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Sanusi Lamido: Stepping into the Same River a Second Time, the dramatic twist

Sanusi Lamido: Stepping into the Same River a Second Time, the dramatic twist

Lamido Sanusi
Lamido Sanusi

Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, it was, who wrote, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” This metaphor applies, in my view, to yesterday’s dramatic reinstatement or reinstallation of the mercurial former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS), as the 14th Emir of Kano by the Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf. SLS had been dethroned in 2020 by the then Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje.

For me, this dramatic twist, though not completely surprising or unexpected, echoes the metaphor of stepping into the same river twice. To be clear, the metaphor represents the idea of constant change and flux in the world. That is the impermanence of everything. As the water in a river is constantly flowing and changing, so is everything in the world. Therefore, when you step into a river for the second time, the water you originally stepped in has already flowed away and been replaced by new water. Will Emir SLS appreciate the dynamics of the new water? Only time will tell.

And just as the water in a river is constantly changing, the power dynamics in political systems can also shift very rapidly. Emir SLS himself first came to the throne in 2014 as a successor to his deceased great-uncle, Emir Ado Bayero. So, his own original installation in 2014, subsequent dethronement in 2020, the dethronement of his successor – Aminu Ado Bayero – in May 2024 (just yesterday), and his own reinstallation yet again in May 2024 clearly demonstrate the fluidity of power and how quickly circumstances can change for persons and authorities. As another popular saying goes, the only permanent thing in life is change. Clearly, the travails of Emir SLS, his antagonists of yesterday, the protagonists of today, and the newly cultivated or imminent antagonists of tomorrow serve as a great lesson to ALL on the impermanence and continuous change that characterise human existence, changes in power dynamics, and lessons in power.

The pertinent question now is, has Emir SLS learned anything from the experiences of his deposed grandfather, his own dramatic installation initially as a successor to a deceased uncle, his subsequent dethronement, the installation and subsequent dethronement of his successor, and now, once again, his own reinstallation? Hopefully, Emir SLS’s experiences of being dethroned like his grandfather and uncles, and then reinstalled unlike his grandfather and uncles, can provide valuable lessons for his future leadership as Emir of Kano. He may need to reassess his strategies, politics, or diplomacy of public speaking, alliances, upper aristocratic (overly ostentatious and extravagant) lifestyle, and decision-making processes to maintain stability and prevent a repeat of his previous travails.

As for the political actors (protagonists and antagonists) of yesterday and today who are responsible for all the dramatic and even unfortunate perrenial politicisation of Emirship stool in Kano, I hope you have also learned your lessons about the impermanence of political control. The transciency of power.

But if it turns out that no lessons have been learned by Emir SLS in particular, and all the political actors in Kano, then Bertrand Russell, that British philosopher, logician, and mathematician, would have been right when he said, “If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.”

All hail the reinstalled Emir SLS of Kano! Long may the Emir reign!

Just as I finished writing this post, I saw a newsflash that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja issued an exparte order “late last night” stopping the reinstallation of Emir SLS? If that is true, then the drama continues for now….

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