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Gov Radda queries Katsina emir

Governor Dikko Umar Radda of Katsina State has queried the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, over the non participation of some district heads…

Governor Dikko Umar Radda of Katsina State has queried the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, over the non participation of some district heads in his domain in the recent durbar staged during the Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah) festival.

The query, issued by the Secretary to the State Government, and signed by the Director of Administration and Supply under that Office, Rabiu Sani Jibia,  dated June 27, 2024, demanded an explanation for the absence of some district heads at the 2024 Eid-el-Kabir Hawan Sallah celebrations led by Emir  Usman.

Titled ‘Re- Sanarwar Hawan Sallah Babba’, the query reads: ‘I am directed to refer to your letter on the above subject matter dated 7 June, 2024, and convey the directive of His Excellency the governor, for you to provide  reasons for non- participation of some district heads in the 2024 Eid-el-Kabir Hawan Sallah celebration.

“Grateful for your prompt response as always, please”, it concluded.

The letter, which went viral on social media, had raised eyebrows, especially given the recent disputes between traditional rulers and state governments in Kano and Sokoto.

It would be recalled that the Kano State government reinstated Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, after the state’s emirate law was amended and the 15th emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, was deposed.

In Sokoto, the state government was accused of plotting to dethrone the Sultan, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, a revered traditional ruler, whom Vice President Kashim Shettima said must be guarded jealously. But the Sokoto State government denied the allegation.

At least 15 district heads have been removed by Governor Ahmad Aliyu of Sokoto State, recently.

The Katsina episode

The query sent to the Katsina Emirate Council by the state government had generated divergent views, with some people saying it was targeted at Emir Usman, while others believed that the governor was angling some district heads, who for some obvious reasons, were not in the good books of the governor.

Others said Governor Radda issued the query with the aim of preserving respect for the Emir of Katsina.

The state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prof. Badamasi Chiranchi, could not be reached to clear the air on the real reason for the query, and he has yet to respond to a text message sent to him up to press time last night.

However, the Director-General (Media) to the governor, Maiwada Danmallam, said in a message to our reporter after an enquiry: “It is purely an administrative issue with no underlying motives as being misrepresented and discussed out of context in the social media.

“Comments alluding to any conflict between the government and the Katsina Emirate are built on baseless assumptions and conclusions clearly intended to distract the government with trivialities given the absence of more cogent reasons to interrogate governance in the state.

“Katsina State government has the supervising authority over the two Emirates of Daura and Katsina. In line with this authority, it is expected that government will seek clarifications when and if necessary to ensure full compliance with government’s policies and directives, not necessarily in a conflict situation but to ensure optimum accountability and efficiency as generally required of other MDAs by His Excellency, Governor Radda.

“Assuredly, Katsina State government is enjoying a cordial relationship with the two Emirates of Katsina and Daura. Any idea of conflict between the state government and any of the two emirates is a figment of the imagination of some conflict entrepreneurs,” he said.

‘Time will tell’

Some analysts said the query could signify a shift in the relationship between the traditional and political institutions in the state.

Daily Trust recalls that the Katsina emir had publicly supported the then All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Radda, during the 2023 elections due to kinship ties.

A source within the emirate council linked the latest development to Governor Radda’s remarks during the Eid-el-Fitr durbar, which held before the latest Eid-el- Kabir, where he criticised the non-participation of some district and village heads.

At the event, which held immediately after the Ramadan fast, Governor Radda emphasised the importance of maintaining traditions like the Sallah durbar, highlighting his personal history of participation since childhood.

He had said: “The tradition of Hawan Sallah and Hawan Bariki (Sallah durbar) is something that we inherited from our forefathers.

“Since I was a 3-year-old boy, I used to be placed on horseback during Sallah and I continued to participate until now that I am the governor. We will not allow this tradition to get ruined under our watch,” he said.

According to him, “We know that in Katsina, in those days, the Europeans used to come with their families as tourists to Katsina, to watch the durbar and take pictures. But now, they have changed to other destinations. God willing, we must return them to Katsina and we must return the prestige of our traditions and cultures in Katsina.

“Also, Your Highness (Emir of Katsina), I am appealing that if you, despite your age, still participate in the Sallah durbar, every district head must also participate. And for the village heads, anyone among them that wants to preserve his turban (position) must participate in the durbar”, he concluded.

‘He’s targeting ‘stubborn’ district heads’

Another source close to the Katsina Emirate Council, said there was nothing more to the letter than the governor matching his words with action.

He said that the governor’s query specifically targeted a particular district head who had received privileges from the government, but failed to participate in the celebrations.

“There is a district head; I will not tell you his name but time will reveal, that had enjoyed all the privileges given to district heads during the Sallah celebrations, but refused to participate,” he said.

Elsewhere, social critic, Mahdi Shehu, on his verified X account, described the situation as an internal conflict between the emir and the governor, alleging a “cold war” over the past six months.

He alleged that the governor was bent on checkmating the emir’s “perceived excesses”.

Shehu claimed that the governor aimed to restructure the emirate, bringing in the emir’s detractors and creating new districts and titles.

This, he said, will include the creation of a new title of Ubangarin Katsina out of the present Katsina District, and the Katsina District will be made I and II, to be headed by the present Magajin Gari and the proposed Ubangari, respectively.

Other measures, he alleged, would be the creation of the Dankama District from Kaita Local Government Area (LGA), Dandagoro District from Batagarawa, and Radda District, the governor’s village, to be carved out from Chiranchi and Dutsinma LGAs.

All these allegations could not be independently verified as of press time yesterday.

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