- 4 kingmakers, 14 district heads, 3 emir’s aides sacked
- Tough task for Abdulsalami, Ango Peace Missions
When the then new Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, revived the traditional rangadi (tour) of the areas under the Kano Emirate, he symbolically chose Danbatta, a town about 60km from Kano city and ruled by the highly influential kingmaker and district head, Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan.
“That made me feel great. I felt proud. I felt on top of the world. People were wondering: Why Danbatta?” The monarch later said about the visit.
Sanusi’s father, the late Ciroman Kano, Ambassador Aminu Sanusi, and Adnan’s father, Sarkin Noma, were very close friends. “Everybody in Kano knew that when you saw the Sarkin Noma you would see the Ciroma. They were always together,” Adnan said in an exclusive interview to Daily Trust on Sunday in 2016.
The choice of Danbatta for the royal visit apparently reforged the age-long bond between the houses of Ciroma and Sarkin Noma.
But soon, that bond would be put to test when the relationship between the Kano Emir and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje hit rock bottom and the governor moved to whittle down the powers and influence of the monarch by creating four additional emirates and appointing emirs of the same status as Sanusi and breaking up the monolithic domain that was the territory of just one emir.
Adnan fell under Bichi, a new emirate under a newly installed first class emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, who is a son to Sanusi’s predecessor, Alhaji Ado Bayero.
Pitching his tent with Sanusi, Adnan refused to pay allegiance to the new ruler overseeing his domain. His case was a historical crossroad. He was part of the kingmakers that selected Aminu’s father, Ado Bayero as emir in 1954. Only recently, he sat together with other kingmakers and selected Sanusi.
His allegiance stuck with Sanusi. So, together with three other Kano kingmakers, they went to court to challenge the creation of the new emirates. Unfortunately for Adnan, they lost the case, and tragically for him at the time, the relationship between Ganduje and Sanusi had attained a new low and people around government were speculating that the governor was bent on removing the emir.
Last week, the over 60-year reign of the Sarkin Bai came to a screeching end when the Bichi emir announced his removal, alongside other district heads for not paying allegiance to him.
“I have done my best for my people, showing them the right way to go and the right thing to do. I have been advising parents to educate their children. And thank God I have been succeeding. Now everybody in Dambatta goes to school; every child goes to school… Now, Dambatta people are some of the best educated in Kano State. We have a large number of educated people in Dambatta than in any other part of Kano State,” the former federal parliamentarian who became a kingmaker at the age of 28, said in the 2016 interview.
For six decades, Adnan loomed large in the affairs of Kano Emirate and his people. He was the oldest kingmaker in the state. He elected Bayero, the late Emir Muhammadu Inuwa and Sanusi. While his reign will be remembered for these roles, the 93-year-old monarch has already gone down in history as the biggest casualty of the clash between the tradition and the modern or between an emir and a governor.
How big, many fell
The feud between Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Malam Muhammad Sanusi has, so far, swept away 18 district heads from their seats, among them four kingmakers. It has also consumed three aides of Emir Sanusi. Yet, with the new dimension it is taking every day, no one can predict its next victim.
The crisis started in May when Governor Ganduje moved to cut the powers of Emir Sanusi over alleged partisanship in favour of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship election in Kano, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, popular among his supporters as Abba Gida-Gida.
Consequently, Ganduje created four new emirates in the state and appointed emirs for them with the same powers as Sanusi.
The move did not go down well with many traditional titleholders who believed their loyalty befits only the emir of Kano. A stage was, therefore, set for big trouble.
After the four new emirs were inaugurated and handed their staff of office, the opposition to their rule began to manifest, as a number of district heads under their newly carved out domains refused to pay homage to the new emirs in their respective places, going against a traditional way of showing submission to the authority of a ruler.
Prominent among the opposition were the four kingmakers of the now old Kano Emirate. Instead of paying the expected homage, the four kingmakers approached the courts, seeking for an interim injunction to restrain the emir from creating the emirates.
The four kingmakers – Alhaji Yusuf Nabahani, Madakin Kano; Alhaji Abdullahi Sarki Ibrahim, Makaman Kano; Alhaji Bello Abubakar, Sarkin Dawaki Maituta and; Alhaji Muktar Adnan, Sarkin Ban Kano – won the case before Justice Usman Na’Abba of the Kano State High Court who dissolved the four new emirates and the law that created them, Kano State Emirate Council Law 2019.
