President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who was in the country at the weekend to spend the Sallah celebration with President Muhammadu Buhari in katsina, was also in Kano where he was treated to an unforgettable experience. BASHIR MOHAMMED reports.
The glamour of Kano monarchy
At the time the late Emir of Kano, Dr Ado Bayero, was at the height of his power as a monarch leading one of the most revered citadels of influence in contemporary history, no one ever doubted the fact that his stint in the corridors of power made the Kano monarchy unique in traditional authority.
The late monarch was such a person whose appearance in traditional regalia was widely acknowledged as a great manifestation of courage and charisma. He inherited the traits from his father, the late Sarkin Kano Alhaji and grandfather, Sarkin Kano Abbas who, during their lifetimes, added considerable tonic to the much-adored Kano monarchy.
By his disposition, the late emir was widely touted as a monarchs’ monarch whose appearance at every gathering stole the show to the dismay of those who envied the reverence accorded him by his admirers. Having wielded such considerable influence on almost over 50 district heads cutting across all the 44 local government areas of the state, he had an eventful stint with 16 governors both of the civilians and military backgrounds. He also paid Sallah homages to them on annual basis followed by the usual horses’ processions to notable historical sites in addition toHawan Daushe and staging the usual colourful durbar
His flair for horse riding in company of retinue of traditional title holders, who include district heads, village heads, ward heads and palace guards and traditional entertainers, strolling within the nooks and crannies of the ancient city of Kano elicited considerable interest and enthusiasm from men, women and children, who trooped out of their homes to witness how he traversed the city with his long entourage.
It is an indisputable fact that the late emir played host to so many world leaders and ambassadors of foreign countries to colourful durbars at his palace, an age-long tradition he had maintained throughout his 51 year on the throne, a feat considered unprecedented in the history of Kano.
His death, according to prominent royal historians, undoubtedly created a vacuum, considering the dismal turn of events that unfolded as a result of his exit.
With the installation of Muhammadu Sanusi II, succor came the way of those who entertained fear that the influence of Kano monarchy had disappeared with the death of the former emir.
Sanusi II upheld the tradition
Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, however, appeared to have revived what was seen and revered as Bayero’s lost values and avowed tradition, paying credence to hosting colourful durbars for visiting leaders and representatives of foreign countries and personal emissaries who regard Kano as a bastion of traditional authority, of which admirers of the Hausa tradition would love to catch a glimpse of it.
He had demonstrated such a remarkable attribute when he hosted the Guinean leader, Alpha Conde, to a colourful durbar described by many observers as an exceptional epoch never to be forgotten in the history of the state.
The durbar had indeed ignited a lot of debates and extensive media spotlight conducted at a time when the monarchy under Sanusi’s leadership was mired in psychological war of attrition in the run up to the Eid-el-Kabir Sallah festivity.
Conde and notable members of the diplomatic corps were penultimate Monday hosted to a special durbar as part of activities marking the Eid-el- Kabir Sallah festivity.
Sanusi II ushered in the Guinean leader who arrived to witness how Sallah is celebrated in Kano with traditional horse riders displaying their respective skills, paying homage to the emir by district heads who greet the monarch in the presence of the eminent guests.
The Hawan Daushe Sallah festivity has been in practice for almost a century as it is always greeted with pomp and pageantry such that tens of thousands of visitors from all walks of life troop into the ancient city in order to witness what is widely touted as the most colourful event that makes Kano unique in traditional values.
Conde and other eminent dignitaries were comfortably seated in the one-storey building strategically over-looking the durbar ground for them to catch a glimpse of the horse riders who were at hand to entertain the visiting Guinean leader and other guests. Expectedly, security was water-tight right from the Government House to the palace in order to avert any unpleasant situation.
On his part, Emir Sanusi II, who dressed in a colourful and enticing regalia with the twin swords in his hands and gently seated on a white camel, drove through thorough-fares leading to adjoining areas of the palace down to Babban Daki-home of his mother in order to pay homage to her, as it is traditionally observed during Sallah celebrations.
The security personnel drafted to the scene of the durbar to engender peace and maintain law and order made painstaking efforts in providing order, knowing that some youths may wish to take undue advantage of the durbar to commit unwholesome acts that may create embarrassment for the state government and the entire people of Kano.
Effects of emirate crisis on event
However, the creation of four additional emirates by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, noticeably reduced the usual pomp and pageantry associated with it, considering the number of district heads that rode on horses back. This is because their counterparts in the four newly created emirates were directed to stay and perform the Salah festivity in their respective domains.
Despite that, durbar fans who had watched with keen interest how the event was hosted reacted in a mixed fashion with many describing it as a great success to Emir Sanusi II who in the face of his current travails summoned the gut to prove his mettle with his loyal district heads standing four squares behind him.
In the words of Alhaji Shehu Indabawa who bared his mind to Blueprint from the durbar ground, “Sanusi II deserves all the accolades by demonstrating to the public that he can absorb tension and courageously weather the storm in the face of all odds.” He stressed that it would not be easy for one to stage such a historic durbar with the once-vibrant Kano monarchy fragmented into five different entities.
According to him, Emir Sanusi has cogent reason to be grateful to God, having been commanding the unalloyed support and cooperation of some powerful district heads including some notable kingmakers who registered their presence during the ceremony to the consternation of those who had been craving for his failure.
He said, “Even though the much-revered Kano monarchy is on a serious transition, despite the fragmentation of the emirate into five, Sanusi still commands considerable influence and authority among his die-hard loyalists and staunch admirers.” He said nothing would stand as a clog in the wheel of Kano’s progress.
It was however, the contention of Malam Garba Shayi of Sallari quarters in Kano that the influence of Emir Sanusi had been reduced to naught as a result of the fragmentation of the Kano Emirate Council into pieces. He posited that the durbar staged in honour of President Conde would have been more colourful if the emirate council remained intact.
The most interesting aspect of the durbar is, however, how it was conducted peacefully without even a fly being hurt through violence as it happened last year.