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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.

Emir of Kano gets new appointment

Emir Bayero reverses father, returns Dan Agundi to Emirate Council

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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Meet unsung court registrar, Ustaz Sunusi Khalifa



Ustaz Sunusi Khalifa, Principal Registrar of Chief Magistrate Court 9, Nomansland.

Sunusi Umar Sadiq

When our courts’ business has for long become a cash and carry business, when the attention your case gets depends on the amount of money you give, when everything smells and breathes of money, when even the welcome you get depends on how much you give, there stands out one person, alone on a very high moral ground, and to whom public service is a sacred trust that must be discharged against all odds, without expecting any benefits in return. His name is Sunusi (Khalifa). He is the Principal Registrar of Chief Magistrate Court 9, Nomansland.

He doesn’t ask for money. He is too noble to do that. Not only that, he only takes what is necessary from lawyers to render the services they require, compilation of record of proceedings in most cases.

I once gave him money as ‘deposit’ with the intention of giving him more when I came back for the records. He insisted that the ‘deposit’ was enough and I shouldn’t care to pay anything more. At another time I gave him what other registrars will definitely ask for more. Khalifa insisted that I should reduce something out of it as the amount I gave was too much for what I wanted.

For Khalifa, his salary is his consideration for which he is under an obligation to discharge duties. While other registrars will demand thousand of Naira to enroll order and have it signed, Khalifa does that as a matter of course, a normal course of business.

It is a pity that this rare gentleman is unheard and unsung. I have not heard of any award of excellence for him from the Branches, the MULAN or any other organization or association.

Heaven rewards. The world appreciates. I will be glad if Khalifa gets appreciated though he is not in need of it. It will, however, send a very strong message to those who make our court some sort of market places and our machinery of justice (or is it machinery of law) a booming business in which every situation is exploitable.

Kudos, bravo and gracias to my namesake. We are aware of your gentle and sterling qualities and I personally always tell your story. And I do so in the most colorful of language. Something like this:

‘There is a court registrar that never asks for money. If you need anything he only takes the exact cost. If you give him more than that, he will return the surplus and say “wannan kudin ai ya yi yawa”.’

Barrister Sunusi Umar Sadiq is a legal practitioner based in Kano

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RE: In defense of Salihu Tanko Yakasai



Salihu Tanko Yakasai

Salihu Tanko Yakasai

The above article written by Sule Yau Sule, the spokesperson of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, might seem like a defence against my unlawful detention on 26th February 2021 in Kano, but soon after the first paragraph, it morphed into an attack on me while I was still in detention.

Though the writer superficially intended to “defend” me against the injustice meted against me for justifiably and conscientiously expressing my opinion on the current drift of the country toward cul-de-sac in apparent deviation from the vision of the ruling party to take the country away from the abyss in 2015, Sule Ya’u Sule ended up castigating me for simply exercising my constitutional rights of freedom of speech as enshrined in the constitution.

The article also bordered around ethics and professionalism of the work of a spokesperson as highlighted by the learned writer. If he had stopped there, one would have taken it objectively and picked all the lessons therein, which truly, are valid and worthy of being noted. Unfortunately, the writer digressed far away from the subject matter and delved into politics, bringing to the forefront a grudge he has been nurturing against me for over a decade, because we were on opposing sides politically with his principal when we were in the defunct ANPP.

To set the record straight, I joined APP back in December 2000 and a couple of years later, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau equally joined partisan politics and contested for the governorship election in 2003. When I joined politics, Alhaji Al-Amin Ibrahim Little was the leader of the party in the state, but when he lost the party to Shekarau and decamped to PRP, I remained in APP and went on to serve as the returning officer for Shekarau’s election, which he eventually won largely due to Buhari’s huge influence. But soon after that, Shekarau drew the line against us, Buhari’s supporters in the state, which birthed our rivalry with the Shekarau’s camp. My political mentor then was Hon. Balarabe Wakili who was instrumental in Shekarau becoming a member of the APP at that time. This was the genesis of our crises in Kano APP which led to our exit from the party in 2011 to form CPC.

