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How traditional institution should be treated – Wazirin Dutse

Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu is the Wazirin Dutse, a position he also held in the last lap of the reign of the late Emir of Dutse.…

Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu is the Wazirin Dutse, a position he also held in the last lap of the reign of the late Emir of Dutse. He will be decorating the new emir for his coronation today. In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, the former minister of three federal ministries highlighted what best prepared the new emir for this position, history of the emirate, as well as what would be expected in this new reign, amongst other things.

Clement A. Oloyede, Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu (Kano) & Ali Rabiu Ali (Dutse)

As a contemporary of the late emir, it is safe to say you watched the new emir grow up. What can you tell the people of Dutse Emirate and the country about him, which you think best prepares him for this new and exalted position?

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The late emir was a very self-reliant individual who believed in education. He was a very highly educated person. Apart from having a master’s degree, he was a very well travelled, serious and dedicated business person. He brought up his son to be self-reliant, highly educated and to indulge in businesses.

The new emir did not run into the emirate system from childhood like a lot of princes. His father taught him to seek and continue seeking education and look for ways of getting wellbeing on his own. He grew up into a very fine young person who copied a lot of his father’s attributes. We are very happy and proud of the fact that he had gone that far.

The new emir was a member of the emirate council, so he saw how his father was handling matters. He was also very close to him, so he learned all the attributes of the late emir. He was organising his trips and meetings outside Jigawa State and outside Nigeria. So, we are very confident that he has learned all those attributes; and we know and pray that he is going to put all of them into practice as his father did.

You served the late emir first as the Walin Dutse, then Wazirin Dutse, now you are going to serve in the same position (Wazirin) with the new emir. Are there challenges with blending the old ideas you sort of represent and the new and vibrancy of youth that the new emir represents?

Let me say that I had known the old emir all my life. He was a few years older than me, but we associated for the last 40 years. The remaining years were because I was going to schools in different towns and maybe different countries. But since we grew up we had a very close relationship. I was very happy to serve him as both Wali and Waziri. I was appointed the same day the late emir was appointed as Ciroma. He went from that level to become the emir while I continued as Wali.

I watched and admired him. I respected him like all of us in this emirate. Those who knew him and those who know the present emir are very confident that the blending of the old like us and the new like him is going to strengthen the administration of this emirate. It had always been that way. The emirate council contains both old and young people from different works of life, from different professions and it is an absolutely very rich emirate council with the members who have been very productive for the Dutse Emirate and the country.

Dutse Emirate is arguably among the oldest; of course it was made an emirate in 1991 but it has existed for a very long period of time. Can you take us a little through the history and the highlight of things that made the emirate what it is today?

Well, the Dutse Emirate has a very checkered history. Our oral history probably can be traced as far as early 1400. The literary history could be traced to 1700. But in our relationship within the Usmaniyya movement and the establishment of the Danfodiyo Caliphate, we have gone through so many changes – from emirate to district, district to emirate, depending on the colonial administration and other political changes we had gone through.

But overall, we retained our emirate status in 1991 when Jigawa State was created. And we believe it has become permanent. We have been doing quite well since then; Alhamdulilla.

We are very proud of the achievements of this emirate. We are very proud of what the late emir had done. He inherited from his father a fairly ordinary emirate, but he shot it into prominence throughout this country and even beyond. He had a natural desire to do the right thing and look after the welfare of his people, take care of the development of this emirate and create bridges between us and other emirates. The funeral prayers were a testimony to all this. It showed how great he was.

Jigawa State has five emirates; and a lot has been said about the other four – Kazaure, Hadejia, Gumel and Ringim; what is your relationship status with them?

It may be true that there may have been some talks here and there about the relationship among the emirates, but our five emirs have shown an exceedingly high level of responsibility and respectability among themselves and our people. They have shown us good examples, that although we are separated by names of emirates, we are the same people, language, religion and culture. We are just the same in every aspect.

I think the introduction of little differences is the normal natural human thing that occurs, even in families; otherwise, these differences do not matter, honestly. And we are praying that they would not matter. We will overcome those we think would matter and allow Jigawa State to grow.

There have been a lot of talks about the role of traditional institutions in nation building; what role do you expect this emirate to continue to play; first, for Jigawa State and Nigeria?

The institution of traditional rulership predates political and colonial institutions. That is what our people know, respect and maintain till today. The institution has served Nigeria very well. It has given the stability required for this country to continue to remain united and forward looking. It has contributed so much in keeping our different tribes, religions, cultures and other differences together and still make progress.

Of course I understand that we can do better despite political considerations.

I think that based on competition for allegiance, traditional institutions are not given their rightful place. The traditional institution is not looking up to be executive or to load their whims, but there are basic things we could do and people call us to do during crises and other periods. For example, we can do a lot in security because we used to know every person that came into our emirate, districts and wards. We had records but they are no longer there. We don’t even have a death or birth register. These are things that are basic to human development, but they are not even given to us.

We still maintain respect and reliability from the public. And we continue to work with our people. We have made a lot of strides forward. Our late emir is well known for the three things he established in this emirate. The Zakat system is the best in the country. There is also the dispute resolution system, which is probably the best in the country, as well as the waqaf endowment system. These are all Islamic institutionalised systems that maintain the existence of people and the society and give room for development.

We are proud of his achievements and are very prayerful and confident that the present emir is going to continue from where his father stopped.

It is expected that the staff of office would be handed over to the new emir today. You were the Walin Dutse when the late emir received the staff of office, what significance does this play in the administration of the traditional institution?

This will be the first time I will decorate the emir before he receives the staff of office from the governor. So for me, the history is very significant. My late brother was the Waziri who decorated the late emir. We are aware of the responsibility and the demand of our office.

We are very hopeful that our institution would continue to grow. The late emir was a significant example on what emirs should do to ensure the sustenance of the system. I think he had done very well; and we are hoping that this would generate and germinate into other areas. Our society is forward looking, and we are all prayerful that it is going to be a significant period for our emirate. It is a significant period for the new emir, Jigawa State and Nigeria.

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