

The office of the NSA denied the allegation.

Atiku said the deployment of the soldiers would upset peace and security.

The Kano Council of Ulama (Islamic scholars) expressed fears over the unfolding development and pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to intervene with a view to averting a breakdown of law and order.

Sanusi himself moved to the main palace at about 1:00am yesterday accompanied by the governor, the deputy governor and other government officials.

His supporters took turns to pay him homage.

Hundreds of others stood outside, chanting in Hausa, “Sarki daya ne (there is only one king)”.

By 7:00am yesterday, soon after information reached the governor that Bayero had entered the Nasarawa Palace, he called for his arrest by the police.

The governor’s Director-General, Media and Publicity, Sanusi Bature Tofa, accused Bayero of “creating tension” by his action.

He said: “The former Emir was smuggled into Kano City last night in an attempt to forcefully return to the palace two days after being deposed by the governor.

“It was confirmed that the new Emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, arrived at the palace in the company of the governor, the deputy governor, the Speaker of the State Assembly, and other top government functionaries at about 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, 25th May, 2024.

“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has directed the Commissioner of Police to arrest the deposed Emir with immediate effect for disturbing public peace and attempting to destroy the relative peace the state enjoys.”

Why we can’t arrest Bayero —Police

The police, in a swift reaction, said they could not comply with the governor’s directive in view of the court order.

Police Commissioner, Gumel, with whom were other security chiefs in the state, told reporters that the police were “expressly obeying the court order with suit number FHC/KN/CS/182/2024 dated 23rd May, 2024 issued by the Federal High Court sitting in Kano alongside all law enforcement agents in the state.

He said: “Therefore, we are calling on members of the public to know that the police in the state is working together with the military and other security agencies and are with full capacity for providing the adequate security to everyone as we are committed to carrying out our statutory duties as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“No doubt, the law abiding people of Kano State are known for a revered cultural heritage and respect for constituted authorities, and in this regard are advised to remain calm, patient, and to keep cooperating with security agencies as the matter described will be addressed by the court on the 3rd of June, 2024.

“Let me also remind you that the position of the law is very clear as whoever under whatever guise is found to be planning to disrupt the peace being enjoyed in the state or feel that he or she can jeopardise the existing security settings in the state will be arrested and made to face full wrath of the law.

“Therefore, as the police command is leading other security agencies to sustain the peace and peaceful coexistence for overriding interests, miscreants should stay clear of violence in all its ramifications and should not take advantage or hijack the current situation to launch unprovoked attack on people, property and infrastructure of the state.

“Any person found with such tendency will be ruthlessly dealt with according to the law of the land.

“By and large, the combined security agencies in the state have set all machinery in place to ensure no breakdown of law and order as the safety and security of all the inhabitants in the state remain sacrosanct.

“On this note, on behalf of all the security agencies, I thank all the good people of the state for their understanding, prayers, continuous support and cooperation.”

At the press briefing were ML Falala of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), MA Sadiq (Army Commander) and IS Abdullahi (Federal Road Safety Corps), all of whom also went with the police boss to meet with the governor at the palace.

During the meeting, Gumel reportedly explained to Yusuf why the arrest of Bayero was not possible.

It was understood that the police chief also tried to persuade the governor to encourage Sanusi to leave the palace, at least, until the court’s next sitting on the matter on Monday, June 3.

Some supporters of Sanusi within the palace premises were overheard threatening to resist any attempt to move him out of the place.

Deputy Governor Gwarzo told reporters that Sanusi’s re-instatement had come to stay.

He claimed that Ganduje was using federal might to impose Bayero on the people.

Gwarzo alleged that the former governor and NSA Ribadu were trying to create chaos in the state by smuggling Bayero into the state.

His words: “It is unfortunate that the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, is using the National Security Adviser to create tension in the state by smuggling into the state the former emir, Aminu Ado Bayero.

“The appointment and dethronement of emir or any traditional title holder is solely the prerogative of the state government.

