Yolawa union protests balkanisation of Kano Emirate

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By Abdallah el-Kurebe

#TrackNigeria: The Yolawa Union in Kano has described as balkanisation, the recent creation, by the Governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, new emirates from Kano Emirate.

The Union also stated its rejection of as well as opposition to the new emirates for “not meeting the yearnings and aspirations of vast majority of Kano citizens.”

This is contained in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Union, Alh. Bashir Othman Tofa and Muhammad Bashari Abubakar, respectively as well as 35 other members.

Read the full statement below:

Sequel to the contemporary happenings, it has become imperative to highlight, for clarity of understanding, the historical significance of Yolawa clan in the composition of the traditional institution in Kano. 

After successful establishment of the Fulani emiral authority in 1808, the Yolawa, over time have held several prestigious titles courtesy of their pivotal role in advancing the frontiers of scholarship and public administration. These include Chiroman Kano (1808 – 1838), Sarkin Dawaki MaiTuta (1838-1840) and the most important position of Madaki (1840 to Date). 

Even with the onset of colonial administration, the prominence and prestige of the Yolawa remained undiminished. Madaki was charged with the administration of Tofa, then the largest and richest district in Kano, whose boundary spanned from today’s BUK new site and extended to Kunchi and Watari rivers stretching further up to Katsina borders in the North (Gidan Mutum Daya) and to Kadawa (Mil 9) to the North East. This vast area now comprises five local entities of Dawakin Tofa, Tofa, Bagwai, Bichi and Tsanyawa local government councils. In 1911, Rimin Gado was similarly incorporated and placed under the authority of the Yolawa. 

Following the reorganization and introduction of the sub- district system (Jumla), six sub districts were created from Dawakin Tofa with all of them being administered by Yolawa appointed by the Madaki. These included Abdu Lamido in charge of Dawaki, Chiroman Madaki Bello posted to Tofa. Bagwai was assigned to Chiroman Madaki Hamza. Dawakin Madaki Ibrahim Dabo supervised Bichi. Turakin Madaki Alu was assigned to Dunbulum while Sintalin Madaki Ibrahim was sent to Danzabuwa. 

Administrative frictions resulted into the 1915 general reorganization and the dissolution of the Jumlasystem. In its place, the Mai Unguwa – Dagaci – Hakimi- Sarki structure (which subsists till date) was introduced. Yolawa agreed to the curving out of Bichi, Danzabuwa and Dumbulum sub districts from Dawakin Tofa and placed under Chiroman Kano Abdullahi Bayero as the new District Head of Bichi. In appreciation of this gesture and the credible administrative performance of Yolawa in the Jumla system, colonial officials decreed that any vacant Hakimi positions in Kano should subsequently be filled by Yolawa ‘Yan Jumla. 

In 1916, therefore, Dawakin Madaki Umaru, son of Dikko son of Madakin Kano Nayaya was appointed Dan Lawan Kano and posted to Dutse. In 1919, Abdu Lamido, eldest son of Madaki Isma was turbanned Barden Kano and posted to Jahun. Sintalin Madaki Ibrahim, son of Hassan, son of Madaki Nayaya was posted to Tudun Wada as Dankadan Kano in 1922. Turakin Madaki Alu, son of Abdu Mai Panisau son of Madaki Hassan was appointed DanMakwayon Kano and District Head of Kuru —-. 

In the light of this historical antecedent, the Yolawa clan maintained the second pre-eminent position after the Sullubawa. With the 1925 reforms, Madaki Mahmudu was appointed Councilor in charge of district administration (1925 – 1937) and by 1937 became the Senior Councillor of the emirate in addition to his main traditional role as Chairman, Kingmakers’ Council. 

With the passage of time, various Yolawa held other important titles of Makaman Kano (1959-1984), Barden Kano (1919 – 1948) and (1959 – 1964), Sarkin Shanu (1925 – 2000) and (2017 – Date), Dan Lawan (1916-1941), Dan Maje (1939 – 1941) and (2000 – 2012), Dankadai (1922 to Date), Dan Amar (1953 – 1959), Dan Makwayo (1927 -1931) and (1974 – 1988), Magajin Malam (1928 to date), Magajin Rafi (1964 –– Date), Ma’ajin Kano (1959 – 1963), Dan Madami (1984 – 2017), Dan Adala (2008 to Date), Sa’in Kano (2003 – 2008), Falaki (1991 – 2007), Zannan Kano (1959 – 1963), Dan Masani (1959 to Date), Fagachi (2018 to Date), Wakilin Gabas (1968 – 1977), (1989 to Date ), Wakilin Arewa ( 1952 to Date). 


