The last Monday sack of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, erstwhile emir of Kano, by the Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, sent shock waves round the whole of Nigeria and I dare say, to every nook of the world where Nigeria in an issue. Although many Nigerians wear anti-shock and anti-depressant shields from the shenanigans of Nigerian governments, the world was still terribly shocked by Sanusi’s sack. Perhaps, the world shouldn’t have been shocked after all: Since Ganduje surprisingly broke the lien to emerge as a second-term governor of Kano State last year, he has shelled Sanusi with a ferocious artillery. At a point, the billowing smoke from his artillery got really profusely audacious, making people to suspect that the smoke was propelled from outside the precincts of the Kano Government House.
Thanks to the social media, the Sanusi issue has almost been totally shredded. As usual, however, the ubiquitous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) divide coloured the various submissions. Sanusi rode on the back of the tiger, many of the analyses say. He thus should be at peace inside the animal’s stomach, shredded for breakfast and his entrails scattered inside the tiger’s belly. He paved the way for the APC calamity that befell Nigeria in 2015, in the first instance, leading to the coronation of the current non-cognitive rule of Muhammadu Buhari and sent PDP’s Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to an early exit from his clueless governance. Some even ethnicised his travails. As Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi volunteered to be the pall-bearer of a Yoruba bank, Intercontinental Bank, and sent some Southern sons and daughter to the jailhouse and a penitentiary, respectively.
Sanusi’s sack, so they reasoned, was a self-inflicted tragedy. Ruminating over it, I am reminded of a folklore of the hunter, the snake and the ground bill bird Yoruba call akalamagbo. Akalamagbo is loosely associated with the vulture and Yoruba folklores respect this bird a lot, ostensibly due to its vast intelligence and association with long life. Akalamagbo is reputed to be able to live up to fifty years on earth. The folklore goes thus: A hunter on a hunting expedition had witnessed a contest between an eagle and a snake. The eagle wanted to kill the snake and the snake, frightened, made supplications to the hunter to allow it hibernate in his stomach until the eagle’s ferocious anger subsided. The hunter allowed the snake but upon getting inside the hunter’s belly, seeing the comfort within, it refused to take its exit. Even with his profuse pleading to the snake to leave, the snake stuck to its guns. Then the hunter, in his search for intercession, met the akalamagbo and begged it to intercede.
Akalamagbo then came to the front of the hunter to mediate in the crisis. Unbeknown to it, it would soon be the bullet-biter. It enquired from the snake why it exhibited that level of ingratitude. When the snake began its submission, akalamagbo feigned inability to hear it clearly and asked the hunter to open his mouth so that the snake could peep out and the dialogue could be smoother. As the snake peeped out, the bird positioned itself to sink its notorious beak on the snake’s head and draw it out of the hunter’s stomach. Apparently over-excited, the hunter, with a small dart in his hand, also simultaneously attempted to pierce the snake’s head too but unfortunately, the dart hit the akalamagbo by the neck and till today, it carries the scar of the bullet it bit for the hunter. In this melee, the snake recoiled and withdrew into where it was hibernating. In Yoruba cosmology, this was the story of how the akalamagbo got its goiter scar and how snake-like worms reside in a human stomach.
Sanusi had, like the hunter, sheepishly invited his own calamity, so should live with the ingratitude of Buhari and Ganduje who lived inside of him. So his PDP-minded traducers reason. To the APC, Sanusi had been a stormy petrel, non-conformist, flippant snake who bit the Kano and Buhari governments periodically with his venom-soaked mouth and his sack was good riddance to his bad rubbish. Some even drew a fatalism graph with his sack: His grandfather was similarly deposed as an Emir. To the scions of the conservative North, Sanusi reincarnated the ghost of Talakawa apologist, Bala Mohammed, with his poisonous vituperations against rank establishment. Mohammed, like Sanusi, was an archetype of the socio-political genus tagged ‘radical leftists.’ Like Sanusi too, conservative by birth, but in the sixteen years he lived prior to his murder, his renown in the academia and on radio waves in Kano as the most lucid and non-conformist Nigerian leftist theorist was awesome. One of the reasons why Bala was killed was due to his ideologue leaning in the socialist Peoples’ Redemption Party (PDP) party of Abubakar Rimi. He was assassinated in Kano on July 10, 1981. For their flippant stings of a decadent status quo that had pauperized millions of Northerners for over a century, in spite of the decades of Northern rule of Nigeria, in both military and civilian regimes, capped by their reckless washing of the dirty linen of the blue blood aristocrats in the public, both Bala Mohammed and Sanusi deserved to die, either literally or metaphorically.
The above are a rehash of the views traded across Nigeria since Sanusi was deposed. Two separate individuals and their actions however struck me as the nuggets to hold on to in the Sanusi debacle. The first was a letter written by Atedo Peterside while the conflagration provoked by Ganduje’s unexampled rascally wield of power was still hot. Peterside is a businessman and banker, as well as founder and chief executive of the then Investment Bank and Trust Company Limited (IBTC) from 1989 until 2007 and who became the Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, from 2007 till September 2014. Last week, Peterside wrote to the CBN Governor, Emefiele to decline attendance of a CBN Consultative Roundtable slated for March 11, 2020. He was billed to be a panelist.