“I am here together with the governor and other top government functionaries to ensure that the new emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II, starts exercising his power and authority immediately after he was given his appointment letter yesterday (Friday).”

Ribadu to Kano DG: I didn’t assist dethroned emir back to Kano

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) denied the Kano State deputy governor’s claim and asked politicians to be mindful of what they tell the public.

The Head of Strategic Communications in the Office of the NSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, said in a telephone chat last night that the allegation “is not true at all.”

He said: “Political actors should desist from misinforming the public as law enforcement officials in the state strive to maintain peace and order.”

Asked why anyone would want to implicate the NSA in the Kano Emirate tussle, Mijinyawa said: “Why won’t you ask them? For example, let him provide you with additional details. Do flights just leave from airport to airport like that? There has to be additional details he can give.

“He who alleges must prove, right? But sincerely speaking, it’s not true; nobody did anything like that.

“You saw the Commissioner of Police doing a press conference, right? It’s online. He did it in English and in Hausa, and he answered questions from journalists. Is a Commissioner of Police a small office? Can’t he do his work? He’s doing his work.

“I also saw a very sensational report online, alleging that Aminu Bayero is in-law to NSA, and that’s another lie. It’s a lie because the NSA is married to one wife. She’s from Adamawa. She’s the daughter of Prof. Iya Abubakar, the first PhD holder in Maths in Northern Nigeria. He has not married from Kano at all.

“So the office is issuing statements to correct that? That means we won’t have time to do our work. It’s not true. All of it is just propaganda.”

Bayero seeks justice over dethronement, says ‘I’ll accept court’s decision’

Speaking at Gidan Nasarawa, Bayero pledged to abide by the law.

He said: “I call on the people to remain law-abiding while awaiting the outcome of the legal process in this tussle.

“We call on the authority to do justice in this matter. Kano is a very influential state in Nigeria. Whatever affects Kano affects Nigeria.

“May peace reign in Kano. We pray for Allah to bless Kano with responsible and just leaders.

“Justice is the way to go on every issue. There will be justice. Nobody is above the law. We will accept whatever the court says. I appreciate all the people who have shown concern.

“As I said, justice will take its course. We will keep on praying for peace in Kano State. May Allah the Almighty protect us.”

Bayero’s plane landed at the Kano Airport at about 4.30am yesterday.

He was received by his supporters who surrounded him immediately and began chanting a passage from Surah Al-Fatihah of the Holy Quran which says: “You (alone) we worship, and you (alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).”

He later observed Subhi (dawn prayer) at the airport after which he made his way to Gidan Nasarawa.

‘Why we’re challenging Sanusi’s reinstatement’

Alhaji Aminu Babba Dan Agundi, the kingmaker who obtained the court injunction restraining the Kano State Government from sacking Aminu Bayero and reinstating Lamido Sanusi as the 16th Emir of Kano, said his decision was informed by the fact that the State House of Assembly did not conduct a public hearing before passing the new law.

Agundi, who is the Sarkin Dawaki Babba, also dismissed as laughable the allegation by Governor Yusuf that the judge who granted the interim injunction did so from the US.

Agundi said all the dethroned five emirs were joining him in the suit to challenge the new law.

He said: “The State House of Assembly repealed the law that created the five emirates and sacked the five emirs and all the appointees under that law.

“I was deeply not satisfied with the decision of the House of Assembly regarding the new law, so I approached the high court to restrain the state government and all other persons that relate to the issue from sacking the five emirs.

“By the grace of God, the judge granted our prayers and restrained the State Assembly and the governor from implementing or enforcing the new law which has been enacted.

“All the other (dethroned) emirs will join me in this suit to challenge the decision of the new law they created.

“For me, they did not follow the due process. You cannot create a law in one day, pass it on the same day and take it to the governor to sign on the same day.

“I was made to understand that if you want to change a law for whatever reasons, you have to do public hearing, which they did not do. So, I felt they did not do the proper thing, and that is why I went to court for the governor to be restrained.

