On a bright Saturday morning of October 1, 1983 at Kano Race Course, the late former governor of Kano State, Sabo Bakinzuwo, started his inaugural speech as the new executive governor of the state with the most exciting part. Waxing garrulous as ever, the verbose politician glanced over his shoulder to where the late emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero was sitting. “We will restore the prestige and dignity of Kano Emirate now,” he said.
He announced the dissolution of the five emirates of Rano, Gaya, Karaye, Dutse and Auyo created by his predecessor, Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi. He began by likening the worth of the emirs to four aces of Heart, Diamond, Clubs and Spade, saying in Hausa: “Mun rusa Sarkin Caka (Ace of Clubs) da na Dusa (Ace of Spade) da na Kubu Ja (Ace of Heart)…”
Sabo Bakinzuwo did not stop there. He fired a salvo at Emir of Gumel, Ahmed Muhammed Sani, a former commissioner of Information in Rimi’s cabinet who succeeded his father as emir in 1981. “Shi ma Sarkin Zi don mun yi zaman mutunci da maihaifinsa ne.” (The Ace of Diamond is lucky that I was in good terms with his late father).
Beneath the comic effect of the new governor’s speech, lies a lesson. Whatever built in the quicksand of politics hardly stands the test of time. Abubakar Rimi created more emirates in Kano not because Kano at that time needed them but to settle scores with Emir Ado Bayero and whittle down his influence. And that was how the emirates and the emirs collapsed like a pack of card.
*To be continued on Sunday.