He wrote: “Whilst thanking (CBN) for the Invitation, I believe the correct thing for me to do is to respectfully decline to participate,” stating that, “my refusal to join you has more to do with the monumental events that took place yesterday viz the removal of the Emir of Kano from office and the release of information that purportedly seeks to exile him and restrict his movements or confine them to a little known enclave in Nassarawa State.” He had some moral preachments for an equivocating Nigerian system seeking economic growth and in another breath, stultifying moral growth: “The theme for your Roundtable Session is ‘Going for Growth.’ Rapid growth is only achieved on the back of significant investment activity. Going for growth should therefore be a holistic concept that embraces the sum total of actions and activities that we need to encourage in order to boost investor confidence, including respect of individual freedoms and the rule of law. Sadly, yesterday’s events have turned back the clock at a time when our economy is at a precipice and when we need to tell ourselves some home truths and speak truth to power in a constructive manner.” As a clincher, he had a subtle but loud moral whiplash for Emefiele, a see-no-evil-hear-no-evil man who is busy filling his tummy with proceeds of the fatal incompetence of the system: “By coincidence, the Ex-Emir of Kano is your predecessor in office at CBN. Ordinarily, he qualifies to be invited for tomorrow’s event. Did you invite him?” He nearly called Emefiele a lickspittle or what the Igbo call an efulefu.
The second nugget was Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai’s reaction to the sack of Sanusi. By the way, this writer had always singed el-Rufai’s flesh on account of his politics. While he did not verbalize his rank disappointment with the decision to depose Sanusi, he deployed what in communication is called semiotics, in two appointments he offered the deposed Emir within 24 hours. First was an offer to the board of Kaduna investment promotion agency and the second, Chancellor of the Kaduna State University. Both appointments, coming from a man who is a notable scion of the decadent Northern establishment, are noteworthy and commendable. His and Peterside’s symbolic disdain of the rascality of the marionette called Ganduje as well as the hidden but apparent persons who fiddled with the marionette’s strings to arrive at the intersection of Sanusi’s sack, point boldly at the need for us all to stand up for something in Nigeria at difficult moments. The truth is, there are hundreds of people sitting comfortably at the top, who are rankled by the audacious sack of Sanusi but for fear of losing their comfort zones, have chosen to keep sealed lips. This shows the vanishing crop of Nigerians who ever stand up for what they believe in.
If there is any positive lesson to be drawn from this Sanusi mess, it is Peterside and el-Rufai’s bold and audacious decisions to bite the bullet for their belief. Both stood to lose a lot in the hands of a venal, vindictive and blood-sucking Nigerian establishment which brooks no dalliance or allegiance to what it frowns at. Due to our flirtatious and incestuous identification with political parties which are six and half a dozen, we all have sold our souls to the dragon. No one speaks the truth in Nigeria any longer. We speak party-sauced and interests-laden truths. This is the greatest tragedy that has befallen us as a people.
Nigeria is what it is because we have all fallen into the groove of a conspiracy of silence. We are afraid to lose our comfort. Yet, no great society is made on account of her nationals speaking from both sides of their mouths or sealing their mouths with apron adhesives as an Emir is expected to do. I remember a quip from a father to his son, the latter who wondered at the conquest of evil over good. The father had enthused: “You have lived long enough in Nigeria, my son; have you ever seen good conquering evil here?” This is the Nigerian equation.
The Sanusi debacle bears all the trappings of the conquest of evil over good and a dis-advertisement for conscientious critical analysis of our decadent system. The Sanusi sack will groom more pacifists and bootlickers of the status quo. Ganduje is a poster of all that is wrong with Nigerian leadership. He doesn’t even impress anyone as possessing any cerebral quality. Whenever his name is mentioned, the American dollar flashes in the subconscious. For such a man to preside over the decapitation of a man who is unarguably the highest Northern Nigerian advertisement of mental acuity, a cerebral oasis in a mental desert, is the biggest systemic equivocation ever.
When the presidency now disclaimed involvement in Sanusi’s dethronement, many Nigerians pelted the Villa with sarcastic laughter. You can confirm that Buhari and his hirelings were the marionette fiddling with the dethronement strings, from a newspaper report of yesterday, which affirmed that Sanusi claimed that the process that led to his deposition as the 14th Emir of Kano, his arrest order, banishment from Kano and subsequent detention in Awe, Nasarawa State, came from the Attorney General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, working in cahoots with the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami who then instructed the Department of State Services and the police to clamp him in detention. There are allegations that there was an intrusion into Villa’s filial responsibilities by the deposed Emir and such, the need to liquidate him in retaliation.
There are thus insinuations that Ganduje deposed Sanusi as propitiations to the rapacious god of the Villa which periodically demands the blood of its nemeses. Apart from meticulously proclaiming that those who administer Nigeria have dunghill in their medula oblongata, Sanusi had consistently jarred the nerves of those who fling the veneer of religion as shield for maladministration. If Islam is consistently flung as being in incestuous relationship with poverty in Northern Nigeria, as it is now, Islam would disappear from the face of the North, Sanusi counseled. Establishment cringed in pain. In Ganduje, Sanusi showed that the brain would be on an 8-year sabbatical in Kano Government House.