Justice Na’Abba, averred that the Kano State House of Assembly violated Section 101 of the Nigerian constitution in the process of enacting the new emirate law.
But few days after the judgement, the Kano State governor, again transmitted a new bill for the establishment of the four emirates to Kano State House of Assembly, which passed it. Ganduje assented to the new law on the same day.
Adnan, Nabahani, three others out in Bichi
The development sealed the fates of those who opposed the governor.
In Bichi emirate, for instance, two kingmakers, Madakin Kano Nabahani and Sarkin Ban Kano Adnan, were sacked and replaced over alleged disobedience to the Bichi emir and the Emirate Council.
Others were Barden Kano and district head of Bichi Local Government, Alhaji Idris Bayero, district head of Tsanyawa Local Government, Alhaji Abdullahi Sarki Aminu and district head of Minjibir, Alhaji Ali Ibrahim Matawalle.
They were replaced with Alhaji Abdulhamid Ado Bayero as district head of Bichi, Alhaji Mu’awiyya Abbas Sanusi for Tsanyawa Local government and Dr Abdullahi Maikano Rabi’u, as district head of Dawakin Tofa Local Government.
Alhaji Wada Waziri was moved from Makoda to Dambatta Local Government as district head, Alhaji Labaran Abdullahi was posted to Makoda Local Government and Malam Isma’il Sarkin Fulani was sent to Minijibir Local Government as its district head.
Makama, Sarkin Dawaki Maituta sent packing from Gaya
Two other kingmakers, Makaman Kano, Sarki Ibrahim, and Sarkin Dawaki Maituta, Abubakar, were dethroned by the Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulqadir Gaya.
Also sacked were the district head of Warawa Local Government, Alhaji Kabiru Tijjani Hashim, his Dawakin Kudu and Garko local government counterparts, Alhaji Yusuf Bayero and Alhaji Muhammad Aliyu (Dandarman Kano), respectively. All were accused of disobedience to the emir and the Emirate Council.
Two district heads kicked out in Karaye
The wave of sack claimed the district heads of Rimingado and Kiru local governments, Alhaji Shehu Muhammad and Alhaji Ibrahim Hamza Bayero, respectively, in Karaye Emirate. They were sacked for similar reasons of disobedience to both the emir and the emirate.
Rano fires six
In Rano Emirate, six district heads heads of Kura, Alhaji Bello Ado Bayero, Tudun Wada, Dankadan Kano Dr Bashir I Muhammad, Bebeji, Doguwa, Alhaji Aliyu Harazimi, Garun-Malam and Takai Alhaji Bashir Ado Bayero, were sacked by Emir of Rano, Alhaji Tafida Abubakar for their refusal to comply with the provisions of the Kano Emirate Council Law 2019.
Sanusi sacks three
While the antagonists of the break-up of the Kano Emirate recorded the highest number of casualties, having lost 18 district heads through punitive measures taken by the beneficiaries of the new emirates, apparently supported by the state government, some members of the protagonist camp have also been left to lick their wounds.
Emir Sanusi sacked two traditional titleholders and his private secretary for allegedly being loyal to the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero.
Sanusi first sacked his private secretary, Alhaji Isa Pilot, who he accused of leaking vital information about the palace to the Kano Anti-Corruption Commission, forming the basis of its investigation of the Emir for alleged financial impropriety.
Isa Pilot was a private secretary to the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero for many years and was retained by Sanusi after he was crowned emir in 2014.
After giving Pilot the boot, Sanusi also fired Alhaji Auwalu Idi, the Majasirdin Kano. Majasirdi is the custodian of all the saddles and accoutrements belonging to the emir.
It is also the responsibility of Majasirdi to arrange any horse or camel that the emir would ride and ensure the safe keep of the saddles and accoutrements.
Majasirdi was said to have been removed from his position by the emir for publicly showing loyalty to Governor Ganduje in the thick of the quarrels between the governor and Sanusi.
When he spoke to journalists shortly after he was removed, Alhaji Idi said his sin against the emir was that he rejoiced with Governor Ganduje over his victory at the tribunal.
“What happened was that when the governor returned to the state after the judgement of the tribunal, he was received by a mammoth crowd at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport and escorted to the Government House.
“It was while he was passing through Kano city that we stopped him and I personally penetrated the crowd and donated a babban riga (flowing gown) to him. And because of that, Emir Sanusi ordered my sack,” he said.
