These Buhari Times #2: “I’m I the Emir of Kano?” and other pertinent questions.

Part 1: The Emirs of Kano 

First of all, I’d like to start by saying that the title of this weeks entry isn’t a typo, if you’re still confused about it then you’re missing out on a very good joke. I’d like to continue by saying that I’m a fan of Muhammadu Sanusi, the man formerly known as Lamido Sanusi (back when he was still a mere mortal) , The Emir of Kano… or an Emir in Kano if his Governor Ganduje has his way. You’ve probably heard of Governor Ganduje, ‘Gandollars’ for those who are familiar with his social media debut, stuffing thousands of dollars into the pockets of a conveniently billowy outfit. 

His dollars conveniently tucked away somewhere, Ganduje has now turned his focus to, in his words, “reducing the burden on the Kano emirate” (a burden Sanusi wasn’t complaining about, but I guess that’s not important) by dividing the emirate into 4, substantially reducing Sanusi’s domain from 44 LGAs to 8! Now it’s no secret that Sanusi backed PDP’s candidate in Kano’s recently concluded gubernatorial elections. The elections were fiercely contested, with PDP’s candidate even taking the lead before the elections were declared inconclusive and forced into a rerun. A rerun, which Ganduje went on to win.

“Kunle: The Kano Emirate has been in existence since 1903, it has a rich traditional history which you must mention when talking about the good people of Kano. The Emir Of Kano has always been respected politically because of how important the role is.
In retaliation to Ganduje’s advances, the Emir has taken the case to court and has employed 7 powerful SANS to be part of his legal team. As of right now, the installation of four new emirs by the governor has been declared null and void by a Kano state high court sitting in Ungogo. The next few weeks promise to be interesting.”

Why is all this backstory necessary? Remember that it’s easy to pick sides, good or bad, but it’s important to remember that politics is never really black and white. For all his progressive leadership, his brilliance and direct confrontation with the traditions and norms holding the north back, Sanusi waded into the game. Not only did he as a monarch, dip his toes in the water, he bet on a horse to win and his horse lost. Now Ganduje is taking his winnings (power) and brandishing it with glee. There’s really no rules when it comes to politics, you may be the good guy but if you poke at a bad guy hard enough and he pokes back, don’t whine, don’t cry. Chalk it down to the game and keep on playing. I really hope Sanusi wins this particular tussle and continues his campaign against the backward mindsets and traditions curtailing the north’s growth, but I guess what I hope for isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of the outcome, there’s no good guy or bad guy here, there will only be a winner and a loser. 

Part 2: The Governor and the Godfather

Speaking of monarchs, the king of Lagos… sorry former Governor, Tinubu and the Governor of Kaduna state El Rufai, have been involved in a subtle war of words. I know it’s surprising to see El- Rufai and subtle in the same sentence, but the year is 2019 and it’s a whole new world. I’ll let Kunle give you the run down.

“Kunle: Some weeks back Governor El Rufai, who people feel has his eyes on 2023, spoke about godfatherism in Lagos and encouraged Lagosians to sit up and stop it, he also spoke on voter apathy in lagos stating the low voter turnout in comparison to number of registered voters. This line of thought did not go down well with a lot of political observers, since they felt he was referring to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu, who people also believe has 2023 ambitions. Such utterances are not uncharacteristic of El rufai with even Wikileaks referring to him as highly mischievous in nature. In response to El Rufai’s comments, the Publicity Secretary of Lagos APC, Mr Joe Igbokwe, was of the opinion that people are just jealous of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Kaduna State Chapter of the APC went ahead to release a press statement saying that El Rufai was not referring to Tinubu and that rather he was encouraging Lagosians to come out and vote in future elections. However El-Rufai went on record to say “I have no apologies; I don’t apologize for my views. My views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it,”, making it clear that he’s not afraid of a confrontation. It’ll be interesting to see how the drama between the two 2023 hopefuls unfolds.

“…This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it,” — El Rufai

I think it’s early days to be angling towards 2023 but you know what they say “Early is a priceless timepiece owned by the successful” It would be wise to keep an eye on this particular shadow boxing bout. Hit me up on my twitter if you’re interested in placing bets on the outcome. 

Part 3: Demo-crazy Day

DEMO-CRAZY (*after each line)
Crazy demo
Demonstration of craze
Crazy demonstration
If it no be craze
Why for Afrika?
As time dey go
Things just dey bad
They bad more and more
Poor man dey cry
Rich man dey mess

The lyrics of Fela Kuti’s 1980s hit “Teacher don’t teach me nonsense remain as relevant now as they were then. As we celebrate the 19th year of our democracy, we must ask ourselves if it has been a successful experiment. Is it leadership by the people and for the people as it was intended to be? Or is it a demonstration of craze as Marijuana revealed to Fela some 30 odd years ago.

The Senate on Thursday passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognize June 12 as the new Democracy Day. The President made the declaration as the Federal Government honored the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, with a posthumous conferment of the highest national award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, on him.

My question is, why are we celebrating something we don’t even do right yet? Isn’t there some irony to be found in celebrating a botched election more than 2 decades later, right off the back of an election marred by violence and questionable circumstances? Whether it’s May 29th or June 12 is Nigeria’s attempt at democracy really anything to write home about?

I guess it’s not all bad. Despite my grievances, there have been some positives. Buhari’s win in 2015 marked the first time the ruling party lost a national election and there was a smooth transition between governments, in Fela’s time that would have just been a hopeful dream. Social media has also returned more power to the people; the collective voice of Nigerians was a major influence in the last election and it wasn’t the whitewash many expected. There’s also been the passage of the famous #NotTooYoungToRun Bill and what that means for aspiring young leaders. 

Now is the time for increased political participation, for us to get our PVCs and vote for leaders with foresight, for us to use the power of our voices and questions to return power to the hands of the people. To borrow a phrase from Fela, “Let us face ourselves for Nigeria, na de matter of Nigeria”. These problems are ours and the solutions lie within us. The future is bright-ish for this aspiring democracy. 

That is the conclude
The conclud-ee of my song

I say, I sing, I beg everyone to join my song (3x)

P.S. What do you think Fela would have to say about the Osun State Governor’s recent trip to do research on growing the marijuana industry in his state? I’d pay good money for a quote. R.I.P to the king, he went too soon. 

Contributor: Kunle Cole is a lawyer with an avid interest in politics and a penchant for political discussion on twitter @hitmankunlecole. He is currently a member of the APC.

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