This morning, I heard that civil society organizations in Kano are meeting to take a stand on the issue of probing the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II. I thought it appropriate to write the following on the Whatsapp group that the announcement appeared:
Honestly speaking, I'm terribly disappointed with both the Emir and some us who are supporting him. Grossly disappointed. In fact I'm so shocked by this incident that I find it difficult to see any meaning in our discussions about social justice in our society. First it was in the case of PMB on whose inadequacies many of 'us' decided to turn a blind eye. Now, it's our SLS whose contradiction between advocacy and practice 'we' are ready to hail. Haba. Have 'we' become so unprincipled, 200 years after Abdullahi Fodio's residency in Kano or 400 years after that of Al-Magili?
Forget about the politics, whose wrath the Emir courted brazenly and consciously through his unguarded remarks. My SLS doesn't drink. He doesn't take drugs. Keep the issue of witch hunt aside. Take 'us' into the equation. Where is the social justice he's been advocating if he can squander such stupendous amounts belonging to the very 'us' he's castigating as the poorest on vehicles, data, etc. And if the allegation is false, why is he and 'everybody' disturbed about the investigation?
So we are comfortable that anyone we 'like' can do - or fail to do - anything in office and continue to enjoy our support?
Are we not strong enough to support the law once a case has come up - for whatever reason - regarding abuse of office by any individual no matter his position in society?
I pity the people defending MS II by saying "but the former Emir also bought such type of cars" or "Ganduje too is corrupt." Are we so debased that we equate individuals with the law? As for the late Emir, his is gone and his conduct must never be used as a yardstick especially by a successor that is an advocate of progress. I am sure that no Pope will consider Ganduje a good candidate for sainthood. His day is coming too, but that doesn't prevent him as a sitting governor from invoking the law on the Emir.
Any civil society group worth its name must stand by the law. Once a matter of corruption, like embezzlement, has been raised in the public domain and an investigation is instituted, we must give up our sentiments and support the law by allowing it to take its course. If Ganduje will be investigated by anyone after vacating office - and he surely will - we must equally allow the law to take its course.
Anything less is unbecoming of a group that's advocating probity and progress in our society. Even the Republicans are happy that a special investigator has been appointed by the US attorney-general to investigate alleged collusion between Trump's Campaign and Russia. We should do better because we're Musilms.
I found the call for the Governor to forgive the Emir very disturbing and how the Emir was begging for it most devastating. So forgiveness by the governor is the reward we're advocating for a crime, not justice for the society which the Emir described as the poorest on earth but with whose resources he could buy not one but two luxury cars of over N300million?
Let the Emir carry his cross as everyone does. That's the hallmark of a free society. Nobody is above the law. If he's innocent, he'll stand vindicated. If he's guilty, he must face the music like anyone else. Kanawa - and indeed the Emir-cum-advocate - must be strong enough to stand by this ideal of equality before the law.
It is clear that the Governor is under pressure from many quarters to close the matter. This may be politically convenient but it proves that we are not ready to tread the path of justice. It means we will continue to condone embezzlement and its attendant consequences of poverty in our society. Very few northerners today can keep a meaningful capital because they spend all they have in meeting the social demands that are otherwise the responsibility of government: personal security, health, education, water, electricity, etc.
Terminating the investigation can let the Emir off the hook even if it sets a bad precedent. more signficant however is that it will definitely leave his personality deeply dented. I wonder what locus would he have to preach probity and societal re-orientation in the society again.
Next time he is on the podium or the pulpit, please let him spare himself speaking about poverty and ignorance in Northern Nigeria.
Let us also give our corrupt politicians a break. we should not treat them differently. EFCC can also close shop indefinitely until we are ready to support the law. The law must not be selective but even-handed.
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde