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The King Returns: Sanusi Reinstated as Emir of Kano Governor Abba Yusuf announced the decision after signing a law dissolving the emirate councils established in 2019.

A file photo of Muhammadu Sanusi II

Governor Reinstates Sanusi as Emir of Kano After Four-Year Absence

Four years after Muhammadu Sanusi II was deposed as Emir of Kano, Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State has reinstated him to the throne.

“With the full support of the kingmakers, I have approved the reappointment of Mallam Sanusi Lamido,” the governor announced to cheers at the Kano State Government House on Thursday around 5:16 pm.

Sanusi, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was known as Lamido Sanusi before becoming emir.

Governor Yusuf reinstated him immediately after signing the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Bill 2024 into law. This new law replaces the Kano State Emirates Council Law, 2019, and dissolves the emirate councils created by Governor Yusuf’s predecessor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Ganduje’s law had split the Kano Emirate into five regions in December 2019 and deposed Emir Sanusi on March 9, 2020. The additional emirates created were Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya, alongside Kano.

Governor Yusuf’s decision to reverse this move, which he described as the restoration of the “over 1,000-year-old Kano Emirate,” generated significant controversy. According to the new law, the emirs ruling the dissolved emirates were given 48 hours to vacate their palaces.

“From the moment I signed the bill into law, all appointments made under the 2019 law are voided, and the balkanized Kano Emirate has been restored to its original pre-2019 status,” Governor Yusuf declared.

The governor was joined by Deputy Governor Aminu Abdussalam and Assembly Speaker Jibril Falgore for the bill’s signing and announcement, following a closed-door meeting with traditional rulers and kingmakers.

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Sanusi began his reign as Emir on June 8, 2014, under Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, less than four months after President Goodluck Jonathan removed him as Central Bank Governor. His tenure saw tensions with Governor Ganduje, particularly over Sanusi’s criticisms of the state government’s financial management, which led to his deposition in 2020.

Many viewed Sanusi’s removal as politically motivated, and this sentiment contributed to Governor Yusuf’s electoral victory in 2023. Yusuf’s campaign, backed by former governor Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), capitalized on protest votes against Ganduje’s policies, including the creation of the new emirate councils.

Sanusi, who appeared to support the NNPP during the election, reportedly contributed to Governor Yusuf’s campaign. His reinstatement has fulfilled the hopes of his supporters, who had anticipated this move given Kwankwaso’s influence in the new administration.

The recent developments echo a similar scenario from the late 1970s and early 1980s when Governor Abubakar Rimi’s attempt to create new emirates in Kano was reversed by his successor. This historical parallel underscores the recurring tensions between political authority and traditional power structures in Kano.

On Thursday, history repeated itself, restoring Sanusi to his throne and reuniting the Kano Emirate under a single ruler, to the delight of his supporters and traditionalists.