The making of the new Dan Majen Kano, Lamido Sanusi, By Maijama'a Sule Tankarkar

Kano is a very fascinating and unique place. It is perhaps the only 1,000-year-old city in sub-Saharan Africa. Since Bagauda established Kano in 999AD, it has retained its cosmopolitan outlook, attracting people of different races and cultures from all over the world, having become a major commercial, cultural and intellectual centre from the time of the trans-Sahara trade to the current modern times. Kano is one of the original seven Hausa city – states, known as Hausa Bakwai, and a pre – eminent melting pot of people, ideas and ideologies throughout its history.
From Bagauda, the founder of Kano, to Muhammadu Alwali II, there were 43 kings of the Habe dynasty of Kano. Then the Danfodio jihad brought the emirate system at the beginning of the 19th century with the installation of the ascetic Mallam Suleiman as the first Fulani Emir of Kano in 1804. With the death of Mallam Suleiman in 1819, his recommended successor, Mallam Ibrahim Dabo bn Modibbo Mahmud, an erudite scholar, a great soldier and an accomplished administrator who was then the Galadima of Kano, took over as Emir. Thus began the Sullubawa dynasty that is still the ruling house of Kano, and thus began the slogan ‘’Kano ta Dabo cigari’’!
Emir Ibrahim Dabo was a pious and just ruler who entrenched a sense of justice in the administration of the emirate. He was a tall, elegant personality with light complexion. He succeeded in establishing precedents that determined the context in which Kano Emirate was governed and entrenched the preeminence of his family and an inclusive administration that gave responsibility to all the important clans and segments of Kano, thus ensuring peace and stability. He died on 25th November, 1846, after a protracted illness.
But by far the father and founder of modern Kano, who personalized and personified all that is best in the dignity of the modern emirate system is the great grandson of Emir Dabo, Emir Abdullahi Bayero, popularly known as Sarki Alhaji, being the first Kano Emir to undertake the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Emir Bayero is the son of Emir Abbas, and the grandson of Emir Abdullahi Maje Karofi. Emir Abdullahi Bayero was the first prince of any Emirate with the title of Ciroma (heir apparent) to succeed to the throne of his ancestors. It was a jinxed title that every prince was avoiding. He had earlier taken part in the fight to defend Kano against British colonial invaders in Kano as well as the battle to defend Sultan Attahiru I of Sokoto at Burmi, near Gombe, before making his way back to Kano after the British conquest of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Sarki Alhaji’s 27 years as emir of Kano, 1926 – 1953, were very eventful. He standardized the general administration of the emirate, which was copied by other emirates of northern Nigeria during the British indirect rule. He modernized the traditional Hawan Sallah , Hawan Daushe, the colorful Durbar which was also copied by the other traditional rulers. He set a very high standard of accountability, administration of justice and the general maintenance of peace, law and order as well as the pursuit of prosperity for the people in his domain. He built the modern Kano central mosque. He encouraged modern education by building many modern schools and enrolling his children, including his younger daughters in modern western education schools. No wonder, he was the first Nigerian to be conferred with a posthumous doctorate degree 51 years after his death by the Bayero University, Kano (an institution that bears his name) in recognition of his contribution to education and the development of modern Nigeria. He was fluent in Arabic, Fulfulde in addition to Hausa and, was the Imam of the Kano Central mosque during the period he was Emir.
