Muhammad Sanusi, former emir of Kano, has reacted to the dis-invitation of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, to the forthcoming conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
The association had dropped el-Rufai as one of its speakers following a protest by some lawyers.
Speaking with reporters after meeting el-Rufai at government house, Kaduna, on Sunday, Sanusi said rather than withdraw el-Rufai’s invitation, the lawyers should have rubbed minds with him to identify areas that need to be addressed for the purpose of governance.
“If you feel that the governor of Kaduna state is not doing well, you should invite him to your conference and ask him, and let him explain himself on what he’s doing and tell him what you think he’s doing wrong. You will learn something form him and he’ll learn something from you,” he said.
“If you disagree with someone, having him in your hall and telling him your view is the best and he can defend himself. And if they’re things he needs to improve, he’ll take them on board and if they’re things you don’t know of, you’ll be better informed. I think NBA has lost an opportunity to interrogate the Governor and collectively rub minds to identify areas that need to be addressed for the purpose of governance.”
Commenting on the reactions that trailed the withdrawal of el-Rufai’s invitation, Sanusi advised NBA not to allow the issue degenerate into another crisis.
“That’s the best way, I think to handle matters like this but then again, I’ve seen the response from different part of the NBA, I hope this isn’t turned into an ethnic and religious matter, it should be a matter of principle and I really think it’s their loss, if he was there, he will ad value to them,” he said.
“I am aware that the vast majority of NBA members do not agree with those things. You know if you have an opinion, people will either agree with you or disagree with you. But a man who has an opinion that can be agreed with or disagreed with is always better than a man who has no opinion at all.
“Nasir always has opinions, he knows what his position is on things. He says that position very clearly, people will like it, some people will not like it and that is what some people call controversial and being controversial is actually having an opinion.
“If you don’t want to be controversial, you just be flexible, just flow with the wind and nobody knows where you stand. Then you will not have any friends or enemies, as the case may be.”
He also commended el-Rufai, saying he is impressed with the way he has been managing the affairs of Kaduna.
This is Sanusi’s first visit to the north since Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, dethroned him as emir.
Upon his arrival on Sunday, the former emir was received by a crowd of supporters who chanted his praise as his convoy made its way through the streets of Kaduna from the Nigerian Air Force base where the jet which flew him into the town landed.