Sardaunan Kano: A Walk on the Path of Honour
By Saka Raji Audu
When God has destined a man to become some thing in life, no man born of a woman can do otherwise. Any one who tempers with God's creation will be doing more harm than good to oneself. Likewise, whoever appreciates the will of God will undoubtedly have cause to be happy for his life. The name, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, is no longer strange in the Nigerian government and politics. Shekarau is a household name that hardly a kindergarten (nursery pupil) would forget. The journey of fame by Shekarau did not just start today as a governor of the most populous state of Nigeria from Kano. Those who know Malam Ibrahim Shekarau very well will correctly attest to the fact that the man has been an impeccably transparent and a humble man of substance. There is no other way to summarise and describe the true colour of Shekarau than these two basic attributes inherent in him. It is therefore, normal for a hard working man blessed by God, to be envied by lazy and never-do-well people in the society.
This is why it should not surprise any one that in spite of some pockets of envies against the wonderful performances of the Shekarau led administration in Kano State, the governor's rising political profile continues to wax stronger and stronger. First, he came into politics as a poor honourable gentle man and then popularly won the governorship election in 2003. Secondly, with his high rated achievements, he won his second term election as the governor of Kano State, a feat that no incumbent executive governor of the state has ever achieved in the history of Kano government and politics, thereby breaking the much dreaded Kano political jinx.
Thirdly, in addition to lots of awards and recognitions given to Shekarau within and outside the country, he is the only serving governor for now that has received traditional titles from the three main geo-political ethnic groups namely; Enugu from the East; Osun from the West and Kano from the North parts of Nigeria. Still, Shekarau is the only governor from the northern dominated Muslim states of the federation that recognizes and allows non-indigenes participation in his government, attached with remarkable portfolios. Recently, some ethnic and religious chauvinists in the country were surprised at Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau for honouring an invitation to a Christian gathering in Kano, where he delivered sermon on the importance of peaceful cohabitation of the two main religions in the country.
Perhaps, those who thought otherwise never realized the fact that Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau was elected Governor by both Muslims and Christians in the state; and as leader of all, attending an open Christian gathering at the popular New Road, Sabon Gari, Kano on invitation should not be any thing for one to be astonished about. However, in a country where religious and ethnic intolerance features prominently in every aspect of people's endeavour, it takes dose of courage for a leader like Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau to take such an encouraging bold step. In any case, if our leaders in Nigeria can emulate the type of Shekarau's virtue a little, the sky would have been the limit for the country's socio-economic and political progress and advancement. Thus, a leader as Governor Shekarau with these unbeatable records of achievements deserves nothing but recognition, encouragement and support of the people. This is why I think the progressive minded people of Nigeria want him to be the President of the country in her next political dispensation.
According to the late Premier of northern region and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, he said," Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religious who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…" We can now see why Shekarau, as a detribalized leader, does not discriminate, which accounts for people of different races, tribes and religion living together peacefully in the state, at least for the past six years.
As a result of Shekarau's sterling qualities in traditional leadership; civil service, development strategy, religious issues, consolidation of community and high quality values and symbols of leadership as espoused by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, the Kano Emirate Council saw him as most suitable to assume the traditional title of Sardaunan Kano. According to the emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero, he said that "the conferment of Sardauna traditional title on Kano State governor, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau was based on the numerous development projects executed by his administration. Since the demise of Sardauna of Sokoto, Kano Emirate Council has been looking for a patriotic citizen who could fill in the vacuum left by the late Premier of the Northern Region. Malam Ibrahim Shekarau deserved to be conferred with the title of Sardauna because of his great achievements in humanitarian services in Kano State. Kano Emirate Council has three classifications of title; one is for the Royal family, second is for those considered to be friends to the emirate who help in Jihad, like Madaki, Makama, etc; and the last one is for those great people who contributed a lot to the development of the people and the society at large. Malam Ibrahim Shekarau falls under the last category considering the gigantic projects he has executed and what is currently doing."The revered emir was not alone in the assessment of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau's performances." His Royal Highness, emir Ado Bayero was not alone in the assessment of Governor Shekarau's performances.
