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Kano Gidan Dabo in doldrums

As I write on this rainy Saturday afternoon in Abuja, my heart goes to the descendants of the House of Dabo, the two-centuries-old rulers of…

As I write on this rainy Saturday afternoon in Abuja, my heart goes to the descendants of the House of Dabo, the two-centuries-old rulers of Kano Emirate, who would all be deeply reflecting on the devious hand fate is dealing with them.

Not since when Lord Lugard’s Maxim guns arrived at the Kano city gate on that fateful day in 1903, to conquer the city and oust Sarki Aliyu Babba, had the House of Dabo been in such deep gloom. Sarki Aliyu Babba was said to be on a visit to Sokoto when the colonial army arrived in Kano. He never returned to Kano. He died in exile in Lokoja in 1926.

As of today, two emirs are reigning in Kano. One of the emirs, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS), is in the Kano Emir’s Palace, holed up with state government officials who are serving as vanguards to preempt any shenanigans towards the returned emir.

We may not rehash the background to the return of SLS to the throne of his forebears. Suffice it to say that two days earlier, in a whirlwind of events, the Kano House of Assembly enacted the bill arising from amendments made to the Kano State Emirates Council Act and sent it to Governor Abba Yusuf Kabir who promptly signed it into law. This paved the way to return SLS to the Kano throne, while the new act also reduced the earlier elevated districts to their position ante.

However, Aminu Babba Dan-Agundi, Sarkin Dawaki Babba, one of the Kano Emirate Kingmakers who opposed going back to the old order had gotten a last-minute injunction from the Federal High Court stopping the state government from abolishing all the five emirates created during the administration of former Governor Ganduje and returning to the system where only one emir led Kano. Despite the wide circulation of the court injunction, SLS was swiftly flown into Kano City and in a ceremony in the government house was issued a letter of reinstatement by the governor. SLS was then hurriedly conducted by the deputy governor into the Gidan Rumfa, as the Emir’s Palace has always been known.

We woke up today with the news on social media of the deposed Emir of Kano Aminu Bayero arriving in Kano in the dead of night surrounded by security men driving to the Nasarawa Palace of the Emir of Kano. Soon after, the Kano State Governor ordered the arrest of the deposed emir should he set foot in Kano. To compound matters, the Kano State Commissioner of Police gave a press conference on behalf of all the security agencies confirming that they would keep faith with the court injunction signifying that they respect the status ante.

That’s a recipe for a perfect storm. Kano Emirate had never witnessed chaos of this kind in recent times, an impasse with grave consequences for the peace and stability of the state.

Admittedly, Gidan Rumfa had experienced jolts in the past, all to do with face-offs with the political elite. SLS’s grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I, who ruled between 1953 and 1963 had his brushes with the political elite of his time leading to his removal and exile to Azare. Sarki Muhammadu Sanusi never returned to the throne. In the more recent past, Sarki Ado Bayero had his collision with Governor Abubakar Rimi in the early 1980s, who en route to removing him clipped the wings of Kano Emirate by creating first-class entities out of it. Rimi’s plans for the emirate were only truncated when he lost the election for a second term of office. Sabo Bakin Zuwo, who won the election and succeeded Rimi, returned to the status quo ante.

Many of the big emirates in the North have at one time or the other had these jolts when they had brushes with the ruling elite. One of the most famous recent example would be that of Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki of Sokoto, who was removed in 1996 by the military overlords of the time. Sokoto’s neighbour in Kebbi State was similarly visited with the same vicissitudes when the powerful Emir of Gwandu, Mustapha Jakolo, was removed by Governor Adamu Aliero in 2005. Emir Jakolo is still in court fighting to reclaim his throne.

The situation in Kano is still tense with no flicker of light in sight. The positions of the antagonists have unfortunately hardened. It looks like a confrontation has willy-nilly developed between the federal and state governments. On one hand, the deposed Emir Aminu Bayero is in the Nasarawa Palace, sitting pretty and protected by an armada of federal government security forces while on the other, Emir Sanusi II is sitting tight in Gidan Rumfa, holding court, cheered on by fawning supporters, surrounded by state government officials and protected by a mixed bag of yan tauri and KAROTA staff.

The most charitable observer would opine that the House of Dabo is in deep distress and can’t help itself. Other Kano elite must intercede in this fray and stop the slide to utter chaos and confusion.

Kano is too important in the fabric of Nigeria, and the North in particular, to let their vainglorious political leaders take it down this path.

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