.Gernot Rohr

It’s a Nigerian syndrome. A title-craving disease. A subliminal do-you-know-who-I-am mentality that accompanies even the meekest around and leaves him one provocation away from becoming an agbero. 

The Nigerian big man’s penchant for perceiving slight or injury once his title is omitted in public and the recourse to petulance or vengeance to effect a correction.

But frankly, nobody expected this from Lamido Sanusi, the Change Agent.

Lamido Sanusi was once the Emir of Kano. He was dethroned 18 months ago. A new Emir of Kano has since been appointed. Yet, Sanusi won’t sit still and accept the fact that since he isn’t the current Emir of  Kano then he is a former Emir. We can allow Sanusi to continue pretending he was once a sovereign. So that he can hang onto “once a sovereign always a sovereign.” That might help him. But Emirs of today are not sovereigns.

They are well-decorated community organisers of some historical significance. If Lamido Sanusi were a sovereign, an emperor of the old Kano Empire, the consequences of any dethronement would have been different—dungeon, exile or death. Not this resurgent peacocking that is finicky about vanity and expired protocols.

Well, Sanusi could say he has been exiled from Kano to Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos and left psychologically severely wounded.

Then, let him know that even real sovereigns, once dethroned, are not owed any honours, let alone the modern-day antiquities called traditional rulers in a multiparty democracy, if deposed.

In Nigeria, society infests everyone with the warts of the brute. The acculturation of the ogboju phenomenon. So, the creme de la creme sometimes tastes like the crusts from the bottom.

At that ceremony in Kaduna, the man who addressed Sanusi as “former Emir of Kano” couldn’t have described him more reverently and correctly. So when Sanusi leapt up and threw a fit, he betrayed indignation, an unhealthy grudge.

Though commoners like me can’t know how it feels to be a dethroned emir, Sanusi should mellow out. When Sanusi, the democrat, the advocate of integrity in governance, informed the crowd through a sly innuendo that the man’s sin would imminently cost him his position as Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State governor, many shook their heads in bemusement. 

In one Kaduna breath, Lamido Sanusi, the genius, left everybody astounded with a spectacular piece of emotional unintelligence.

If it were just the addiction to big titles, many wouldn’t have minded. We are used to that. If it were just that reflexive, naked, shameless display of power in dressing down a senior government official in public, we wouldn’t have staggered. After all, a big masquerade who once rode in Rolls Royce and Bentley limousines while superintending the affairs of the second largest emirate in Nigeria, despite all his Ted talks, can lose his temper and squash the ego of a fry.

But Sanusi is also a social critic who inundates the public with sermons against arbitrariness and vanity. He ought to be wary of his conduct in public. In every fit of fury or outburst of superciliousness, he must avoid obscenities, pronouncements that suggest that a governor, who is his childhood friend, exists to service his bloated ego.

At the peak of his crisis in the Kano Emirate, a few commentators had called on Sanusi to abdicate the problematic throne and position himself for the presidency. Sanusi might not be a saint; certainly, the Kano State Anti-Corruption Commission doesn’t think he is, but he is a leading light in the national crusade for social reformation. The bane of this country isn’t a paucity of intellectuals and preachers. It is a dearth of principled folks who can preach, not with their mouths alone but, with their public and private lives.

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A governor can reshuffle his cabinet whimsically. And he can choose to discuss his plans with his airiest girlfriends. But If the Chief of Staff to the governor of a state can be ridiculed by a private individual and sanctioned so hastily by the state to massage the ego of a crony of the governor, then governance has gone to children.

 Even if the cabinet reshuffle had been written,  but only published after Sanusi’s outburst, it still speaks of rot. Since the apparent sanction was announced by the aggrieved pompous friend of the governor even before the alleged offence had been understood by the presumed offender and the listening public, then naked cronyism is the menace and Governor El Rufai must take the heart of the blame.

Two days after the event, Lamido Sanusi wants us to believe it was hilarious banter, an attempt by him to relax his audience. I believe him. He also said Gov El Rufai had not discussed with him the cabinet reshuffle that happened a day after his ominous joke. I believe him too. Putting all these beliefs together, let me wish Oracle Lamido Sanusi, the former Emir of Kano, a hilarious weekend.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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