Court reverses Sanusi’s reappointment in Nigeria’s Kano dispute

A federal judge in Kano, Nigeria, has thrown the city’s long-running royal dispute into further turmoil. 

The court, on Thursday, annulled the reappointment of Muhammadu Sanusi II as emir, reigniting the tense battle for the throne.

This latest ruling comes amidst a broader political struggle in Kano State. 

The state, boasting the second-highest voter population in Nigeria, is a key battleground between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). 

Traditional rulers in Nigeria, though lacking constitutional power, hold immense cultural sway and influence.

The dispute began last month with the reinstatement of Sanusi, a popular former emir deposed four years prior. 

This move by the current Kano governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf (NNPP), directly challenged the previous emir, Aminu Ado Bayero (deposed in 2023). 

Bayero, supported by the APC, had refused to vacate the throne, setting off a legal battle and a physical standoff between the two claimants.

Judge Abdullahi Muhammad Liman, citing the government’s defiance of a previous court order, declared the reappointment invalid. 

The court recognized Bayero as the rightful emir while allowing the Kano government to appeal the jurisdiction ruling.

Sanusi, a respected former central bank governor, currently resides in the heavily guarded palace. 

Bayero remains in a nearby guesthouse, also under security. The tension in Kano is palpable, with both palaces under military and police watch.

This complex power struggle hinges on the Kano Emirate’s significance. 

The Kano emir is the second-highest Islamic leader in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, following only the Sultan of Sokoto. 

The dispute reflects the ongoing political rivalry between former allies, Kwankwaso (NNPP) and Ganduje (APC), who appointed and deposed Sanusi, respectively.

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