How Kwankwaso Rescued House of Dabo, By Nasiru Suwaid
“The first task for the new emir, whomsoever he might be is to reform the emirate council, by examining the conduct and activities of the district as well as ward heads, some of whom had before now became contractors and shady characters, doing grave disservice and great damage to the image, placement and relevance of the throne in the lives of the inhabitants of the city.”
-Professor Emeritus Dahiru Yahaya; leading scholar on the history of Kano emirate and its Official Historian.
For there to be a proper working state, every leader is supposed to be popular, known, seen, respected and even feared in some instances but only few are able to become populist, loved by the generality of the population and trusted by most of the citizens, as someone who always acts at the behest and in the interest of their people. Since the time immemorial, Kano City State had always been a sociological contradiction, because of its deviant progressive character, where the people are always in awe of their leaders, who only identify with the interest of the commoner, thus the reason why the state has been tagged in modern Nigeria as the bastion of progressive politics. The most successful of the emirs were the radical and reformist Islamic scholars in the context of initiating and accepting change for the interest of the people, Alu Maisango fought and won battles of independence from the oppressive injustice of Sokoto Caliphate, Abdullahi Bayero’s reign introduced western education and developed modern infrastructure, Muhammadu Sanusi ruled in the era of destructive post independence politicking and well acquitted himself as a just ruler, despite being dethroned for refusing to condone illegal acts of the Northern People’s Congress.
The removal of a very popular king and emir, gave even the regal eminence of the Sardauna of Sokoto a sleepless time, regarding who is to succeed Sanusi and easily gain acceptance amongst the highly skeptical public, it is what has brought the masterstroke of naming Ado Abdullahi Bayero as a successor to his dethroned uncle, despite the fact that he had at first subtly rejected it, leading to the short and uneventful three month tenure of Muhammadu Inuwa. Ado Bayero was a man with a history of open fraternization with the opposition Northern Elements Progressive Union as a young man, when he became the police chief of the Native Authority, he had to contend with Mallam Aminu Kano’s constant bail visits and political challenge on his authority, as an officer of a policing organization extremely loyal to the ruling party, thus is not averse to colluding in rigging elections, unlawful detentions, royal land grabbing and clear extortion by the nobility. Because of the fact he is the son of an emir, thus could not have his loyalty to the Native Authority questioned, there are many instances where he released opposition membership unjustly incarcerated, arbitrated fairly for the witch hunted and refused to hinder or hamper the opposition political activities.
Thus when Ado Bayero was elevated unto the throne, he had to meander through the minefield of loyalty to the appointing authority as well as dutiful devotion to his subjects, who have a habitual penchant of rejecting any form of leadership built on feudal aggrandizement. It is said that a great king is the one who is able to study and conquer the mood of the times, it is obvious to all that Late Ado Bayero performed creditable well. However, towards the end of his monarchical reign, some professional contractors of dubious means have found their way into the kingdom’s hierarchical structure, thus unlike the leadership of before the current times, what matters to them is not the general wellbeing of the Talakawa under their territorial domain, rather, what they are most interested in is who adorns the most expensive apparel to gloat before all, who has the most distinguished horse to exhibit in the time of Durbar festivals, who can use the latitude of his office to sell the soul of his community to a very corrupt federal government, which loves to share collective national resources to political jobbers.
Indeed, one of them while he was a governor went to the ridiculous extent of spending hundreds of millions of naira of scarce state resources, into buying an expensive Tokunbo horse carriage from the British monarchy for the emir, when such funds should have been used to aid the indigent poor, who are the backbone of the emirate system. For any kid who is born, bred or even lived in Kano from the 1960’s up to the early 1990’s, the Sallah festivals were never about pomp and pageantry only, rather, the speech of the emir mattered a lot, as it is during such an occasion, he usually calls on the government at all levels to reduce the prices of foodstuffs, provide fertilizers to farmers and generally ensure security of lives and property. Of course, during those times, the royal palace is the most popular and best court in town, because anyone can get justice without hiring a lawyer or currying for favor and any commoner can report his district or ward head for any act of evident injustice, seek resolution of dispute with a neighbor or demand for protective relief from the unjust feudal activities of some of the city’s money men.
Unfortunately and globally, this is the era of political Islam, it is also the era of Boko Haram, where many a Muslim youth have become disillusioned, thus resort to religious self help under the guidance of dangerous and illiterate rebels, because they have been told their faith cannot be interpreted to fit the modern times, indeed some scholars have pontificated that an Islamic State is unattainable and the Shari’a is not implementable. It is also a time when Islam is receiving a bad press, either due to wrong or ignorant interpretation of legal injunctions and positions of law, what happened in the country of Sudan recently best depict the problem, where an Islamic court sentenced a Muslim lady who had became a Christian to death, when in Islamic law, apostasy from its narrow definition of renunciation of faith is not a capital offence, though were the apostate to renounce the Islamic state, he or she have committed sedition or treason, which is a capital offence in both western oriented legal jurisprudence and Islamic jurisprudence, as best explained with a dictum: faith is personal, loyalty is to the state. It is noteworthy that the convicted lady had never questioned the status of President Omar Al Bashir or the sanctity of the Sudanese state.
This is one of the many positions Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had expressed in his past writings, which could have saved many a Muslim, the embarrassing charge of being unjust towards other faiths. Now, imagine him in the exalted position of the Emir of Kano, which is a leading Islamic office that could convoke an Ijtihad, where thorny matters of faith are thrashed, explored and a specific positions taken, Kano would not only have led Nigeria in Islamic scholarship, it would been a shining light to even the Arab world.
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