LETTER, northern nigeria, northern

Emir Mohammadu Sanusi II is at the peak of his prestige and popularity. No matter where you stand. His frank condemnation of the iniquities that breed appalling conditions in northern Nigeria has culminated in a collision of interest between him and northern oligarchs.

He blamed the abusive class for the measured impoverishment of the masses by deploying the tool of Islam. He also linked random polygamy and reckless siring of children to the bane of wretched almajaris (mendicants) that frequently fuel all forms of terrorism.

In the same breath, Sanusi called Man-Made-Misery, MMM, by its proper name. While decrying a common spectre that ravages the north, the Emir blamed Zamfara’s pitiably pornographic poverty on its leadership’s (past and present) wicked misuse of religion.
Governor Abubarkar Yari of Zamfara State was in the news before Sanusi’s outcry. Rather than proffer remedial solution, Yari went public and overtly dressed-down a dire and disease-ridden people in his care. Victims of a viral but not sexually communicable disease were viciously pestered with guilt, including clean-handed toddlers. That a 21st century Governor invoked religion, citing fornication as a causative factor in a treatable bacterial infection such as meningitis, suggests a nuclear cant Islamic religion has become in the hands of northern political oligarchs.

Without delay, a caravan of nettled northern conservatives predictably called for Sanusi’s head. They initiated an urgent probe of his books which he’s responded. Their condemnation of his outcry has been so definitive. As far as they’re concerned Sanusi should turn a blind eye to the unspeakable realities of human suffering all around him. “Why upset the applecart? Can’t this critical and vociferous scion of imperial parentage shut up for once?” For this mortified group, the Kano Chieftain should rather, appreciatively, bask in his royal glory in eternal silence. It could be inferred that they made him Emir just to gag him, with his mouth permanently bandaged with the turban.

But Sanusi was not done with his slew of provocations. In the heat of his much picked-apart speech, he sent his young daughter to stand in for him at the recent #BBOG# 3rd anniversary. Perhaps to portray himself as an iconoclastic muslim, an epitome of every cultured and chivalrous virtue that a modern Emir could have. The young lady’s expected delivery of her father’s message at the event sent a kind of pro-feminist vibes from the royal household to the public. Traditional custodians of the realm considered this a sacrilege and ran riot.

The orthodoxy of his royal office was further called to question on social media and other public spaces. The gatekeepers of a 9th century, and destructive northern style of Islam, took Sanusi to the cleaners. It doesn’t matter if the crest of Sanusi’s family throne of over a century old is famous for nonconformity, he was overstepping his boundaries as far as these conservative watchdogs were concerned. For speaking out, Sanusi was branded a southern sellout by his own caste. He’s given their traducers raw materials to despise them even more. They must’ve been grumbling.

It’s a crying shame that these predominantly Hausa-Fulani forces of reaction are fixated on desperately preserving and profiting from an atavistic brand of Islamic tradition. Any of that group who condemns such, as Sanusi has done, must be considered a sellout and should be liquidated if possible. This further explains why Wahhabism, and other forms of imported extremist Islam, typically, the ruinous smorgasbord of terrorist factions which Western powers exploited in the pulverization of Libya, and now, Syria, have been using northern Nigeria as a testing ground.

But is Emir Sanusi II an outsider? Did he say anything new? Can he sacrifice his mantle or even become a martyr for the religion-induced desolation and anachronistic feudalism that bestride the northern poor? The answer is a “no” with a brutal accent.

Sanusi has done well for himself. He has lived a bespoke life like any but a few successful Nigerian scions. As a banker, he rose to the apex position of banking in Nigeria. Before his exit, he enjoyed a fleeting fame as a former Governor of CBN for whistle-blowing. Afterward, he became the Emir of Kano following the death of Emir Adamu Bayero. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such attainment.

Paradoxically, the same dismal condition that imperils his people – which he strategically decried recently, most likely, to enhance his prestige and popularity (for the next level) is the vital force that sustains his present dominion. Same goes to the entire British-controlled, northern-colonial caliphate. It’s reported that 3 million almajaris exist in Kano State alone. So the criminal waste of lives and talents must continue for the imperial footmen (Hausa-Fulani oligarchs) to callously hold sway over their people and, by extension, Nigeria. The rooted man-made suffering that has arrested the northern poor for over a century can only be reversed by an #Arewaspring#.

Therefore Sanusi’s demonstration of defiance is far from becoming the genuine rallying point for misdirected anger of the deprived and abandoned youth of the northern realm. But it’s positively far-right. If he’s selfless about his struggle, let him use his office and rally his people. The youth who’ve been rejected and bestialised in the bush should be told that their enemies aren’t the innocent Agatu, Enugu, and Southern Kaduna people, etc., they rape and slaughter at will. Let him address them in a language they’ll understand and tell them who their real enemies are; the northern oligarchs.

Of course, it goes far beyond Hausa Fulani oligarchy. It’s about a less than 5% total of Nigeria’s population – a ruling class and their payees that represent the most wicked and destructive colonial footprint. It doesn’t matter where they’re plying their imperial and disgraceful trade. Neither is it about their party, tribal or ethnic affiliations. They spread across the 36 states of the federation. From Abia to Zamfara, the narrative is practically the same. In fact, the States Governors, lawmakers, the judiciary and the Presidency are all mindless, colonial stooges. The people should stand up to them, reclaim and turn this space into a nation.

Second to the last time Sanusi snitched on his class as CBN Governor, a mantle of Emir-ship waited for him. And what, pray, crown awaits the Kano Chieftain this time? Time and only time will tell.

So, the beat goes on. The beat goes on and on in a brutally cyclic fashion.

Ralph Tathagata, a Poet Writes In From Lagos, Nigeria

Reporting Nigerian Political Economy Perspectives