Last Friday, January 1, 2021, the people of Zazzau Emirate in Kaduna State woke up to the tragic news of the death of the Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashir Aminu and that of the Talban Zazzau, Alhaji Abdulkadir Iya-Pate.
Residents described the day as sorrowful, having lost two important high-ranking titleholders of the emirate.
While Pate died in Zaria and was buried the same day, the remains of Iya, who died in Lagos, arrived at his residence in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna on Saturday.
He was buried after a Janazah prayer at the Kwata Juma’at Mosque.
The death of the two titleholders threw the largest emirate in Kaduna State into mourning.
The emirate extends to Zaria, Sabon Gari, Giwa, Kudan, Makarfi, Ikara, Kubau, Soba, Igabi, Kaduna North and Kaduna South local government areas.
Iyan Zazzau, who died less than two weeks after he clocked 70 years, was one of the top contenders for the Zazzau Emirate throne, after the death of the 18th emir, Shehu Idris, on September 20, 2020.
Until his death, Bashir Aminu had instituted a legal action challenging Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s selection of Ambassador Nuhu Bamali as replacement for the late Idris.
As a member of the Katsinawa dynasty, one of the four ruling houses of the Zazzau Emirate, Iya was the son of the 17th emir, Muhammadu Aminu, who ruled for 16 years and was succeeded by Shehu Idris in 1975.
Speaking on his demise, Kabiru Ibrahim, the Madawakin Iyan Zazzau, who worked with the deceased for almost 45 years, said as a man of patience and tolerance, the late Iya would be missed by the people of the emirate and beyond.
Ibrahim said the late Aminu went out of his way to ensure justice for his subjects.
“He did his best to help people solve their problems as long as they were brought before him.
This loss is not just for his children or immediate family, it affects everyone, including people of different tribes and faith.
We will surely miss him,” Ibrahim said.
According to the Madawakin, outstanding characteristics of the late Iyan Zazzau are his inclusivity and humility.
He added that the late traditional titleholder treated everyone on equal grounds and encouraged unity among the people.
“There is no mosque in Sabon Gari that he did not enter to pray, whether Izala or Darika.
“He even went to church during their 50th anniversary and participated in the event.
“He even made financial contribution.
“There are many children whose education he sponsored; and he did not know some of them,” he said.
Alhaji Idris Sallau Kofa, who sells yam at the market behind the late prince’s home in Sabon Gari, said his death came to them as a shock, adding that the late traditional titleholder had always left his doors open to them.
“We all had access to him at any time. And he let us do our businesses peacefully behind his house.
“We are mourning because Iya was a peaceful man. He always respected us. We will miss him,” he said.
For family members of the late Iyan Zazzau, they have not only lost a patriarch but mentor and beacon of hope.
His daughter, Maryam Bashir Aminu, said they grew up to watch their father serving the people.
She said they grew up among orphaned children who had no blood ties to them, but they were embraced as family members.
She said, “Our father took them as his children, and that was how we were brought up. We learnt to be patient. He always told us to live in unity with one another.
“We pray that Allah grants him Aljannah Firdausi,” she said.
Safiya, who is also the daughter of the late prince, said their father valued education and encouraged his children and others to seek knowledge.
““He was an honest man. He fostered many children and everyone was his child.
“He gave us the right discipline and taught us a modest life. He was a man of the people.
“Nobody was a burden to him,” she said.
Although his death raised controversial dust, his foster son, Shehu Iya Saidu, refuted allegation of assassination, saying his father died of natural causes. Sai’du, who holds the title of Tafidan Dawakin Zazzau, said rumours of Iya’s assassination were unfounded.
He added that being one of the closest persons to the late prince, he could reliably confirm that he died of natural causes.
He said they did not bury the prince in Lagos because he had left specific instructions that his Janazah prayer be conducted at the Kwata Juma’at Mosque at Sabon Gari.
Also speaking about his death, Kabiru Ibrahim, the Madawakin Iyan Zazzau said, “We know it was his time.
“Allah has promised us that every soul must taste death.
“So Allah has taken what belongs to him.”
Also, the Talban Zazzau, Alhaji Abdulkadir Iya-Pate, who died on the same day as the Iyan, at the age of 72, has been described by many as a humble man who loved the people.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that he left six children and two wives behind.
“In his early days he worked in the local government and the banking industry.
As a descendant of Mallam Musa, the first Fulani Emir of Zazzau, who was of the Mallawa dynasty, his eldest son, Ja’afar Iya-Pate, said his father interacted with a lot of people on Thursday night.
He added that he had gone to bed early because he was part of a committee set up to install a traditional titleholder on Friday.
He said that shortly after he went into his chamber, the Talban fell ill and took some drugs, but died around 1am on Friday.
Iya-Pate described his late father as a man in constant search of knowledge; he also pushed his children and others to do same.
“He always wanted us to search for knowledge. He was people-oriented.
“He had the ability to help people, and urged us to show love and respect to others,” he said.
The Wamban Dawakin Zazzau, Alhaji Aminu Pate, Talban’s younger brother said their great grandfather, Malam Taju, was the fourth son of Malam Musa, who he said had 14 children.
He said that a courageous man, Abdulkadir Pate joined boxing activities right from childhood.
“It takes courage to go into boxing, but he joined the club while we were in school.
“He, however, abandoned it after school.
“He also loved activities within the royal family and participated actively.
He loved and valued our tradition and custom,” he said.
The Wamban Dawakin Zazzau said he would remember his brother for his peaceful nature, as well as his love and respect for the people.