Nigeria’s ousted central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, was named Emir of Kano on Sunday, making an outspoken government critic one of the most influential leaders in the largely Muslim north.
Sanusi, who regularly railed against the government’s record on corruption, was suspended from his post at the bank in February by President Goodluck Jonathan in a decision that alarmed international investors.
His move into such a revered position, after the death of his great-uncle the last emir on Friday, could unsettle some in Jonathan’s administration which rules over a religiously divided country and is facing national elections in 2015. The emir is the second-highest Muslim authority in Nigeria.
Underlining local politics also raging behind the decision, several hundred supporters of another hopeful candidate – the late emir’s oldest son – massed outside the state government building, destroying street signs until police fired in the air to disperse them, witnesses said.