The third traditional title- holder to be sacked by Sanusi was the Sokon Kano, Alhaji Ahmadu Abdulwahab. The duty of Sokon (loosely translated as clown) Kano in the palace is to entertain the emir.
Sokon Kano, who had worked in the palace for over 30 years, was sacked 24 hours after the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led reconciliation committee appealed to Governor Ganduje and Emir Sanusi to restrain from taking further actions regarding the creation of new emirates.
The aide allegedly made derogatory comments against the emir during the graduation of police cadets at Police Academy, Wudil, Kano.
Confirming the development, Sokon Kano told Daily Trust on Sunday by phone that he was handed the sack when he reported to work at the palace last Monday.
Crisis divides Kano
The crisis has also created division among the elite in the state, a situation that has given birth to the emergence of two camps: Kano Prominent Citizens Forum and Kano Integrity Forum.
The two groups were formed largely to protect the interests of Governor Ganduje and Emir Sanusi in the ensuing fight caused by the creation of additional emirates in the state.
Headed by a former presidential candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, the Kano Prominent Citizens Forum opposes the breaking up of the old Kano Emirate and the creation of four new ones. On the other hand, the Kano Integrity Forum, led by Professor Abdu Salihi, supports the new emirates.
The Tofa group approached a Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Nura Sagir and sought for an ex parte order to restrain Ganduje and the government of Kano State from implementing the provisions of the newly enacted Kano Emirate Council law 2019.
They told the court that creating the new emirates in the state was an infringement on the customs and traditions of Kano people. They also claimed that the traditions would be adulterated through the actions of the state government.
But Justice Sagir rejected the prayer.
For its part, the Prof Salihi-led group was of the opinion that the four additional emirates are a blessing to the state, as, according to the group, they would offer many job opportunities to many unemployed youths in the state.
Salishi, while addressing a press conference, explained that many villages under the new emirates would be transformed into cities through the provision of social amenities, such hospitals and higher institutions of learning.
The new emirates, according to him, would also serve as catalysts for addressing insecurity challenges in the state and would also bring people closer to the government.
Tough task before Abdulsalami, Ango peace missions
It emerged last week that two separate groups of imminent personalities in the country had waded into the protracted quarrel between Governor Ganduje and Emir Sanusi, with a view to de-escalate tensions and save the situation from deteriorating.
An 11-member committee headed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, last week announced plans to intervene in the crisis, “with a view to bringing about full reconciliation and effective resolution of the matter.”
Other members of the committee are Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina; Alhaji Adamu Fika; Wazirin Fika; Gen. Muhammadu Inuwa Wushishi; Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida; Dr. Umaru Mutallab; Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh and Dr. Adamu Fika, who will serve as secretary.
“The committee is working with the full understanding and cooperation of the Federal Government. And initial contact has been made with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II. They have each confirmed to hold back from taking any further action until the committee has fully undertaken and finalised this exercise of reconciliation and resolution, according to a statement by Fika.
Earlier, another group led by Professor Ango Abdullahi said it would assemble prominent northern elders to meet with the two sides last Sunday in Kano, to resolve the conflict.
The Northern Elders Forum team, headed by Professor Ango, visited the state and interacted with some prominent personalities.
However, a meeting scheduled to hold at Tahir Guest Palace in the state was moved to another venue.
Journalists that converged on the hotel last Sunday for the meeting were told that members of the Forum left earlier in the day.
Efforts to speak to Professor Ango by phone yesterday failed.
However, the secretary of the General Abdul Salami-led committee, Alhaji Adamu Fika, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the committee was yet to commence the assignment.
“The chairman of the committee, General Abdulsalami, and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje have travelled out of the country and we are expecting them back to Nigeria at the same time. Until they return, we cannot do anything,” he said.
“I had discussions with both Ganduje and Sanusi and they all agreed to sheathe their swords pending the time our committee would finish its assignment. So, the moment the governor and chairman of the committee return to Nigeria, we will commence our assignment. But so far, we have not visited anybody regarding the crisis,” he added.
However, there are fears that the job before the two groups is a tough one, given that the two sides are well entrenched in their respective positions.
Last week, the spokesperson of the governor, while reacting to Ango’s committee plans, said the state government would not reverse its decision regarding the creation of the new emirates, an act that has been blamed for sparking off the crisis.
Similarly, the emir’s decision to sack one of his aides last week is eliciting a concern that the interventions are yet to start having an impact.