The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, has been chosen as Emir of Kano, the second-highest Muslim authority in Nigeria.
Sanusi’s selection followed the death of the previous emir, Sanusi’s great uncle, Alhaji Ado Bayero Friday.
Sanusi was suspended from the central bank in February. He was an outspoken critic of corruption in President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
His selection also comes as Kano is becoming increasingly restive in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Aliyu Yusuf, a resident of Kano with knowledge of the emir succession process, said Sanusi’s selection has no political undertone.
“The Emir of Kano is seen as the father of all, more or less like a spiritual leader. He’s not particularly to be political or have inclinations. He’s supposed to be seen as a father figure to everybody, irrespective of tribe or religion, who lives in Kano,” he said.
Yusuf said Sanusi is a prince by birth and, as such, is qualified to be the Emir of Kano.
“You know, in the event of an emir’s death, every prince is eligible. The kingmakers choose or decide who among the princes will become emir,” he said.
Kano has seen some of the most brutal Boko Haram attacks in recent months. Yusuf said Sanusi could play a key role in stabilizing Kano.
“I expect that the Emir of Kano is supposed to be seen as non-political; he’s supposed to be seen as being neutral; he’s supposed to be seen as cosmopolitan; he’s supposed to be accommodative. And, you see, Kano, being restive place, the Kano people need someone that will be a neutralizing factor,” Yusuf said.
Sanusi was suspended in February as central bank governor after he told parliament that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation had failed to pay $20 billion to the government. Although the petroleum corporation has denied any wrongdoing, the incident created friction between Jonathan and Sanusi.