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New emir, old history: Behind Aminu Bayero’s many tours

New Kano Emir, Alhaji Aminu Bayero is embarking on a tour of emirates and chiefdoms across the country for the first time since he was…

New Kano Emir, Alhaji Aminu Bayero is embarking on a tour of emirates and chiefdoms across the country for the first time since he was turbaned in March this year.

Daily Trust looks especially at his visit to his maternal homeland Ilorin and the historical connection between the Kano and Ilorin emirates.

Emir Aminu Ado Bayero ascended his father’s throne in a cloud.

First there was the deposition of the previous emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II, by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in March, 2020. And then there was the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak. That meant that the 15th Fulani emir could not hit the ground dazzling in the customary flamboyance of the Kano royals.

The usually impressive durbars and tours have had to wait for the ease in the lockdown and when that happened, Emir Bayero blitzed across states and kingdoms, receiving goodwill messages.

When he touched down at the Ilorin International Airport in Kwara State, his maternal homeland, thousands thronged the airport to receive the new emir.

The ancient emirate city of Ilorin erupted with funfair during the emir’s historic visit.

From 01:45pm, when his plane touched down at the Ilorin International Airport, to when he departed, Ilorin was thrown into a festive mood as residents, who wanted to catch a glimpse of him, thronged the streets leading to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin where Emir Bayero was expected to visit first.

Emir Bayero, having waded through the huge crowd of enthusiasts, arrived at the palace of the Emir of Ilorin at 03:45pm, where he was received by Emir Sulu-Gambari.

The two monarchs then proceeded to the inner palace of the Ojo-Oba to speak briefly.

On the second day of the visit, which was a Friday, the Kano monarch, accompanied by the crème de la crème of the Kano Emirate Council and top lieutenants of the emir of Ilorin such as the Balogun Gambari, Alhaji Aliyu Adebayo and Dan Masanin Ilorin and Engineer Suleiman Yahya Alapansapa, to pay a visit to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the Government House.

For the emir, it was a sweet homecoming.

“The purpose of my visit is to be back home where I belong,” the emir said to the Kwara State Governor.“To me, Kano and Ilorin are the same thing. Here is my home–on my maternal side–and I am happy to always be here. I cannot even count the number of times I have come here.

“But this is unique because this is the first time I am coming to Ilorin after ascending the throne of my ancestors. I thank God for that. So, I come to have the blessings of my maternal side and leaders who I believe contributed a lot to the development of my life up till this stage.”

Cousins: Emirs Aminu Bayero and Sulu Gambari in Ilorin
Cousins: Emirs Aminu Bayero and Sulu Gambari in Ilorin

According to historians, Emir Bayero is said to be the grandson of the eight Emir of Ilorin, Sheikh Abdulkadir Bawa, nephew of the 10th Emir of Ilorin, Sheikh Abdulkadir Aliyu, and a cousin of the present emir.

Prof. Dahiru Yahaya of the Bayero University Kano confirmed this much.

“The Ilorin visit is more for kinship than royalty,” he told Daily Trust. “He is the grandson of the Emir of Ilorin.”

Some observers however have said the visits to other emirates are not in keeping with tradition as the emir was supposed to sit on his throne and accept felicitations from his supporters and admirers from within and outside Kano emirate.

However, Prof. Yahaya said some of the visits are in line with tradition.

“It is traditional that when a new emir is crowned in Kano, he travels to Sokoto to pay homage to the Sultan and to Gwandu Emirate. These are the only two emirates he would visit because only they are higher than Kano in terms of the hierarchy in the Sokoto caliphate. The rest should come to him,” he said.

The traditional visit to the two emirates is to pay homage because they were the kingmakers in the sultanate.

“The Sultan of Sokoto is the one who selected the Emir of Kano (then), and he [the emir] goes to Gwandu because of Abdullahin Gwandu who had a very cordial relationship with Kano. These are the reasons,” the professor said.

The historian, however, said there was a difference between the new emir’s outings to parts of his territory and to other emirates.

He said royal visits to any part of the emirate is for familiarization, something a Kano-based researcher on palace heritage and practices, Nasiru Wada Khalil, echoed.

Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak recieving Emir Bayero at the Government House Ilorin
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak recieving Emir Bayero at the Government House Ilorin

“The outings are for familiarization; that’s the sole purpose. Even though he knows most of them (places he had visited) personally even before becoming the emir, there is a need for building stronger and more concrete relationships and to exchange ideas, get their blessings. These are the purposes. It’s a normal practice and nothing is new here,” he said.

To Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, a former Special Adviser and Director of Research and Documentation under the administration of a former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, the outings may be seen beyond familiarization.

His visit to Ilorin over, the Emir and his entourage left for Abaji, where he paid a visit to the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa.

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