I was in my mid 30s during the 2011 general elections and, of course, I went all out in my attacks on Shekarau which I later regretted and posted on my Facebook page, apologising for such a behavior; a post which is still there on my page if he wishes to look it up. I do remember Sule Ya’u Sule’s call one evening, a few days before I made the apology, and in that call, he gave me some sound advice on the choice of words whenever criticising Shekarau, a point I took to heart, and unlike what he has stated in his recent article, I have never attacked Shekarau again after that phone call till date.

Now back to the part of the article in which he has talked about ethics and what not. I am a person that take corrections to heart and I have picked all his points like a student in his class. But you see, the funny part about life is that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Let me refresh Sule Ya’u Sule’s memory about how when he was the spokesperson of the then Governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, he fabricated a letter allegedly from the EFCC claiming that Shekarau had been cleared of all charges, which turned out to be a big lie, thereby causing a huge embarrassment to his principal to the extent that he was suspended for six months only to be reinstated after several pleas and interventions.

As stated by Sule in his article, “A spokesperson’s best tools are decorum, decency, belief and passion.” So I ask Sule, is embarrassing your principal also among the tools of a spokesperson? May I also ask, what punishment did he receive from NIPR at that time? If he did not receive any, perhaps he should include it in his note to the professional body in order to come up with a suitable punishment against others that will try to emulate him and ridicule their principals with fake clearance letters.

Let me also take this opportunity to set the record straight on the issue of my comments that resulted in my unlawful detention. I neither planned it nor did I have the intention of provoking such reactions. It was a spontaneous reaction on my part triggered by a number of the recent rise of insecurity in the country particularly in the north. I have personally suffered two major security issues in the last four months; the murder of my younger sister’s husband in Bauchi in front of my sister and her kids and the kidnapping of my sister’s husband’s younger brother in his house in Kaduna. N5 million had to be paid as a ransom to secure his release and in the process of raising the money, armed robbers carted away N1 million of the amount. I was certainly not thinking about ethics when I reacted to the devastating news of the abduction of the over 300 Zamfara girls. I believe anyone with a tiny bit of conscience will certainly be moved by the abduction.

Perhaps Sule is too pre-occupied with enforcing PR ethics of a spokesperson that he has lost all his conscience to the extent that he cannot see that I am a human, which comes first, before any ethics or even a temporary position that I will not occupy for life.

On a final note, though Sule is a PhD holder in Mass Communications and a professional by all standards in the field, both in terms of qualifications and experience, when it comes to human relations, I believe he is merely a kindergarten pupil. If he truly regards me as a brother as he had claimed in the article, he would not have written such a politicised opinion at a moment when I was still in unlawful detention and my family and friends were equally terrified as to what might happen to me. Irrespective of whether I was out of line or not, that is certainly not the action of someone you consider a brother. I remember when I was first appointed as the Director-General, Media in 2016, the first thing I did was to pay a visit to my predecessors to seek for their blessings and guidance, namely: Baba Halilu Dantiye, late Umar Saidu Tudun Wada and Sule Ya’u Sule. Sule promised to provide me with all the support I needed to execute my work, but little did I know that he was holding a decade-long grudge against me. Indeed with friends like Sule, who needs enemies?

Salihu Tanko Yakasai (Dawisu) is the Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Community Kano Hub of the World Economic Forum. 

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Salihu Tanko: Ganduje playing politics with aides’ sack – Shaaban Sharada



I read with dismay a statement by the sacked media aide of Kano state governor in the person of Salihu Tanko Yakasai that the All Progressives Congress led- government has failed Nigerians while calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

It is unfortunate to see such a controversial statement coming from an aide of a governor of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) despite efforts of the APC Extraordinary Convention Committee led by His Excellency Mai Mala Buni.

The statement is uncalled for and smacks of an attempted sabotage to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and it further brings to the fore the ignorance of the said aide on how security architecture works.

Since the abduction of the Jangebe Students, I have spoken with relevant security chiefs who have assured me of efforts they are making to rescue the girls safely.

