His Excellency, GEJ versus His Royal Highness, SLS

Last weekend started like any other one for President Goodluck Jonathan. He was preparing to receive his counterpart from Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, at the Villa on Friday when news which many believed would affect his Presidency and his future political ambition filtered in.

Though the news came from the North, it had nothing to do with the activities of members of the Boko Haram sect that have held that part of the country hostage, unleashing violence on innocent people.

This time, the news was about the death of a prominent first class traditional ruler, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, who died at the age of 83. Naturally, that should not be a headache to a President. So, he did not waste time in directing his spokesman, Reuben Abati, to issue a statement in which he mourned and extolled the virtues of the late monarch.

What later turned out to be a big presidential headache came up on Sunday when Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State named Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as successor to the late Emir.

There had been no love lost between Jonathan and the new Emir since the President suspended him from office as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on February 20. The President had said that he took the decision after discovering that Sanusi’s tenure as the CBN governor was characterised by acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which were inconsistent with his administration’s vision.

He named a Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr. Sarah Alade, as the acting governor and ordered the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to conduct further investigations into what he called breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN under Sanusi. The emir was still contesting his suspension and probe in court as of the time he was appointed Bayero’s successor.

So, by all standards, the former apex bank’s boss cannot be described as the President’s friend. That appointment made by Kwankwaso who also parted ways with Jonathan recently when he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party for the All Progressives Congress was seen in many quarters, including in the Presidency, as a big political blow to Jonathan especially as the 2015 general elections draw nearer.

Jonathan had to hurriedly abort a condolence visit he would have made to the ancient Northern city on Monday because of the development. How the development will be handled without hurting the President’s electoral fortune is yet to be seen. Time will tell.


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