El-Rufai Demotes Chief of Staff After He Addressed Sanusi as Former Emir of Kano

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has demoted his Chief of Staff weeks after he addressed his friend and dethroned emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as “former emir of Kano.”

Muhammad Sani Abdullahi had introduced Mr Sanusi as former emir while speaking at the Kaduna Investment Summit in September. Mr Sanusi, who was dethroned by Abdulahi Ganduje following corruption allegations in March 2019, frowned at the description, saying he was not a former emir.

“When I listened to the chief of staff…I will call him former chief of staff…you will understand why I call you ‘former’ later,” Mr Sanusi said when he took the microphone at the event. “Next time don’t call me ‘former Emir.’ There is nothing like that.” A video of the exchanges has drawn social media comments since Mr Sani Abdullahi was removed from office.

Mr Sani Abdullahi, who has served as Mr El-Rufai’s chief of staff since 2019, was redeployed to the Ministry of Planning and Budget Commission as commissioner – a position he held during the governor’s first term. Mr El-Rufai conducted a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

Other commissioners redeployed include Jaafaru Sani (Environment), Thomas Gyang (Public Works and Infrastructure), Halima Lawal (Education), Ibrahim Hussaini (Agriculture), Shehu Muhammad (Local Government), Kabir Mato (Business, Innovation, and Technology), and Idris Nyam (Sports Development).

Governor El-Rufai also appointed Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa, Muhammad Bayero, and Phoebe Yayi as administrators of the Zaria Metropolitan Authority, Kaduna Capital Territory, and Kafanchan Municipal Authority respectively.

It was not immediately clear whether or not Mr Sani Abdullahi’s removal as chief of staff was instigated by Mr Sanusi, who has remained politically influential and good friends with Mr El-Rufai. A spokesman for the governor did not immediately return a request seeking comments on Tuesday afternoon.

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