“Unfortunately for the governor, I heard him say the judge was even in the US when he granted the order. But a judge can hear any case anywhere they are in the world. All he needs to do is through Zoom meeting, listen to the plaintiff or lawyers’ arguments and take decision, which is what was done.

“I also heard the governor saying he would report the judge (Justice Muhammed Liman) to the Governors Forum, and I wonder what the judge has got to do with the Governors Forum. It is only the National Judicial Council that can discipline a judge.

“Again, very unfortunate, I heard the deputy governor accusing the National Security Adviser that he was the one who gave us the aircraft that brought us to Kano. I have high regard for him, but for him to accuse someone without fact is unfortunate.

“It was a very close friend of mine – a Good Samaritan that gave us the aircraft that brought us to Kano. Besides, I have been chartering airplanes for the emir, so it is very unfortunate to hear that from the deputy governor.”

Tinubu resisted pressure to interfere in my reinstatement as Emir

Emir Sanusi, in an interview with Television Continental (TVC), said President Tinubu resisted all pressure to interfere in the Kano stalemate, having recognised that the issue was purely a local matter.

He said: “As you know, I was appointed the 14th Emir of the single emirate of Kano in June 2014 and now I am reappointed as the Emir of the single emirate of Kano.

“In between that period, we did not have a single emirate. We had five balkanized emirates and this was an injustice to the history of Kano. It was an attack on our history, our culture, our traditions, and it was an act of betrayal to our family.

“We thank Allah that today, the emirate has been unified again, its people have been brought together; that an injustice has been corrected because as you know, I was dethroned on an allegation of insubordination which was never specified.

“I was never given an opportunity to defend myself, but I have never spoken about it because I’ve always assumed that when the time is up, it’s up. Today, I thank God that God has remained as we know: a faithful God who stands by justice.

“I would also like to express my thanks to His Excellency Alhaji Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu without whose principled stance of non-interference in the internal affairs of the state, this would not have been possible.

“The President has shown that he is a respecter of the constitution and separation of powers. He recognises that this is a purely local matter and that the government has a responsibility to do what is right for the state.

“I’m aware that he has resisted all pressure to get the federal government to be involved.

“This for me is a continuation of service that I started. It is also an opportunity God has given me to improve on my previous tenure.

“We all learn from our mistakes and it is our responsibility to improve on the things we did well and avoid those things we did not do well. Life is a continuous learning process. I’ve enjoyed the break of the last four years.”

Sanusi was ushered into the palace yesterday by a large gathering of dignitaries, including traditional rulers, businessmen and well-wishers.

They were at the palace to pay homage and offer their congratulations.

The palace was filled with excitement as the emir, resplendent in his traditional attire, was ushered in with the customary fanfare, signalling a new chapter in the history of the Kano Emirate.

Atiku: FG’s action breaches constitution

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in a statement said the action of the Federal Government in deploying soldiers in Kano in the tussle over the throne was an upset to the peace and security of the state, and also in breach of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He said the dethroned emir “could not have made his way into the Nasarawa Palace without the support of the Federal Government, having done so with the support of the Army and other security personnel in his company.

“The deployment of soldiers in extra constitutional matters such as this undermines the integrity of the Nigerian military.”

Kano State, according to Atiku, “is known for peace and harmony spanning thousands of years, and any attempt to destablise the peace of the Land of Commerce shall be resisted.”

APC using military to create tension in Kano, NNPP alleges

The governor’s party, NNPP accused the APC of trying to use the current situation in Kano State to create tension with a view to taking over the state.

The NNPP said the ruling party was trying to destabilise Kano State so that it could achieve through the back door what it could not achieve through the courts, adding that using security agents to intimidate the people of Kano over the emirate stool posed grave danger to Nigeria’s democracy.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Ladipo Johnson, the NNPP asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and other APC political actors in Kano State to order.

The party accused the APC of using the military and other security agents against the people of Kano while also accusing the state’s Police Commissioner of gross insubordination for refusing to carry out the orders of the governor to arrest the deposed emir.