Emir Abdullahi Bayero was not afraid of telling the truth to the British and even challenging their authority if they went against the interests of his people. There was a time he was issued a query by the British Resident in Kano over a minor incident. The Emir decided to ignore the query. The Resident, Mr. F.M. Noad, decided to visit the Emir over the query. Emir Abdullahi Bayero patiently listened to the hot words uttered by the Resident and then answered, “what do you intend to do now?” This question puzzled the Resident who answered, “we are proposing to remove you from power unless you apologize to His Majesty’s Government”. The Emir answered, “Go ahead. We know that Allah gave us this power, not you. And if you feel you could take it away from us, then try it”. The answer left the Resident in shock and everyone breathless. The Emir rose and shook hands with the Resident and went into his palace! That was the great- grand father of the Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
With the demise of Emir Abdullahi Bayero in 1953, his eldest son, Sir Muhammadu Sanusi was installed as the 11th Emir and the 54th ruler of Kano. Emir Muhammadu Sanusi was a very charismatic and powerful leader whose tenure was marked by peace and continuous modern development. He was a very learned Islamic scholar in addition to being an astute administrator. Like his late father he also led Friday prayers in the Kano central mosque. It was during his reign that Queen Elizabeth 11 of Great Britain visited Kano in 1956 where a Durbar was held in her honour. He was the first Nigerian appointed as acting governor when the colonial governor went on leave in 1958. He maintained the dignity, power and prestige associated with the office of the emir of Kano.
Due to irreconcilable differences between Emir Sir Sanusi and the Premier of northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, he abdicated the throne of the Emir of Kano in 1963 and was exiled to Azare, thus his nickname Sarki Murabus (Retired Emir). He died in April 1991 at the age of 86 in Wudil, near Kano. One of the Emir Sanusi’s sons, Ciroman Kano Ambassador Aminu Sanusi, was one of the first 12 Foreign Service officers recruited in Nigeria in 1957. Ambassador Aminu Sanusi had a distinguished career in the diplomatic service rising to become permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs before retiring. He gave birth to the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who is being turbaned this week as Dan Majen Kano by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, younger brother and successor of Emir Sanusi.
As can be seen, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS, as he is fondly called by his friends) comes from a distinguished public service background. He is an accomplished scholar in his own rights in both Islamic and western senses. He had a successful banking career and was briefly a university lecturer before being appointed governor of the CBN in June 2009.
Since his assumption of office as CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido has embarked upon far reaching reforms of the country’s banking sector. He has caused the arrest of many bank debtors and corrupt bank executives who have been swindling unsuspecting depositors. He removed such officials who have been found wanting and re-capitalized some of the distressed banks that were on the verge of collapse. He re-named some of these banks and appointed new managements for them.
In keeping with his family tradition of telling the truth to power, he has consistently been on collision course with those in authority, particularly the National Assembly which he once accused of taking up to 25 per cent of the entire country’s recurrent expenditure for their upkeep, which is a drain on the nation’s scarce resources. He was summoned by the legislators and asked to apologize but he stood by what he said, produced facts and figures to buttress his point and declined to offer any apology. Just because of this minor incident between the National Assembly and Mallam Lamido Sanusi, the legislators have initiated a law to curtail the autonomy of the CBN, which every one knowledgeable in modern economic management is seeing as unwise and detrimental to the nation’s economy. Of course from history one can see that every time a descendant of Dabo faces challenges he bounces back triumphantly. This too shall come to pass.
He is a member of the federal government’s economic management team that is driving the reform of the nation’s economy. In that capacity, he had to defend an unpopular decision- the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy by the government early last January. He entered the fray because he had seen the monumental fraud involved in the whole subsidy issue. He was called all sorts of names by the unsuspecting ordinary people. With the report of the investigations of the subsidy scam, SLS may have been finally vindicated. Once he is convinced about the rightness and justness of a course he does not look back. He has the courage of his convictions and does not attempt to be populist.
In recognition of all that he has been doing to Kano in particular and Nigeria in general he is being conferred with the prestigious title of Dan Majen Kano by the Emir of Kano this week. This is a title reserved for hardworking and courageous princes. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is finally getting local acknowledgment of his heritage by the eminent recognition of his immense contributions to the nation’s development, having earlier been awarded many national and international honours recently.
Here is wishing the new Dan Majen Kano Lamido Sanusi exuberant health, wisdom, courage and God’s protection in the discharge of his duties to Kano, Nigeria, Africa, and the world, in the true tradition of his worthy ancestors. Amen.

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