Tuesday, March 10, 2020 was a very rough and tough day across Nigeria. Both the online and offline sphere was agog with the news of the dethronement of the former Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Nigerians were shocked when it filtered in that the erstwhile Emir was not only relieved of his duties but was also banished to Loko, a town In Nasarawa State.
With a bubbling number of youths who would ordinarily hit the internet, the online sphere became an information haven of some sort for the young Nigerian digital natives who wanted to know more about how and why a king of that status was simply removed by the Kano State Government. Since the remove close to 24 hours ago, a lot has been generated online. From videos, texts, graphics and audio materials, a lot of was thrown into understanding the circumstances of the removal of one of the most intellectual monarchs in Nigeria. From Facebook to Twitter to Whatsapp statuses, angry and obviously sad Nigerian youths kept showing their feelings about the former CBN governor deposed on the allegations of disregard for state authority and the Kano Emirate norms. This piece seeks to examine the online activities of the Nigerian internet users in making sense of the sack, the circumstances and the personality involved.
From Google Trends, it was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi all the way
When checked to understand what people have been searching about the issue, analysis shows that Nigerian internet users have been looking for both Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Umar Ganduje. The two are like the hero and the villain in the fiction of the incident that happened on Tuesday. From Kebbi to Kogi, the interest was high as people sought to know more about Sanusi and Ganduje. The first five northern states to show 100% interest in the deposed king included Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Taraba and Kogi. For searchers from those states, they really wanted to understand the personality of the former Emir.
Benue, Ekiti, Ondo, Bayelsa and Cross River states were the last five of ten states that indicated serious interest in the former CBN Governor. The first five related search queries included “ganduje”, “sanusi lamido dethroned”, “sanusi dethroned”, “sanusi lamido and ganduje” and “aminu bayero”. There are implications of this search trend. Those who hit the internet with those search queries were trying to make sense of the whole scenario from the people involved and the event. While looking for “sanusi lamido dethroned and sanusi dethroned” implies that the searchers comb the internet to get the fact and the main gist of the story, placing sanusi and ganduje side by side in searches is an indicator of trying to understand the people involved. The last search query “aminu bayero” also pointed to the curiosity in understanding Sanusi’s replacement.
The Sanusi Lamido Sanusi/ Umar Ganduje Search Charts
Source: Google Trends, 2020
On the Street of Twitter, Emir Sanusi’s Bird flew higher
On Tuesday, 10 March, 2020, issues surrounding the dethronement of the ex-Emir were on the trending list with about 14,300 tweets generated. The Guardian Nigeria was leading the list. However, as at Wednesday, 11 March, 2020, the hashtag has changed to #freesanusinow. Perhaps, the change of mood on Twitter was enhanced by the press statement made by Mallam Sanusi’s lawyers, the campiang is getting louder on Twitter for the deposed monarch to be released. In a tweet by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the rationale behind the arrest and banishment of Sanusi was questioned. SERAP tweeted “We strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest and detention of dethroned Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II. He has a constitutional right to liberty and freedom of movement. Nigerian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him. #FreeSanusiNow.” Following this call is another Nigerian tweeting Moshood MKO tweeting @mkoaabiolar, he said “ being Emir isn’t a must, but Mr. Gandollar, Sanusi freedom isn’t negotiable. Infact, it a big slap @PoliceNG and StateDeptDSS to allow a msicreants like Ganduje detain a responsible man like Sanusi unlawfully without any court order. #FreeSanusiNow.” Another Nigerian twitterati, Olakunle Ezekiel, tweeting @olakunleezekiel also condemned the banishment of the ex Emir. He tweeted “dethroned nd still abusing his fundamental human right…how callous and wicked can Ganduje get??#FreeSanusiNow nd let him contest 2023 Presidential Election”.
Comrade Deji Adeyanju tweeting @adeyanjudeji waxed philosophical in his demand for freedom for Mallam Sanusi. He tweeted “ Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.”- Friedrich Nietzsch. As the #FreeSanusiNow get louder on Twitter, it is hoped that the frictions in the conflict get ironed out and hurt souls get healed.