RE: A Word of Caution for Kano and Northern Princes

RE: A Word of Caution for Kano and Northern Princes

By Auwal Lawan Aranposu 

AREWA AGENDA – At a time when Nigerians and indeed the whole humanity are being faced by a deadly pandemic of coronavirus otherwise known as Covid-19 that has been wreaking havoc to lives and the global economy, one Lagos-based Bashir Ibrahim Dabo has chosen to show insensitivity to the plight the whole humanity is ensnared in by writing on a subject, that is now a fait accompli, with the above caption that appeared on an online publication, The Cable of 18th March, 2020. Ordinarily, a serious writer should have joined humanity’s current crusade against the spread of the debilitating disease in whatever capacity he or she can muster, but the writer  was so blind to the present calamitous situation we are at present in and instead resorted to flogging a dead horse.

If not because of the need to set the record straight, I would not have written this rejoinder since even the said publication, dotted with misleading facts, has not generated a single comment from readers two days after its posting online. This has clearly shown that the writer has woefully failed in his mission to hoodwink his readers who have completely refused to contribute a single comment even against his opinions.

One glaring fact about the piece is that the writer is utterly ignorant about the history of the traditional system in the north, the Sokoto Caliphate in general and indeed Kano Emirate in particular. He ignorantly claimed that there was an attempt to balkanize the Zazzau Emirate in the 1970s in order to favour one of the emirate’s princes who had earlier failed in his bid to become an emir, but “the offer was outrightly (sic) rejected” by the said prince who reportedly told the then military governor of the North-Central State “that he inherited the throne of Zazzau not that of Kaduna, and would not like history to record him as the man who led to the destruction of their most cherished heritage because of personal ambition and greed.” Had the then military administration decided to carve out another emirate out of the Zazzau Emirate, no prince or emir at that time would have scuttled the move since the military government balkanized the then monolithic Northern, Southern and Western Regions and nobody raised even an eyebrow.

As mischievous and inaccurate this narration is, the author has deliberately exhibited arrant ignorance because the old Zazzau Emirate was balkanized with the creation of 17 new Chiefdom, 170 new districts and the upgrading of three second class emirates and chiefdom to first class status among others in 2000 during the administration of the former Governor, Ahmed Makarfi. I don’t remember the writer ever speaking out against this balkanization of his own Emirate of Zazzau when it happened.

What is more, even the old Sokoto Caliphate did not escape balkanization first by the British colonialists and later by the indigenous governments after the attainment of independence in 1960. More so, the Kano Emirate did not escape this balkanization fate because it was once under the Sokoto Caliphate and all Kano emirs were appointed by the Sultan of Sokoto who was the supreme religious leader of all the emirates created by the Sokoto Caliphate after the jihad of Usman Dan Fodio in the early 1800s. But this changed and Kano Emirate just like others became independent of the Sokoto Caliphate and state governors appoint and dethrone emirs because of one reason or the other. The carving out of Jigawa State out of the old Kano State in 1996 was another good example of the balkanization of Kano Emirate, Which led to a large portion of the old Kano Emirate curved out of it, removing major towns like Birnin Kudu, Ringim, Jahun and others out of it. That was the first major balkanization of Kano Emirate. Indeed, a lot of water has passed under the bridge!

The writer made a sweeping accusation that some princes of Kano Emirate “actively” connived with politicians, wildly claiming that this was a “dangerous precedent that has been set in Kano with the balkanization of the once noble Kano Emirate by politicians. Sadly, with the active connivance of the some (sic) princes from the late Emir of Kano Abdullahi Bayero’s lineage due to sheer greed, unmitigated thirst for power and blind personal ambition devoid of consideration for larger consequences for the throne.” Alas! The “author” has not substantiated his claim of connivance with concrete facts.

It is on record that the deposed emir Sanusi on several occasions connived with the opposition in Kano State to fight the administration of Governor Ganduje. This was once admitted by Sanusi in a report by General Abdulsalam Abubakar Committee which was made public in which the deposed emir said he placed a call to the Chaiman of INEC during the inconclusive gubernatorial elections in Kano and General Abdulsalam faulted him on this, stating that it was wrong of him to do so.
To set the record straight, the state government decided to create additional emirates in order to accelerate the development of the state through community involvement and participation in governance. What is more, the government hearkened to the decades-long agitation of the people for the creation of additional emirates of Gaya, Rano, Karaye and Bichi, the first two predating Kano Emirate in ancient times and since the creation the people of the new emirates have seen the benefits of the move and commended the Ganduje administration for wiping off their tears. Only exiles that are against the development like the writer see nothing good in the creation of the four additional emirates in Kano State.

The dethroned emir is a controversy personified and it is not dignifying for a traditional ruler to be controversial, disloyal, garrulous, anti-establishment, scandalous and above all anti-Islamic injunctions. No governor worth his salt will co-live with a traditional ruler having these unbecoming qualities unless he is a Martian governor.

I am sure if the dethronement was unpopular with the masses, they would have risen in revolt just like they did when the former emir was enthroned in 2014. Even the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero met a similar fate in 1963 when his appointment led to riots in the ancient Kano city, but through his tactical and diplomatic moves and good public relations, he succeeded in winning the hearts of even his adversaries within and outside Gidan Dabo and this was the reason behind his long reign of over five decades. Not so with the deposed emir, who in less than a year of his ascent to the throne, he ran afoul with the government that appointed him leading to the issuance of query letters to the former emir.

May be the writer and his principals will spare a time to watch the video clip on how a massive crowd of people cheered His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR after the Friday prayers at Kano Central Mosque on 13th March, 2020. In chorus, the mammoth crowd chanted: We thank you! We thank you! We thank you! (Mun gode! Mun gode! Mun gode!) If the governor had not done what endeared him to the mass of the people, the story would have been different. So, no amount of arm-chair rhetoric, propaganda and mercenary journalism will becloud the minds of the people of Kano who have been known to say a resounding no to any government decision that is contrary to their world view.

Before the dethronement, speculations filled the air that Kano city would be reduced to ashes if the former emir was deposed, not knowing that it was the governor’s perseverance, patience and foresight that delayed the inevitable. And even when he was pushed to the wall by the former emir, the governor did not resort to arbitrary action; he consulted relevant stakeholders before the dethronement and that is why Kano has remained peaceful with majority of the people welcoming the deposition and saying good riddance!
To conclude, the former emir and his admirers including the “author” of the piece under reference often quote the verse of the Qur’an (3:26) in which the Almighty Allah says: “Say: ‘O Allah, Lord of all dominion! You give dominion to whom You will, and take away dominion from whom You will, and You exalt whom You will, and debase whom You will. In Your Hand is all good. Surely You are All-Powerful,” indeed these Supreme words are sufficient for the wise, but they adamantly refuse to act in accordance with the divine injunction which informed the many acts of insubordination, disloyalty and disrespect exhibited by the former emir against the governor of Kano State. An ideal preacher should be the first to act in accordance with what he preaches in order to set an example to others. It is Allah that has decreed that Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero and the three other emirs of Rano, Gaya and Karaye should be emirs and they will cease to be so whenever Allah decrees. So, enough of the duplicity and flagrant disobedience to Allah’s decrees.

Aranposu is the senior special assistant to the governor of Kano on ICT.