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Umar Labdo and Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II: Between hatred and patriotism

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Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa

Umar Labdo has made himself the most vocal and virulent critic of Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II (the Emir of Kano) in the social media. He over stepped his bounds by being rude to the Emir. He has made wide-ranging accusations, alleging that the Emir Sarkin is an agent of the Western powers who are trying to destroy Muslims. He wrote in Hausa Language and his purpose is to get the Emir deposed because he said the Emir is not working in the interest of the people and they will not shed any tears. He did this to provide justification for the enemies of the Emir who want to finish him and frighten all alternative voices from the public space.

It would be recalled that Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima was the first Governor to launch the Shari’a Criminal Law and all other Muslim majority states in the North followed his example. Most of the Ulama supported them. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was not the Emir of Kano at that time wrote critical essays against the way the Shari’a was implemented arguing that it was politically motivated. This was because according to him the governors were not concerned about the economic development of their states but were only interested in penal laws to divert the attention of the citizens from their bad governance.

He used classical Fiqh sources to write against the judgments of lower Shari’a Courts that convicted accused persons including Safiya for adultery. Most of what he wrote about Shari’a implementation has been vindicated as correct critique because politicians have since abandoned the cause and are more concerned with their positions.

The family law debate

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi became Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II and he pledged to spearhead the reform of Muslim family law. As someone who is also knowledgeable in the field of Shari’a, with a first class degree he knows it is not an easy task. It was also part of his social reform initiative. Therefore he initiated it, in collaboration with Bayero University. Scholars from the university and the city were brought together and they worked for two years. Many of the city scholars have been teaching Maliki Fiqh for over 30 years some of them can teach Labdo for 10 years before they certify him. Their draft was debated. Those who had reservations from the scholarly community were given the opportunity. Every issue was discussed in a scholarly manner and resolved. The scholars unanimously accepted more than ninety percent of the draft law. No sub-Saharan African Muslim community has ever done this. Hence the President of Niger Republic invited Emir Sanusi to speak to his people on the need for similar reform.

This is why people like Labdo, who, parade themselves as scholars, are jealous. I challenge Labdo or any of his fellow propagandists to come up with a scholarly critique of that draft law. They can only speak to the gallery without any coherent scholarly exposition because they think most people are ignorant and those who are educated would succumb to their cheap blackmail of branding them as enemies and agents of the West. This is cowardice and hate speech.

Labdo has berated Emir Sanusi for not bringing any development project in the last five years claiming that he has not built any school or anything tangible. On the other hand he alleged that Sanusi has been spending for himself and the palace. This is where Labdo has demonstrated his hatred. Even if Sanusi stops spending anything for himself and diverts it to the society he would not wipe out poverty and ignorance. Or he should just do it please people like Labdo. On the other hand if Sanusi is able to secure a major policy thrust, it could bring about the needed change not superficial change. For example, if the Muslim family law reform is accepted then orphans, divorcees and widows would be protected. The weak would have access to education and dignified life. This is what people like Labdo do not want. They want perpetual ignorance to feed people with their propaganda and hate mongering.

Initiating development that government failed to do

If the reform succeeds which Labdo does not like. There would be less abandoned children. People would be compelled to take care of their children and to end domestic violence. What are the major problems of Kano society today that have no root in the breakdown of the family? He says Sanusi has not done anything to fight drug abuse is it because he has more capacity than NDLEA? On the contrary while Sanusi is urging reform to enhance the family and protect the weak propagandist like Labdo are tagging him as Western agent.

Labdo is blinded by hatred hence he claims that Sanusi did not bring any development to Kano, in the last five years despite his connection. This is very absurd who amongst those who have authority has ever brought any development to any domain in five years? All Nigerians are living witnesses to the problem of power in Nigeria. Even in Kano the State Government’s independent power project has been going on for two tenures (eight years). What about at the Federal level, which is common knowledge, how many megawatts have been added since 1999? Yet Labdo wants Sanusi to perform miracles. Sanusi’s fault is that he is the Chair of Black Rhino Group, the largest consortium in power investment in Africa. He gave condition that the company must invest in Kano before he accepted the chairmanship. They are committing $5 billion in Africa for investment in the power sector. He has met all those concerned and followed all the processes. His fault is that he has not delivered in five years what the Nigerian State has not delivered in twenty years.

Labdo is in the Faculty of Humanities where he is a Professor yet he believes that an Emir can bring about economic development in five years. He is angry that Emir Sanusi’s supporters have brought elders to stop the Governor from deposing him. They are doing this because they know the value of Emir Sanusi to his people unlike the Professor in the Faculty of Humanities. It was because of Emir Sanusi that the African Development Bank (ADB) hired and paid an international consulting firm to make Industrial Diagnostics for Kano State, it has not been done for any sub-national entity in Africa. Without such groundwork no investor will come to Kano.

