Kano, Nigeria

By Joe Penney

Last year Lamido Sanusi wore pin stripe suits and a colorful array of bow ties to work, and his job consisted mostly of managing interest rates and keeping inflation under control.

Today, he sports long flowing gowns and a white veil over his face, while his daily activities include reciting the Quran and blessing visitors who bow before his feathered slippers.

The Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II at the palace in Kano

Sanusi was crowned Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano in June, taking over from Ado Abdullahi Bayero after his death. Reuters visited his palace, an elaborately decorated place within the historic walled city, last month. He is surrounded at all times by their court and bodyguards, who wear brightly colored headwraps and babban riga, or big gowns.

A grandson of the 11th Emir of Kano and prince in the royal family, Sanusi was Central Bank governor from 2009 to 2013, when President Goodluck Jonathan suspended him after he exposed massive corruption at the state oil firm. Critics said Sanusi had no right to use his post as a pulpit from which to preach about corruption.

For Sanusi, it makes quite a change from his old job.

The Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II rides a horse with his bodyguards by his side from the Grand Mosque to the emir's palace in Kano

His first months have shown the major challenges he faces: a string of suicide bombings, carried out by women, forced him to cancel the traditional end of Ramadan celebrations called the Durbar.