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Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II

Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II

He was born on July 31, 1961 to Muhammad Aminu Sanusi and Saudatu Hussain. He descends from Royal Sullubawan Dabo of Kano and Islamic Clerical Family of Imam Gwani Muhammad Zahradeen that has produced several Imams and Islamic Judges.

Sanusi's father, who held the princely title of Ciroma of Kano, was a pioneer career diplomat of Nigeria. The late Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1961 charged him with the setting of Nigerian Intelligence Services. He served as Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada. He also served as Nigerian ambassador to Belgium. In 1972 he became Nigerian first Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China. He retired in 1979 as Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of External Affairs.

Sanusi was the cherished grandson of Emir Muhammad Sanusi I (r. 1954-1963), known for his strength of character and public spiritedness. Credited with modernizing Kano's economy through industrial development when he established the largest industrial estate in Northern Nigeria at that time. He commissioned an irrigation study that culminated in the construction of several dams across the Emirate. Muhammad Sanusi I also reinvigorated the emir's moral and spiritual role by exercising the right to lead Friday prayers and serve as Shari'ah Judge. Through adopting his grandfather's official title and other symbolic actions, Muhammad Sanusi II has explicitly signaled the continuity between his and his grandfather's reigns.


After childhood Qur'anic studies and elementary schooling at St. Anne's Primary Boarding School in Kaduna, Sanusi entered King's College Lagos, then earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in economics at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria -- where he also taught economics. In 1985, he launched a distinguished banking career at ICON Ltd. Merchant Bankers, a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust and Baring Brothers. Later, he joined United Bank for Africa, running its credit and risk management division and then rising to the position of General Manager. In 2005, he moved to First Bank, where he was appointed Group Managing Director in 2009.

Alongside this work in the financial industry, Sanusi never ceased pursuing his scholarship in Islamic history, philosophy, and law. After years of private study under the tutorial of a number of learned ulama' including his maternal grand uncle who was Grand Kadi (Chief Shari'ah Judge) of Kano, he left banking to enrol in the Africa International University in Khartoum, Sudan, where he earned a first class degree in Shari'ah in 1997.

In June 2009, Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'adua appointed Sanusi governor of the central bank. It was a trying moment to take up such a post: the world was reeling in the throes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Nigerian banks had hardly escaped the impact: corroded by corruption, mismanagement, and reckless and fraudulent lending practices, twenty- four banks were on the brink of collapse. Sanusi pursued an approach unrivalled anywhere in the world. On the one hand, he mobilized some NGN 400b ($2.1b.) to bail out key establishments. But simultaneously, he insisted on repercussions for those responsible. Several managing directors were sacked as part of the deal, and some sixteen faced criminal charges. One received a jail term. In no other country were the individuals whose decisions contributed to the 2008 financial crisis held personally responsible on such a scale. In recognition, The Banker Magazine named Sanusi the World's Best Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2011.

Acknowledging that few names achieve consensus on any judging panel, the magazine remarked on the exception: “When it came to finding the best global central bank governor of the year, Mr. Sanusi was chosen unanimously.” The magazine lauded his “radical anti-corruption campaign,” which “salvaged a crumbling financial sector,” and “reforms that have put Africa's most promising market back on the map for investors.”

Emir Sanusi pioneered the introduction of Islamic banking into the Nigerian banking sector when he was Governor of the Central Bank, and he received the Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award (GIFA) and became the GIFA Laureate of 2015. He had earlier been given the Global Islamic Finance Excellence Award in 2013.

In late 2013, Sanusi began drawing attention to a grievous shortfall in Nigerian oil revenues. According to his accounts, some $20b, in the proceeds of sales had failed to reach the national budget over an eighteen- month period. He submitted detailed findings to the Nigerian senate on February 3, 2014, and summoned the managing directors of several banks, warning they would be required to open their books so his examiners could probe suspected shell company activities and other irregularities believed to be linked to the missing billions.

On February 20, in the midst of the investigation, President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi. In reaction, the Nigerian currency (naira) fell to its lowest level since 1999, and bond trading had to be halted.

Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero, Sanusi's granduncle, passed away on June 6, 2014, after a half-century reign. Two days later, four kingmakers and Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso announced that Lamido Sanusi was their choice to succeed him.

Sarkin Kano

Muhammad Sanusi II Receiving the letter of appointment as Emir of Kano

Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta

Alhaji Bello Abubakar

Makaman Kano

Alhaji Sarki Abdullahi Ibrahim MFR

At the occasion...

