In the 24 hours of Sanusi’s fated fall I have read many commentaries on him and elsewhere. But I find it troubling that we tend to oversimplify the circumstances of his dismissal or the man himself by narrowing his travails down to some “truth” telling, not obeying nebulous rules, unbridled radicalism in an ultraconservative political and cultural environment, etc, etc.
Some empathise with Sanusi, others are happy he fell. Sanusi deserves some more critical analysis. To cut out the fats, I enumerate my position as follows:
- Sanusi, the dethroned emir of Kano is a very complicated hyena and power monger. Forget anything he says to the contrary.
- Sanusi is very intelligent. Not extraordinarily brilliant, but intelligent. Smart (devious).
- Sanusi’s reputation is built largely on the pretty speeches he makes, his penchant for using syllogism to make his points and juggling figures (he said on tape that the South West is 80% commited to education and the North East & North West 20%. He cited no authority. He obviously is the authority-without-the-need-for-a-survey!).
- Tying back to 3 above, Sanusi is not a reformer nor is he a progressive or radical. He is a quintessential demagogue and all demagogues in history learn to be smart, to profit from the rot of the society, to steal from the society (including the theft of life), to hoodwink the masses, and they are often caught doing the opposite of what they say.
- If Sanusi were a reformist, he would touch the lives of his subjects in such fundamental ways that people would stand up and defend him. As an economist, he knows what he could do to impact his people. But he preferred to stand at public podiums and grandstand.
- Sanusi is not a radical. Radical thinkers operate by a canon, a code of selflessness which make them champion public causes with a clean breast. But Sanusi is a product of the filth of the North he likes to talk about and he has grabbed every privilege, deserved and undeserved, to feather his own nest.
- His tempestuous reign at CBN was more a battle with his predecessor (an overrated economist and mediocre administrator, no doubt), with other bank chiefs he made no pretense he loved to personally hunt them down (of course, they did badly but his motivation was more to settle personal scores). He jailed the bank chiefs but he didn’t reform the CBN, which continued to run an opaque system built on suspicious monetary policies. In any case, he robbed the CBN blind and blackmailed Goodluck Jonathan before nemesis could catch up with him. He got away and managed to wrest (buy off) the position of Emir of Kano from the front runner then who has now become his successor in six short years.
- Sanusi is an intelligent man, a smart devil, but he is essentially lacking in wisdom. A wise ruler who truly wants radical change in the North only needs to create the political, economic and cultural alliances that would bring about the changes and reformations he desires. His results would be speaking for him, and when those results have become undeniable, he can then begin to speak to the issues. But what do we have in Sanusi, a mere grandiloquent talker and no doer. Worse still, he set himself up as a political force and made the governors to whom he owed allegiance, his sparring partners. Damn foolish!
- Sanusi is an easy kill, and the credit does not go to the guillotine called Ganduje but to Sanusi himself. If Sanusi is so extraordinarily intellectually endowed, he could write books that set out a blueprint for the progressive development if the North. All the books Awolowo wrote in and out of prison have remained pathways of progress Nigeria cannot ignore. What stopped Sanusi from setting his ideas imperishably in book form to speak to rulers of the now and the future?
- Sanusi is stinkingly corrupt. The firensic audit of CBN nailed him. The forensic reports of the Kano emirate under him nailed him. If he was innocent, Osinbajo, as Acting President would not have wadded in to plead for him. Dangote would not have moved in to save his neck. The two of them made him last this long on the throne. He would have gone down in history as having been dethroned for corruption (of course, by a very corrupt governor).
- Sanusi overreached himself and signed his death warrant for seeking political power even while on the throne of Kano. His death knell came from the revelation that he begged Osibajo to make him VP in the seemingly likely event that Buhari did not return alive to Nigeria. That, more than anything else is the reason why no power in Nigeria could save him. O ti gun igi koja ewe! If anyone thinks Ganduje pulled this off all by himself, he should have a rethink. Sanusi was a well-advertised friend of this government. He could get away with anything, and he did get away with much. But nemesis caught him in the plot of vaunted political ambition; hence the power that made and could save him buried him alive. This is the summary of his travails and he knows it. I suspect he is a little grateful that the punishment is not more than this.
- Sanusi is a symbolism, a rich talent wasted by the owner. He is the most articulate emir in the history of Nigeria, and the most refined. Instead of drawing other emirs towards a progressive path in a convivial atmosphere, he antagonised them all. Nor did he endear himself to his subjects. When he was uprooted yesterday, it was as though he was a jigger. There is no demonstration in Kano!
- Sanusi is a parable, a parable of the self-conceited. Of the peacock! Of the tortoise. Of the gadfly. Of Nebuchadnezzar. Sanusi is a parable of the candle. He burnt brilliantly and promised much light in the penumbra of the North. He only needed a little salt of wisdom not to burn himself out to soon and so foolishly. But he would not be Sanusi if he couldn’t act out his own script. As it is, he has given Ganduje the most important work he would ever do in his eight years in office.
- In summary, Sanusi committed suicide and Nemesis made sure he did not escape judgement. The Emir of Candle blew out his own light. The message for all is that karma is not dead. And karma is a bitch, with or without the dragon!
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