KADUNA, Nigeria, June 9 Hundreds of youths
protested on Monday against a decision to appoint Nigeria's
former central bank governor as the country's second-highest
Sunday's state government decision to make Lamido Sanusi the
Emir of Kano, one of the most influential positions in the
largely Muslim north, surprised many who had expected the job to
pass from father to son as a sign of stability when the north
faces an Islamist insurgency.
Sanusi, an outspoken critic of the government's record on
corruption, became the Emir two days after the death of his
great uncle, the last emir.
Protesters backing the late emir's oldest son, Lamido Ado
Bayero, chanted "Ba ma son", or "We don't want" in the Hausa
language, and "Kariya ne", meaning "It's a lie", near the emir's
palace in Kano, the north's main city, witnesses told Reuters.
Sanusi was popular among international investors for his
inflation-fighting policies. But his past clashes with the
government could make him a more divisive figure on the local
stage than his predecessor, who largely stayed out of politics.
"They are really wild and angry with the state governor
about the choice of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the emir ... They
stopped our vehicle and insisted that we must put tree branches
on it as solidarity with their protest," said tailor Alhaji
The crowd tore up pictures of the governor Rabiu Kwankwaso,
who with the state authorities made the final decision to
appoint Sanusi, and attacked anyone they thought had supported
the decision, he added.
There is no automatic father-to-son succession for the
position which has few formal constitutional powers but has
significant influence over the region's Muslims. Candidates, who
are shortlisted by a panel of "kingmakers", have to come from
Sanusi was suspended from his post at the bank in February
by President Goodluck Jonathan after presenting parliament with
evidence that the state oil firm Nigeria National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC) had failed to pay $20 billion into federal
NNPC has repeatedly denied Sanusi's allegations, which
brought him into conflict with Jonathan's administration a year
before national elections.
The administration of Jonathan, a southern Christian, denied
any link between Sanusi's removal and his allegations and went
on to accuse the central bank of procurement irregularities
during his tenure. He has dismissed those charges.
(Reporting by Isaac Abrak in Kaduna, Writing by Andrew Heavens;
editing by Ralph Boulton)