Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Emir Aminu Ado Bayero – A Victim Of Political Arrogance And Executive Recklessness, By Professor M. T. Usman

So far, the administration of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has not informed the world about any offence(s) committed by the 15th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero that could warrant his supposed deposition and the humiliations directed at the highly respected monarch. The emir is caught up in a bitter political rivalry between two opposing camps as a result of which issues that are critical to development in Kano have been jettisoned, consequently, important affairs of the state especially those with direct bearing on the welfare of the commoners are gradually being crippled. This unfortunate situation has virtually created chaos and confusion in emirate administration. Emir Aminu Bayero is made a scapegoat by the state government which has deliberately unleashed every kind of intimidation and harassment on him. Emir Aminu is made to bear unpleasant consequences because of the “misdeeds” committed by a predecessor government. From the moral perspective, Emir Aminu cannot be held responsible for whichever policy and actions of the Ganduje administration. What Governor Yusuf and his appointed officials are doing in order to punish Aminu Ado Bayero can be interpreted as an overreaction driven by sentiments and the desire for political vengeance. The Governor with the full backing of the state legislature wants to reverse many policies and decisions of the last administration regardless of the pungent consequences on peace and social harmony in the state. One would have expected a better and meticulous study of the situation in the emirates with a view to minimising the impact of the shocks and chaos that we are witnessing in the state at present. The governor and members of the legislature from the ruling NNPP are therefore on a mission to further desecrate the traditional institution and bastardise the good cultural values of Kano people.

Over the years, the institution of traditional rulership has suffered from excessive interference and manipulation by politicians. It is perhaps relevant to recall the historical process that contributed to the rise and fall of the traditional rulers which subsequently affected their status and functions under democratic and military dispensations. Traditional rulers had conducted state affairs in their respective domains which is an important political legacy that has survived to the present. Emirs in northern Nigeria had contributed to the running of a modern state system during the colonial period and thereafter. Traditional rulers formed the backbone of the colonial administrative system through the Native Authority system (NA) in the emirates and chiefdoms of the north. The British after conquering the emirates had realized that, the system had a workable structure that was convenient for administrative purposes. That the emirate system could serve as a machinery for realizing the political and economic objectives of the colonial state. Hence, the emirs and their subordinate officials were co-opted into the colonial administrative structure to facilitate the maintenance of law and order, sustainable security, revenue generation as well as the implementation of some other social, economic and political policies introduced by the British. Of course, it is difficult to deny the fact, that the traditional institution was equally used by the British for other exploitative and oppressive reasons, which was carried over into the post-colonial era.

During the period after independence, there was competition for political relevance between the traditional rulers and the new political actors (both civilians and the military). The new political elites who replaced the British colonial administrators got the upper hand in the power arrangement as a result of which the powers of the traditional rulers were eroded. The nature of the relationship between the traditional rulers and the political elites was characterized by an intense intra-class struggle which resulted in depositions and exiling of emirs and chiefs since the 1960s. Later on, the local government reforms of 1976 as recommended by a federal government committee under Ibrahim Dasuki (later on the Sultan of Sokoto) further rendered the traditional rulers powerless. Traditional rulers were deprived of the control over essential apparatuses of the state which included the local police (yan doka which was abolished completely) the prisons and control over local authority finances. Their functions and responsibilities were restricted to offering advice to state officials with statutory executive powers at the state and federal levels. They cannot take decisions on essential matters affecting their people without the approval of the governor or any other government appointee acting on behalf of the governor. Furthermore, the constitutional provisions consolidated the powers of the governor over the traditional institutions and completely relegated traditional rulers to the bottom of the power hierarchy. This has been the arrangement since the 1960s up to the current dispensation in Nigeria under which the powers of the traditional establishment had been usurped by elected officials or the military (depending on the circumstance) as well as other institutions of modern system of government.

What we are witnessing today in Kano under Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf is arrogant display of executive power and the abuse of legislative process. There is nothing short of this if we consider the flagrant violations of due process by the governor and his subordinates in both their pronouncements and actions at different times since the announcement of the illegal removal of the five emirs. It is regrettable that politicians who are in control of government affairs in Kano presently, take major decisions that affect the people no matter the bad repercussions on the state in general. The legislation hurriedly passed by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the governor is now a matter of litigation bordering on violation of the fundamental rights of Emir Aminu Ado and other emirs. Legal experts have argued that there is no legitimacy in whichever action taken by the state government based on the new law. There is a strong hope for justice from the court because of the illegalities perpetrated by the state governor, Abba Yusuf and his rubber-stamp legislature. What the governor has done as regards the issue of the emirates has done more harm to the public. This is the reason why millions among the inhabitants of the new emirates are strongly opposed to the so-called scrapping of the emirates. The administration of Governor Yusuf has alienated itself from a large section of Kano citizens who were happy with the creation of the emirates and upgrading of the rulers to First Class Emirs. There is evidence of growing discontent and frustration among the people because of non-performance by Governor Yusuf since coming to office in 2023. Reports also from different sources have confirm that there is widespread fear and psychological trauma among a high percentage of the local people. It is very difficult for some to have confidence to go about their activities of earning a living under a tense atmosphere created by the state government.