With the present attempt to create four new additional four ‘emirates’ in the state, the Yolawa found themselves in a big dilemma. The position of Madaki being chairman of the Kingmakers’ Council is very ambiguous. The kingmaker’s council are the traditional electors of Emirs while the Governor is by convention the approving authority. The Governor now assumes both roles, which is contrary to established traditions. The configuration of the new ‘emirates’ is equally confusing as they do not conform with historical realities. The sanctions on Dankadan Kano, the district head of Tudun Wada by the ‘Emir of Rano’, for instance, offends on-going court processes. All these actions can breed discord, disharmony and tension within the traditional structure. 


1.    We, the Yolawa, have rightly earned our pre – eminence within the Kano traditional power structure. The latest development has affected the pivotal role of the Madaki and other traditional title holders within the clan. 

2.    From religious and cultural stand points, the bay’a (allegiance) is paid to a single authority only. The Yolawa, under their leader, the Madaki, have always pledged their allegiance to the Emir of Kano. 

3.    In terms of hierarchy, position of Sarkin Shanu ranks higher than that of Sarkin Karaye. Under the proposed new emiral arrangements, Sarkin Shanu is being subordinated to ‘Sarkin Karaye’, which is an aberration. 

4.    Similarly, Dankadan Kano is being subordinated to ‘Sarkin Rano’ who is lower in Kano traditional hierarchy, another misnomer. 

5.    Laws are made principally to engender peace, harmony and good governance. This particular new emirates’ law promotes the direct opposite. 

6.    We, the Yolawa, do hereby categorically reject and totally oppose these new ‘emirates’ that do not meet the yearnings and aspirations of vast majority of Kano citizens. 

7.    We therefore call on Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to be mindful of the numerous social, economic and political challenges confronting the State and to reorder the priorities of his administration and the legacies he seeks to leave behind. He should not balkanize Kano or destroy our 1000 years of emiral heritage. 

8.    We call on His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111 and all Northern Emirs and Chiefs, indeed all traditional rulers in Nigeria, to take this attempt to destroy the cherished, centuries long history of Kano State seriously, as it may be their turn if they turn a blind eye to it, as they presently seem to be doing. 

9.    We finally acknowledge and thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for the recent efforts at reconciliation and urge him to be mindful of the upheavals and security crisis which this unwarranted action may precipitate. 

On behalf of the Yolawa community dated today 14th June, 2019. 

Alh. Bashir Othman Tofa (Chairman), 

Muhammad Bashari Abubakar (Secretary), 

Dr. Fa’iz Baffa Yola
Bashir Muhammad Danbaffa
Ishaq Mahmoud Yola 

Nour Sani Hanga Garba Turaki
Abba Muhammad Yola 

Maikano Bashir Yola
Sayyadi Muhammad Yola
Abba Abdullahi Yola 

Sarki Aliyu Yola
Bashir Abdullahi Yola
Ibrahim Abubakar Mansur (Esq) 

Ashhab Bello Madaki
Garba Abba Yola
Alhaji Muhammadu Defence 

Tijjani Ali
Yusuf Ahmad Yola
Dr. Dalhatu Sani Yola
Sa’ad Ahmad Madaki 

Farouq Garba Ahmad Yola 

Mukhtar Nasir Mukhtar 

Tijjani M. Sarki
Mahmud Muhammad Yola 

Aminu Sani Yola 

Kabiru Sani Hanga
Malle Balarabe Yola
Mahmud Yusuf Yola
Ibrahim Abdullahi Sarki 

Mutari Bello Yola
Professor Yahaya Ibrahim Yola 

Sani Bashir Yola 

Muzammil Rufa’i Hanga 

Garba Ahmad Yola 

Imam Usman Nuhu 

Muzammil Sani Hanga 

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