By Yinka Olujimi
If you like, believe the claim by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu that General Muhammadu Buhari played no part in the dethronement of Mallam Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano and the handpicking of his replacement, Aminu Ado Bayero.
But if you care to use your God-given brain, you will want to know the reason for the undue haste with which the President flung the doors of Aso Rock wide open to receive the new Emir barely 23 hours after the appointment.
You will also want to know where the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje got the power to impose his will on Nasarawa State, to receive the deposed monarch ostensibly on banishment.
Not only that, you will want to know the authority under which security operatives in both states collaborated, first in ejecting Sanusi from the palace, and second in keeping him under house arrest in Nasarawa.
And you will wonder at the kind of unitarist federalism that we practice in Nigeria!
One thing is clear: The banishment will most likely be voided by the courts as it breaches constitutional safeguard of freedom of movement.
More puzzling, however, is the instant moral support that the Kafuna State Government has given to the deposed emir with two big appointments in one day, and barely 24 hours after the controversial dethronement.
Then, you may begin to ask why a group of young men and women in the usually docile Kano staged a street protest, chanting: “B ma so”, meaning: “We don’t want”
They don’t want? In Kano? Does it mean that Kano people are now being gradually politically literate and no longer behave like a mob?
It is becoming clearer that the people now know that the office of emir has been so diminished that an alleged bribe-taker can rubbish it with the stroke of a pen; that the new emir will only occupy a palace while power resides elsewhere. The people are now sure, and perplexed that their emir is no more important than a low grade political aide of the governor.
Indeed, the demystification is on a broader scale, indicating that most, if not all of our revered royal fathers across the country will be governing only with their chests and bellies lying prostrate, figuratively.
But if you are like me, you will not throw away the speech attributed to a former Governor of the state Rabiu Kwankwaso that the dethronement had the imprimatur of the president. Kwankwaso, who installed Sanusi as the emir, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that he learnt from the grapevine that the Aso Rock ordered the dethronement!
Something is fishy somewhere. Could it be true, as alleged in some places, that all the drama was pre-planned by the Northern establishment ahead of 2023? Now that Sanusi is no longer an emir, can he validly join a political party and contest for election into the office of President in 2023?
Knowing the disposition of southerners, especially people of the Southwest to the underdog, especially the one who has a long list of good speeches about public life and conduct, the feared plot should not be waved aside.
Nigeria is a land of absurdities. It is only in Buhari’s Nigeria that a man who shrugged off public accusation that he is a thief and bribe-taker will be given presidential nod to seek a second term in office.
Ganduje refused to sue for libel when a video viral showing him allegedly receiving kickbacks from contractors made the rounds and opted for criminal prosecution of the journalist who exposed him.. Yet he got President Buhari\s support for re-election. Even when it appeared clear that the mass of the poor and illiterate people of the state voted him out at election, Ganduje secured his seat by the special mercy of Nigerian courts.
Could it therefore be a part of the realignment of forces ahead of 2023 as alleged in some quarters? Sanusi is no doubt cerebral and capable of getting quality support from the southwest where what determines political support is mostly merit.
Some supporters of former President Goodluck Jonathan have shown no mercy to the former emir, in retaliation for his disputed claim, as the then Governor of the Central Bank, that $20 billion was missing from the account books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
I do not share their sentiments. Following Sani’s alarm, the foreign firm of forensic auditors who inspected the books, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, confirmed that the corporation illegally withheld a whopping $18.5 billion for operational costs and the payment of subsidies on kerosene and diesel.
For that, Lamido deserves commendation, not condemnation.
But just before he steps into the political ring – if claims to that effect are true – Lamido must speak up on allegation that he was the brainbox of the bloodthirsty people who sometime in 1995 invaded a Police station, dragged out an Igbo trader, Gideon Akaluka, for a most heinous crime: Beheading.
The trader’s alleged offence: Giving shelter to a woman whose toddler child had allegedly defiled the Holy Quran.
The bloodhounds were not satisfied with the heinous crime, they carried the severed head of the victim on a spike, and danced round the city with it. The rumour mill is quite active about the allegation and the claim that the Sani Abacha government consequently detained the smooth-talking Lamido for months until that military leader died.
This is an allegation that cannot be wished away, whether Lamido throws his hat into the political ring or not. Is Lamido a human butcher or not? He must address this question frontally, and with his trademark candour.