STRATEGIC APPOINTMENTS AND ELEVATION OF TRADITIONAL TITLE HOLDERS OF ZAZZAU EMIRATE BY THE EMIR OF ZAZZAU: THE FIRST STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

The Zazzau Emirate Council recently announced the appointment and elevation by the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, of traditional title holders of the Emirate, following the demise as well as elevation of some other title holders.

In a statement released by the Emirate Council on Friday 8th January 2021, the new title holders were mentioned as follows:

  1. MUNIR JAAFARU from the Beri Beri Dynasty was elevated from Yeriman Zazzau to MADAKIN ZAZZAU. Traditionally and in order of seniority, this is the highest ranking title holder and reserved for senior Princes. Alhaji Manir Jafaru is a foremost prince of Zazzau Emirate and son of the late Emir Jafaru Dan Ishiyaku. He is a business man, consultant and philanthropist with a very successful public service career retiring as the Managjng Director of the Nigerian Maritime Authority.
  1. MANSUR NUHU BAMALLI from the Mallawa Dynasty was elevated to MAGAJIN GARIN ZAZZAU, the second highest title in the Emirate. Until now he was the Barde Kerarriya. This was the title of the current Emir before his eventual appointment as Emir in October 2020. He is an experienced Diplomat and currently an Assistant Director at the Ministry of External Affairs and on posting to the Nigerian Mission in Rabat, Morroco.
  1. IDRIS IBRAHIM IDRIS of the Katsinawa dynasty and a nephew to late Emir Shehu Idris has now been promoted as the SA’IN ZAZZAU, from the position of Barde. He is a son to the late Danmadamin Zazzau Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the elder brother to HRH the late Emir Shehu Idris. He is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who has for a long time being a senior counsellor at the Palace.
  1. DR ABBAS TAJUDDEEN was appointed to the title of IYAN ZAZZAU. He is currently a member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Zaria Federal Constituency. Previous to this he has made notable strides in the academia. He is of the Mallawa dynasty and historically this is a title his grandfather (Iya Abdullahi) held during the reign of Emir Aliyu Dan Sidi.
  2. SHEHU TIJJANI ALIYU, Hakimin Makera from the Mallawa Dynasty was elevated to BARDEN ZAZZAU having last held the title of Barden Kudun Zazzau. He is a successful entrepreneur and has been making contributions to the development of the Zazzau emirate.
  3. ABDULKARIM BASHIR AMINU of the Katsinawa dynasty and the eldest son of late Iyan Zazzau Dr Bashir Aminu was elevated from the positon of Kogunan Zazzau to the title of TALBAN ZAZZAU. He is a senior civil servant in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
  4. AMINU IYA SA’IDU of the Katsinawa dynasty was appointed as the new KOGUNAN ZAZZAU. He is an accomplished businessman in the oil & gas and infrastructure sectors.
  5. BASHIR ABUBAKAR ALHAJI of the Katsinawa dynasty, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Custom was appointed to the title of BARDEN KUDU.
  6. BUHARI AMINU CIROMA from the Mallawa dynasty was appointed to the title of BARDE KERARRIYA. He is an experienced civil servant.

Previously the Titles of Kulliya and Durbi which were given to Justice Ishaq Bello and Muhammed Aminu Aliyu Bamalli respectively by late Emir Shehu Idris just before his passing were conferred on them by HH Emir Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli on the 12th of December and 1st of January respectively. They are all accomplished public servants and very well connected to the development efforts of the Emirate.

The positions of Dan Iya, Yerima and a number of other Titles will be made in due course.

The appointments, when examined closely, is in keeping to the new emir’s pledge upon his ascension, that he would ensure an all-inclusive emirate administration composed of individuals with the required capacity and the core objective of uniting all the ruling dynasties towards working harmoniously for the peace and progress of the Zazzau Emirate.

The Emir, it is understood had since his ascension been working round the clock to transform and reposition the Emirate institution, firstly through several consultations and steps taken in uniting the various ruling houses, secondly through administrative reforms in the Palace and Emirate Council, in order to ensure a more efficient administration through a governance structure that provides for the required transparency and accountability.

