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Sanusi Re-instated As Emir Of Kano Amid Celebrations

MUHAMMAD Sanusi II has returned to the throne as the emir of Kano, four years after being ousted in a political dispute. His reappointment on Friday was met with celebrations from supporters, marking the end of a long-running battle that highlighted the complex role of traditional monarchies in modern Nigeria.

Sanusi, a former central bank chief who became emir in 2014, was known for advocating social change and criticising political and religious leaders in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. His outspoken nature led to his deposition in 2020, following accusations of disrespect towards local authorities, including former state governor Abdullahi Ganduje, whose re-election Sanusi had opposed.


On Friday, current governor Abba Kabir Yusuf presented Sanusi with a letter of reappointment, dismissing a legal challenge that sought to prevent his return. ‘We… return him as the rightful emir of Kano to continue the good job he was doing for the good of Kano people,’ Yusuf said during a ceremony attended by officials and traditional chiefs.

Sanusi’s reinstatement marks his return to the 1,000-year-old kingdom of Kano, where he had been temporarily banished to a small town in another state. The Kano emir is considered the second most senior Islamic ruler in Nigeria, after the sultan of Sokoto.

Nigeria’s traditional rulers, though lacking constitutional powers, are significant cultural custodians with substantial influence over their followers. These monarchies, which once dominated the region, now rely on regional governments for funding, with their succession regulated by elected officials. Their patronage can be crucial during elections, but their role remains ambiguous.

Sanusi’s previous tenure as emir was marked by his efforts to address social issues and his willingness to challenge the status quo, which some saw as a breach of palace protocol. His return to the throne is seen as a victory for those who support his vision for social reform in Kano.

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