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Exiled Kano emirs and their privileges



Emir Sanusi II at Lagos residence

Nasiru Wada Khalil

I was motivated to write this piece in order to correct some notions and set the record straight regarding how a former emir should appear, as well as narrate how the two previously exiled emirs related with people.

It was on Sallah day that a group of people in one of the social media platforms came across Emir Sanusi II holding a gaisuwa session in his residence in Lagos while in royal regalia and a dogari (Turakin Sallama) was by the side anchoring the gaisuwa for him. They all commented thinking that such a session should not ideally be held.

Hence, I decided that there is the need to recollect previous practices of exiled emirs with similar fate as Sanusi II in order to correct the perception of people outside the domain of royalty on the pre-existing cultural practice by the dynasts of Kano.

Therefore, anything outside cultural privilege is not within the purview of this mini article.

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In this regard, two examples will be cited to justify the conduct of Emir Sanusi II.

The first example was the first deposition or dethronement of an Emir after the Danfodio Jihad and establishment of Ibrahim Dabo dynasty in Kano.

This was the case of the British colonialists’ deposition of Emir of Kano Alu (1897 – 1903) immediately after their conquest of the Emirate, which brought an end to his reign.

Emir Alu was first exiled to Yola in present Adamawa State and later to in Lokoja of the present day Kogi State along with other emirs who suffered similar fate.

He resided there until his death in 1926 during the reign of Emir of Kano Abdullahi Bayero.

The emirs that were exiled alongside Emir of Kano Alu were: Malam Aliyu Dan Sidi (Emir of Zazzau); Malam Abubakar (Emir of Bida); Muhammadu Aliyu (Emir of Gwandu), and Abubakar Abubakar (Emir of Gumel).

These emirs died while in exile in Lokoja and were all buried there.

The second case was that of the abdication of Emir of Kano Sir Sanusi KBE (1953 – 1963).

Sanusi was instrumental to the success of the ruling party, Northern People’s Congress (NPC).

Later his relationship with the NPC Northern Regional Government became strained particularly with the Premier Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), who was his distant cousin.

The Government instituted a Commission of Inquiry, which indicted him and was forced to abdicate in April 1963 and immediately exiled to Azare in present Bauchi State.

These two examples in the history of Ibrahim Dabo Dynasty in Kano influenced the conduct of the former and exiled Emir Sanusi II.

Exclusive privileges of Kano Emirs

It is however important to recall the exclusive privileges of a serving emir that he does not share with anyone and which the exiled emirs never exhibited.

When an emir’s position is vacant, the Shamaki who is the chief slave official will take the custody of the takalmin gashin jimina (ostrich feather shoe), twagayen masu (the twin spears), figini (ostrich feather fan) and wukar yanka da kwari da bakan Dabo (Dabo’s knife, bow and arrow) and hand them over to the head of the king makers, Madaki, for the adornment and usage of the new emir.

This also clearly shows that, these items are the exclusive regalia of a serving emir that he does not share with any dynast.

The two exiled Emirs of Kano (Alu and Sanusi I) dressed in the normal emir’s regalia as when they were emirs but without the exclusive regalia.

A good example was the appearance of Emir Sanusi I while in exile at Azare.

Rukayya B. Makama his granddaughter and biographer in her book titled Sir Muhammadu Sanusi Sarki Na Goma Sha Daya a Daular Fulani provided his pictures in this regards.

First of all, the picture on page 175 shows Emir Sir Sanusi KBE seated not on a normal chair but on Karaga (royal bed) dressed in full regalia.

Karaga is also part of apparatus that a former emir can enjoy for the rest of his life.

Similarly, on page 192 he was seated reading the Holly Qur’an in his full royal dress.

People should now know that wearing turban with the two rabbit like ears and babbar riga (a flowing gown) and Alkyabba (gown) is never categorized by anyone as exclusive preserve for the serving emir.

