As I have written in my Hausa column in Leadership Hausa, I still want to emphasize my request here to Governor of Kaduna, Malam Nasir El-rufai to consider some Suleja sons among the contenders to the Zazzau throne. I decided to direct this request to you because this is not the first time Suleja people are presenting their request and being granted by the governor. I pray this won’t be different.
Two historical events informed this request, one is on the origin of Suleja and the second involved his Excellency directly.
One of the sons of Suleja Mai Zabi wrote that Suleja is the original ruling house of Zazzau to search for a new Emir of Zaria Zazzau.
Following the death of Sarkin Zazzau Alhaji (Dr) Shehu Idris last Sunday, the Zazzau Kingmakers are charged with the task of selecting a new Sarkin Zazzau from among the descendants of the ruling houses of Katsina Fulanis, Borno Fulanis and Mali Fulanis.
While wishing the Kingmakers a successful assignment, I couldn’t help reflecting on the circumstances of the descendants of the original house ruling of Zazzau.
Let us begin first with a background information for the reader on the ‘overthrow’ of the original Hausa sarakuna of Zazzau consequent on the Sokoto Jihad.
The Fulani Jihadists attacked the last Hausa Sarki of Zazzau at the eid ground while he was attending Sallar Idi Ƙarama (after a month of Ramadan fasting) outside the walls of the Zaria city, armless and harmless.
“It happened to be the day of the Ƙaramar Sallah (Eid al Fitr) festival and the Sarki, attended by his followers and all the Muslims of the city, had ridden forth as usual to the ceremonial prayer-ground outside the city walls. While there, they were surprised by Musa’s cavalry and their retreat into the city cut off. Being unarmed they were unable to stand and fight and so they had no choice but to flee. The great city of Zaria, therefore, fell to the Fulani with hardly a blow having been struck” — HAS Johnson, 1967, The Fulani Empire of Sokoto, OUP. 312p.
1. Muhammadu Makau became the 60th Sarki of Zazzau in 1802 and was a devout Muslim.
2. Malam Musa, a Fulani from Mali (Patriarch of the Mallawas), led the Jihad in Zazzau.
2. Makau and his people fled first to Kauru, then Kajuru and ended up at Zuba. He was succeeded by his brother Abu-ja.
Abuja became a vast and beautiful land and during the regime of General Murtala Muhammmad, a request was put forward for Abuja Emirate to forfeit a great part of the land for the creation of Nigerian new Federal capital, the request was granted without any condition and another request for Abuja to surrender its name for the new capital, that too was granted and the people decided to pick another name for their Emirate, which is Sule-ja, named after the then emir, Alhaji Sulemanu Barau.
Some of us the youth then were irked by the decision to hand over yet another of our heritage to the country without any compensation or recognition. This agitation came about because some ministries were claiming the ownership of some vast lands at the heart of Suleja as theirs and some of our elders claimed that it was given to them temporarily, place like where FCDA started operating their offices in Dawaki, NTA station in GRA, they removed all their installations to their new place in Garki and made mess of the once beautiful GRA and still claimed the land was theirs and it is still theirs.
What hurt us most is the Field Base where most of the staff building Abuja lived. The Galadiman Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammmad Rabiu Ishaq was said to meet the then Minister of Abuja, Malam Nasir El-rufai to cry for help in respect of Field Base by telling him that there was evidence that the land was borrowed not given like Abuja. Malam asked Galadima to bring the evidence.
My investigation proved that Galadima went to Archives in Minna and spent days searching for the paper and his efforts paid off and immediately brought the agreement to the Minister who, as his characteristic of him, didn’t waste time in giving back the Field Base back to Suleja. This action endeared El-rufai to us and personally I remain grateful for this.
This also gave me the courage to still ask Malam Nasir El-rufai to please correct injustice that was done to Suleja people, the real owners of Zaria.
To anyone reading this, I know you may think my request is absurd, I also know it is difficult to correct this history but I know El-rufai is just, active and compassionate, he is sure going to look at this issue and come up with something.
The other day in a group I share with so many friends from Kaduna, I jokingly told them to borrow El-rufai to us but they robbed it on my face that, he belongs only to Kaduna. I am using this space to tell them that, if history should be dug deeply, it could be that El-rufai descendants are in Suleja and when we eventually get Suleja State, even though we are not agitating for it now, he may become our governor. This is a world where anything is possible.
I am using this opportunity to extend our condolence to his Excellency Governor El-rufai, our blood brothers and sisters in Zaria, Kaduna state and Nigeria as a whole for this loss of a great Emir of Zazzau.
Mr Governor Sir, May Allah give you the wisdom to choose the emir that will bring peace and harmony to the Zazzau land. Most importantly, also the one that can recognize the injustice that history threw at us and is still throwing with the coming of Abuja.
Disclaimer: This is purely my opinion, I am not representing anyone or group. Thank you my readers.