The much-anticipated wedding between Yusuf Buhari, the only son of President Muhammadu Buhari and Zahra Bayero, one of the daughters of the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero, on Friday held amidst pomp and pageantry.
The wedding, which unified the presidency and one of the foremost royal families in northern Nigeria, saw the movers and shakers of Nigeria’s political and business circle troop into the otherwise serene Bichi town.
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Bichi town is the seat of the emirate, one of those newly created in Kano State.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, as well as the president of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, were among the dignitaries that trooped into the town via Kano city, where at least 20 private jets were reported to have landed for the wedding.
The wedding, however, did not start at exactly 1:30pm as earlier announced, as guests and residents awaited the arrival of the president, who had earlier been in Yola, Adamawa State for a condolence visit over the death of an elder statesman, Ahmed Joda.
After the arrival of the president, the Friday prayer was called at few minutes past 2pm; and immediately after the prayer, the wedding fatiha held, with the Minister of Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami, wedding the couples.
Malam Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew, received the bride on behalf of the president and paid a dowry of N500,000, while Alhaji Aminu Dantata, an influential businessman, gave out the bride on behalf of the Bayero family.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, several governors, ministers, lawmakers, traditional rulers and top business moguls were in Bichi for the ceremony, including a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, a foremost critic of President Buhari.
Attendance a sign of national unity – Ooni of Ife
Speaking with journalists after the event, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said the wedding was a testament to the possibility of national unity in the country, adding that such gathering has the capacity to boost local economy.
“If our leaders have been using such initiatives and platforms to move to various positions and locations in Nigeria, the economy would continue to grow.
“Look at what happened in Bichi today (Friday). Bichi is a subset of the entire Kano State; look at the economy and activities that happened by virtue of Mr President’s son’s wedding to the Emir of Bichi’s daughter.
“All the governors from different parties are here, so there are some things that can bind us together in this country. If we focus on what will bind us, the country will be better and things will be easy for us.
“Even with the issue of security, we all went to Bichi and everything went well and peacefully. Tomorrow it can be anywhere else in the country,” the monarch said.
Also speaking, the Gombe State governor, Inuwa Yahaya, described the wedding as a national project.
“We are happy that we have done it peacefully. I pray that Allah in his infinite mercy would guide the couple to live happily in this marriage,” he said.
He also charged Nigerians to see and copy a very modest life backed by tradition and culture, “which we all know is aimed at unifying the people.”
Heavy security, traffic gridlock in Kano, Bichi
While many of the dignitaries were said to have arrived in Kano city since Thursday evening, Daily Trust observed that as early as 6am, Katsina road, the only way that leads to Bichi from Kano city, had been taken over by security officers.
Beyond Katsina road, our correspondents also noticed heavy deployment of police officers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) at almost all the junctions and roundabouts that dotted the commercial centre of the country.
At the ever-busy Hajj camp and Triumph junctions along Katsina road, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) took over the control of traffic from the officials of the Kano State Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), while policemen assisted them.
In Bichi town, as early as 7am, Daily Trust Saturday observed a heavy deployment of security men, with officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) taking positions around the central mosque.
Policemen were also seen at different areas, while several of their vehicles were patrolling as some dignitaries arrived.
Residents troop out in thousands
The heavy presence of security personnel in Bichi, however, did not deter some of the residents who thronged the emir’s palace for the wedding of his daughter.
When our correspondents got to the town, some residents said they had been hanging around as early as 6am because they did not want to miss any moment of the epoch-making event.
In Kano city, residents in their thousands also lined up the ever-busy Katsina road to catch a glimpse of the dignitaries as they made their ways to Bichi town.
Commuters along Kano-Katsina road stranded for hours
However, following the gridlock that came with the heavy presence of automobiles and people in Bichi town, the Kano-Katsina federal highway, which passed through the town (and links Nigeria with Niger Republic), was impassable for many hours.
This development caused many of the commuters to be stranded in Bichi town to as late as 4pm, but some of them told our correspondents that they took solace in the fact that they were delayed by an epoch-making event.
Soft drink sellers make brisk business
Daily Trust also observed that sellers of soft drinks and water made brisk business with the high volume of visitors and residents that trooped first to the Bichi Central Mosque for the wedding fatiha and later to the palace of the emir for the wedding ceremony.
With the scorching sun and temperature as high as 34 °C and humidity at 70% at the time of the wedding, attendees were seen making purchases of water and soft drinks to avoid dehydration.
Over 20 private jets landed in Kano
Our correspondents report that over 20 private jets landed from early morning on Friday at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport with dignitaries that attended the ‘presidential royal’ wedding in Bichi.
Bichi town is about 35km from the airport and the dignitaries proceeded on convoys to the town.
An official of the airport told our correspondents that while Vice President Yemi Osinbajo arrived earlier in one of the presidential jets, President Buhari’s arrival from Yola added to the colourful number of the jets.
“The president was the last to arrive and the first to depart in his official jet. Even though he landed behind us at the Air Force base, it added the number to over 20,” he said.
Coronation of Bichi emir holds today
Meanwhile, the celebration for Bichi residents continues today with the formal coronation and official handing over of staff to the father of the bride, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero as the Emir of Bichi, scheduled for 10am at the Bichi main stadium.
Alhaji Nasir, the third son of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was appointed Emir of Bichi on March 9, 2020 when the first emir of the newly created emirate, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, his elder brother, was moved from Bichi to Kano Emirate following the deposition of the former emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, the Emir of Bichi spoke glowingly of his cordial relationship with the deposed Emir of Kano, tagging their relationship as a case study during their formative years at the palace.