Desmond Mgboh, Kano and Abdullahi Hassanm, Zaria
The 45-year reign of the late Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, has been applauded as peaceful, visionary and progressive while his passage at the age of 84, has continued to elicit profound emotions, sympathy and commiseration from all.
For his subjects, the people of Zaria, Kaduna State, their loss is inestimable, their pains inconsolable. Days after the curtain fell, they walked the city in broken hearts, in utter bereavement and in sober moods, but with an abiding faith that it is well with their departed beloved Emir, whose leadership style and essence had prospered them in uncommon ways in the last five decades.
THE MAKING OF A NEW EMIR
The death, deposition or abdication of an Emir in Zazzau Emirate and indeed in most parts of Northern Nigeria, would call for the appointment and installation of a new one. This must happen within and at most, three days of the declaration of vacancy of the throne. But after a long wait, the government of Kaduna State eventually announced Alhaji Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli as the 19th Emir of Zazzau.
The new Emir, a gentleman by all measures, is from Mallawa dynasty within the ruling classes of Zazzau Emirate Council. He is the eldest son of a one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs in the First Republic, Alhaji Nuhu Bamalli.
Born in 1966 in Zaria City, he studied Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He holds a Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, as well as a Diploma certificate in Organizational Leadership from University of Oxford in London. He was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Thailand and Myanmar and worked at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting as Executive Director. He was appointed Permanent Commissioner in Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission in 2005.
THE DUST IN ZARIA
There is hardly an appointment of a new Emir in Northern Nigeria that has gone down well with all. In the recent times, the disquiet accentuated by these appointments have become remarkably deafening. Zazzau Emirate, the city of the legendary Queen Amina, is not left out on this. Today, the dusty storm is gathering after the new Emir was appointed.
The emergence of the new monarch has led to a mutual distrust among the four ruling clans in the emirate. It has resulted to a feuding among princes of the ancient city.
Daily Sun gathered that the issues at stake range from historical to procedural correctness and/or incorrectness of the appointment of the new Emir by the state government.
Zazzau Emirate is made up of the Barebari, the Katsinawa, the Mallawa and the Sullubawa clans and families. They have always maintained a leadership balance by ensuring that all the families and clans at one point or another, have a feel of leadership.
The Mallawa clan, which produced the present monarch, has occupied the throne for four consecutive times whereas a family like the Sullubawa clan has occupied the throne only once. And that was more than 100 years ago.
It was for this reason that many had legitimately expected litigations to trail the appointment of the new Emir, at least, in the spirit of fairness. Those with this viewpoint only needed to refer to the intrigues that defined the dramatic selection process.
Zazzau kingmakers had shortlisted three candidates for appointment to the position of the Emir of Zazzau as is the tradition. They were Alhaji Bashar Aminu, the son to Emir Aminu, who himself was the direct predecessor of the late Emir Shehu Idris. The second name on the list was Alhaji Munnir Jaafaru, the son of former Emir Jaafaru Danisiyaku while the third nominee was Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris, the son of late emir.
Days after the receipt of the submitted names, Governor Nasir El-Rufai failed to appoint the Emir. And while the suspense lasted, the governor, via his unofficial twitter handle, explained that the delay was occasioned by his busy schedule, noting that he was reading books written by some colonial writers on the history of Zazzau.
However, on October 1, 2020, government through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal, jettisoned the three candidates shortlisted by the kingmakers. While accusing the kingmakers of bias against the rest of the aspirants, the governor ordered for a fresh round of selection process.
Government had expected some kind of resistance following the appointment of the new Emir of Zazzau. A truckload of policemen was deployed to secure the town from harm. However, there was no physical outburst or protest. There was silence. Those who have an axe to grind with government over the appointment elected the path of legality.
The Iyan Zazzau, Bashir Aminu, a man who reportedly scored the highest points in the list previously submitted by the kingmakers, approached Kaduna High Court challenging the appointment of Ahmed Nuhu-Bamalli as the new Emir of Zazzau. He prayed the court to declare that: “Having scored the highest number of lawful votes cast by the kingmakers and thus selected by the said kingmakers, he has thus acquired vested right to the stool of the Emir of Zazzau from the date of his selection henceforth.”
Joined as respondents in suit were the governor, his Attorney-General, Kaduna State Council of Chiefs, Zazzau Emirate Council, Wazirin Zazzau, Ibrahim Aminu; Fagachin Zazzau, Umaru Muhammad; Mohammad Abbas, Makama Karamin Zazzau; Dalhatu Kasimu Imam, Limamin Juma’an Zazzau; Mohammad Sani Aliyu, Limamin Konan Zazzau and Amb. Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli.
The plaintiff prayed the court to declare him the Emir of Zazzau and declare that he is entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto. He sought for “an order setting aside the purported appointment of the 10th defendant (Amb Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli) as the Emir of Zazzau;
He sought an” Injunction restraining the 1st ,2nd ,3rd and 4th defendants from acting in the installation of the 10th defendant to the throne of the Emir of Zazzau or presenting to the 10th defendant with the staff of office until the final determination of this suit;
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves, agents, privies, servants or through any person or persons howsoever from treating, presenting or dealing with or installing the 10th defendant as the Emir of Zazzau;
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 10th defendant from parading, presenting or styling himself as the Emir of Zazzau or from putting on or wearing any paraphernalia or insignia of the Emir of Zazzau.”
“An order of perpetual injuction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants from dealing with, treating, presenting, or dealing with installing the 10th defendant as the Emir of Zazzau or handing over to him the staff of office of the Emir of Zazzau.”
Daily Sun relaibly gathered that in addition to the present litigation by Alhaji Bashir Aminu, some other groups of aggrieved interests are heading to court to challenge government on the appointment of the new Emir.