A tense atmosphere on Sunday enveloped the northern Nigerian city of Kano, as supporters of the Emir, Mr Lamido Sanusi trooped to the airport to welcome their beleaguered traditional ruler.
Hundreds of Kano residents matched towards the airport on Sunday afternoon in a solidarity demonstration for Sanusi, whose emirate was divided into five by the state government during the week.
Rumours have also spread that supporters of Sanusi were bracing for a clash with pro-government sympathisers in downtown Kano. The police have also been accused of attempting to prevent a large crowd from receiving the former governor of Central Bank.
The police commissioner, Mr Mohammed Wakili, said he did not order a restriction on protesters, so long as they conduct their activities peacefully.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on Wednesday signed an amendment to the state’s traditional ruler and chieftaincy laws. The amendment established an additional four emirates to the ancient Kano Emirate.
The law has been widely deemed controversial, amidst insinuations Mr Ganduje initiated it to settle scores with Sanusi in an alleged feud between both of them.
The governor denied all allegations of vindictiveness, saying he took the steps to streamline traditional roles and make them more efficient.
On Friday, Kano State High Court granted a temporary order for the suspension of the law, following complaints from Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers that the House of Assembly shunned extant parliamentary procedures to ram the bill through.
Ganduje dismissed the court order as belated, saying he had already announced emirs for the newly-created units before learning of the court order.
Mr Sanusi left for England days before his domain was broken up, and did not witness the drama that preceded or followed it. He returned on Saturday night, but flew into Abuja and not directly to Kano.
Sanusi, who eventually arrived Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Sunday evening was received by his senior council members and thousands of Kano residents.
The emir’s plane landed at MAKIA at 4.25pm.
Among senior council members that received Sanusi at MAKIA include District Head of Wudil, Mr Abdullahi Ibrahim; District Head of Doguwa, Mr Aliyu Harazimi, Dan Isan Kano and District Head of Warawa, Mr Kabiru Hashim, among others.
PT with additional reports from Daily Trust