By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Barely one week after Abdullahi Gandunje , the governor of Kano state and his political allies both at the Federal and state level succeeded in deposing Muhammad Lamido Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as the Emir of Kano, and banished him to Awe village,Headquarters of Awe local government Area of Nasarawa state, through the Court process on Monday, March 9, 2020, it elicited a legal battle to secure his freedom.
True to people’s believe that the deposed Monarch may not stay too long in detention at Awe, the former Monarch was said to have instructed his legal Team headed by Lateef Fagbami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to challenge his banishment.
The deposed Monarch may have followed the path of Mustapha Jokolo, a retired Major, and former ADC, to President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired General, when he was Head of state between December 31, 1983 and August 25, 1985. The retired Army Major and then Emir of Gwandu may have ran into stormy waters and was deposed by the, Kebbi state government and subsequently banished, to Obi, a remote village in Nasarawa state. He regained his freedom through the Court process in 2006.
This may have informed why he gave legal Team headed by Fagbemi, a Human Rights Lawyer headed to Court to file their legal papers on Thursday March 12, 2020, barely four days of his banishment, to challenege the deposed Monarch banishment.
Recall that Muhyi Magaji Rimngado, Chairman of the state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, PCACC, probing a N2.2 bill land scam level against the former Emir had secured a a Court Judgment which gave Gandunje , the state governor powers to sack and banish him to Awe village in Nasarawa state.
Awuli Chikere, a Abuja Federal High Court trial Judge had given Judgment on the case on Friday, March 13, 2020, setting Sanusi, the former Emir of Kano free. To ensure that the order was fully carried out by the relevant agencies of government, without Complaint, Justice Chikere, had ordered that the Court orders be served Muhammed Adamu, the Inspector Genera of Police, IGP, Yusuf Bichi, Director General, Department of State Service, DSS, Ibrahim Murktar, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kano state and Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice. It was done.
Signs that the former Emir would be released from detention emerged when el-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo and now governor of Kaduna state had appointed him barely 24 hours after he was deposed by Gandunje, the Kano state governor, t as the Pro-Chancellor of the Kaduna state University.
The appointment according to informed sources was an indication that the governor who is a political ally of Buhari,the Kaduna state born Nigerian President , was not happy with the action taken by his Kano state counterpart to enforce a Court judgment to remove the revered Emir from office.
Many believe that he may have appointed the deposed Emir as the Pro-Chancellor of the Kaduna state University to spite Gandunje and his political allies because of his believe that he would surely be set free through the Court process. Political watchers confirmed that there have been an underground warfare between el-Rufai, the Kaduna state governor and Gandunje, his Kano state Counterpart, over the sacking of the Sanusi as the Emir of Kano.
The governor who could not hide his feelings over the detention of the deposed Monarch on Friday, March 13, 2020, met with him at the Awe village , where he was staying , to use the Kaduna state language. Note that Journalists were not allowed to get close to the duo at the heavily guided building by security personnel as they were made to stay 200 meters away from the place.
On getting to the location where the former Emir was kept in seclusion at Awe, el-rufal, had greeted him with total respect as he have shook him with two hands, showing that he still holds him in high esteem even though out of office.
Aware of the fact that the Photo Journalists who had laid ambush for him but were stopped by fierce looking policemen from getting close to the building where he had met the deposed Monarch would need the pictures of the historic visit to Awe, his Media Team had shared the pictures through his official Twitter handle. It was not surprising why the pictures went viral.
The Kaduna state governor may have been encouraged to visit the deposed Emir to prove a point that he has not abandoned him . It was, however, bad news to Gandunje and his political allies who had expected to get Sanusi II, the former Emir of Kano, out of their way in order to languish at Awe, Nasarawa state as the Court truncated their plan.
They had expected him to remain in Awe for the rest of his life like late Muhammad Sanusi 1, a former Emir of Kano, who incidentally was his grandfather but banished to Azare, Headquarters of Katagun local government Area, in present day Bauchi state . He was removed by Ahmadu Bello, a one-time Premier of the northern region in 1963. The deposed Emir died in 1984 without setting h foot in Kano again.
Sanusi, who was very appreciative to those who had stood behind him in the trying period, particular, el-rufai, his long time friend and governor of Kaduna state had said that his removal as the Emir of the ancient City of City of Kano by Gandunje was motivated because of his ‘’frosty relationship with him’’, which critics had said started during ‘’Gandunje’s first term in office’’ .
The former Emir of Kano, who was said to have been accompanied by the Kaduna governor, had taken the next available flight fromNnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Lagos on Friday, March 13, 2020, into the waiting hands of friends and relatives amidst tight security.