When Mallam Musa established the Fulani Emirate of Zazzau in 1804, his administrative methods and reforms were primarily focused on the establishment of an effective Islamic system of government based on a structure that accommodated all the principal participants that contributed to his conquest of Zazzau. He had therefore immediately after the conquest equally distributed major traditional and administrative titles as well as fiefs to the prominent Fulani families within Zaria and environs at that time, his key associates, lieutenants and also included several Habe from Kano and Zaria. He accordingly ran an all-inclusive and participatory administration in order to achieve a shared vision and common purpose being the entrenchment of a just and effective Islamic Government in Zazzau, in line with the tenets of the Islamic Jihad of Uthman Dan Fodio.
Over the subsequent years however, despite notable strides made by past emirs, the practice grew amongst all the dynasties of institutionalising absolutism and mono-dynastic features in their system of government. Though the Suzerainty of the Sokoto Caliphate had earlier ensured that the Kingship itself remained multi-dynastic, nevertheless the Zazzau Emirs had given their mostly absolute authority over appointment of title holders, maintained the practice of appointment of their kith, kin and clients to prominent counsellorship positions as a means of consolidating their powers, protecting themselves against their rivals and furthering the interest of their own dynasties. It thus became a common practice for a new Emir to replace his predecessor’s kin and supporters from office and appoint people of his own that were perceived as loyal. This, to a significant extent became part of the contributing factors to the multi-dynastic competition and Inter dynastic rivalries that over time became a detriment to a united front and shared vision, much needed for the development of the Emirate. Though in later years this practice had subsided, nevertheless because of long practice, it was not completely eliminated.

While the operating environment in the past must have somehow informed the above stated practice of patronage, the imperatives of the Zazzau Emirate in particular and Kaduna State in general in the 21st century certainly requires a different approach. It is therefore encouraging, that the Emir had taken these initial steps in not only uniting the ruling dynasties but also setting the groundwork and norm for the peace and progress of the Emirate.
It can be recalled that the new Emir had in his Coronation Speech and severally thereafter, emphasised his commitment in uniting the ruling dynasties towards a common purpose. President Buhari had in congratulating the new Emir on 8th October 2020, charged him that.. “I want you to use this opportunity to unite all members of the ruling houses for the interest of your people… ” while advising the new Emir “to be the leader to all and treat all his people fairly in the performance of his duties”.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai, had also reiterated in his Coronation Speech, the advice to the Emir to carry all the ruling houses along as he leads the emirate.

Beyond the appointee’s qualification by royal lineage, excellent pedigrees and the manifest policy of equitable distribution of titles and responsibilities, the Emir clearly placed merit as one of the key eligibility considerations for the appointments. Because in addition to each of the appointees personal contribution to the Zazzau Emirate and their understanding of the traditional institution, they all possess requisite qualifications, superior education, demonstrated senior level experience and exposure in the public and private sectors. They also have community, national and international networks with the potential to build bridges that will attract investment, mobilise youth and build coalitions for peace and progress as well as the socio-economic development of the people of Zazzau emirate.

The appointees include Entrepreneurs, Public Servants, a Diplomat, a Federal Legislator, seasoned businessmen and administrators. Their respective experience and exposure will no doubt be brought to bear in counselling the Emir in meeting the challenges faced by Zazzau Emirate now and in the future.

The appointments by the new Emir therefore, is a clear message, that under his ruler ship, priority shall be given to meritocracy, capacity and importantly based on an equitable system that accommodates all the ruling dynasties. This is in order to achieve the required unity of purpose for the development of the Zazzau Emirate.

From feelers on the ground, it is understood that the new Emir is poised to continue the gradual but sure reforms towards repositioning of the Zazzau traditional institution, through further appointments, clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of all title holders, accountability reporting and performance measurement. This change measures are targeted to be in line with the reforms being undertaken by the Kaduna State Government on Traditional Institutions to meet up with current day challenges, where the traditional institution effectively assists the State Government in its socio- economic agenda.

Critically also, these appointments and impending reforms have come at the right time where most of the current societal ills ranging from youth unemployment, insecurity, poverty and economic deprivation, will require seasoned thinkers and doers of the calibre that His Highness the Emir had in his wisdom and experience, appointed to these key roles. The present times no doubt require thought leadership, new methods and unity of purpose by all stakeholders.

The new appointees should therefore justify the confidence reposed in them as they set out in supporting the Emir in reforming the Zazzau Emirate to address the current and future challenges.

May Allah swt give them the wisdom and means to live up to the calling of the various roles. May Allah swt in his infinite mercy grant the Emir a long and successful reign. Amin.

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