 

As for Emir Aminu Ado, it is interesting to report that, commoners still show their love, loyalty, sympathetic concern and reverence for the him. It is clear from the testimonies by locals that he is a humble person, accessible and always in support of the aspirations of his people. Emir Aminu according to local sources is someone who never neglects his responsibility of preserving and promoting the culture and the cherished values of Kano people. He uses every available opportunity to defend the interests of his people anywhere he finds himself. He had worked closely with his father, the late Emir Ado Bayero. For those who are conversant with the most recent history of Kano, the reign of late Emir Ado Bayero (1963-2014) witnessed important social and economic transformations in old Kano Emirate. The achievements recorded during Emir Ado Bayero’s time had impacted positively on the economy and society which is noticeable from the infrastructural development recorded and economic growth brought about in Kano because of industrialization especially in the 1970s and 80s, and of course a boost in commercial activities. On the other, Aminu Bayero was also a pillar in emirate administration during the reign of his father. As one of the leading palace officials who was close to Emir Ado Bayero, he got the privilege of representing his father at important public activities at different times in the state and at the national level. His participation in emirate affairs cannot be forgotten easily, because that what enabled him to also contribute to the uplifting of Kano Emirate. The traditional titles of Turaki and later Sarkin Dawaki held by Aminu Ado Bayero under the tutelage of his father was an opportunity for a prolong mentorship. Consequently, Aminu Ado was able to acquire vast experience in day-to-day administrative matters and other important functions in the emirate.

One recalls the constant prayers by the youths and even the elderly for this popular prince, Aminu Ado to ascend the throne after his father. Praises and the hailing of Prince Aminu by royal musicians including the spectators added value to his outings on beautifully decorated horses during durbar processions in the city. City dwellers and visitors came out in thousands to watch the horse riders in Aminu’s convoy. It was a common practice for admirers of Aminu Bayero to rhymical in chorus greet him with “Sai ka yi!!!” (you would be/the next emir). Emir Ado Bayero was alive when the people were expressing their wish and prayers for the popular prince (Aminu) to succeed his father which was unprecedented in Kano’s documented history. He was therefore an outstanding prince well-liked by the people before he became an emir. Hence, his ascension to the throne following his appointment on 9th March 2020 was greeted with spectacular celebrations by many in the emirate.

Meanwhile, the actions of Governor Yusuf and his collaborators against Emir Aminu Ado Bayero amount to gross injustice and outright betrayal of the trust the Kano people had reposed in him. There was high hope for good performance in Kano when Abba Yusuf was elected. His election victory was challenged by the opposition, but the Supreme Court of Nigeria confirmed him as the duly elected governor after a complex legal battle. From the reports in the media, it was speculated that opposition politicians in Kano were strongly hopeful that Abba Yusuf’s initial victory would be overturned by the court, especially with the ‘federal might’ that was expected to provide support to the opposition party in Kano. However, through the intervention of the Almighty Allah there was a favourable verdict which affirmed the victory of Abba Yusuf. Unfortunately, the hopes of the people for good governance and development are gradually being dashed. Kano politics has degenerated to that of a personality cult which is a departure from the progressive and people-oriented politics of the 1950s under the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and later in the 1980s when the Peoples’ Redemption Party (PRP) was in power in old Kano State. Many other parts of Nigeria admired and emulated Kano in politics in those years because it was politics for development and liberation of the people. The expectation in Kano during the 2023 Elections was that, with Abba Kabir Yusuf as Governor more attention will be given to the welfare of the ordinary people and the development of the state. One expects that problems of abject poverty, poor health services, lack of provision of qualitative education in public schools, endemic corruption and mismanagement in government would be among the top priorities to be addressed by the government.

Despite the pretensions by government officials, there is enough evidence to prove that, the administration of Abba Yusuf is failing in fulfilling its promise to provide good governance in Kano State. People in the state are frustrated and complaining because of heightened social and economic problems engendered by the failure of the state government to provide adequate and efficient social services and amenities. Public schools, hospitals, rural feeder roads and other infrastructural facilities are in deplorable condition since the attention of the governor and other state officials have been diverted to other unimportant commitments. The major concern of the administration of Governor Yusuf is now the promotion of personal interest of few politicians. Politics and governance in Kano presently, revolve around ambitions of a political godfather, as well as reinstating an aristocrat who has no sincere respect for the indigenous social and cultural heritage of the people. Unfortunately, the government of Kano presently has been wasting the resources of the state in pursuit of anti-people policies which have adverse impact on the local economy. One can still remember that during the early days of Governor Yusuf in 2023, there was this senseless demolition of structures that were of critical significance to private investments and economic development in Kano. This autocratic posture adopted by the administration of Governor Abba Yusuf has created a sense of hopelessness among the citizens of the state which can definitely threatened the chances of winning elections in Kano State come 2027.

Professor Usman, Department of History and International Studies Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria.

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