Sarki Abdallahi Ibrahim, the Makaman Kano, is one of the kingmakers of the Kano Emirate Council. He tells The Interview, the real reason Emir Muhammad Sanusi 11 was deposed by the Kano State government.
In the last few months, the Kano Emirate Council has gone through turbulent times. What do you think the long-term impact will be?
I cannot predict the future. But I can assume that whatever error was made can be corrected.
Whatever mistakes have been identified in the process of that turbulence can be repaired. It can be looked into and whatever was done wrong, we right it.
Some kingmakers filed a case in court challenging the Emirate Council Law 2019 and the creation of four new Emirates. Where do things stand now?
The kingmakers’ case has already been solved out of court. So, there is nothing in the court.
The only way out is to appeal. And we have never indicated any intention to appeal the judgement that has been given.
The case has been solved out of court. I am sure you have not heard anything about that.
What understanding do the kingmakers have with the state government and the present emir?
There is no case pending since it was thrown out of court.
The only way we can go back to court is for us to appeal.
The issue is that there is nothing to settle.
That means we have accepted the judgement of the court, having been thrown out on technicalities. We have accepted that in principle.
You are one of the kingmakers that selected this new emir. Why him and do you think he was the right choice?
How can I doubt he was the right choice when I was part of the four people that selected him? I cannot select a wrong person.
Were there other nominees for the position?
There were. There were three. Out of the three recommended to the government, they picked one.
It is not for me to say who the other two were.
You have to ask the government. It was a recommendation forwarded to the government.
Part of what has led to the crisis was the emirate getting involved in politics and also speaking out on the failings of society. Do you think it is the duty of an emir to speak truth to power, especially when actions of the government go against the interests of the people?
The issue as you mentioned was not that the emirate council was involved in politics.
No. The allegation was that the then emir was trying to involve himself in politics.
The state government challenged him on that basis and an attempt was made to sort it out.
But the traditional institution is being seen as an adviser to any government.
So, the eventuality should be that they discuss behind closed doors, not on a platform like a political campaign.
That is the ideal.
Considering that there will always be tension between the traditional institutions and the government because of politics, do you think there is a future for traditional institutions in a democratic Nigeria?
Of course. Emirate council is part of Nigerian polity. So, whenever political advice is needed, the channel of effective communication should be taken.
What went wrong was that the wrong channel was taken in addressing or correcting government publicly rather than to come and seek audience with the governor or the officials to discuss and dialogue in order to advise government.
The now former emir tried to bring reform to the emirate council, to the culture of Kano. Do you think he was wrong to reform a centuries old institution and bring it in line with modern practices?
Social change is an inevitable part of any society.
And the emirate council is not in isolation. So we should look forward to changes, especially the positive ones. Whatever decision taken or suggestions made, if it is acceptable, it is taken.
Whatever suggestion made by the former emir have been accepted by society, even the government.
Some of them have documented and codified into law. They are still there.
And some are yet to be regularised in terms of being taken to the House of Assembly to pass it into law.