It is as a result of Emir Sanusi’s efforts that a Chinese firm is arranging to invest $300 million in one of the textile firms in Kano. The development partners have agreed to interface with the company’s creditors in Nigeria to reschedule outstanding debt to enable the Chinese investors to acquire the company. Even if it takes Emir Sanusi ten years to bring $300 million investment it cannot be a fault because no traditional ruler has ever done that for any domain in Nigeria. Even if it is only the Industrial Diagnostics that was done because of him it is enough, which Nigerian traditional ruler has ever done that for his domain, when Kano is the first sub national entity in Africa to benefit from this support from ADB because of its Emir.

Muhammadu Rumfa’s legacy

Labdo claims that Emir Sanusi is destroying the Sarauta. Well there is need for evidence. And that is if Labdo even knows what Sarauta means. He claims that the Emir is spending money on the Palace but still believes that he is desecrating the institution according to his malicious allegation based on hatred. Sarkin Kano Muhammad Rumfa (1463-1499) constructed Gidan Rumfa (the Palace). It is the largest and oldest continuous seat of authority in Sub-Saharan Africa. There were many before it but not as large or have ceased to serve any useful function. Most of the buildings in the palace are centuries old and have become health hazards. Emir Sanusi decided to pull them down with the little resources available. He maintained the maghrebian Islamic style in the architecture. This made him the most influential builder in the palace history after Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Rumfa. The option for him was to use the resources as advised by Labdo instead of maintaining Gidan Rumfa, such usage would have little or no effect on the lives of people of Kano but for propaganda value. The other alternative is to allow the palace to be destroyed gradually as other ancient monuments.

So what is Sarauta? It was kingship and now it is leadership. What do we expect of Sanusi? Many believe he should never talk on any social or economic issue. He should just keep quiet in the face of anything. They believe that was, the attitude of his predecessor and the norm. If Sarauta is leadership it means the Emir should not be silent. Emir Sanusi is obviously not perfect. But in terms of economic policy should he permanently keep quiet? Is that fair to Nigeria? The best Central Bank Governor should be silenced. Is that democracy? Obviously not, it is not even Sarauta. They say he must give advice in private, is that democracy? Long before the Federal Government closed the borders, he recommended it. So why is he not being commended. Even people like Labdo and his other co-destructive preachers commended Emir Sanusi when he boldly condemned that Shiism has no roots in Nigeria. At that time Labdo never claimed he was working for the West. Emir also confronted Boko Haram on the pulpit and at every given opportunity, he boosted the morale of his people and inspired them to remain steadfast as expected of a leader, so he was therefore a Western agent, as propagandists like Labdo want us to believe.

‘Destructive preachers’

People like Labdo are destructive preachers because they are hate mongers. They think they own the Shari’ah and can determine who is and who is not Muslim. Even on matters of ijtihad where there are differences of opinion among scholars they still appropriate who is and who is not Muslim. You may disagree with Emir Sanusi on his daughter representing him at an occasion, or his views against domestic violence and right of women to retaliate. Even if he is wrong does that make him anti-Shari’ah and interested only in promoting Western values? What about his pioneering initiative on Muslim Family Law reform using classical texts that people like Labdo or their masters cannot dream of initiating?

The problem of destructive preachers like Labdo apart from hatred and extremism is ignorance of social reality. Out of this ignorance they believe Northern Nigeria is a perfect Muslim society that does not need social reform. Hence any attempt to reform is Western inspired. For example, they are against girl child education by supporting early marriage for the children of the poor but for their children they can proceed up to the university. They do not realize that stopping girls from schooling has long-term implications on the society. Even at the layman’s level how can you have enough female health workers if you allow people to marry off their daughters below the age of eighteen? People must speak against this practice despite hate mongers and that is why Emir Sanusi incurs their hatred.

People like Labdo want to enjoy the fruits of technology yet out of ignorance they don’t know what are its impediments in the Northern Muslim society. The most critical problems are lack of equity and access to education in Northern Nigeria because of cultural barriers that people like Labdo do not understand. All Muslim societies outside black Africa have passed this archaic stage. In Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco and many other places Muslim students have access to education because of reforms but not in Northern Nigeria.

Emir Sanusi is one of the few people who understand this. He is the only Muslim leader who has spoken publicly that language should not be a barrier to education. He made the most cogent advocacy for the Qur’anic students and scholars that they must not be relegated to permanent disenfranchisement because they do not have proficiency in English Language. Emir Sanusi is the only leader who has given much commitment to advocacy on the need to teach sciences and other subjects in vernacular to accommodate the disenfranchised poor people of Northern Nigeria. Yet he is an agent of the West because he called for the incorporation of Qur’anic students into the educational system something people like Labdo can never do and when they do no one will listen to them because they are nonentities.

