Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state is known for being blunt on issues, especially when his interests are at stake. Kwankwaso a few days ago had an interview with select newsmen where he defended the choice of Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. DONALD OJOGO was there for LEADERSHIP.
Out of the three candidates for the Emirship, why did you pick Sanusi Lamido Sanusi?
Let me start by condoning the families of the late Emir of Kano, the entire people of Kano State and indeed our state government over the death of our father, Alhaji Dr. Ado Bayero who has served for over five decades.
He has done so much for the state and indeed the entire country when he ruled. He was a reservoir of knowledge and so he gave so much to the state. The issue of installation of a new Emir has not happened since even the first governor, who was appointed in 1967. And you can see that the appointment is entirely new to most of us.
In fact among the kingmakers only one participated in the selection of the late emir Ado Bayero. When I came back on Saturday because I didn’t want to leave room for speculations and mischief making, I decided to invite the four kingmakers and I asked them to brief me.
They briefed me and I asked them to go and consult and come back the following day being Sunday. They came back and told me their position. And of course when I told them to go and come back to brief me, mischief makers started mischief and before they came on Sunday, we saw on Television and heard on radio that PDP people and the federal government decided to appoint new Emir. That was what started the whole confusion.
When my attention was called, I quickly asked the commissioner of information to ask the radio and TV stations to stop what they were broadcasting.
And then we sat down together with them and from the list, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was the best, he emerged number one based on their recommendations and of course the governor had every reason to choose among the recommended once and in some cases the governor even has the right to reject even those that were being recommended by the kingmakers.
Selecting an Emir has nothing to do with federal government; it is purely a state government issue. We have heard so many stories including the one that they should go and withdraw my security and police. At the same time they went and instigated some young men to demonstrate and we felt that because we have no option, ours was to mobilise our people. We brought in thousands of people from within and outside of the city of Kano to protect us.
The more I think of the appointment of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the more I feel comfortable and happy because today anybody who is a friend to Rabiu Kwankwaso and people of Kano State will be very happy because the man is qualified by any standard, by way of education, qualified in Islamic education, he was grandson and son of the Emir and all the qualities that are required to appoint an emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has got them and I believe he is the best. Of course some people are not happy with him so that want to create tension and crisis in Kano.
Was your decision on the new Emir political because there is this allegation that some APC leaders were around before you announced and the papers also reported that you admitted being under pressure. What really transpired, what was the business of the APC?
For those people who do not know you can hardly put me under pressure. By the grace of God, we have unlimited capacity to do things and by my conscience and conviction if something is right it is right I go ahead and do it. And if something is wrong no matter who, within or outside my party, certainly I won’t go ahead to do it.
I can assure you that even in APC people have got different opinions. You have leaders in APC who on the one hand are supporters of Sanusi while others are supporters of other candidates maybe because of their personal relation or political ground so it is not true to say that all members of the APC are supporting Sanusi.
But I believe most of them and people in Kano State except enemies are supporting Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, because he is qualified in every aspect and in each of the items he emerged number one.
Therefore it is not right to say there was any political consideration. Of course political consideration in a way is not important because we can see that we need qualified person who can do the job and do it very well.
Sanusi is not only a local figure in Kano State, he is not only recognised in this country, Sanusi is an international figure and I have been receiving calls not only from Kano or Nigeria but beyond congratulating me and this is the sort of people that we need as an Emir; somebody who can project everybody, somebody who can stand by the right thing, somebody that is contented not somebody that will be beginning people for arms and so on. And that is exactly what we have done.
Did you pick Sanusi because as a kind of trade-off for the presidential ticket of the APC and that there was a kind of bargain?
Sanusi does not own a presidential ticket. Nobody owns a presidential ticket except the members and leadership of the APC of which Sanusi has not joined our party. But I know that right in his mind he is one of the progressives whether in or out of politics who wants to see not only Kano but the country projected in good light; that wants to see progress in the country and I am sure Kano will use his wealth of experience to grow to the next level.
How many candidates were recommended to you by the king makers?
Six people showed interest, three were presented, and Sanusi is on the top of the three and that was why we picked him. But that is not the issue, I told you governor can take number one, two and three and he can decide to reject all of them and take another one. That is the law.
Is there any possibility that you will review the appointment of Sanusi as Emir.
I told you earlier that the more I think about it the more I believe I did the right thing. Everybody who is a friend and is objective supports this appointment. If you look at it only elements of federal government in Kano State who are organising protest and destruction certainly because they are worried we have the right person.
Have you received any petition from any of the princes?
What petition? You can’t petition. What are you going to petition? If this man is not qualified then you can say he is not qualified and then we look at the requirement.
You earlier said you are not obliged to pick from list and you can pick from outside the list. If he wasn’t would you have picked him?
I don’t want to go into that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi applied, he was on the top list of the three. And I picked so why are you going back to that issue.
Are you more politically relevant than before now that you are touted as a possible presidential aspirant of the APC?
Let me at this point thank Mr. President for making me important and relevant. When I was in PDP I was nothing. Even my 2011 PDP ticket was a real fight for two weeks, the tension was so high.
After winning the elections and over 90 percent of the votes they still canceled it and we had a rerun because they didn’t wnat to give me my own ticket after I have won my primary. That is PDP for you.
Now I am in a party where even my wife and my father I didn’t tell anybody under the sun that I am interested in becoming president, now you are telling me that people are mentioning my name, let me see the party. Even to get ticket to become the governor they didn’t want to give me, now I am sitting here and they are mentioning my name I thank almighty God.
What is your reaction to the reduction of your security by 50 percent; are you safe?
I want to say that I think they are up to something; I don’t know their intention, I don’t know what they are going to do next. But I have to say like every other person in this country that we are concerned about security in the country.
On the other hand our lives are in the hands of the almighty God. But the bottom line is that we are seeing a signal, a sign that there is a level of mischief coming from other places and I want to put it on record that whatever happens to me, my family and state, Jonathan should be held responsible.