Chief Olu Falae, a one time Presidential candidate of All Nigeria's People's Party, ANPP said "Shekarau is a straight forward politician whose services are dearly needed by the country. I appreciate the courage, zeal and commitment with which Malam Shekarau is governing Kano. Shekarau's achievements in the last six and half years are outstanding. I congratulate the governor on his conferment with the title of Sardaunan Kano by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero." A chieftain of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, OON (Talban Minna) also stated that "I am optimistic that this recognition will not only spur you, but strengthen your contributions with determination to serve the good people of Kano state and humanity in general. Allah ya taimaki mai girma Sardaunan Kano, Amin"
Alhaji Abdulkarim Isah, Chairman/CEO of Al-USABS Construction Nig. Ltd joined the litany of assessment of Governor Shekarau when he observed that "we are indeed proud of your dynamic leadership and visionary insight, which distinguish you as a pacesetter. Your vision for Kano State is amply depicted through your innovative ideology that has positively touched the lives of the entire people of Kano State. We are proud to be associated with your well-deserved title (Sardaunan Kano)." Malam Mahmoud Adnan Audi, MD, Triumph Publishing Company, Kano is of the belief that "Governor Shekarau has filled the vacuum left behind by the late Sardauna, and the Premier of Northern Region, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello. While the Sardauna of Sokoto excelled in transforming all aspects of life in the North, the Sardaunan Kano has also excelled in transforming Kano through Societal Reorientation of Adaidaita Sahu, and full implementation of Shari'ah."
Alhaji Shehu Yusuf Kura, a Journalist and leading member of the "Shekarau Political Action Committee makes his input when he said that "Shekarau has the capability to unite the people of Nigeria. He is a unifier of all opposition parties. He is humble and above all accept new ideas and always ready to work with genuine ideas that are not even his. Alhaji Muhammad Garba Fagge, Permanent Secretary, Kano State Government House says "…the appointment shows your glaring leadership qualities which have become envy to many of your contemporaries." What about Abba Othman Tofa, S.A to the Kano State Governor on urbanization who says that "the title, Sardaunan Kano is considered by the good people of Kano State as a well-deserved reward for your meritorious services to Kano in particular and the country as a whole."
The wife of the Executive Governor of Kano State, Hajiya Amina Ibrahim Shekarau Sardauna also commented thus, "we are proud of your laudable achievements and vision for transforming Kano State which landmarks would continue to be proudly engraved in gold as history will continue to project to generations yet unborn. May Almighty Allah continue to guide and give you the strength, will-power and wisdom to serve the people of Kano State and the nation in general. "Sen (Dr) Saidu Umar Kumo (Garkuwan Gombe), National Secretary, ANPP equally gave his verdict on the Sardaunan Kano when he state that "the conferment of this exalted title to one of the outstanding leaders of the moment is most noble and honourable. His Royal Highness has done us proud by recognizing our illustrious leader. It is a testimony to the new challenges awaiting Malam. It is our hope and prayer that Malam Shekarau will not relent in his efforts in serving Kano State, Nigeria and indeed the humanity."
The National Chairman of ANPP, Chief Ume Eze-oke, National Chairman of ANPP succinctly stated that "the conferment of the Sardauna title on Governor Shekarau was an indication that the race to take over Aso Rock had begun in Kano. …..given the achievements recorded in the state, there was a need for Governor Shekarau to replicate the achievements nationally." Even one Mr. Sule Yahaya, one of the admirers of Governor Ibrahim Shekarau sent an email to my box where he sated that "I read with delight the decision of the Kano Emirate Council to confer on H.E the title of Sardaunan Kano. The council is wise in its choice of Mal.Ibrahim Shekarau for the befitting honour and the recognition of his sterling qualities and visionary leadership style. Shekarau really deserves the honour because as at now he remains among the very few people in the country that matched the exceptional qualities of the late Sardauna. HRH and indeed the emirate council deserves the commendation of all for the well-deserved honour to this dynamic, enviable, resourceful and shining star of the state."
It would be recalled that the renowned noble laureate, social critic and play Wright of international repute, Professor Wole Soyinka, the Kongi had even before the conferment of Sardauna title on Governor Shekarau saw the handwriting on the wall when he said that the purpose of his visit, "was based on the determination of the governor as a person who finds honour in respecting the mandate given to him by Kano people and therefore, he deserves to be highly commended. The Professor pointed out that as a person who has been so passionate to democracy "we symbolically and morally lend solidarity to people like Governor Shekarau for his wonderful performances among other things that is why I am in Kano." Professor who observed that the country is in a great danger of losing its democratic directions as there was a determined effort by the then Obasanjo administration to turn the country into a one party state, said this development must be fought for the country's political progress. He went ahead to describe Governor Shekarau as "the last man standing in his northwest geo-political zone."
Finally, the fame Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau has made for himself, his people and admirers through his dint of hard work and perseverance is not without difficulties. Such is normal for a man who wants to achieve success in his life. Thus, whoever wants to have the yolk of an egg must first break its shell. Indeed, as stated in one of the sayings of the last Prophet of God, Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, "this world is like a prison yard for the righteous." This is why it is not an easy task for person as Malam Ibrahim Shekarau to walk on the path of honour, which he has achieved and will continue to sustain by the grace of God.
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: firstname.lastname@example.org