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Sokoto residents await emirates as new districts emerge

Defending their decision, however, the state Commissioner for Information, Malam Dalladi Bako, said it was for administrative convenience. But analysts believe there were other reasons…

Defending their decision, however, the state Commissioner for Information, Malam Dalladi Bako, said it was for administrative convenience. But analysts believe there were other reasons behind the decision to create new districts.
Speaking to Sunday Trust, Malam Ibrahim Umar, said the decision would go a long way towards correcting the imbalance in the creation of districts in the ancient city. He alleged that the administration of former Governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa created some districts to favour his zone.
One of the districts created by the former governor, it was gathered, was Bafarawa; and his late father, then a retired village leader, was upgraded as head. The district was carved out from Isa, ruled by the Fulani and descendants of Sultan Muhammadu Bello, founder of the present Sokoto Caliphate and son of the pioneer leader of Fulani jihadists, Sheikh Usman bin Fodiyo, all of blessed memory.
Sunday Trust also gathered that, out of the 10 wards in Isa district, Bafarawa was allotted six wards while Isa was left with only four. But after the demise of the senior Bafarawa, the current government picked his successor from the Isa ruling family.
Malam Umar further reiterated that the only reason behind the creation of the new districts is to correct the mistake of the former governor.
“It was Bafarawa that created more districts and consequently stripped the Sultanate of the power to appoint and fire district heads. Some observers opined that Bafarawa resorted to creation of districts to entrench political control, as well as promote his father to the position of emir by creating an emirate.\
“Governor Wamakko’s creation of new districts was informed by population increase and rectifying some perceived distortions as a result of previous creation by the former governor,” he added.
He also maintained that the creation of new districts could also earn Wamakko some political points as beneficiaries are expected to be grateful and loyal to the governor, the assumed apolitical nature of traditional rulers notwithstanding.
He, however, ruled out the emergence of emirates as a result of the new development, explaining that Governor Wamakko has high regard for the Sultan and traditional institution.
But another resident of Sokoto, who sought for anonymity, insisted that contrary to some people’s view, the creation of additional districts was aimed at creating emirate councils in some parts of the state.
He believes that three emirate councils would emerge in the state, one from each senatorial district.
According to his prediction, Wamakko, Yabo and Gwadabawa districts would emerge as emirate councils.
Another resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Malam Nasir, said the number of emirate councils might be up to four. He added Binji district to the three already mentioned.
Another school of thought has it that if the speculation making the round about possible new emirates becomes a reality, then Sokoto would have two emirs in Gobir and Yabo. It is believed that Muhammad Muyijo, the pioneer ruler of Yabo, was the third to pay allegiance to Sheikh Usman Danfodiyo at Gudu after Abdullahi and Muhammadu Bello who were the great jihadist’s brother and son respectively.
It added that Muyijo was the first flag-bearer of Danfodiyo, adding that the place is still ruled by his descendants, with the title, Sarkin Kabin Yabo.
On Gobir, now Sabon Birni district, this school of thought said it deserved an emirate because apart from its historical background, it was one of the Hausa Bakwai, and today, others are emirates.
It is common opinion that in Sokoto State, there are many districts that qualify in terms of size and historical antecedents to be upgraded to emirates. This move is therefore, further seen as a means of enhancing the efficiency and status of the Sultanate Council.
There has, however, not been any noticeable agitation for the creation of emirates in Sokoto State, not even from the districts eligible for such promotion, a situation that does not surprise many close observers and analysts.
Many prominent districts in the state are headed by descendants of the great Shehu Danfodiyo, who are heirs to the throne of Sultan of Sokoto. For this category of districts, an upgrade to emirate councils would restrict their domains to those areas and automatically disqualify them from succession to the position of Sultan.
Districts in that group include Isa, Goronyo, Wurno, Rabah, Silame, Dange, Gwadabawa, Sifawa, Bodinga and Tambuwal, among others. In fact, the historical status of Tambuwal was the major point of contention that caused the Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki accession crisis of 1988, which the other descendant-districts would not wish to replicate
The obvious alternative is to upgrade eligible non-descendant districts, which are numerous in the state, especially the kingmakers among them. These include Yabo, Binji, Wamakko, Danchadi, Dingyadi, Sanyinna, Kilgori, Shagari, and Sabon Birni.
Many observers, however, identified the restraining factors against this option as the reluctance to promote non-descendant districts to superiority over those headed by forebears of Danfodiyo. A particular example is Sabon Birni, which was the headquarters of the famous Gobir dynasty, the most prominent and bitterest rival of Danfodiyo’s Fulani empire.
How will the perceived emirates affect Sokoto politics? Emirate rivalry would be a natural feature, even though it would be healthy if well managed. The demise of Bafarawa’s father made Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko pick his successor from Isa, where descendants of Danfodiyo hold sway.
 The general feeling in the state is that the creation of emirates is long overdue. In the whole of the North, particularly among the kingdoms, the Sokoto Sultanate has the lowest number of emirates.

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