Yes Emir Sanusi is very vocal when it comes to introspection of the Northern Muslim society. You may disagree with him. But he does it out of patriotism. He does not believe in blame game that is for shallow people like Labdo. When Emir Sanusi speaks about the problems of Nigeria he does from the position of strength. He does not regard the cultural practices that retard northern Nigeria as Islamic or sacrosanct. Hence if people are negligent of their duties he would speak against it no matter how bitter that may be. He does not believe in blaming other ethnic groups for the poverty in Northern Nigeria. Some of the northern states are the poorest in this planet while other Southern states if they are not in Nigeria, they would rise higher in the scale of prosperity so Northern Nigeria pulls them down. Emir Sanusi says it as it is. Whereas people like Labdo promote ethnocentrism and intolerance.

An example of such ethnocentrism and intolerance was Labdo’s interview in The Punch newspaper of February 3, 2018, it was a very convoluted outing unbecoming of a Professor in the Faculty of Humanities. He provided the fodder for ethnic hatred and animosity in Nigeria. Here is a Professor claiming that Fulani have right of conquest to certain areas in Nigeria including areas that were never even under the Sokoto Caliphate. What kind of person is this who claims that Tiv descended from Fulani and Jukun? Using it to claim rights over Benue. What kind of person is this who would regard Abuja as Fulani gift to Nigeria because it was part of North Western State. The Punch asked him: Which other states or areas do you think belong to the Fulani by right of conquest?

He answered: “For example, many of those who followed my post and responded were asking, now, can you say that Abuja belongs to Fulani? Yes, Abuja belongs to Sokoto, even as late as 1975, Abuja was part of Sokoto before the coup that terminated Yakubu Gowon’s administration. Abuja was part of North Western State, with Sokoto as the capital. What we know as Niger State today was under Sokoto. And that is why we have Suleja because when the Fulani donated Abuja to Nigeria, they took the Emir from Abuja to Suleja; go and read the history”.

Emir Sanusi is almost opposite of Labdo. He cannot make these ignorant claims to defend the Fulani people. Labdo the Professor does not even know the origin of Abuja, yet he wants to speak about it? What kind of person is this? It was not a Fulani territory in pre-colonial Northern Nigeria. In fact the Hausa rulers of Zazzau established it when they were chased out of Zazzau. It is unfortunate that people like Labdo even have a space in the intellectual arena of this country. Labdo said he did it deliberately as his people the Fulani must attack presumably with fables not history as the basis of the narrative. On the contrary Emir Sanusi in his defense of the Fulani cattle owners provided the intellectual basis of their rights, as citizens and he became one of their most influential defenders when they faced extermination whereas Labdo’s convoluted fables increased their enemies. Hence people like Labdo will always campaign and say Emir Sanusi is agent of the West to expose the Nigerian citizens to hatred of one another thus doing disservice to humanity.

‘Jealousy of Sanusi’s recognition’

Labdo is jealous that Emir Sanusi is recognized across the world for his achievement in the management of the Nigerian Economy and his advocacy for educational inclusion. Hence because of hatred, he says the Westerners promote Emir Sanusi for working for them against his people. When Sanusi worked to save the Nigerian banking sector he did it for the Westerners. When Sanusi saved Nigerian depositors he did it for the Westerners. When Sanusi raised the revenue that CBN remitted to the Federation to the highest level for the first time he did it for the Westerners.

When Sanusi made sure almost all Federal institutions benefitted from the CBN Corporate Social Responsibility across the whole country he did it for the Westerners. It is the reason that many public universities across the country honor Sanusi more than any other Nigerian ever, because his landmark is visible not imagined in their campuses. When Sanusi blew the whistle against the NNPC fraud of $20billion and lost his job for the APC to use it as weapon against the PDP he was doing it for the Westerners.

This is, why those who value sacrifice respect Sanusi when his enemies like Labdo who value mediocrity and ethnocentrism, want him removed from the Emirship, those who have sympathy for patriotism rose up to support him. Labdo carpeted them for supporting Emir Sanusi. Unfortunately for Labdo, Emir Sanusi is loved all over the world because of his achievements and patriotism. On the other hand who is Labdo in academic circles only in his locality. He is a minion in the academic world. The world has changed. Does Labdo appear in high impact referred journals to help elevate the position of his university’s world ranking or is he a local champion with no position in the academic peer reviewed world. Just search any peered reviewed high impact journal or even www.jstor.org how many times the word Labdo appeared? They are all merit based, so people like Labdo cannot appear hence, his hatred of the excellence in public service, as Sanusi exemplified, and his backwardness in his academic calling.

Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa, a Kano based researcher and writer can be reached at ibrahimado@yahoo.com

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Kwankwaso left over N50bn liability for LGs 5km projects – Kano Govt

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state government said the administration of former Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso left a liability of N54, 408, 259, 638.05 billion for the five kilometre road projects across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Kano Focus reports that the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba dropped the hint on Sunday while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the state Executive Council Meeting held at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

He said the council received the report of the Technical Committee to assess the 5 km road projects all of which were awarded by the previous administration under the defunct Ministry of Land and Physical Planning with the state Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) as supervising agency.

Mr Garba said the committee visited 39 local governments where its detailed report indicated awarded contract sum for the projects, present site conditions, value of executed works, amount certified and amount released for the projects.

The commissioner pointed out that 5km projects in three local governments were revoked and rewarded due to non-performance in Warawa, Ungogo and Dawakin Tofa, while some portions of the projects in Tsanyawa and Bichi along Kano-Katsina road were released to the federal ministry of works and housing based on request from the federal government.

He said other three projects in Rimin Gado, Karaye and Bunkure local government that fall within main arterial highway were expunged from the main project and re-awarded separately for execution, while metropolitan local governments of Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Municipal and Tarauni were allotted various projects within the municipality as 5km projects.

Mr Garba pointed out that the council has approved the release of N607, 124, 663.47 million for the rehabilitation of Rimin Gado-Sabon Fegi-Jilli-Gulu road in Rimin Gado local government.

The commissioner stated that approval has also been given by the council for the conversion of the existing School of Post Basic Midwifery Gezawa to the status of School of Nursing Gezawa to broaden the platform for training of more qualified midwives in order to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the state.

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Kano domesticate social protection policy

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Abdullahi Ganduje

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has approved the domestication of National social protection policy in the state.

Kano Focus reports that the Social Protection Policy is designed to show the commitment of the Government to the effective mobilisation and efficient utilisation of state resources to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

The state Commissioner of planning and budget Nura Muhammad Dankadai revealed this on Friday at a one day interactive session with with journalists and civil society organizations.

Alhaji Nura Muhammad Dankadai

Mr Dankadai said governor Ganduje approved the domestication of the policy on Thursday.

According to him when domesticated the policy will provide legal framework for school feeding programme, ante natal and post natal care, addressing gender based violence and protecting people living with disabilities.

On the meeting with journalists, Mr Dankadai said it was aimed at intimating them with on the state government’s projects and received some inputs for possible submission to the government.

The commissioner uses the opportunity to appeal to civil society organizations and journalists to sensitise people on the current economic challenges which made it difficult for the state to pay workers salary for the month of March.

In their separate contributions Akibu Hamisu, I. G Maryam and Wali Ado Rano advised Kano state government on the need to address multiple taxation, grant local government financial autonomy and holding periodic interactive session with CSOs and journalists.

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AKTH honours NCC Boss UG Danbatta

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Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, being presented with an appreciation award by Prof. Abdulrahman Sheshe, Chief Medical Director, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, during the courtesy visit.

Nasiru Yusuf

 

The management of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has visited the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission Umar Garba Danbatta.

Kano Focus reports that during the visit the AKTH team also presented an award to Danbatta as an expression of the hospital’s appreciation for the enormous contributions of the EVC and the Commission to the development of health institutions over the years in the country.

Speaking during the visit, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of AKTH, Abdulrahman Sheshe, who led the delegation on the courtesy call, said, “the objective of our being here today is to appreciate your contribution in person and as EVC of NCC to the growth and development of the teaching hospital.”

According to Sheshe, through the support and donations from Kano people like the EVC and institutions like NCC, the hospital has increased its bed capacity from 250 to 700, as well as performing 57 successful transplant surgeries.

“You have also made enormous contributions in this regard and that has helped us to get new dialysis machines through your assistance and these machines are being put to use, aside from other state-of-the-art equipment already in place,” he said while appreciating the EVC.

The CMD, however, sought NCC’s support in the area of a Health Information Management System (HIMS) and digital capacity for staff.

Responding, however, Danbatta thanked the hospital management for the visit and the award, noting that the Commission supports federal institutions with necessary ICT equipment across the country and is ready to assist AKTH in this regard.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“As a Commission, we are working to bridge the infrastructure divide, which is an element of the entire digital ecosystem. We do this via a lot of ongoing regulatory initiatives. And, through our training arm, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), we provide digital literacy to critical sectors of the economy, including the health sector, we also intervene through our Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme,” he said.

According to Danbatta, digital divide can be bridged by making computers available and ICT services accessible to people and key sectors of the economy.

Danbatta (middle) flanked by top management committee of AKTH and NCC staff during the courtesy visit

“Infrastructure that can host this massive flow of information and knowledge is broadband infrastructure and this is top-most in the agenda of the Commission. Indeed, ICT is transforming every sector of the economy and the earlier we embrace the vast opportunity brought by ICT the better,” the EVC pointed out.

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