Maghili explained the wisdom behind the appearance of the emir in the second chapter of The Crown of Religion Concerning the Obligations of Princes – it is all about dignity – and dignity should or must be maintained even after losing the throne.

We have seen the documentary film on Emir Sanusi’s relocation to Wudil from Azare where he led Jumuat prayer in Azare with his white Alkyabba covering his head (rufe kai da kokuwar alkyabba) just like every serving emir going for a congregational prayer in Kano.

This appearance is an exclusive privilege of a former emir.

No royal family member either with title or without can dress in such form but dressing in full royal regalia with kunne biyu and hanging sword (rataya takobi) is applied even to former or retired district heads talk less of former emir.

Dan Iya Ado Sanusi and Danburam Abubakar Bayero are good examples of appearance in full regalia by dynasts after deposition.

In 1926 Emir of Kano Abdullahi Bayero went to Lokoja and paid a visit to his uncle and father in-law, the deposed Emir of Kano Alu. On Alu’s outing to receive his guest – Abdullahi Bayero – he came out not only in full royal regalia (without the exclusive items) but also with courtiers chanting Takawa Sannu a normal practice of Coded Communication guiding the dynast and royal family.

This incidence justified the mini royal court session held in Lagos on the Sallah day for Sallah greeting.

Another example just like Emir Alu, Emir Sanusi KBE also both in Azare and Wudil often came out under the guidance of kiran lafiya (coded communication by the royal slaves), Isa Kwatagwam (a eunuch who died in Azare) and female jakadu (singular: jakadiya) such as Jakadiya Dala, Jakadiya Yarinya, Jakadiya Biya-biya and later Jakadiya Ai, all of them escorted him right from his house chanting kiran lafiya just like the practice for the serving Emir in Gidan Rumfa.

On a similar note, a former emir is entitled to be serenaded with palace musical instrument except Kakaki (long trumpet) and Tambari (A ‘royal’ hemispherical drum).

The case of Kakaki as exclusive preserve for an emir only applies in Kano, but in other emirates Kakaki is not for emir alone.

Once an Emir…

In the end, it is natural that when an Emir is deposed or retired, it is not expected of him to become a gyartai (cobbler) in his day to day conduct, there must be elegance and dignity in his conduct.

He is still an emir in all ramifications only that he has no territorial control.

He is entitled to all the cultural privileges of an emir to the end of his life.

In the traditional system of Kano, emir remained an emir for life irrespective of where he is stationed, this can be understood if we refer to Kano Palace language, in which when referring to Emir of Kano Alu after his exile up to now he is referred to as ‘Sarki Mai Tafiya’ (emir who travelled) meaning an emir who reside outside the emirate.

This is why a former or retired emir when he passes away, will be buried amongst emirs just like what happened to Emir Sanusi I in Kano.

His remains were buried in Nassarawa Palace alongside Emir Abbas, Emir Abdullahi Bayero and Emir Muhammadu Inuwa.

The same scenario in recent history took place in Sokoto.

When Sultan Dasuki died in Kaduna, his funeral prayer like all other sultans who died on the throne was held in Sultan Bello Mosque in Sokoto with the entire sultanate king makers around and he was subsequently buried in the Hubbaren Shehu Dan Hodiyo.

From these practices, it is hereby concluded an Emir of Kano no matter his condition retains some privileges for life.

Therefore the conduct of Emir Sanusi II does not violate any known Kano palace intangible cultural heritage.

Nasiru Wada Khalil researcher on palace cultural heritage can be reached at

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Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers



An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .

Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.

Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.

“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.

In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).

These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.

Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.

“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.

“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.

To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.

An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.

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Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time



Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.

There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.

But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.

The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.

He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.

And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.

Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).

He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.

The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.

He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.

The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.

As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.

He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.

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Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71 



Aminu Kano

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad 

Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido  (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.

Sule Lamido

The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.

Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir

The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.

He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.

Prof. Hafiz Abubakar

But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.

He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.

He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.

This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.

Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.

I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.

Sule Lamido, Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad and other guests

The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.

When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.

This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.

Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as

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