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14.05.2019 Africa

Focus On Africa: Kano's Emir Suffers Power Sharing

By William Niba - RFI
LISTEN MAY 14, 2019

Kano power struggle takes dangerous twist as Governor installs new Emirs in Lamido Sanusi's caliphate.

Tensions are high in the northern Nigerian State of Kano, where Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has presented the traditional symbol of authority to four newly-appointed Emirs who will now share power with the Caliphate's powerful ruler Muhammadu Sanusi II.

Post-election vendetta

Monday's ceremonies marked a turning point in what rival camps have described as a vendetta pitting Ganduje of the ruling All Progressive Congress and Sanusi II accused of openly campaigning for the opposition PDP during the 2019 General Elections, in violation of a long-held tradition of neutrality observed by his predecessors.


Premium Times says that under the law passed by Kano's parliament on Thursday, the four new emirs taking charge of Gaya, Rano, Karaye and Bichi will have the same status as Muhammadu Sanusi II.

The university don specialized in Kano politics who refused to be named in this report says the Emir reform contains a “reshuffling” clause. “Muhammadu Sanusi could be removed or transferred from the Kano ruling house and replaced by one of the new Emirs”, he stated.

Cold War

According to Sahara Reporters, the cold war between Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Emir Sanusi has been long coming. The publication says the Governor's hands were strengthen not only by Sanusi's involvement in politics but also by his reckless opposition to the Muslim traditions of marrying multiple wives and having several children prescribed in the teachings of the prophet.

Another academic with ties to both the Emir and the new Kano administration describes his tirade against large Muslim families as “the bitter pill, the Ulemas have refused to swallow.


Opponents of Emir Sanusi went out on Monday, down-playing thousands of people who turned out at Kano's international airport on Sunday to welcome him back from his annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

“They were “ferried in Kwankwasiyas”, meaning supporters of former Kano Governor Rabiu Kwankaso, whose backing was crucial in taking Sanusi to the Emir's throne in 2014.

Sanusi in graft allegations

There are corruption issues as well which have put a big question mark on the reign of the former Nigerian Central Bank Governor.

Social media websites in Kano quote ruling party lawmakers as saying that up to 5 billion naira, left in the accounts of the Emirate were squandered during the first two years of Sanusi's reign. In 2017 powerful allies blocked a probe by the State parliament, over the alleged embezzling 17 million euros from the region's coffers.

Court battles

However last week, the Kano State anti-corruption and public complaints commission reopened the inquiry into the suspected role played of his accountant Isa Bayero, Sanusi's brother and two of his uncles in the scam.

While more court battles are expected to be crucial in determining Muhammadu Sanusi's fate, the events of the last week have sown seeds of division among Kano's traditional ruling elite.