A former Head of State,Abdulsalami Abubakar speaks on Sanusi’s dethronement, Buhari’s role

A former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has said he doubts whether President Muhammadu Buhari intervened in the feud that resulted in the Kano State Government on Monday dethroning Muhammadu Sanusi II as the Emir of Kano.

According to a report by DailyNigerian newspaper on Tuesday, Mr Abubakar said this in an interview with the Voice of America Hausa service.

Mr Sanusi was dethroned as the 14th Emir of Kano, and banished to a remote local government in Nasarawa for alleged “outright disregard for the state government and Kano Emirate’s traditional norms”.

Aminu Ado Bayero was immediately appointed by the state government as the 15th Emir of Kano to replace the deposed emir.

Mr Sanusi’s legal team led by Abubakar Mahmoud had said it would challenge his banishment to Loko local government area in Nasarawa State.

A “Wasted” Effort to Reconcile

Following the protracted feud between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Mr Sanusi, some Northern elders in December 2019 appointed Mr Abubakar and two APC governors to an 11-member reconciliation and resolution committee to find a lasting solution to the feud.

Mr Abubakar, who was the chairman of the committee, said it did its best by holding separate meetings with the governor and the former emir.

He explained that after a meeting with the two parties, the committee left the governor and the emir to discuss.

The former military ruler said at the end of the exercise, his team submitted a report to President Buhari before he left the country. But he was not sure if “he (Mr Buhari) had intervened.

“After conclusion of the assignment, we realised that there was amicable resolution to the crisis. Surprisingly, this is what happened at last,” he said.

Asked by the interviewer whether the committee had achieved its mandate, he said, “Well, I cannot say so in view of the latest development. In my view, all the committee’s efforts are wasted.”

On President Buhari’s role, he said: “I can’t really say whether Buhari has a hand in the matter because I am currently not in Nigeria.

“But before I left the country, we submitted our report to him, and he expressed willingness to intervene in the matter in order to have amicable resolution, despite being a constitutional matter. I really don’t know if he had intervened.”

Asked whether it was the president’s silence that led to the emir’s dethronement, Mr Abubakar said, “Well, as I have said, I don’t know whether he intervened or not. But if he actually intervened, I will be surprised if we would find ourselves in this situation.”

Presidency reaction

The presidency on Wednesday released a statement saying Mr Buhari played no role in Mr Sanusi’s ouster.

“The President does not have a history of intervening in the affairs of any state in the country, unless the issue at hand is of national consequence. On such matters which impinge on national security, he has a duty of involvement as the law stipulates,” Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said.

“As outlined in the Constitution, the appointment or removal of emirs and other traditional leaders is strictly within the jurisdiction of state governments. It is unfair and disingenuous of opposition politicians to try to link the situation in Kano State to the federal government and the Nigerian President.”

Mr Shehu kept mum on whether Mr Buhari received or acted on the report of the Abdulsalami committee and what possible actions he took.

Before Mr Shehu’s statement, a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, accused President Buhari of masterminding the dethronement of Mr Sanusi.

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