The Dethronement of MS II in the lens of the Law
The receipt of the recent event that has flooded every discussants of the day making the components of every discussion. The Desposition of Muhammad Sanusi II as the Emir by the seating Governor Ganduje of the Kano State is indeed another mark to be noted by memory as one of the skeletal events that Make up notable past be it the type that would worth being praise or the otherwise.
The position of Emir has it well reverend seat amongst the recognized Chieftaincy offices that we have in this our Nigeria. The stool that has since immemorial been assume by Nobles since the seat itself confer same on whoever mount it Lawfully.
Albeit, what is the position of the Nigerian Legal system on Chieftaincy post?; This has been pungently noted in the case of Oladiti Adesola V. Alhaji Abidoye wherein the Supreme Court held:
“Chief means a person whose authority and control is recognised by a community. He is an
acknowledged leader in his society and among the members of his community, which status
carries with it both social prestige and political functions.
It would also be worthwhile to view it from the Proposed definition of the Draftmen in the Interpretation Act cap192 LFN 1990 Defines CHIEF and/or CHIEFTAINCY as;
“a person who, in accordance with the law in force in any part of Nigeria, is accorded the dignity of a chief by reference to a community established in that part.”
From the foregoing, one can prudently infer the position of Chieftaincy as Constitutional Position (recognized by the Constitution) as same has been opined by Per Agbaje, JSC:
“The Chieftaincy Declaration is no doubt an instrument which has a constitutional status in that it was made under a Law which was duly passed in the manner provided for by the Constitution.”
Which implies that, the position Of Chieftaincy (EMIR, OBA, inter alia) are not just a ceremonial post as acted upon by the Kano State Governor.
In the same line, Welding the above definition to the recent event that saw the removal of the duly constituted Muhammad Sanusi II as Emir of Kano by the Governor, it appears on all Fours that the Removal is purely against the Holiness of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as ameded.
To start with, The power of the Governor to Depose traditional ruler as enshrined in Section 13 kano Laws 2019 Enactment states that;
- The Governor after due inquiry and consultation with the State Council of Chiefs may depose of such Emir if he is satisfied that:
a. the deposition is required in accordance with the tradition or is necessary for the preservation of custom and tradition or peace, order and good governance;
b. where the Emir consciously and intentionally fails to attend meetings of the Council for 3 consecutive times without a valid and reasonable excuse; or
c. where the Emir commits an act of gross misconduct; or
d. where the Emir abuses office; or
e. where the Emir commits an act of immorality or acted in an unethical manner that is not compatible with the societal values and the ethics of his office.
From the above assertions, It’s on all fours that the Governor had acted in faith of inflicting the paragraph (b) and (C) under Canoe of “Consciously and Intentionally fails to attend meeting of the council for 3 consecutive times. And the term “Gross Misconduct” by application of;
1) The accusation of obstructing the investigation of the commission (Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission) by securing a restriction order from a court.
2) Allegations of consistently refusing to abide by instructions given to him.
3) Not attending meeting pf the council for 3 consecutive times.
Firstly, For The Ex-emir to have successfully sought the injunction of the court against the alleged Investigation shows that the complaint worthy, for the court is not a place for awarding reckless Justice without denying rights. So, If the governor had Deposed the Emir base on this, we ask him, Does the court not worthy to distribute Justice? Or Does becoming an Emir an automatic waiver of any of ones constitutional rights? Without Such Emir being defend himself upon litigation? And Does becoming an Emir becomes automatic exclusion out of the protection of the Court? That his seeking court Injunction now become an offence.
Secondly, The Ex-emir not attending meeting till the stipulated time is though unambiguous, but the section also added “without valid and reasonable excuse”. The Governor ought to have consider this clause by calling him on board for accountability Afterall, there is accountability for every post in this country even the presidency office. Instead of going ahead with what can be term as “Jungle Justice” or “Trial by ordeal” in the word of per Chukwudifu Oputa Jsc once said in his Book “Towards Greater Efficiency in the Distribution of Justice” that;
“The establishment of the court system was a great milestone in the human journey. We are reminded how in a state of savagery and “Jungle Justice” every man was armed and was a law unto himself. But Civilization means that courts were established and that men lay aside their arms and carried their causes to those Courts.”
Thirdly, The Term “Gross Misconduct” has been of the friction powers of the arms of the Government particularly the Legislative and The executive. This word has been evaluated by the Supreme Court in the case of Nwobosi V ACB Ltd (1995) 6 NWLR (Pt. 404) 658: “Gross misconduct has been identified as a conduct that is of a grave and weighty character as to undermine the confidence which should exist between an employee and the employer.” Per SANKEY,J.C.A.
“Gross Misconduct” has been a subjective Offence in Determining, that is, it for the Governor to Determine the Offence of the Deposed Emir if it’s a Gross Misconduct. Albeit, could that be an avenue to Depose the Emir recklessly? Where the provision of the Constitution has not been breached nor the abuse of the Office without going against the Public policy. The absence of any substantive breach will only lead to a Reckless Decision.
At this point, One can categorically say that the above highlighted Offences that saw the Deposition of the Emir has no soft land in the ambit or in Defining what the term “GROSS MISCONDUCT” contains or accomodates except the Governor is yet to tell us the remaining Allegations.
Worthy to note as well is the speedy decision of the Governor in Deposing the Emir. The Constitution and even the Kano Laws above demand proper process in Determining “Gross Misconduct”. The same person (The Governor) that has Accused had also prosecuted and Executed Judgement in his own Cause without giving any Chance of Fair Hearing?! Such is Vehemently against Natural Justice!. Even Extending to the Banishment of the Deposed Emir?! This is Outrightly against the Holistic Constitutional Rights as contained in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I wonder what our Beloved Country is becoming when it comes to the application of the Rule of Law.
Concluding with the words of J. ADAMS, Memoirs (Philadelphia 1874) 322 that ” The power of impeachment was given without limitation… A trial and removal of a judge upon impeachment need not imply any criminality or corruption in him… but nothing more that than a declaration of congress to this effect: you hold dangerous opinions, and if you are suffered to carry them into effect you will work the destruction of the nation. We want your offices, for the purpose of giving to a man who will fill them better”.
Saheed Afeez Ayinde
Pupil of Law, University of Ilorin Kwara State
Educational || Motivational || Legal || Public Speaker || Professional || Activist ||