No to the dismantling of Kano’s 1,000-year political heritage, By Concerned Citizens

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#TrackNigeria- The past week has been ominous, distressing, alarming and dangerous for the people of Kano. In three days, a carefully orchestrated plot to destroy a millennium of Kano history and legacy was rolled out and is being implemented without recourse to the people, our laws, our political heritage and unity and indeed our humanity as a people with a history we are proud of and have the right to preserve for generations yet unborn. This is the first in a series of bulletins we would be issuing to brief the Nation on the implications of the plot and draw attention to its dangers while adducing reasons why this reckless misadventure must be reversed.

The Issue

On Monday 6thMay, one Ibrahim Salisu had submitted a petition to the Kano State House of Assembly seeking the decentralisation of the Kano Emirate . The petitioner demanded the upgrade of the traditional rulers of Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya to the status of first class emirs and the creation of additional emirates in Kano. The Assembly then in recess until early June, was hurriedly and immediately reconvened by the Speaker.  It set up a committee to look into the petition and come up with a report. The next day, Tuesday 7th May, the report was ready and it agreed with the prayers of the petitioner. The draft Amendment Bill was presented and received a swift passage at the Assembly after scaling the third reading at Wednesday’s plenary presided by the Speaker, Kabiru Rurum. The same day, Governor Ganduje signed the Bill in to law. By the end of the week, new Emirs were appointed and issued their letters and instruments of authority. By this action, Kano lost its status as one of only two states in Nigeria with one emirate or traditional council. Sokoto, the seat of the Sultan of Sokoto, is the other state with a similar arrangement. 

The law removed 36 of Kano’s 44 local government areas from the Kano Emirate to create the four new emirates – Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi. Rano Emirate covers 10 local government councils –  These are Rano, Bunkure, Kibiya, Takai, Sumaila, Kura, Doguwa, Tudunwada, Kiru and Bebeji. Gaya Emirate has nine local government councils consisting of Gaya, Ajingi, Albasu, Wudil, Garko, Warawa, Dawakinkudu, Gabasawa and Gezawa. Karaye Emirate has eight local government councils – Karaye, Rogo, Gwarzo, Kabo, Rimingado, Shanono, Madobi and Garunmalam. Bichi Emirate has nine local government areas – Bichi, Bagwai, Tsanyawa, Shanono, Kunchi, Dambatta, Makoda, Dawakintofa and Tofa.

Inappropriateness of the Actions

These monumental actions were taken without any consultations with stakeholders and the public. The House did not organize any public hearing and even within the Assembly there was virtually no discussions. This is completely unacceptable and in bad faith.

Abuse of Due Process

By its own regulations, the House of Assembly does not act on the basis of a petition sent in by an outsider, the rule was disregarded. The House pf Assembly was on recess and was convened without following set procedure. For this reason, the Minority Leader from the Peoples’ Democratic Party went to court on Friday 10th May.  The court immediately issued an order restraining the Governor from appointing the new Emirs or otherwise implementing the law. The order was served by the Court Bailiff at the Government House on Friday, 10th May at about 5.00pm.. The Government disregarded the court order and proceeded. The Government claimed that the appointments had been carried out.

Contempt of Court

From Friday evening until Saturday, in continued disregard of the Court Order, which by now had received nationwide publicity including on various Television Channels, carried radio announcements inviting the public to the installation of the new emirs on Saturday 11th May at 11.00 am.  This public function went brazenly. A press statement was issued by the Press Secretary to the Government explaining why the order was not being obeyed. The Secretary to the Government issued a circular directing district heads and village heads to go and pay homage to the new Emirs.  On Sunday 12th May, the Governor undertook a personal tour to hand over the staff of office to the new Emir of Bichi

The Emirate’s Corporate Existence

Kano existed as a Kingdom since c. 999AD under a lineage of Hausa Kings (Sarakuna).  Following the Jihad of 1804 and the conquest of the Hausa Rulers of Kano in 1807, It took its present form with an Emir and Kingmakers representing the prominent Fulani Clans that led the Jihad in Kano.  Each of the clans maintained its seat in Kano City but had territorial control of various districts of the Emirate. The Emirate is therefore not a product of statute and cannot therefore be disbanded by statute as the Government has sought to do. The Government can remove Emirs with just cause as allowed by law but cannot dissolve the Emirate and recreate new ones.

Risk of Breakdown of Law and Order

The actions taken have completely overturned hierarchies and relations within the Emirate affecting the Emir of Kano and the four kingmakers – Madaki, Makama, Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta and Sarkin Bai on the one hand and the so-called new Emirs and this situation could lead to a breakdown of law and order in the State.

For these reasons, we believe that:

1)  The actions taken are illegal, null and void and should be rescinded immediately;

2)  The actions taken are destructive of the historical and political heritage of Kano and must therefore be stopped;

3)  The actions taken could seriously erode the unity of Kano State.

4) The actions taken will reduce the status and influence of traditional institutions and remove the important voice of such authorities in defending the people.

Our traditional institutions remain the vanguard of the common people against oppressive leadership. We cannot allow this sacrilege to stand!

Dr. Hussaini Abdu

Ismail Ahmed

Sa’a Bako

Professor Jibrin Ibrahim

Aisha Mohammed-Oyebode

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani

Barrister Maryam Uwais

Arc. Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman

Eng. Y. Z. Ya’u

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