Receiving the letter of appointment as Emir of Kano on June 9, 2014

Sarkin Bai

Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan OFR

Left to right

Madakin Kano Yusuf Nabahani Ibrahim, Galadiman Kano (then Wamban Kano) Abbas Sanusi and Walin Kano Mahe Bashir

Hakimai (chiefs)

praying before Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II was escorted to Gidan Rumfa from Government House on Friday June 13, 2014

Sarkin Kano

Muhammad Sanusi II Delivering his first Khutbah

In keeping with his history of outspoken public discourse, both as a government official and when participating in Islamic legal debates, Sanusi has used his Friday sermons as a platform to offer observations on the crucial issues of the day -- not least the burgeoning Boko Haram insurgency. Many of his comments are aimed at galvanizing his congregation to transcend the fear of death and take more responsibility for their own destinies.

Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II restored the tradition of delivering the Friday Khutbah sermon when he led his first Juma'at prayer at the Government House Mosque on Friday June 13, 2014 and from there he went into Gidan Rumfa. Thereafter he continued to deliver the sermon at the Central Mosque. Sarkin Kano Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero (1926- 1953) and Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sanusi (1953-1963) used to deliver the khutbah (sermon). Shuaib and Brigaglia (2015) analyzed one of Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi's khutbah which he delivered after the Boko Haram attack on the mosque on Friday November 28, 2014 during the Juma'at prayer in which hundreds were killed. He led the prayer on December 12, 2014 and delivered the khutbah (sermon) in which he responded:

O my brothers! We, the Muslim folks of this city (may God protect it from all evil plots and machinations), have gone through a very difficult day, when the Muslims were mercilessly attacked with bullets and explosives as they were getting ready to pray, in a house of God and on the best day of the week. Within a short period of time, they were all killed or injured, covered with blood or severely burnt, with all of them, dead and survivors being deprived of the chance to put their foreheads on the ground in prostration to their Lord. Having all left their homes to worship their Lord and having prepared to seek the pleasure of their Lord, they were ultimately denied the remembrance of God and prevented from carrying out the command of their Lord. And what action is worse than wreaking havoc in places of worship? Listen to what God says about those wreaking havoc in places of worship: “Who is more evil than those who prevent the mention of God's name in His places of worship and strive to have them deserted? Such people should not enter them except in fear: a disgrace is prepared for them in this world and painful punishment in the Hereafter

(Q 2:114).

As for those who were killed in cold blood in this dastardly and cowardly act, they are among those we hope that God will accept as martyrs; those who receive glad tidings of favour and bounty from Him, because they have died while performing an act of righteousness. And whoever dies in an act of righteousness is a martyr as narrated by Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever says 'there is no god but God' seeking the pleasure of God and dies upon it, he enters Paradise; and whoever fasts a day seeking the pleasure of God and dies on that day, he enters Paradise; and whoever gives out charity seeking the pleasure of God and dies while he's upon this action, he enters Paradise,” as compiled by Ahmad in his book, al-Musnad. The last words pronounced by those [who were in the mosque before the explosion] were “There is no god but God and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger and God is the Greatest.”

He admonished that they should never be scared and encouraged them to continue fulfilling their religious obligations. The aim of the attack was instill fear and obliterate religious life people should not allow such to happen. He exhibited courage in the midst of horror across Northern Nigeria when Boko Haram was rampaging. His position gave people the strength to continue with their normal life instead retreating in fear without hope.

Sarkin Kano Sanusi has remained engaged in the field of Finance and Development, believing strongly that no solution to the social and security challenges faced by Nigeria is possible without development. He was appointed Chairman of Black Rhino Group, below is the report of the announcement:

Lagos, Nigeria, June 10, 2015. Funds managed by Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Black Rhino today announced that His Highness Emir Muhammad Sanusi II will, join Black Rhino's Board of Directors as Chairman. Black Rhino was formed in January 2012 to develop and to invest in transformational infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa's power generation and fuel transportation sectors.

“One can scarcely imagine a stronger addition to the Black Rhino Board. The Emir has unparalleled insights into Africa's regional and local socio-economic development needs and the role that power and infrastructure development can play,” said Brian Herlihy, Black Rhino's Founder and CEO. “We know as Chairman of Black Rhino, the Emir will provide business as well as moral guidance in all our endeavors across Africa. It is an honor and a privilege to announce His Highness, the Emir of Kano as the Chairman of Black Rhino.”

“We are pleased that Emir Sanusi has agreed to lend Black Rhino his considerable expertise and wisdom as Chairman,” said Sean Klimczak, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone who oversees the firm's global private equity investments in power generation and natural resources. “We look forward to working closely together as we develop energy solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Emir Sanusi has a comprehensive mastery of the interdependence of Africa with the global economy,” said Mimi Alemayehou, Chair of Blackstone African Infrastructure LP and Managing Director at Black Rhino. “He has the courage and integrity necessary to give us the full, candid and impartial counsel that a long-term investor in Africa needs. We are gratified and, indeed, privileged to have a partner of such immense stature alongside us as we chart our course.”

