Governor El-Rufai’s Speech at Presentation of Staff of Office to the New Emir of Zazzau
Speech by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the presentation of Staff of Office to His Highness, Alh. Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, the 19th Emir of Zazzau, held in Zaria on Monday, 9th November 2020
With gratitude to Almighty Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, I am delighted to join the people of Zazzau Emirate for the presentation of the Staff of Office to His Highness, Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, the 19th Emir of Zazzau, the first born after independence. This is a historic moment, the emergence of a new emir after the 45-year reign of his distinguished predecessor, His Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Shehu Idris.
I wish to welcome all our invited guests and friends to the ancient city of Zaria for this historic occasion. We deeply appreciate your presence. We are grateful to our leader President Muhammadu Buhari for sending an official delegation to this event. We pray that Allah, in His infinite mercy, will take all of you back home safely.
On behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, I wish to congratulate Your Highness on your emergence as the Emir of Zazzau. We have no doubt that with your pedigree and experience in fields as diverse as diplomacy, law, banking and commerce, you will offer inspired leadership for Zazzau Emirate. Your Highness, we are proud of your unblemished career in the public and private sectors. We pray Allah to uphold and strengthen you, and reinforce you with all the wisdom, good health and resources for a successful reign.
Your Highness ascends the throne in a much changed era to that of your illustrious predecessors as Emir. These are more modern times, with fresh opportunities and many old and new challenges. Ours is an incredibly young state, and so is Zazzau Emirate, with 89% of residents being younger than 35 years. We are grappling with expanding the opportunities for jobs, sound education and decent healthcare that can help channel this youthfulness as a positive resource.
Some of our communities are menaced by security challenges, threats to the rural economy and persistent perils to peace and harmony in diverse communities. We need better data about who lives in the state, what they do and what facilities exist or are required in the communities in which they reside. The traditional institution can be a vital partner in addressing these challenges.
Zazzau Emirate spans 11 of the 23 local government areas in Kaduna State, and accounts for more than 60% of its population. Its modern roots lie in the revivalist movement led by Shehu Usman Dan Fodio which remade the polities in the old Hausa states, and gave birth to the four ruling Fulani dynasties in this Emirate.
Over the last two centuries, Zazzau Emirate has come to be known as a place of enlightenment and scholarship, and peaceful and harmonious coexistence of its diverse people. These attributes constitute part of the culture and ethos of “Bazazzagi” that is associated with people of Zazzau Emirate. The throne of the Amirul Zazzau (Emir of Zazzau) has long promoted the attributes of justice, enterprise and integrity.
Let me at this juncture pay tribute to our father, the immediate past Emir of Zazzau. Alhaji Dr. Shehu Idris had a most distinguished reign. In his 45 years as Emir, he was regarded as a just and fair ruler, a peacemaker par excellence, an outstanding administrator and a kind hearted leader and father. He contributed immensely to the successes recorded by our administration, especially in the critical areas of education, preventive healthcare, peace building and mass mobilisation. His fatherly advice and guidance in our then weekly Security Council meetings would remain indelible in our minds. May Jannatul Firdaus be his final abode.
We are confident that Your Highness will consolidate on the solid foundation already put in place by your predecessor. The admirable effort you are making to unify Zazzau Emirate should continue, while remaining open and receptive to positive contributions from all the relevant stakeholders. We urge you to carry all the ruling houses along as you lead this Emirate in circumstances that have changed much over recent decades.
Your Highnesses, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, our faith teaches that power and authority belong to Allah, He alone gives to whoever He wishes at a time and circumstances best known to Him. As Governor of Kaduna State, it is God’s Will that I am privileged to be the first elected public servant to appoint an Emir of Zazzau in an independent, democratic setting. This occasion of handing over the Staff of Office to the 19th Fulani Emir of Zazzau is taking place exactly 100 years since the colonial Governor of Northern Region, Herbert Symonds Goldsmith, unjustly deposed your grandfather, Emir Aliyu Dan-Sidi of blessed memory.
The vacancy of the stool of Zazzau Emirate therefore gave the Kaduna State Government an opportunity not only to redress a colonial injustice, but to return to the enduring principles that guided the appointment of Emirs under the Sokoto Caliphate. Shehu Usman Dan Fodio in his seminal work ‘Bayan Wujub Al-Hijra’ was crystal clear that there are nine qualities of Islamic leadership – wisdom, learning, clemency, generosity, kindness, righteousness, patience, gratitude, and leniency which entails avoidance of harshness.
There are other principles of dynastic succession, avoidance of unilinear absolutism and required experience in administration of persons and territory that were discarded by the colonial and military regimes that the Kaduna State Government felt duty-bound to restore, observe and comply with. It is on the basis of due regards to these customs, rules and enabling laws that Almighty Allah chose Your Highness to be our Emir, and imposed on me the constitutional duty to appoint you. I therefore call on all those that contested the Emir-ship to accept the will of Allah and join hands with the 19th Emir of Zazzau for progress and harmony in the Emirate.
I also appeal to the title holders, district heads, members of the Emirate Council, the good people of Zazzau Emirate, and indeed all the citizens of Kaduna State to rally around our new Emir by extending to him their full support and cooperation in the same way they extended support to his predecessors to enable speedy development of the Emirate and the State in general.
This administration expects the loyalty of all persons to our Emirs and Chiefs and will take firm and decisive action against any person that attempts to undermine, in any shape or form, the non-partisan and noble status of our traditional institution, particularly Zazzau Emirate.
The State Government appreciates the tremendous contributions of Traditional Rulers promoting peace and harmonious co-existence amongst the diverse peoples residing in the State. One of our targets during the 2020-2021 legislative year is the enactment of a new law to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the traditional institution by providing a clearly defined roles for our Royal Highnesses in local government and community governance.
The new traditional institution’s law will also legislate clear dynastic succession order in all emirates and chiefdoms with more than one ruling house, outline guiding principles for the recommendations of district heads, traditional council members, emirs and chiefs, for appointment, consider expanding the membership of councils, and clearer roles of the kingmakers.
The life tenure of traditional rulers and the resultant enduring networks they develop offer a unique platform for collating relevant security, social and economic information at the grassroots level. Traditional rulers are also instrumental in keeping records on births and deaths, increasing school enrolment and mobilising citizens for preventive health care initiatives like immunisation.