In defense of Salihu Tanko Yakasai

My relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari – Salihu Tanko Yakasai

Instead of Yakasai to exploit his privilege by praying for the successful rescue of the school girls by security operatives under the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, he is rather ridiculing their efforts through a series of unwarranted media attacks that are seen as an attempt to instigate fear in the victims’ parents and mislead the general public to tarnish the image of the APC led government.

Buhari has improved security

It is on record that the security situation of the country has improved since the assumption of Buhari as President.

Essentially, the nature of insecurity prior to the Buhari administration is different from the current security situation in the country.

If you could recall, there was a time when our daughters, sisters and wives of both basic and tertiary institutions cannot go to school without going through a thorough search.

The market was a no go place, places of worship became  places to  fear, while a one or two hours journey became a 10-hour journey due to stop and searches by security men on the roads.

All those measures did not stop terrorists from bombing mosques, churches, markets, and motor parks etc.

A typical example is the 2014 Kano central mosque bomb blast that claimed the lives of more than 1,000  people in a day.

The insecurity was not restricted to the North West and North East alone, as it escalated to the Federal Capital Territory where terrorists attacked the United Nations building in Abuja.

It is a mark of the improved security situation in the country that the recently abducted Kagara Students were released last Saturday.

The process that the government followed in ensuring the release of these students safely will be applied to rescue the Jangebe Students In sha Allah as I’ve been assured by the relevant security agencies and the governor of the state as well.

Yakasai playing Ganduje’s script

Yakasai’s attack is not surprising though, as he might be acting under the command of his principal, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje who is known for speaking from both sides of his mouth.

Ganduje had last year suspended Yakasai over a statement accusing the President of lacking empathy during the EndSARS protest.

Attack on Buhari: Ganduje suspends media aide

It was alleged that the governor planned the suspension like a movie where he promised to reinstate him back. This came to pass some months later.

It is obvious that his current purported sack has a political undertone.

It would be recalled that one of Ganduje’s Commissioners celebrated the death of Chief of Staff Mallam Abba Kyari last year.

The governor in his usual manner of playing to the gallery and after pressure by Nigerians decided to sack the Commissioner but later appointed him  to serve in various government committees including the Chairmanship of the  AKK Gas Pipeline implementation Committee in Kano.

This is how the governor is working closely with people that personally berate President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ganduje sabotaging the APC

Ganduje’s sabotage does not stop there; he has a good relationship with members of the opposition whom he appointed into juicy positions while other party members are kept aside.

Example of this is the Commissioner for water resources who is a card carrying member of the PDP.

His anti-party activities against the All Progressives Congress and other efforts he is making in frustrating party members in the state is an attempt to weaken the party because he has sensed that his political ambition in 2023 is looking unachievable.

A Commissioner for Education in his government was also seen displaying a ballot paper where he voted for PDP in the recent bye election at Kiru/Bebeji Constituency.

This is a sabotage to our party at a time we are trying to reconcile warring party members across states to further strengthen the capacity of the APC in the 2023 election.

The recent party registration and revalidation exercise in Kano was not a success as Ganduje was the decider of who should be registered or not as the revalidation documents were domiciled in the government house.

I’m a victim of this as I was denied revalidation of my APC membership at my ward in Sharada, despite being a stakeholder and member of the House of Representatives in the state.

Even an ordinary member of the party doesn’t deserve this, especially when the party is targeting 25 million members.

Why is this injustice being meted out on members of the defunct CPC and loyalists of President Buhari?

Of all the Commissioners down to local government Chairmen and top government appointees, there is none from the defunct CPC.

I’m in contact with relevant security agencies and I am aware of efforts they are making to restore the security of our dear nation.

Nigeria is one, we should keep ethnic, religious and political sentiments aside, and we should tell the truth in real sense and not personal attack.

As a loyalist of the President who has worked closely with him, I know his commitment to seeing a prosperous, peaceful and united Nigeria.

His patriotism, transparency, and accountability is a testimony to his love for this country.

Hon. Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada represents Kano Municipal in the House of Representatives and chairs the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence.

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