Muhammadu Sanusi

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Muhammadu Sanusi (1907) was emir of Kano (1954-1963) and the eldest son of Abdullahi Bayero, he succeeded his father in 1954. He was a member of the Northern delegation to the national constitutional conference in 1958 and was made K.B.E. the same year. He was also a minister of State without portfolio in the Northern region and once acted as acting governor of the region.

He resigned his traditional position in 1963 following an enquiry into the financial affairs of the Kano Native Authority in which he served as chairman. He then left for exile in Azare and was in religious seclusion for much of his latter life. The inquiry has been described by some scholars such as Billy Dudley as a major attack on the institution of chieftancy.


Sanusi was born to the family of the then Ciroma Bayero and his wife, a daughter of emir Usuman. Sanusi attended Kano Middle School which later became the Kano Provincial Secondary School. In 1926, he was working at the Kano Native Authority and in 1947, was a member of the Northern House of Assembly. He became the district head of Bici and in the late 1920s, in 1932 the population of Bici had reached 132,000. Prior to his selection as emir, Sanusi was the Ciroma of Kano and had also assumed much of the role of the supervising district administrations in the emirate.

As emir, Sanusi was not content with acting out the role of a ceremonial traditional ruler but was a critic of some regional and federal policies. A member of the Tijaniyya order, during the 1950s, he gave little titles to non Tijanis which earned him some inquiring eye from Sokoto which followed the Qadiriyya order and with the colonial authorities content with the role of the Sultan of Sokoto. He also became a powerful figure in the regional legislature has he was able to control a large chunk of the members from Kano.