Sanusi’s Dethronement and 2023 Permutations| Peace Oyedokun

As I pondered on Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s dethronement, “Kings fight for empires, madmen for applause.” By John Dryden came to my mind. The ancient City of Kano was thrown into confusion when the unexpected and unforeseen happened on 3rd March, 2020. Emir Sanusi was dethroned!

Historically, many kings have been dethroned and banished for various reasons and the history of our dear country would not be complete without stating some powerful kings who were treated that way. Some of these kings include: Muhammadu Sanusi I, Umar Tukur1 II, Ibrahim Dasuki among others. Let’s keep history for some other time.

Many theories have been postulated by different groups, analysts, and scholars on the possible cause of the whole scenario. However, the Kano state government stated that the former Emir was dethroned for “his persistent refusal to attend official meetings and programmes organized by the government without any lawful justification which amounts to insubordination.” Some analysts described the “drama” as KARMA PAY BACK, to some it is an ABUSE OF POWER by the Kano state government while others argued that it is related to the 2023 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The former Emir however described it as a will of God.

We shall consider the three theories above with more emphasis on how it relates to the 2023 presidential election.


The major proponents of this theory are Reno Omokri (a former special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan) and Eedris Abdulkareem (a veteran Singer). Omokri described it as a pay-back price for Sanusi’s sin against Goodluck Jonathan. In a series of tweets, he wrote, “last year, I said everyone who accused Jonathan would pay for it. Sanusi Lamido is a liar and a manipulative individual…” Abdulkareem also wrote on his Instagram handle, “it’s an unfortunate situation but this is the price you have to pay for the Jonathan is corrupt case with no evidence but propaganda.” Sanusi is believed to be instrumental in President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as the president of Nigeria when he was the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after accusing Jonathan’s government of diverting $20b oil revenue prior to 2015 general elections.

A few number of people rather believe that the former Emir was osted for not supporting Governor Ganduje’s second term bid. Whatever the case is, there is no room for two Kings in a castle.


Edmund Burke, an 18th-century philosopher once said, “the greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. He was strongly supported by Paul Valery who also said “power without abuse loses it’s charm.”

Professor Wole Soyinka, a renowned Nigerian writer, Dele Momodu (a veteran journalist), Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and others termed the dethronement as an abuse of power.

Soyinka stated,” Insofar as one can acknowledge certain valued elements in traditional institution, the man he thinks he had humiliated

has demonstrated is one of the greatest reformers even of the feudal order.” By contrast, Ganduje’s conduct, apart from the intimate travesty of Justice in a recent move, is on a part with the repudiated colonial order, one that out-feudalised feudalism itself and is synonymous with authoritarianism of the crudest order.” He asserted.

HURIWA, in a statement by its spokesperson described it as a “lawless and a primitive show of brute Force.

Dele Momodu wrote, “I hope that Governor Ganduje and his co-conspirators have taken their pound of flesh by dethroning the Emir of Kano, their eyes will clear and see later their own power too is transient!”

2023 Presidential Elections

The game of politics is in series and many people believe that we’ve just seen the end of an episode. To non-politicians, the next presidential election is still Faraway. This contradicts the practice of most politicians who never fail to prepare for the future by ‘shooting their shots’ when they get the opportunity. A politician will never start preparing in 2022 when the election is in 2023.

The Emir’s position Is a powerful one in Nigerian politics. The north-west region is believed to have 20million voters (constituting 24% of the total registered voters). It is Noteworthy that Kano state registered about 5.4 million of the 20million voting population (only second to Lagos with 6.5million registered voters), making it a significant State in terms of electoral power in the country. Kano state’s electoral strength affected Jonathan in 2015, he lost out when Kano’s votes were counted. That’s what an Emir can do!

Sanusi is believed to be a political threat to some northern forces, hence the need for him to ‘pack and go’ before political tension starts.

Sanusi is probably having an interest in Government Nasir El-rufai’s agenda. What is El Ruai’s agenda? El Rufai is speculated to be nursing 2023 presidency. This is a game against Gov Ganduje’s wish who is likely romancing another powerful force to be picked as the vice-presidential candidate.

Sanusi Lamido attended Gov El Rufai’s 60th birthday earlier this year. During the programme, Sanusi praised the Governor for his actions and asked other northern Governors to emulate him. Recall, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo visited Mallam Nasir El Rufai in December last year and he praised him for his works. El-Rufai was Obasanjo’s minster during his tenure and it is believed that OBJ trusted him during that time, even though the former’s romance with Buhari has threatened to make their relationship sour.

This same Obasanjo wrote an open letter to Sanusi immediately after the dethronement. He wrote that the dethronement was underserved and that Sanusi has paid the price. Obasanjo only writes when he is interested in a case. Meanwhile, Governor El-Rufai immediately appointed the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, as the Chancellor of the Kaduna State University after appointing him (Sanusi) into the board of the state investment promotion agency.

Chief Obasanjo, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and Sanusi Lamido are most likely working towards 2023 presidential election.  We believe other key actors will play prominent roles to suit their individual or partisan plans. We hereby leave the game for the players.


Peace Oyedokun is a student of University of Ilorin.

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