“I am honored to join the Board of Black Rhino, a company that is looking to develop infrastructure projects in places where there is the most need to transform communities,” said His Highness Emir Muhammad Sanusi II. “We live in a time of intense competition for capital and I do hope that by joining the Board I can play some part in bringing some of that capital nearer to home.”

As Chairman of Black Rhino Group, a portfolio company of Blackstone, he has been driving development of key power and energy infrastructure projects across the African continent. One of the projects in the company's pipeline is a 120 MW solar plant to be set up in Kano to kick-start the re- industrialization process. This is to be followed by two coal-fired power plants of 500 MW each. A Joint Venture of Black Rhino and the Dangote Group are building these plants.

Muslim Family Law Reform

The family law reform initiative is the most controversial and it generated much attention. Sanusi has been outspoken advocate of reform before he became the Emir. During the Shari'ah debate he was a very vocal critic of the Northern Governors especially Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara State who introduced Shari'ah Criminal Code in his state. He was vigorously involved in discussion on women's rights. And because of his knowledge of the Shari'ah he became widely published contributing chapters to books and he participated in several conferences. Therefore he was well prepared for the reform. Most importantly his reform initiative is based on Maliki Jurisprudence unlike many other previous attempts in the West outside the mainstream Muslim community.

Emir Sanusi's Muslim Family Law Reform is the first not only in Nigeria, but the entire Sub Saharan Africa and only a person of his intellectual caliber and charisma could have made such effort. It is a major contribution to Islamic Jurisprudence and the first in Hausa Language. The committee drafted the law for the Kano State Government to enact. It has not been presented to the State House of Assembly because of some controversial observations made by some preachers. The draft law known as Dokar Jihar Kano ta Zamantakewa da Rayuwar Iyali a Shari'ar Musulunci, has undergone several processes of discussions and reviews with the support of many experts in Shari'ah Family Law in and outside the state. The Shari'ah being a Jurist Law, is administered by the Qadi (Judge), who is expected to make judgments using its primary sources the Qur'an and the Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), as well as the secondary sources contained in the Malik Law books, whenever necessary. This draft family law makes it easier for the Judge but does not stop him from using the primary sources and the books written by Jurists and this is the meaning of this declaration in the draft law:

“Alkali na da damar komawa cikin nassoshin Shari'ah da sharhohin malamai da ke cikin manyan littafan Shari'ar Musulunci wajen yanke hukunci akan duk kan tanade - tanaden da ke cikin wannan kundin dokar”

Apart from making it easier for Judges to make judgments the other objectives of the draft law include: sustaining love and care of married couples based on the Shari'ah, protecting women's rights after divorce, reducing divorce rates in the community, protecting children's rights and their welfare, protecting the rights of the orphans and promoting endowments according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW).

There is little or no difference between Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic both are predominantly Muslim and are faced by the same environmental challenges caused by global warming, rising population and weak economic base. Hence the President of the Republic of Niger Muhammadou Yousafa invited Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi to speak to the people of Niger on the need for reform. All the major stakeholders of the country gathered at Palais de Congress where they listened to Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II. He spoke on the need for reforms of Muslim Family Law.

Both the President of Niger Republic and Emir Sanusi realized that these challenges are very daunting and the State alone cannot overcome them. Emir Sanusi has charisma and knowledge to lead the reform. The success depends on the credibility of the reform. Sanusi is widely respected in both Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic. During the visit to Niger Republic he was given rousing reception at the palace of Sultan of Dosso who is the leader of the traditional rulers of the Republic. The great Zawiya of the famous Shaykh Abubakar of Chiota received him warmly with mammoth crowd of thousands of people along several villages leading to the Zawiyya. It was the same thing at the Zawiyya of Shaykh Shuaib in Niamey where both the Shaykh and the Emir spoke exclusively in Arabic. Very few traditional rulers possess such erudition and eloquence.

Emir Sanusi's vision of a prosperous harmonious Muslim society is what makes many patriotic people to respect him including President Issoufou Muhamadou. His approach is to deal with the problem from the root and not the symptoms. Muslims are suffering from exclusion in education through institutionalized cultural barriers. Sanusi is the most passionate advocate of dismantling these barriers. He has become a major advocate of using mother tongue in education and several international media outlets have made commentaries and analysis. He has also called for complete integration of Islamic and Western education, Muslims can no longer afford to have those learned in Islamic subjects categorized as illiterates because of the colonial legacy.

Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II

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