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History beckons as Emir of Zazzau marks 45th anniversary

Today, Saturday, February 8, 2020, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, marks his 45th anniversary as the head of the Zazzau emirate council and…

Today, Saturday, February 8, 2020, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, marks his 45th anniversary as the head of the Zazzau emirate council and chairman, Kaduna State council of traditional rulers. Daily Trust Saturday revisits history.


The present Zazzau emirate, like many others in Northern Nigeria, has its roots from the Jihad (holy war) of Islamic reformer, Sheikh Usmanu Bn Fodio. After the conquest of most of the Hausa territories and beyond, Sheikh Fodio appointed his representatives in the concurred areas.

Malam Musa was appointed as Sheikh Bn Fodio’s representative in Zaria, as he was presented with the symbolic flag of authority by the Sheikh. Malam Musa hails from the Mallawa dynasty. He was therefore attached with Malam Yamusa from the Bare-Bare dynasty and Malam Abdukarimu from the Katsinawa dynasty.

This marked the emergence of the Mallawa, Bare-Bare, Katsinawa and Sullubawa dynasties of the Zazzau emirate. Malam Musa, Malam Yamusa, Malam Abdulkarim and Malam Abdulsalam, respectively, became the founders of the dynasties.

According to the traditional title holder of Wamban Zazzau, Alhaji Abdulkarim Aminu, who couples as one of the sons of late Emir Muhammad Aminu, Alhaji Idris is the 18th Emir of Zazzau.

He added: “He was preceded by Malam Musa (1804-1821). He spent 17 years as emir. There was Sarkin Zazzau Malam Yamusa (1821-1834) who spent 13 years as emir. Sarkin Zazzau Malam Abdulkarim (1834-1846) spent 14 years as the emir. He was followed by Sarkin Zazzau Malam Hammada who only served for 53 days. The next was Sarkin Zazzau Malam Mahamman Sani (1846-1853), spent seven years on the throne. He was followed by Sarkin Zazzau Malam Sidi who only served as emir for just a month.”

Sarkin Zazzau Malam Abdulsalam who served for ten years (1853-1863). The throne was then occupied by Sarkin Zazzau Malam Abdullahi who served for ten years, (1863-1873). Sarkin Zazzau Malam Abubakar served for three years (1873-1876). Sarkin Zazzau Malam Sambo served for nine years (1881-1890).

Sarkin Zazzau Malam Yero served for seven years (1890-1897). He was succeeded by Sarkin Zazzau Malam Kwasau who reigned for six years, 1897-1903. The next was Sarkin Zazzau Malam Alu Dan Sidi who reigned for 17 years, 1903-1920. He was followed by Sarkin Zazzau Malam Dalhatu who served for four years. (1920-1924). The next was Sarkin Zazzau Malam Ibrahim who served as emir for 12 years (1924-1936).

Alhaji Amimu said the next emir was Sarkin Zazzau Malam Jafaru from 1937-1959, which means he served for 22 years. After Malam Jafaru, Sarkin Zazzau Malam Muhammad Aminu was appointed in 1959 and reined up to 1975. He was emir for 16 years.

Sarkin Zazzau Malam Muhammad Aminu was succeeded by the incumbent Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris. His coronation was performed on the 8th of February, 1975. He belongs to the Katsinawa dynasty of the Zazzau emirate

He was born to the family of Malam Idrisu Auta on 20th February, 1936. The alias of the monarch’s father was Autan Sambo and this is one of the famous songs of praises of the emir, Dan Idrisu Autan Sambo.

Alhaji Idris’s father, Malam Idrisu Autan Sambo, died when the emir was only 12 years old.

According to the emir’s brief memoir, Alhaji Idris began his educational pursuit at the local Islamic school or Makarantar Allo in Hausa. He later enrolled in the Zaria Elementary School. He was at the elementary school between 1947 and 1950. Between 1950 and 1955, the emir had his Middle School education. He then attended Katsina Training College and this qualified him to become a teacher.

The monarch started his teaching career in 1958 at Hunkuyi, now the headquarters of Kudan local government area of Kaduna state. Later in 1960, the emir was appointed the private secretary to the then emir, Alhaji Muhammad Aminu. After serving at different capacities in the Zazzau palace and the then Native Authority, in 1973 Alhaji Idris was turbaned as Dan Madamin Zazzau and the District head of Zaria-Kewaye before he succeeded late Muhammadu Aminu as the 18th Emir of Zazzau.

With today’s event, Alhaji Idris has opened a new chapter in the history of the Zazzau emirate. He has many firsts to his credit. He sets the record of being the first emir to assume the throne of the emirate at the age of 39. With his 45th anniversary, he becomes the longest-serving Emir of the Zazzau emirate.

According to Alhaji Aminu, who has worked with 19 governors of Kaduna State. He is also the first to rise through the ranks of the traditional hierarchy of Zazzau emirate and to become emir.

The history of Zazzau emirate, as confirmed by Alhaji Aminu, revealed that each of the four dynasties has produced emirs at different times.

For instance, the Mallawa dynasty had produced four emirs, Malam Musa, Malam Abdulkadir Dan Musa, Malam Abubakar Dan Musa and Malam Alu Dan Sidi.

The Bare-Bare dynasty has nine. They include Malam Yamusa, Malam Hammada Dan Yamusa, Malam Mamman Sani Dan Yamusa, Malam Abdullahi Dan Hammada, Malam Yero Dan Abdullahi, Malam Kwasau Dan Abdullahi, Malam Dalhatu Dan Yero, Malam Ibrahim Dan Kwasau and Malam Jafaru Dan Isiyaku.

Katsinawa dynasty has produced for emirs. They are Malam Abdulkarim, Malam Sambo Dan Abdulkarim, Malam Muhammadu Aminu and Alhaji Shehu Idris presently occupy the throne.

The Sullubawa dynasty produced only one emir. He is Sarkin Zazzau Malam Abdulsalam.

Zazzau emirate has a history that spanned for more than 1,000 years. However, the Jihad of Sheikh Usmanu Bn Fodio marked a new beginning for the emirate.

Before the creation of Chiefdoms in the Southern part of Kaduna by the Ahmad Muhammad Makarfi’s administration, most of the area was under the Zazzau emirate.

Till date, most parts of Zone I, Northern Senatorial District, except for Lere, are under the Zazzau emirate. In the same vein, most of the parts of Kaduna Central, Zone II, are under the emirate except for Birnin Gwari.

Most residents of Zaria, especially those from the royal families, are in a celebratory mood. Preparation for today’s event began immediately after the 44th anniversary, which was low-keyed.

According to Alhaji Ladan, prominent emirs, state governors and other dignitaries are to witness today’s event.

He added: “About 44 district heads and other counsellors of the emir would participate in a mini durbar as part of the event. Prayers were offered yesterday, Friday, at the central mosque in the precinct of the palace and other mosques of the emirate. There would also be a cultural night (today) at the palace, among many other activities.”

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