Now, Sanusi is back in Lagos, to his mental kin, among his brethren, where he who possesses the brain is Emir, the most powerful, and not he who possesses the dollar.
‘Oranminran’, A Reactionary Idea, Is Dead!
My last week piece entitled Osun: Excavating the ruins of the Oranmiran years, provoked hidden dusts in Osun State and Nigeria as a whole. Many wondered why the shocking information therein about the monumental education ruins in the State of the Living Spring, was, according to them, just now being excavated. Some also wondered why, if the allegations were true, the Fuhrer of the ruinage should be rewarded with a ministerial position. It was thus not a surprise when architects of the ruins chose to send my friend, my namesake, Wale Adedayo, to me via his rejoinder entitled “Oranminyan: A Progressive Idea Cannot Die.” You would pity Mr. Adedayo as he feebly struggled to legitimise the Rauf Aregbesola calamity in Osun, hiding the ruins under the veneer of ideology.
You should excuse Adedayo on his claim that the performance-enhancing drug which Aregbesola swallowed in office was a so-called progressive ideology. He also claimed that this was the motivation for the awkwardness in character and policies of the Rauf era. While Adedayo is external to the calamity that is the Aregbesola education policies, friendship to the Fuhrer being his only link to Osun, I showed in my earlier piece how I was a victim of Rauf’s abstruse governorship.
Throughout the piece, Adedayo didn’t explain how Fakunle Comprehensive High School should be pulled down for a supermarket and how Aregbesola’s protégé should be the sole monopolist distributor of school uniforms and why the Fuhrer should owe 34 months of half salaries. I am not Adegboyega Oyetola’s mouthpiece and so cannot even attempt to defend him but everyone knows that Rauf, a despot of the first order, would brook no dissent to his destructive educational policy and not even an “ordinary” Chief of Staff dared to stand in the way of his decree.
Adedayo’s most unpardonable sin was comparing Rauf to Immortal Obafemi Awolowo and likening the dross of his eight years to the evergreen accomplishments of the avatar. I doubt if the alale ile (Owners of the Land) of Yorubaland will pardon my friend who prides himself as Babalawo, for this sacrilege. Awolowo himself would never have imagined that a day would come, even after his departure, that some arrant-minded fellow would be made to simulate his good name. I remember writing a piece entitled WAEC results: Of Awo’s mud classrooms and govs’ model greed on August 20, 2017 while Aregbesola was still basking in the insipidity of his Oranminran mis-ideology. He was my target in the piece.
In that piece, I had submitted: “Many of today’s governors are so fixated on the illicit wealth they can make from office… It is unfortunate that we need to continue to make Awolowo, who 65 years ago, administered a Region which today approximates nine states, a model of analysis. By 1952, even before the Universal Primary Education (UPE) began, Awo had come up with its blueprint. Confronted by a #10m estimate for both the UPE and the free health program, even when the projected 1954 expenditure stood at #5m, Awo first cut capital costs on school buildings and cancelled housing subsidy for civil servants. He opted for mud blocks in place of pre-fabricated block cement classrooms and budgeted capital tumbled down by 70 per cent. His critics said he was opting for ‘substandard’ buildings but by 1955 when the scheme started, 400,000 pupils turned up, contrary to his projected 175,000. Assured that the quality of teachers held the ace rather than cozy classrooms, in 1956, Awo established many Grade 3 Teacher Training Colleges and trained, between 1955 and 1958, 11,000 teachers.
“Many states with those shameful WAEC results are manned by governors who are captives of the fad of gigantic classroom structures, at the detriment of training teachers. Some of them invest in neither of the two, preferring the infectious obsession with stacking billions of naira on infrastructure. The results are scores of unnecessary dualised roads and humongous bridges from where substantial billions of naira kick-backs are funneled into governors’ ghost foreign accounts. In South West today, the rotten cake of education that is kissing the canvass is decorated with glamorous icings of roads/overhead bridges that are at best white elephant.”
Adedayo should answer the question of why Aregbesola, the “Awoist,” chose to dismantle, merge and rename many of the schools built by Awolowo. In Yorubaland, what name is given to such self-professed child who turned his father’s house into ruins? Most of the secondary schools were founded by Bola Ige. More importantly, the Awo educational policy emphasized that pupils must school within a mile radius to their parents’ homes which was why Ige established Community Secondary Schools in the old Oyo State, all of which Rauf merged with the ensuing pains of students and pupils trekking kilometers to school while the Fuhrer lasted.
It should be obvious from the above that my friend doesn’t know who a reactionary is simplicita. Of a truth, the Nigerian definition of reactionary politics was what Aregbesola foisted on the people of Osun State, contrary to the model of Awo’s education policy. I chose not to veer into the Oranminran “ideology” and the totality of the 8-year rule of a self-proclaimed ideologue which the people of Osun State can attest was a monumental catastrophe; a Lagos boy came to Osun and left a miasma of total ruins.
Festus Adedayo is an Ibadan-based journalist.