It is no longer news that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state has balkanized the 800 year old Kano Emirate to achieve immediate short term political gains of brinkmanship and isolationism. Mercifully, Justice Nasiru Sani wielded big judicial hammer to void the appointment and installation of four new Emirs, ordering a return to the status quo pending the hearing of the substantive suit challenging the appointment of the Emirs. What political hubris will make a governor so powerdrunk as to tamper and literally decapitate history, totems and traditions? Will he be there forever? Did Ganduje ever imagine he was fighting Emir Sanusi? Did it not occur to him his act was self immolatory, asihine, infantile and nonsensical?
It was chronicled that the Hausa Kingdom of Kano extraction of the present day Kano state of Nigeria was based on an ancient settlement of Dala Hill. There were fractions of chiefdoms in the pre-colonial era before the incursion of Fulani Jihad and British colonialism. History has it that Bagauda, a grandson of the mythical hero, Bayajidda, became the first king of Kano in 999, reigning until 1063. Muhammad Rumfa ascended to the throne in 1463 and reigned until 1499. During his reign, he reformed Kano city, expanded the Sahelian Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace), and played a lead role in the further Islamization of the city as he compelled prominent residents to convert to Islam. The Hausa state remained independent until the Fulani conquest of 1805.
At the beginning of the 19th century, however, Fulani Islamic leader, Usman Dan Fodio, led a jihad affecting much of Northern Nigeria, leading to the emergence of the Sokoto Caliphate. Kano became the largest and most prosperous province of the Empire. It was one of the last major slave societies. Heinrich Barth, a classical scholar who spent several years in Northern Nigeria in the 1850s, estimated the percentage of slaves in Kano to be at least 50%, most of whom lived in slave villages.
From 1893 until 1895, two rival claimants to the throne fought a civil war. With the help of royal slaves, Yusufu was victorious over Tukur and claimed the title of “Emir”.
The British pacification campaign termed “Kano-Sokoto Expedition” set off from Zaria at the end of January, 1903, under the command of Colonel Morland. British officers and N.C.O.s and 800 African rank and file were conscripted. Apart from a company of mounted infantry and a few gunners, the whole force consisted of infantry. They were supported, however, by four 75-mm. mountain guns, which could, if necessary, be dismantled and transported by porters, and by six machine guns. Have we really improved on this military technology today?
After sporadic fighting outside the walls of the fort, the British managed to penetrate the defensive parameters of the capital. Kano was mostly left defenseless, at a time that the Emir, Aliyu Babba was away with his large contingent Cavalry for the Autumn Campaign in Sokoto. News of the British capture of Kano in February, 1903, sent the Cavalry in a long march to retake the city.
After successfully defeating the British in three encounters, on 27th February, 1903, the Grand Vizier of Kano, Ahmadu Mai Shahada and much of the Kano Cavalry, were ambushed at Katarkwashi. The death of the Vizier and subsequent capture and exile to Lokoja of the 7th Emir of Kano; Aliyu Babba, spelled the formative end of the Kano Emirate. The British made Kano an important administrative centre and kept most of the Emirate’s institutions in the form of the Kano Emirate Council, subject to the British crown in a newly formed state called Northern Nigeria.
ROLES OF THE EMIR
The Kano Emirate is a traditional state in Northern Nigeria, with headquarters in the city of Kano, capital of the modern Kano State. Preceded by the Emirate of Kano, the Council was formed in 1903 after the British pacification of the Sokoto Caliphate. Alhaji Ado Bayero became the Emir of Kano in 1963, reigning for 50 years, until his death in 2014. He oversaw the transformation of the Emirate under Nigeria’s Federal Constitution which subjected Northern Nigeria’s Emirates to political leaders. The Emir of Kano serves as the leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi Order in Nigeria, historically the second most important Muslim position in Nigeria, after the Sultan of Sokoto who is the leader of the more populous Qadiriyya Sufi Order in Nigeria. On 8th June, 2014, former Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Muhammadu Sanusi II was selected to succeed Bayero as Emir of Kano. The Emir of Kano had assumed Community Leadership since the Local Government Reforms had transferred the executive powers he once exercised to the local councils who are either elected by the people or appointed by the Kano State Governor.
The Kano Emirate is at present the custodian of the culture, tradition, customs and religion of the entire people of Kano state. Many of the Mosques and Imams of the State owe their allegiance to the Emir who directly appoints them. The Emir of Kano is one of the foremost leaders of Hausa Muslims all over the world, who are said to number about 100 million.
POLITICIANS AND THE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION
Nigerian Politicians have gone for the jugular of the Nigeria traditional institutions, threatening it with extinction. The unwholesome activities of desperate politicians is at the base. Traditional institutions should never be seen as appendages of political office holders, in such a way that they only exist at the pleasure, dictates, whims and caprices of politicians and political office holders. Traditional rulers or Monarchs are the true custodians of our cherished cultures and traditions. Our culture symbolizes our identities and should therefore be held in the highest esteem. A people without culture is like an aircraft without a compass.
NOW THIS SANUSI’S TRIUMPHANT EMERGENCE AS EMIR AND HIS TRAVIALS
Following the death of Alhaji ADO BAYERO in 2014, Sanusi, a new technocrat monarch emerged and succeeded the late Emir of Kano. A renowned Economist and the erstwhile Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI, who is described in many quarters as a man of uncommon bravery and intellectual depth ascended the throne as the Emir of Kano. The exit of the former governor of Kano state, RABIU MUSA KWANKWASO, led to a negative turn of events in the Kano Emirate, as Sanusi’s relationship with the incumbent governor, ABDULLAHI UMAR GANDUJE, got frosty. There were rumours barely 2 years ago that the governor had intended to dethrone the Emir outright, before better judgment prevailed.
AND THIS CLIPPING EMIR SANUSI’S WINGS
To clip the wings of the cerebral but loquacious monarch who readily puts aside his turban and staff of office and draws economic and political punches against what he considers to be the sorry state of his northern talakawas, the initiation, passage and governor’s assent to a bill to decimate his influence was made faster than the speed of light. The bill which sought for the establishment of Kano, Rano, Bichi, Karaye and Gaya Emirates was read on the floor of the state House of Assembly on Monday, May 6, 2019.
By Tuesday, the bill was passed into law and by Wednesday, it was assented to by the governor. By Thursday, the law had been gazetted. Such an acceleration of the passage of the bill was nothing but evil machination geared towards political vendetta against and witch-hunt of the Emir. (To be continued).
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated”. (Carter G. Woodson).
Nigerians, thank you for keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D, even as you await the next explosive dissertation.