Choice Editorial

Nigeria:  When truth becomes retributive

His Royal Highness, Emir Mohammed Sanusi II Was on Monday 9th March dethroned as the Emir of Kano, the second most influential Islamic leader in the country after the Sultan of Sokoto. His dethronement came after a long drawn battle with the Kano State Governor, Abddullahi Ganduje.

The former Emir Sanusi was the former Central Bank Governor and was known for his critical voice over the state of the nation and the north especially. During his days as the CBN governor, he courted controversy when in late 2013; Sanusi began drawing attention to a grievous shortfall in Nigerian oil revenues. According to his accounts, some $20b, in the proceeds of sales had failed to reach the national budget over an eighteen month period.

He submitted detailed findings to the Nigerian senate on February 3, 2014, and summoned the managing directors of several banks, warning they would be required to open their books so his examiners could probe suspected shell company activities and other irregularities believed to be linked to the missing billions. On February 20, in the midst of the investigation, President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi. In reaction, the Nigerian currency (naira) fell to its lowest level since 1999, and bond trading had to be halted.

However, few months after the debacle with the presidency, Sanusi was enthroned as the 14th Emir of Kano on June 8th 2014. He spent 6 years on the throne.

Sanunis’s travail has once again proven that truth comes with a price. The ability to tell the truth and shake the table comes with a heavy price that the truth bearer should always be ready to face at anytime.

Even in his travails, Sanusi was never cowed into submission. He remained a vocal opponent to the long held demeaning tradition of the predominantly Muslim Northern Nigeria.

He spoke against the Almajiri system of the North which has seen many Northern children in their thousands and millions as the case may be marauding the streets fending for themselves. Sanusi was an advocate of education in the North and has always come down so hard on the Northern oligarch as well as her elites for years of deliberate neglect when it comes to education and empowerment of its people.

Sanusi was seen as the truth of the North, an eye in a society of arrogant blindness, a progressive who stood by the very principle of growth, productivity and enlightenment. He spoke out of the box, never wanted to hold the popular opinion and never cared about whose ox is gored as far as he is hitting the nail on the head concerning the plight of the North. He stood for progress and was a typical example of people of influence telling truth to power.

Of course, just as it has been with our culture to shame and destroy truth as a nation, he has been shut down, but his voice was never taken.

Because of our penchant to be cowed by powers that be, wallow in sycophancy while the nation decay, many Sanusis’ who have been made to face the wrath of corrupt elements holding the nation to the jugular have either been silenced or cajoled into silence. Nevertheless, for us to achieve redemption as a country and salvage ourselves from the many underlying challenges bedeviling our prosperity, we will need to prove that the many lone voices out there are still vital and will never shut down.

Nigeria’s potential can never be achieved if those of us who are privileged to speak truth to power remain silent. We cannot be intimidated by the mere fact that perhaps what we hold tenaciously to might be taken away from us. The bigger picture should be that the greater good of this country is achieved and the Luciferous characters that have succeeded in holding down the people because of their access to power are successfully dislodged and rendered useless.

Nigeria needs more of such strong voice that will stand up to the government of the day and tell her hurting truths. Bishop Mathew Kuka of Sokoto Diocese is also one of such who has sustained the crusade in raising the consciousness of the people as to what governance in a democracy should be.

We need more of him, not in the church alone, but with civil society organizations as well as private individuals who can stem the tide and write their names in gold as part of the army of progressives who helped salvage this country from her persisting quagmire.

Nigeria can be saved, the wave of injustice can be halted and people oriented governance in the spirit of what democracy should be could be achieved. However, there should be a concerted soul searching effort to put to a stop the drag him down syndrome of real and genuine leaders in the country, who are truly focused in helping sanitize a system that has passed through many stages of vigorous destruction.


Chikezie Ogbonna Administrator
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