The late Shehu Idris the18th Emir of Zazzau and chairman of Zazzau Emirate Council was born on February 20 1936 to the family of Malam Idrisu Auta who was sometimes called Auta Sambo and Hajiya Aminatu.
He however ascended the throne of Emir of Zazzau on February 8, 1975 following the demise of the 17th Emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Aminu. Idrisu Auta’s father was Sarkin Zazzau Muhammadu Sambo who reigned from 1879 to 1888 and Auta’s own grandfather was Sarkin Zazzau Abdulkarimi who reigned from 1834 to 1846.
The late Emir started his education at the Zaria Elementary School where he was taught by two Islamic teachers before he continued with his formal studies at the Zaria Elementary School from 1947 till 1950. Record has it that during this period, the young Idris lost his father when he was 12 years old, but he continued both his Qur’anic and formal education and enrolled in the Zaria Middle School in 1950 and later finished in 1955.
Thereafter, he proceeded to Katsina Training College where he was trained to become a teacher. Armed with the Grade 2 certificate (as it was known then) in 1958, he was engaged as a teacher first at a school in Hunkuyi and later in few other schools within Zaria before he left teaching to take up appointment as a private secretary to Sarkin Zazzau, Muhammadu Aminu in 1960. Shortly thereafter, he was again appointed as the secretary to the Zaria Native Authority Council in 1965. In 1973, he was bestowed the title of Dan Madamin Zaria and was appointed the district head of Zaria and Kewaye.
The late Emir who lived an admirably simple life as testified by people who had been close to him often testify of his humility. For instance, during the 44th anniversary of his coronation in 2019, the Emir who spoke to the admiration of his visitors said, “I would like to start by thanking Allah. When I assumed the mantle of leadership of this great Emirate, I was only 39. Today, I am celebrating my 44th anniversary on the throne. This is a rare privilege. For this, I want to seek your forgiveness for any wrong that I might have done to you.
“I would like to also use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to continue to give peace a chance. Without peace, Nigeria cannot achieve its developmental goals. Parents are also advised to continue to monitor the activities of their wards. Only descent and well-trained youths can drive the development of this great country.”
In February 2020 while marking the 45th anniversary of his throne, the jakadan maradin zazzau, Jamilu Dogarawa, who had maintained a close contact with the Emir said, “Forty five years in the life of a person is not to be taken for granted especially when it is spent as an inspired leader of a unique and complex miniature Nigeria like Zazzau Emirate. Historically, Zazzau Emirate serves as the fulcrum of Northern Nigeria as Kaduna being part of its territory served as headquarters of the region.
“The Emirate’s cosmopolitan nature coupled with its diversity in religion and culture provides evidence to the accommodating nature of the people. Until recently when intolerance and sectarian violence set in, Zazzau Emirate was a haven for all. This comes as a result of liberal traditional leadership provided by His Highness, Shehu Idris.
“His penchant for peaceful coexistence, pursuit of knowledge, accommodation and forgiveness enticed people from all walks of life to find solace in the Emirate.
“Even citizens of neighboring African countries migrate to Zaria with different missions of either to have shelter or seek for western and Islamic education at various levels.
“The Emirate has witnessed tremendous amounts of development in terms of education as the Emir is the landlord of various educational institutions that uplifted different personalities in Nigeria and the neighboring countries. I wish the Emir and the Emirate more blissful and prosperous years ahead,” he said.
Zazzau, also known as the Zaria Emirate, is a traditional state with headquarters in the city of Zaria and the late Emir would go down in history as the longest serving monarch of the Emirate with all the footprints he has left behind in the Emirate, state and in the country.