Ganduje and Sanusi


By Ademola Adegbamigbe

For 214 years since the Kano State Emirate was established, there have been different attempts to whittle down its power. With what the Kano State Government has done to it now, it smacks of nailing the final coffin of a juggernaut that, over time, had resisted many attempts to cripple it. First was the Fulani conquest, followed by the British imperial invasion. There was also the shindig between Emir Mohammadu Sanusi, the grandfather of the present occupant of the Kano throne, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello who was the Premier of Northern Region in the First Republic. The latest is the grinding move of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

On Thursday, 8 May 2019, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, gave assent to the bill passed by the Kano State House of Assembly on breaking up the emirate in the state. The implication of this is that Kano now has five emirates: Kano, Rano, Gaya, Karaye and Bichi, while the domain of Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano, has been reduced.

This happened a day after the Kano State House of Assembly passed the bill approving the amendment of the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Law. In a motion presented to the House by the Majority Leader Baffa Babba, the House “unanimously agreed that creation of more Emirates will assist in job creation, dispute, and community conflict resolutions among others.” The passage of this bill paves way for the decentralisation of the Kano Emirate council thereby decentralising the power of Emir of Kano, Channels Television reports.

The Kano Emirate was a religious state in Northern Nigeria, formed in 1805 during the Fulani jihad, when the old Hausa Sultanate of Kano, according to historians, became subject to the Sokoto Caliphate. During and after the colonial period the powers of the emirate were steadily reduced.

Historians write that the Hausa Kingdom of Kano was based on an ancient settlement of Dala Hill. “While small chiefdoms were previously present in the area, according to the Kano Chronicle, Bagauda, a grandson of the mythical hero Bayajidda, became the first king of Kano in 999, reigning until 1063. Muhammad Rumfa ascended to the throne in 1463 and reigned until 1499. During his reign he reformed the city, expanded the Sahelian Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace), and played a role in the further Islamization of the city as he urged prominent residents to convert. The Hausa state remained independent.

However, this independence changed with the Fulani conquest of 1805. In other words, at the beginning of the 19th century, Fulani Islamic leader Usman dan Fodio led a jihad affecting much of northern Nigeria, leading to the emergence of the Sokoto Caliphate. “Kano, as historians explained further, “became the largest and most prosperous province of the empire. This was one of the last major slave societies, with high percentages of enslaved population long after the Atlantic slave trade had been cut off. Heinrich Barth, a classical scholar who spent several years in northern Nigeria in the 1850s, estimated the percentage of slaves in Kano to be at least 50%, most of whom lived in slave villages. From 1893 until 1895, two rival claimants for the throne fought a civil war. With the help of royal slaves, Yusufu was victorious over Tukur, and claimed the title of emir.

The British Attack, according to Wikipedia.

The British pacification campaign termed Kano-Sokoto Expedition set off from Zaria at the end of January 1903 under the command of Colonel Morland. British officers and N.C.O.s and 800 African rank and file. Apart from a company of mounted infantry and a few gunners, the whole force consisted of infantry. They were supported, however, by four 75-mm. mountain guns, which could if necessary be dismantled and transported by porters, and by six machine guns.

After sporadic fighting outside the walls of the fort, the British managed to penetrate the defensive parameters of the capital. Kano was mostly left defenseless at the time, the Emir, Aliyu Babba was away with its large contingent Cavalry for the Autumn Campaign at Sokoto. News of the British capture of Kano in February 1903 sent the Cavalry in a long march to retake the city.

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