Saturday, 13 May 2017

Sanusi’s hovering sword of Damocles

An anecdote is told of Damocles, a differential and sycophantic courtier of Dionysius II, the overlord of Syracuse in the fourth century B.C. One day, Damocles characteristically showered encomium on his tyrannical King, extolled his larger than life demeanour, and hinted how he coveted the throne. 

Apparently incensed by his courtier’s manifest interest in his throne, insecure Dionysius (disturbed by fears of assassination) remarked that if his life delights Damocles, wouldn’t he rather like to experience similar, and enjoy the privileges and fortunes incidental to it?
Excited Damocles answered in the affirmative. Immediately, Damocles was allowed to sit on the golden throne with a beehive of servants ordered to attend to his whims and caprices. With his vanities flattered, Damoclesawed at his sudden transformation; and just when he had submerged himself in pleasure, he noticed that Dionysius had positioned two sharp swords just above his head, suspended by a single thread of horse hair. The sight of the razor-sharp swords just above his head sent cold chills down his spine. And nervous of the real and imminent danger, he made a volte-face that he wished to leave the throne and return to his modest but comfortable life. The story of Dionysius and Damocles illustrates the idea that those in the corridors of power always suffer under the spectre of anxiety and insecurity.
The rationale behind the foregoing narrative is to use it as a baseline to chronicle the situation that is playing out in Kano State. Precisely, the probe into the allegations of financial recklessness against the vociferous Emir of Kano by the Kano Public Complain and Anti-Corruption Commission, and the resolve of Kano state assembly to equally investigate him for misdemeanor.
For all intents and purposes, Emir Sanusi has long nursed an ambition of becoming the traditional ruler of the ancient city of Kano. This only became public during an interview with the Financial Times of London in December 2009, then as the central bank governor. When asked if he harbors a presidential ambition, he answered that he only had the ambition to be the emir of Kano. His decision became a subject of wide and rigorous review by the media. Whilst many questioned the propriety his utterance at a time when Kano was under the insightful leadership of his predecessor, others thought he just gave an expression to his legitimate yearn. Over the next few years, SanusiLamido Sanusi would go on to become the Emir of Kano amidst pockets of protest against his choice. Somehow sanity prevailed and stability was restored.
Even long before he became an Emir, Sanusi’s name resonated with controversy. He has long been viewed to be critical of the North so much so that renowned northern clerics have chastised and tagged him as anti-north. This was one of the reasons he nearly missed on his ambition for the throne but for the political dynamics of the period. After his ascension to the throne, it was expected as it’s been the precedence, with successive Emirs, Sanusi would cut back his public utterances but the lizard it goes never change its spots. At every turn, Sanusi kept coming into public discourse to lampoon not just the North where he is a principal stakeholder but also both the state and central government to the displeasure of many who think the Emir is equally guilty of the offences he takes field day lambasting others for. His detractors often averred that he lacks the moral high ground to pontificate because, despite the positions of influence he has held, he made little or no significant contribution towards the development of the north.
In the light of this, it was therefore not surprising when myriad allegations ranging from misappropriation of Kano Emirate Council funds to accusations of misdemeanour were levelled against him. Particularly, he was accused of embezzling the about four billion Naira he inherited from his predecessor, which the Emirate council has since debunked; even though that has not stopped the Kano Public Complain and Anti-corruption commission from going on with its investigations.
In the midst of the preceding development, a meeting of the Northern governors was called in Kaduna State where it was reported that the Emir unreservedly apologized for some of the remarks he had made that had drawn the fury of some selected governors and had kept him at daggers drawn with them. It was indeed an anticlimax, as it is utterly out of character for Emir Sanusi to apologize for his utterances especially when he has said through his daughter that he doesn’t mind giving up the throne. Beyond any other thing, the Emir’s apology was considered a refreshing development as observers reckoned that it may sound the death knell to the cold war the Emir’s unguarded utterances may have seemingly generated.
But just when we thought we have heard the last of this case, the news broke that the Kano State Assembly had raised an eight-man committee to probe the Emir on several allegations which include but not limited to: defamation of character, breach of oath of office/oath of allegiance, abuse of official privileges and protocols and, political and religious interference.
Meanwhile, the Emir is said to have set up a powerful team of legal luminaries to stop the Kano State Assembly from facilitating his dethronementlest he is indicted by the panel raised to investigate him, and this essentially lends credence to the fact that he possibly might have crossed certain lines.
It is, of course, a given fact that Emir SanusiLamido Sanusi may have fought myriad battles in his life, but one shudders to think if ever he bargained for this one. He has possibly underestimated the will of his adversaries to cut him to size. By any means, it is apparent that Emir Sanusi has touched the lion by the tail and it is left to be seen how he would possibly wriggle out of this unenviable situation he has unwittingly mired himself through his bellicosity.
Ultimately, for Emir Sanusi, it is definitely a no-win situation: Either he is exonerated and silenced forever or indicted and dethrone. So, the question still remains: will Muhammad Sanusi II survive the sword of Damocles?
Uzairu, a medical biochemist, sent in this piece from Near East University, Cyprus. He can be reached

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