By Bolanle Bolawole
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Seeing the fate that last week befell the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, must thank his stars for escaping a similar treatment weeks’ ago. The suspension for six months slapped on him by the Osun State council of chiefs must now look like child’s play; in fact, a slap on the wrist as opposed to the pummelling he reportedly dealt a fellow Oba. APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on his own is still at his wits’ end trying to cling to his APC throne. Can his god-fathers save him this time around?
Since the sacking of Sanusi, so many conspiracy theories have surfaced. Many see it as a ploy by Fulani cabal to surreptitiously promote and foist him on the South in 2023 as president. Queer as this may sound, Nigeria is a place where impossibilities become possibilities. What people thought could never happen have happened here many times over. So you cannot be too careful. With the much advertised and much flaunted political sagacity of the ruling Fulani, even though they are short in intellectual or Western educational endowments compared to many other Nigerian ethnic groups, it is difficult to blame those who read political motives into every move of the heirs of Uthman dan Fodio. As the Yoruba will say, the sparrow watches out for the enemy not just with its eyes but also with its feathers. Thus, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
Another angle to the Sanusi saga is all the negative publications it has exhumed that have battered the ex-Emir right, left and centre. If the game-plan was to present Sanusi as a progressive and friend of the South who lampooned and angered the Northern establishment, that has failed woefully. All the sins of Sanusi against the South and its interests, especially in the Banking sector when he, Sanusi, was CBN governor, have been uncovered. Sanusi’s alleged Islamic fundamentalist slant is also on parade. Remember Gideon Akaluka? Sanusi’s alleged role in Akaluka’s beheading by Islamic fundamentalists has been exposed. As I prepared to scribble this, I also came across the celebrated case of 13-year-old Ese Oruru (remember?) who, abducted from her parents in August 2015, was forcibly converted into Islam and “married” to one Yunusa Dahiru. This girl-child, trafficked from Bayelsa state, was later found right inside Sanusi’s palace! Remember? Even at that, it took vigorous media campaign before she could be rescued – but not before she had been raped and put in the family way – like we read they have also done to Leah Sharibu! All hail the “democrat”, “freedom-fighter” and talakawa-loving Sanusi! Nothing remains of the trumpeted “integrity” of Sanusi, if you ask for my own opinion. If he is paraded on a spike or whatever, as was done to Akaluka; or if he is uprooted and taken far away from civilization, as was done to Ese Oruru; or he is held incommunicado and separated from his family as has been done to Leah Sharibu these past years by Boko Haram – his good grief!
The wisdom of our people admonishes that we tread gingerly so that we do not step on Earth’s eyes! Oh yes, the ground under our feet has eyes, so say the Yoruba. Be careful not to step on ground’s eyes because the repercussions are usually calamitous. Which, then, was the Ifa or oracle that admonished the Chameleon to tread gingerly: Asked why he should, Chameleon responded: So the ground would not cave in under his feet! Acting with impunity has consequences. Behaving as if you gathered everyone else together has repercussions. This is the wisdom of our people; it is also the lesson of history.
Oluwo of Iwo; Adams Oshiomhole; and Sanusi have a few things in common. They were loud, even noisome. They played god. They traded in impunity. They oppressed others. They subverted high office. And they thought it would last forever. The last has not been heard on the Oluwo while Oshiomhole sits on tenterhooks. The Oluwo feeds on our lack of decency, so to say. Were these to be climes where due diligence is done, he should by now be cooling his heels in gaol. If he escapes this one but acts the biblical King Ahab again, he may before long commit another atrocity that will exhume as well as add up his previous misdemeanour and bring up the punishment in one fell swoop.
That fellow should never have been Oba in the first place but for bribery and corruption, which has not spared the traditional institution. In a sense, then, Iwo and, by extension, the traditional institution as a whole and Yoruba land in general, deserve what they got. Iwo is not the only stool that has been so desecrated by gluttonous and rapacious kingmakers, without excusing the citizenry themselves. These days, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for us to find an Oba installed by Ifa, as was the practice in the olden days. In the days of yore, Obas were schooled and tutored in the customs and traditions of their people, which custodian they became once they ascended the throne. No more!
