THE TRAVAIILS OF A PROGRESSIVE EMIR (Part 2)
By Musa Toyyib Olaniyi
This is the second time I will be commenting on the crisis that has engulfed the Kano Emirate Council ostensibly orchestrated by the Kano State Government. The purpose of this contribution is to expose the motives of those who want the Emir of Kano, HRM Muhammad Sanusi II to become a deaf and dumb monarch, a situation clearly incompatible with the personality of the erudite emir. The reactionary forces have no other objective than to render him impotent in his direly needed interventions in the society.
In the first installment of this piece, I linked what is happening presently with certain historical facts in the emirate council namely, the deposition of the late grandfather of the present emir, which bears striking resemblance to the present occurrences.
Since then, other momentous events have occurred. The state government which initiated the whole drama has dubiously passed the witch-hunt to the state assembly . The litany of sins attributed to the emir were as stunning as they were laughable; financial impropriety, embarrassing the state, sending his daughter to represent him at a function etc. and while reading the charges, at a point, I was thinking what else would not be in this charge sheet. If this is how governance is being conducted, then the society is in real trouble.
The drama is now coming to a climax. The state Governor has written to the assembly to halt the hounding assignment because the emir has personally 'apologized' to him. There you have it!
The whole theatrics is about humiliating the emir. A sort of tell the world that the cocky, intransigent and overactive emir has prostrated to the real powers. It is sad to say the least. Again, the probe is only suspended to permanently put his mouth under lock and key, apparently, what is suspended can be revisited if circumstances call for it again. The probe was both a lock and a whip.
I have read interesting comments of people about the crisis the emir is embroiled in and I wonder how some people reason in Nigeria. Truth is almost becoming an orphan in our society. It is okay if we insist on accountability and transparency or the legal maxim that says whoever must come to equity must come with clean hands. There is no problem with such a position but, when we begin to make a concoction of laws and processes in order to skewer an outspoken individual because his truth make us uncomfortable, then there is a problem. But in truth, truth cannot be personified. When a man projects the truth, the truth does not belong to him because it cannot be personalized. There is an ethereal quality to truth because it belongs to God. Its mere appropriation by man is to better our society and circumstances.
I really sympathise with the Emir for coming ahead of his time in an environment that is clearly hostile to truth and progress. Something is bound to give in such a circumstance. As the great Tatalo Alamu of The Nation newspaper will always say; men make history but not under circumstances and conditions they make. Since Emir Sanusi has held the ambition to right the wrong done his great grandfather by mounting the throne, nobody can begrudge a legitimate aspiration but, we thought, he will only become an emir after exhaustively serving the nation, for his talents are more suited to real nation building. Apparently, fate has a different arrangement. What will now happen to his profundity now that those he loves has decided to disrobe him?
The issue is beyond the emir really. It is about what he personified; great intellect, courage and candour and any society where these great qualities are abhorred will have enduring embrace with backwardness.
When societies kill their intellectuals, philosophers and people of knowledge, they invariably kill progress, development, civilisation and enlightenment. In the olden days, this was the lot of intellectuals and philosophers. They burned them or compelled them to take hemlock. Such barbarity may not occur in exact form today but atavistic forces have developed a substitute for the physical elimination of philosophers and people of knowledge. It is simply to chain them. The chain comes in various forms. This is what the remnants of feudal lords are doing to Emir Sanusi II.
The humiliation of the emir has remarkable significance. It is the decapitation of truth and its purveyors and the elevation of intrigues, shenanigans and mediocrity. The north has not fully grasped the eclipse that has just occurred.
In a way, it is funny how history could play pranks on people. People, many a times, are stricken with voyeurism and in some cases, they even exhibit what is called Stockholm syndrome; the love of oppression and the oppressor. I have read people castigating the emir for behaving in ways much at variance with the northern culture. These are the same people the emir is fighting to liberate from servitude. Slaves could sometimes love their chains.
There is culture and there is acculturation but culture itself is not stagnant because of the inherent dynamism in the society. Any culture that giddily wears conservatism and impermeability to positive ideas and renewal will end up becoming a curse rather than a blessing. But culture is meant to be a blessing because in it humans experience socialisation that enhances their adaption and functionality in the society.
People like Emir Sanusi are a necessity in the society not because they are perfect as human beings but because they help develop the society by illuminating the dark crevices and corners of our existence. Imagine a Nigeria without a Gani Fawehinmi, a Fela Anikulapo Kuti etc all of blessed memory. I will shudder at the thought of a Nigeria today without a Wole Soyinka, a Femi Falana and others of their ilk. The fear now is who are those that will succeed these invaluable assets to the society.
The theory that philosphers , intellectuals and activists are not necessarily good leaders is a defective theory. Leadership is both innate and learned, that is, it is a function of both nature and nurture as psychologists will have us believe. In any case, Plato, a prominent Greek philosopher, whose works have been a huge treasure to modern knowledge industry, at a moment of intense illumination, quipped that societies will not make progress until they are governed by philosophers or kings become philosophers.
While Plato's philosophy could be utopian and laden with impracticalities, the main idea which revolves around erudition and moral virtues as requirement for leadership are tenable. Thus, we could say that Plato's submission in the Republic was not a philosophical still birth.
The idea of a philosopher king when viewed from the standpoint of intellectualism and virtues as the foundation of leadership could not be faulted. In Nigeria, we once had a philosopher king. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was by all means a philosopher king and till today, both his person and legacies are still objects of veneration in the southwest if not in the entire country.
Therefore, the idea of an emir or an oba or an obi as a formidable intellectual and conscience of the society is neither an aberration nor a taboo as people would have us believe. It is a reality that should be cultivated for the advancement of the society.
Now that the forces of retrogression and oppression have succeeded in subduing one of the agents of modernity and progress in their midst, people are watching to see how this will accelerate civilisation, progress , growth and development in their prefecture.
Truth is unconquerable, no matter how much people fight against it or turn away from it, it will eventually triumph over falsehood.
Musa Toyyib Olaniyi is a Psychologist, Lecturer, Public Analyst and Writer. He writes from Ondo State, Nigeria.