It said: “the unleashing of security agencies controlled by the APC-led federal government to coerce and stultify the government of Kano State from performing its constitutionally donated duties is a gross violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a fundamental breach of the hallowed principles of separation of power as enunciated in the 1999 Construction of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and must be vehemently resisted by all lovers of our democracy.

“The ongoing scenario in Kano where soldiers are deployed to upturn a properly enacted law by the state legislature and State Police Commissioner will bluntly refuse an instruction by a sitting governor as we are witnessing in Kano portend grave danger to our democracy.”

Ulama ask Tinubu to intervene in stalemate over Kano emirates

Islamic scholars (Ulama) in the state yesterday expressed fears that the going on in the emirate could escalate and degenerate into chaos if not carefully handled.

They, therefore, pleaded with President Tinubu to wade in to avert a breakdown of law and order.

The Ulama, including Shaykh Abdullahi Limanci, Shaykh Ibrahim Khalil, Shaykh Abdulwahab Abdallah and Prof. Babangida Muhammad, asked President Bola Tinubu to take all necessary steps to maintain peace in the state which they described as one of the most peaceful in Nigeria.

“It is imperative for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take all necessary steps to maintain peace in the state,” they said in a communique.

Continuing, the Ulama said: “While it is in the purview of the State House of Assembly to enact laws for good governance, the state government needs the cooperation and support of the Federal Government.

“The State Assembly amended the Kano State Emirates Law and the Governor assented. One person took the case to court that the law violates his fundamental human rights. He is entitled to his rights.

“The state governor also has responsibility as the chief executive of the state as the act in question has already been completed.

“Therefore there is no need for violent enforcement of any order or violent resistant to it, and we vehemently oppose any measures that will bring escalation of conflict in the state.

“Mr. President as the leader of the nation should not allow the contest for a royal stool to degenerate into violence. We are calling on Mr. President to allow the people of Kano State to resolve these issues amicably without use of any force and loss of lives.

“Kano State is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. Therefore we the undersigned call on both contending parties to use civil means in resolving their differences to allow peace to reign in the state.”

NBA warns over Kano crisis

The Kano Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) called for adherence to legal and constitutional processes on the matter.

Chairman of the association, Sagir Gezawa, said in a statement that it was within the constitutional right of a state House of Assembly to legislate, and once such a legislation was passed, the governor could assent to it.

“Once the governor assents, it becomes law and must be implemented by state apparatus and enforced by a competent court,” Gezawa said.

He deplored the use of soldiers to enforce court orders, describing it as a “sad reminder of military dictatorship.”

Gezawa emphasised that enforcing court orders was not within the military’s duties, but should be handled by the courts.

A legal practitioner, Favor Abraham, in a chat with The Nation said the subsisting court injunction was invalid because “our findings have shown that the judge who issued the exparte order is not in Nigeria.

“The Judge ought to sit in Kano. Even if it is to be a virtual court sitting, the judge’s jurisdiction is Kano and not outside the country. In my opinion, that ex parte is not valid.”

Kaduna-based legal practitioner, Idris Sani, said: “Two things we must understand is that nowadays, court order or proceedings can be taken via Zoom. It, therefore, means that the ex parte order can be given via Zoom if he so wishes to do that.

“So, if within the time this application came and the judge accepted to take the applications via Zoom, then you cannot fault the order. The judge can sit anywhere and then give order via Zoom.

“It is acceptable in court procedure now that judges don’t have to sit physically in the court if they have reason not to be. Even the judgment of the court can be read through Zoom.

“So, whether there was a court order or not, the question is that as at the time this order was issued, had Sanusi been reinstated or not? From my own findings, Sanusi was actually reinstated before the order was served on the Governor or on the assembly. So, that means, the deed had already been done when the order was served.

“So, the court order was of no effect if truly it was served after the reinstatement of Emir Sanusi. So, can we now say the governor has violated the court order? Except if we can confirm that the governor was served the order before the reinstatement.”