Obas these days are harbingers of “modernization” widely and wildly interpreted to include the bastardisation and destruction of the self-same institution of Obaship. These are signs of the times that there are no sacred groves where corruption and its influences do not loom large. The other side of the coin, however, is to investigate whether or not the Obas at the receiving end of the Oluwo’s pugilism were actually selling their people’s land – which they must not be allowed to appropriate as their own personal fiefdom – and, worse, to suspected herdsmen. If true, such insensitivity and callousness must be considered by far more dangerous than the Oluwo’s misdemeanour as it imperils us all and portrays the perpetrators – again, if any – as enemies of their own people.
“Gambari pa Fulani, ko l’ejo!” Is this what happened in Kano last Monday? Hausa man kills Fulani man, case dismissed! That might have been so in the past! Today, however, the myth of a monolithic North has been broken. The North is no more that indivisible entity moving together and acting in oneness as in times past. Now, everyone feeds at his own mother’s breasts, as it were. A proverb says regardless that a farm belongs to both father and son, demarcations are still imperative. The North is already demarcating its farm into Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Middle Belt, etc., thanks to Muhammadu Buhari’s bare-faced nepotism and rabid fundamentalism.
Sanusi Number Two was disaster waiting to happen. Some social media “historians” say a curse runs in the Sanusi family, placed by an Attah of Igala in 1963, the year Emir Mohammed Sanusi Number One was deposed a little less than 10 years on the throne. In Sanusi Two’s own trajectory, he moved inexorably towards the fate the gods had ordained for him. Read “Oedipus Rex” or “The gods are not to blame” by Ola Rotimi. Did Sanusi not read the history of his people? Possessing the prowess and traits of his grandfather, why did he also pride himself in his character flaws?
Do I, then, support Sanusi’s dethronement? No, not at all! The timing is not auspicious; we have more serious issues on our plate that makes this a needless distraction. Many thanks to those who have unearthed the many sins of Sanusi, the publicity stunt he would have derived from his dethronement would have been ill-deserved. Secondly, the person dethroning someone else reportedly sits himself on a stolen stool. The one punishing another for corruption was allegedly caught pants down in the cesspool of corruption not long ago. These apart, does Sanusi deserve his fate? O yes! His cosmopolitanism notwithstanding, he runs with the hare but hunts with the hound. I remember he abused erstwhile Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso when the then Kano governor refused to jump into the Sharia bandwagon after Zamfara. Islamic fundamentalism gave birth to Boko Haram.
I remember that as CBN governor Sanusi dished out our common patrimony to causes and interests that caught his fancies. He pandered to the North and to religion until public outcry forced him to extend tokenism to the South. I remember he demonised ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, peddled humongous figures, shamelessly revising them downward each time he was challenged to provide evidence. Sanusi helped to enthrone the APC and Buhari. It is poetic justice that the same government has now dethroned him. In his place of banishment, he should rue this.
As Oshiomhole fights tooth and nail for political life; the truth is that nemesis beckons. Karma’s law, just like the axe of due recompense, grinds inexorably. God gave Oshiomhole a long rope to pull. Remi Oyo, that thoroughbred professional (God bless her soul!), who was special adviser on media to Obasanjo, once told me: Bola, Comrade is taking all of you for a ride! He dines with Baba at night but leads strike action in the day time” Those so-called anti-fuel hike strikes were something else to those who fed fat on them. As a reporter, I covered Labour for a while and saw the backside of not a few Labour leaders. The story is told of a Labour leader who, on May Day when it was time for him to deliver his May Day address to workers, turned to Babangida who sat by his side and said: Mr. President, permission to yab you small!” And Babangida responded: Permission granted! Comrade President then proceeded to give a vitriolic address and was rewarded with standing ovation. He returned to his seat, leaned towards IBB and said: Mr. President, you can see they are very happy!”
By Oshiomhole’s own admission that we read on social media and which we have also personally witnessed since he became the APC national chairman, he has turned from justice to dispense favours at his whims and caprices; he has traded long-standing friendship on the altar of selfish interests; and has somersaulted again and again to gain temporary advantage. He has spoken from both sides of the mouth, murdering principle in the process. He has served the interest of cabals. After the exalted position of Labour leader and governor, becoming a hatchet man and political jobber is a fall from grace to grass. Those we favour when they least deserve it would be foolish to stick with us. It takes no stellar IQ to know that whosoever perverts justice to gain fair weather friends cannot be trusted with enduring legacies and worthy projects. Whenever they are done with using Adams Oshiomhole, they will dump him. And it shall be good riddance to bad rubbish! Unfortunately for him, with no home base to fall back upon, he shall be like fish out of water. He will float in Abuja and become another derision called “Abuja politician” Let Rotimi Amaechi and others of their ilk take note!