I was in a heated debate yesterday and the person wanted the Emir to just keep quiet and face the issues of child marriages and other such limiting issues that pervade his domain. I did not agree with this position and still do not agree, hence this write up.
The position of the Emir of Kano is a very influential and huge platform. It has a huge follower-ship as a result of the importance of Kano as a strong religious and commercial centre. In history, it played a vital role in all issues that led to the continued development of Nothern Nigeria and by extension, Nigeria. So whoever sits on that throne is highly revered and influential.
Hitherto, that seat was used to push very narrow ethno-religious issues which I am sorry to say contributed largely in deepening the schisms that bedeviled the continued cohesion of the country. It was the seat of conservative politics and a bulwark of trado-religious sentiments which always put it at crossroads with progressive forces.
Emir Sanusi has come to change all that. If you look closely at his recent history you will not be surprised by his actions and utterances since he assumed the throne. He has been anti-establishment most of his career. If he could take on the Presidency as its employee then, what do you expect with him seating on such a powerful throne, owing his ascendency and continued stay to no man but the gods of his fathers.
His latest remarks have caused a small storm. He has stated very categorically that the northwest and northeastern regions of the country would be the poorest in the world if we removed the averages that take the wealth of the Niger Delta and the commercial viability of Lagos away from the equation. He talked about the literacy rate, the reluctance to educate the girl child, the gross underdevelopment of the area both in terms of infrastructure and in health. Insecurity did not miss his search light.
This was the harshest truth, a slam dunk as the Americans would call it and as expected he has drawn the ire of some of his elders. All sort of name calling has come his way and some have even gone further to say that he as a leader is also part of the problem.
My only wahala in all these is my fear that this activism would only end on the lecture circuit with the Emir not using his position to ensure the actual implementation of some of his thoughts. You may argue that, as the Emir, he does not have executive powers to do this, but you will agree with me that normal individuals with no executive powers have done a lot to change the life and the face of our polity. See great individual philanthropists like Tony Elumelu, to mention just one. He has put his money where his mouth is, giving a voice to young entrepreneurs.