THE 21ST CENTURY KING: TO BE SEEN AND NOT BE HEARD? BY ALUKO AHMAD
Mahatma Gandhi said “ I suppose leadership at one point meant muscle (power), but today it means getting along with people (your followers). Today, some leaders wield the (muscle) power and some possess the ability to influence people to get along with them, mostly as a result of the individual’s charisma.
In this 21st century, a leader can either be a political leader as in the case of democracy or a traditional / cultural leader as in the case of monarchy, albeit, Nigeria operates the former at all levels giving huge recognition to the traditional system and the ruler with little or no corresponding recognition in the constitution; they are likened to an heavy weight in view and paper weight in substance.
The African society, Nigeria to be precise, has gotten to a stage whereby her traditional institution is being led by men of credence, substance and impeccable track records. These set of Kings in their individual capacity have succeeded in their various endeavours and have carved a niche for themselves in the society, thereby giving them an edge over their forefathers, who were believed to be chosen by divine consultation irrespective of their individual achievements.
A look at some of this traditional rulers and their individual achievements before being chosen has brought more respect to the positions they occupy. The likes of Emir Sulu Gambari of Ilorin, an appeal Court judge until he was summoned to take the leadership position of Ilorin emirate and its suburb, also the ooni of Ife, Oba Adewusi who is a successful business man, investor and Estate owner both home and Abroad and a more familiar scenario is that of the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi who has successfully carved his name on the sand of time both in the private and public sectors respectively. He was the CBN governor, until his appointment as the ruler of the Kano emirate council.
These set of 21st century kings, have decided to be a voice to reckon with in the society, they have deviated from what used to be the norm, they are exposed and well-connected, they find it easy to contribute to the happenings and events of the society in their various capacities. They are therefore seen and heard from all parts of the world, although their been heard and seen varies. The heat of the moment is that of the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi ||, who was relieved of his kingship duty by the political ruler of Kano, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje.
Since the news broke out across all media platforms on the 9th of March, 2020, it has generated mixed reactions both within and outside the country but one thing is crystal clear (deduced from the general reactions) , that Muhammad Sanusi, an orator and public speaker par excellence has succeeded in speaking truth to power, speaking against bad governance, illiteracy of the North, marginalisation of the proliteriat at the expense of the bourgeoisie, the high rate of under-age marriage, wide spread of crime and other social vices ravaging the North and Nigeria as a whole. He has find it so easy to be factual against all odds, which is believed to be the root cause of his fall-out with the Kano political leader(s), while some quarters believed, it is against the Nigeria (ruling) political leaders as a whole.
In what many believed to be a re-occurrence of event, history has it that the grandfather to the deposed Emir was also deposed by the then premier of the Northern region, Sir Ahmad Bello Sardauna of Sokoto, a crown prince himself whose ultimate aim was to mount the mantle of Sokoto caliphate rulership but as destiny would have it, he never ascended the throne until his catastrophic death (which historians believe was a divine karma).
Fast forward to 57 years after, his grandson is caught in the same shenanigan for different reasons. Muhammad Sanusi (the first) was believed to have engaged in a power tussle with the Sardauna of Sokoto, a political leader of the Northern Nigeria as at then, while the grandson, Muhammad Sanusi (the second) was believed to have made some insightful statement and speeches against the political leaders of Kano and allegedly supported the opposition party at the 2019 gubernatorial election of the State. That would be a discourse for another day!
The two events are similar, the reason for the first and second removal is linked to a personal disagreement between the actors respectively, and instead of settling scores personally, the political leaders decided to use their power, an instrument of state to settle the imbroglio irrespective of what precedence is being laid, especially in this 21st century.
Having gone through numerous numbers of speech delivered by the deposed Emir Muhammad Sanusi, I realized that they have all pointed towards one direction ; the growth and development of the North and Nigeria as a whole. He is likened to an “hot cake” whom every institution, organisation, individuals and corporate bodies jostle to invite as a guest lecturer to deliver his breath-taking, jaw-breaking, awe-inspiring and eloquently delivered lectures. He finds it easy to switch from English, to Hausa and then Arabic, not to forget, he speaks French too. Needless to talk about his fashion sense, always having a matching regalia with designer shoes ranging from Gucci to Zanotti, he’s unarguably one of the best dressed traditional ruler in the world.
As an advocate of good governance, with such intellectual prowess and exposure, such a person would find it hard to keep quiet and watch things get worse and for speaking up, he is sacrificing his utmost ambition without the privilege or right to fair-hearing.
In a space of approximately 58 years of his existence, he has carved a niche for himself among the elites, spoken to the high and mighty, wine and dine with Kings and queens, seen and heard by the high and low. If such a person can be deposed as a result of someone’s excessive power, should we keep quiet and watch things get worse?
It is high time politics is separated from governance. Both the political and traditional institutions should be independent of each other and not the status quo; as it is (in order) to preserve our culture, traditions and heritage and give the respect and sacrilege this institutions deserve.