By Aliyu Dangida,Â Dutse
Alhaji Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi is theÂ Emir ofÂ Dutse in Jigawa State. TheÂ 65- year oldÂ leader who succeeded his late fatherÂ was turbaned in January 1996.
He was aÂ director ofÂ the Nigerian Airways during General Buhariâ€™s era and a one- timeÂ electedÂ member, Dutse Federal Constituency at the national assembly and a senior councilor ofÂ DutseÂ Emirate Council before he was turbaned .
In this interview with Saturday Vanguard, he bares his mind on some issues relatingÂ to Northern traditional institutions vis-a- visÂ theÂ 49thÂ independenceÂ anniversary ofÂ Nigeria. Excerpts:
What have the Northern traditional leaders done for the country?
We thank GodÂ that we are aliveÂ to witness theÂ 49thÂ independence of our dear country.
Nigeria has gone through turbulent periodsÂ part of which was the adjustment of the colonial administration. We fought a war which lasted for threeÂ years and people were consoled and rehabilitated .We equally experiencedÂ military regime one after the other and we as wellÂ had two or three civilian administrations.
So it is not easy toÂ blame anybody for whatÂ occurred in the last 49 years because it was part of growingÂ up . As a human being, whenÂ you grow,Â youÂ learnÂ how to walk, how to talk, how to run and so on. As theÂ nation goes throughÂ thatÂ process, some performed well while others either willingly or unwillingly failed to perform.
Is it true that the Northern traditional leaders influence the political leaders?
Traditional leaders are part of the society, particularly when you talk of democracy. It doesnâ€™t exclude anybody.
I, as a citizens of this country has the right toÂ express my view on what I believe in whether it is my personal opinion or promoting my people to believe in that is my duty.
It is my duty also to guide my people in the right way. So even in the process, if we use our personal context, it shows that we are human. But generally, I will say the Northern traditional institutions have maintained its reputations of beingÂ non-partisan.
There may be some few among us that are partisan and have taken part in political activities but great majority ofÂ us donâ€™t even understand how politics is except may be when it comes to dealing with the leaders.
Does your influence onÂ political leaders yield positive results?
It does in some cases. Let me give you an example of my great Uncle, the first Emir ofÂ Dutse. Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano was the chairman ofÂ NPC in Kano State and he became a minister and retired from active politics and become an emir.
During his tenure as emir, he tried to be neutral but as a leader, you canÂ never be neutral because it depends on which government you are working with.
If you decided to work against the government chosen by the people, then you are likely to face difficulties with the ruling government. So we have to marry our views and that of our people and that of government.
Is it true that Northern traditional leaders only depend on government allocation?
Of course, it is true or where shall we depend on? Shall we depend on our people to extort from them? We have to make a living and that is our duty. We are employed to keep peace and maintain the culture and tradition.
Where do you expect us to get all these funds from? Unless you want us to tax ourselves but that will not be good for our people. So it is true. We depend on government allocation and there is nothing wrong with that but we are also accountable for all the funds.
We have councils of chief or emirate council and we auditÂ monies gottenÂ from the government and we equally comply with its instructions. Therefore it is left for the people if they donâ€™t want the system.
Then, they should forget about it but as long as they want the system to be sustained,then they have to pay for it because there is no way we can finance our expenditure.We are not contractors and we are not in active politics but some of us are.
If we want to earn a living, we definitely have to depend on government.I think there is nothing wrong in traditional institutions beingÂ financed with public funds because other institutions like Customs, Prisons and Immigrations are adequately funded.
We are equally doing the same job and our job is to help to ensure the security ofÂ the nation as well as maintain the culture and tradition which is an important aspect of our lives.
To me, whatever government spends towards maintainingÂ these aspects is not a loss.