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NIGERIA: Why Emergence of New Emir is Met With Protests

Kano is not the ancient Kingdom of Benin. Neither is it Agbor. One of the distinguishing factors between traditional stools in several emirates in northern Nigeria and Benin and Agbor, where there is no ambiguity over who is the next in line to the throne, as it must pass on to the first son of the traditional monarch, is that in the north, it is the ruling houses with eligible contenders that jostle for the throne when there is a vacancy following the death, abdication or deposition of a ruler.

Since all the ruling houses in the north comprise princes who can trace their lineage to a common source, it is not surprising that cleavages would occur when one house triumphs over the others when the final selection is made over who should rule over an emirate or sultanate. This may be further amplified in the event that the government of the day bows to political considerations in determining who the next emir or sultan should be.

A review of the emergence of traditional rulers of some of the most important traditional stools in northern Nigeria shows that widespread violent protests followed the emergence of Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki as the 18th Sultan of Sokoto.
Dasuki was chosen by then military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida over Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido when Sultan Siddiq Abubakar III died in 1988. It took General Sani Abacha to depose Dasuki for Maccido to ascend the throne in 1996.

In the same vein, despite the popularity Alhaji Ado Bayero was later to enjoy among his subjects as the Emir of Kano, his ascension to the revered throne in 1963 as the 13th Fulani emir of the ancient city was not smooth sailing.

Indeed, historians from Bayero University Kano, attest to the fact that protests broke out in 1963 when Ado Bayero was announced as the new Emir of Kano and people in the city had to stay off the streets for a few days to avoid an escalation of the crisis.

Accordingly, they do not see the current protests against the new Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as unusual, as long as they do not escalate and lead to the death of scores of people in the city.

Sanusi, as history shows, would be following in the footsteps of other traditional rulers before him who had to cast politics and activism aside and immediately reached out to the other ruling houses and his subjects to ensure that there was peace and harmony in their domains.

These are hallmarks that the public would be looking out for in the weeks and months ahead in a man who has shown himself to be anything but willing to make concessions.

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