BY SANI ABDULLAHI
The intervention of the duo of Governor Kayode Fayemi and Alhaji Aliko Dangote in the crisis that had recently bestirred the relationship between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II has been welcomed across the country. Before the intervention, it looked as if the cherished traditional heritage of Kano which is known across Africa for its rich traditional heritage was about to be swallowed up in the intrigues that had shaped the conversation between Governor Ganduje and Emir Sanusi. It was a conflict between the political leadership and the traditional leadership of the state. The conversation flowed from alleged discretions between the two leaders. Compromising video clips of the governor in alleged financial misdemeanor had been celebrated on social media. Perhaps on account of that, the Emir was believed to have distanced herself from the governor’s re-election. The Emir had also been reported in the media to have been critical of some of the projects of the governor. So it was not surprising for many that following the governor’s declaration as winner of the governorship election in May that the gulf between the two leaders widened. However, few expected the relationship between the two men to deteriorate in the way and speed with which it did. Indeed, the governor and his camp were apparently eager to take their pound of flesh.The first move was the decimation of the 200-year-old Kano Emirate to a fifth of its pre-Ganduje dimension.That was followed by the query to the Emir over alleged financial misdeeds with the Emir reportedly accused of misappropriation of an estimated N3.4 billion. Pointers were to the effect that Emir Sanusi was about to be deposed by the governor. It was at the point of responding to the query that the duo of Governor Fayemi and Alhaji Dangote responded.
Fayemi’s intervention was obviously in his role as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, an office to which he was elected to about a month ago. Dangote’s participation was upon the fact that he is from Kano State. There is no doubt that this intervention has helped to stop what could have further eroded the royal dignity and prestige of the Kano emirate. It is easy to envisage that had the crisis continued to simmer and Emir Sanusi had been disgraced out of office that it would have further diminished the image of the traditional institution in the country. However, what is more encouraging is the proactive intervention of Governor Fayemi in helping his colleague in Kano not to slip into error. While the success of this intervention continues to reecho across the polity, it must, however, be stressed that the resolution of the conflict between the governor and the emir should not be seen as a way of suppressing misbehavior where it exists. Governor Fayemi must not see his role as NGF chairman as one that enables him to go about covering up infractions where they exist. If there are infractions on the part of his colleagues or anyone else, they should be properly addressed by the institution.
Indeed, it would be a legacy to Governor Fayemi’s stewardship of the NGF if he is able to move his colleagues and the federal government to ensure that institutions are allowed to work. The intervention by Governor Fayemi was undoubtedly pegged on the States Peer Review Mechanism, SPRM, a programme that had been conceived by the Bukola Saraki leadership of the NGF. That programme aims to stimulate good governance among states and bring states to subject themselves to a minimum benchmark on good behaviour. Whatever anyone can say, Governor Fayemi must be commended for quietly intervening in a way to promote good governance in another state without much fanfare. Unlike much of the activities of the NGF that have lately been much fanfare without much traction in terms of raising the level of governance, this new approach by the Fayemi leadership of the NGF must be commended and dare say, raised to a higher level. All over the country there are issues where the approach adopted by Fayemi can be brought to bear. Whether in the case of insecurity, economic malaise as represented by backlog of salary or other governance parameters, the Fayemi leadership of the NGF is worthy of emulation. Also encouraging was that Governor Fayemi used Dangote, a respected son of Kano as an entry point towards resolving the crisis in Kano. Identifying key stakeholders and influencers who can help direct governance in the positive direction is an option for the NGF to exploit. Even more, Nigeria requires more contributions from the likes of Dangote who can contribute towards resolving issues in their states without as much as seeking to exploit differences between key players. In some instances, it has been observed that patrionising comments from prominent citizens aimed at winning the favour of governors have helped to simmer local conflicts instead of resolving such. We need more men like Dangote who can look their governors in the eye and direct them towards better behaviour. In all, Governor Fayemi and Alhaji Dangote have done well and more of such synergy will be better for the country.
– Abdullahi wrote in from Kano