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EMIR OF KANO VS GANDUJE: ‘Disrespectful’ Sanusi men make truce difficult —Sanka, governor’s adviser

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…‘We are hopeful on Abdulsalami C’tte doing justice’

By Bashir Bello, Kano

Alhaji Tijjani Mailafiya Sanka is the Special Adviser on the Council of Emirs in Kano State. In this interview, Sanka speaks on the newly created emirates, what informed the decision and the controversy that greeted the creation among other issues.

What informed the decision to create additional emirates in Kano?

It was calls by the people of Kano that informed the decision of the Kano State government to create the new emirates to boost growth and development of the state in the areas of the economy, security and education, especially in the area of free and compulsory education introduced in the state by the Ganduje administration.

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There is need for education to be extended to all the nooks and crannies of the state as well as ensure adequate and improved security. And we felt it is through the emirates that the people so much believed in that we can achieve some of these things. Again, the fact remains that they (the emirates) existed in the past. What we did was only to revive them.

If I get you clearly, you said the new emirates were created following the demand by the people. But why now, and not in the governor’s first term?

It is something that you have to give a deep thought, make consultations with the people who are conversant with history, socio-economy, governance and the traditional institutions. The state House of Assembly also received several inputs from the people calling for the creation of the emirates. It was based on this that the state assembly passed the Emirates Council Bill sent to it by the governor after which they returned it to him and he signed the bill into law.

It followed due process. And that is why there was jubilation in all the four newly created emirates. There is no single person you will find from the four emirates who rejected the additional emirates. Those who oppose them are people who don’t understand and fail to come forward to understand the essence or those who understand the essence but have other opinions or different thinking. But government’s decision followed the demand of the people.

But there is a group of Kano elders who rejected the creation of the new emirates, describing the step as an attempt by Governor Ganduje to destroy Kano Emirate.

You know history depends on how you view it. If you look at history, there were emirates like Gaya long before Dan Fodio came. In1979, we had a similar experience whereby emirates were created to suit the circumstance of that time and they were given flags. And also before Jihad came, there were areas without emirates but Daura Emirate brought about Hausa Bakwai (Seven True Hausa States) and Banza Bakwai (Seven Outlaying Satellites) and power was shared at that time and you had what was obtainable over 1, 000 years ago.

Things are no longer the same; the population has grown compared to what you had before. It is circumstances that necessitated the situation. In the near future, not only in Kano, there will be creation of more emirates because the population is growing and there is the thinking about what will bring the people closer to government or government closer to the people, particularly on the issue of security which is of paramount importance to government.

And there is also the issue of education, to educate the people, both male and female, so that they can become literate and responsible members of the society. But there must be people who will be feeding government with information on the needs of the people. And in the society such as ours, people use traditional leaders to pass their messages across to government. Even government, it is through the traditional leaders that it gets information seeking urgent attention or action. This is not a new thing. It has been a practice for a long time.

But there are speculations out there that the new emirates were created because of the alleged role the Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, played in the 2019 general elections against the candidature of Governor Ganduje…

No. The new emirates were not created to witch-hunt, suppress or depress the Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II. We created the emirates for the development of Kano. We are the politicians and we know who played politics. And whoever played politics, we would play politics with him since we are in politics and that is what brought us to power. And government is about politics. There are people you play politics with in public and depending on how you play politics with us, that is how we will play politics with you.

It was speculated that some people are taking the advantage of the feud to make money by going behind to tell the emir that the governor is bad and, on the other hand, go to paint the emir bad before the governor. What do you say about this?

If there are people who do that, we call on them to stop. It is not good. Anytime you go to a leader, you are supposed to give him good advice or support him in a good way. For instance, our leader, Governor Ganduje, is the listening type who listens anytime you go to advise him. Whether you put it in writing or it is verbal, he gives listening ear.

So also, I think the emir has high calibre of people who advise him. But we call on the emir’s advisers to give healthy advice just as we Special Advisers give the governor good advice and he receives, takes critical look and makes use of the advice. And in any case, both of them are learned persons and have good precedents. Though I don’t think in Kano we have such people that will go and begin to tell lies to someone just to get paid. The emir and the governor are educated and also religious; hence, they will not accept such.

What is the way forward to resolve the feud?

We have found a way forward, we have created new emirates, Gaya, Karaya, Rano and Bichi, and you have the old Kano Emirate. The new emirs have been given staffs of office. But some people dragged the matter to court and the necessary issues that need to be resolved were resolved right from the state House of Assembly and the new emirates stand.

And the governor set up the Council of Emirs and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, accepted the chairmanship of the council. What is left now is for the governor, office of the Secretary to the State Government and my office to fix the date for the inauguration of the Council of Emirs in the state. Everybody is expected to return to their respective emirates and go about their normal activities.

You are talking about inaugurating the Council, what about the cases before the court?

Yes, preparation for the inauguration of the Council of Emirs in Kano State, which comprises of the five emirates and all first class emirs, is in top gear.

About the different cases filed by the Kano Emirate and some Kano elders before the court, we are advising them to withdraw the case and follow instructions by government and cooperate with government and the newly created emirates. It is not because of anything but because time comes with nothing but development. So, this is a big development that has happened in Kano and them too.

But we don’t know what their thinking is that made them to head to court. Even in the past, not only in Kano, where people headed to court to challenge such decision, they failed, because government doesn’t do anything without reason. Failure to withdraw the cases is disrespectful to the government of Kano. It is necessary for them to come and meet with government of Kano in order to develop the state.

We hope they will give listening ear to our call. For instance, in Gombe, you have 15 emirates which in the past was only Gombe Emirate. Now, the Emir of Gombe has only two local governments under his watch as the Chairman of the Council. And it is one of the emirates under Fodio. And it is also Fulani and also Jihad. So, in a state like Kano that has a large population, with learned people from all walks of life, youths and politicians, there is need to bring the people closer to government. There is also need for adequate and improved security and this is one of the ways to achieve that.

Like I said earlier, people here have confidence and regard for traditional and religious leaders. If anything happens to them, before they report to security agencies, they must first inform their leaders. And from there, the message or information is disseminated for necessary action. On this note, we call on the Kano Emirate and others to withdraw their cases before the court for peace to reign and assist government to move the state forward.

Does this mean that if they withdraw their cases from court, your doors are open for dialogue?

Our doors are always open for dialogue especially with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. I told you the governor is the listening type who listens to the advice we give him. And he also seeks advice from Kano elites, religious leaders, traders, civil servants and whosoever he’s supposed to consult. He weighs advice to know which is right or wrong and good or bad.

Governor Ganduje led a powerful delegation to President Buhari but Emir Sanusi was absent while Emir of Bichi, Aminu Ado Bayero, was present. On the other hand, there were calls on the President to intervene in the feud…

I know there is a committee led by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and they have engaged in talks. And there was a courtesy call on President Buhari by a delegation led by Governor Ganduje and in which there were elders, traditional and religious leaders, traders and politicians from Kano to say thank you to the President. The visit was only to say thank you and not the issue of emirates took them to Abuja.

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Let me take you back to reports that emanated at a time concerning the reconciliation committee led by Gen. Abdulsalami which reportedly came and the governor allegedly snubbed the move to reconcile both parties as he failed to show up for the meeting…

No, the governor honours invitation from any committee particularly that one with Abdulsalami as the head. But the committee is yet to reveal their findings and I am not a member of that committee. And so I don’t have anything to say in that regard. But all I know is that they will do justice because they are elders.

Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi and some groups called for an end to the feud. And recently also the Oba of Benin. What should we expect?

Oba of Benin paid a courtesy visit to the governor to congratulate him over the Supreme Court verdict and gave his own advice but you know there are different cultures, places and traditions. He gave his own advice like any other person would do; it is now left for the governor to decide what to do.

Not even the Oba alone but anybody can give government advice and it will look into it. But for now, new emirates have been created and have continued to carry on with their activities. They have continued to turban district heads, ward heads, imams and others.

They carry on with their activities as spelt out by tradition and the law. So if anybody has contrary advice, it is his own thinking since he doesn’t have power to reverse it. On the call by the renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, I think the Commissioner for Religious Affairs in the state, Baba Impossible, has, when he led members of the Tijjaniyya group to the governor, addressed that aspect.

Vanguard

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