There are many towns and cities in northern Nigeria that are homes to many Nigerians and non- Nigerians alike, but Kano stands out for several historical, social and cultural reasons such that in that ancient city, residents say, is a mini-Nigeria with diverse nationalities. In this Special Report by BASHIR MOHAMMED in Kano, he unveils what makes the Centre of Commerce thick.
When the city Kano is mentioned, it rings a bell in one’s mind that indeed an ancient city of great treasure and affluence has been mentioned. Being a melting pot of business, Islamic scholarships and
politics, it also makes one to revere and admire its great status, a popularity still being cherished by many.
“The ancient city is much revered, adored and cherished to high heavens in the field of Islamic scholarship as it has produced a retinue of Islamic scholars like Sheikh Natsugunne, the father of the
late leader of the Qadiriyya Movement in West Africa, Shiekh Nasiru Kabara, Babban Malami na Madabo, Sheikh Sani Kafinga, Sheikh Sidi Mahammam, Sheikh Kamaluddeen Adamu, Sheikh Isah Waziri and a host of others,” said Abdullahi Kudu, a Kano resident of over 50 years.
“For their versatility, acumen and the mastery of the glorious Qur’an, Tafsir and Fiqhu, tens of thousands of Islamic scholars had been known to be trooping to their respective enclaves in search of scholarly guidance, knowing the inescapable fact that they are repository of knowledge which if adequately tapped, harnessed and utilised, would be used by the upcoming future generations for eternity.
“It was however the contention of many great scholars in the northern part of the country that the ancient city had been endowed with myriad of treasure-troves as the prayers of blessed servants of God were answered by their creator who made them to be pious, thus the reverence Kano is enjoying,” Kudu further stated.
In the parlance of trade and commerce, the ancient city has also been endowed with notable kingpins in the business of selling and buying, producing reputable business moguls like the late Alhaji AlhassanDantata, the great grandfather of the richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who created a sprawling Dynasty of unrivalled affluence which is still second to none in the northern part of the country, Nagoda and the host of others.
During the hey days of his revered business empire, the late Danbata became famous and much- pronounced, having carved an enviable niche in trading in groundnuts leading to the establishment of the famous Groundnut Pyramid, which served as a reputable launch-pad for exporting the commodity to Europe, United States and other continents of the world.
As a bastion of political energy
There is no disputing the fact that Kano is also an acknowledged bastion of intense political activities, and politicians like the late Malam Aminu Kano, Alhaji Abba Danmaikwaru, the duo known for being behind the establishment of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), the first civilian governor of Kano state, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Sabo Bakin Zuwa, also a one-time governor whose tenure was short-lived and a host of others.
The ancient city was also endowed with prominent personalities who had spectacularly served as ministers during the eventful reign of the late Premier of the Northern region like the late Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the late Alhaji Inuwa Wada, uncle to the late Nigeria’s Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, who had also served as a Defence minister in the First Republic, Sarkin Ban Kano and District head of Dambatta, Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan, who had also served as minister also in the First Republic, Alhaji Sule Gaya and a host of others.
On the parlance of traditional authority, Kano is known to have produced prominent emirs right from the time of Bagauda up to the present ruling Fulani Dynasty which gave birth to emirs like Ibrahim Dabo, Sarki Alhaji, the father of the late Ado Bayero and Sarkin Kano Murabus, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi I, Abbas, Abdullahi Maje Karofi, Alu and others who also gave birth to a generation of blue-blooded scions with the incumbent emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, serving as the 14th emir in the chronology of the ruling Fulani Dynasty.
Kano, as home for all
For its uniqueness and unrivalled reverence, wearing the toga of a city no one would ever love to leave for another, Kano is reputably acknowledged for accommodating settlers from all shades of religion and tribe which made the city to be popularly referred as a great citadel of Hausa tradition; for whatever one possess, there are others ahead of him in every sphere.’
As a city that had waxed stronger under the tutelage of 18 governors both of civilian and military extraction since the state was created,
it had recorded unprecedented level of achievements in almost all spheres of human endeavour producing two military Heads of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and Gen. Murtala Ramat Mohammed, respectively, and one can attest to the fact that no state in the northern part of the country is much revered and adored like Kano.
Those who have lived in the city for many decades bare their minds and even expressed their gratitude for being singularly honoured instead of being hated as it had been the case in other places where such olive branch and act of magnanimity is not extended.
Such people, according to investigation, are in Kano either on business or a mission of their choice and were able to establish their presence by building palatial mansions akin to the ones in Europe, America or any other notable foreign country with no iota of dissent or hatred against the progress they have made.
Report indicates that they even entice their brethren to relocate to the ancient city with the aim of achieving similar feats.
“Look at Sabon Gari, if you enter that place, hardly would you believe that you are in Kano because the influence of the northern hegemony is not there at all. People from different backgrounds in Nigeria fill the place. The business dimension of the place makes one to think that place is either Lagos or one of the southern cities in Nigeria,” says Alhaji Shehu Tafida Kwalwa.
Kano’s uniqueness in the northern part of the country has almost become a subject of debate and discourse among those who are conversant with this city’s meteoric rise to stardom since the time immemorial up to the present situation, leading notable pundits to conclude that the city’s prominence will continue to be debated even by generations yet unborn.
According to Kwalwa, Kano is unique because people with the fear of God had prayed for the city and God in His infinite wisdom and compassion had answered such prayers to the extent of protecting it against the machinations and conspiracy theories of evil doers.
He said: “I was born and bred in the ancient city of Kano and have lived here for quite a long time, watching the spectacular pace of revolutionary changes. I am now 80 and have remained hale and hearty. I have many friends of Igbo and Yoruba extractions and we have been living peacefully with one another.
“We trusted each other. I also tried to reciprocate such a laudable gesture by visiting their respective residences to pay them similar visits. You see, all that we were doing is the beauty of trust and peaceful co-existence.”
He further said: “In times of crises, either inspired by religious or ethnic sentiments, they come to stay with me up to the time the crisis is over. I can’t imagine why people are creating the impression that we don’t like settlers and non-indigene. Those creating such an implausible impression are only doing it to cause chaos and destabilise the peaceful atmosphere.
“Take a tour of all the nooks and crannies of the city; you would see many palatial mansions built by non-indigenes, most especially the Igbo. They quite appreciably enjoy staying in Kano. They won’t stay, transact businesses and build mansions if the environment they are living is hostile. Those creating such a smokescreen to cause disharmony should be mindful of what I am stressing. We are very
unique in Kano.”
It was also the contention of a prominent Igbo business tycoon who lives in Kano, but craves anonymity, that no place in the North accommodates every settler or non-indigene like Kano. He said it was fool hardy for one to insinuate that the people of Kano are not hospitable.
“It is ludicrous for one to adduce that Kano and its people are hostile. All my business associates are Hausa people. I used to supply my wares running into millions of Naira and they too did the same thing. They have never defaulted in paying back with the positive side of the coin. For anyone to ask me to go back to Igbo land at the moment would sound ridiculous.
“All my kids were born, bred schooled, and got married in Kano. I did not even ask any of them not to marry a Hausa man. I even said to them that look for a credible partner of your choice, I have no objection to such a choice. Our brothers and parents in the East are inundated with all sorts of baseless propaganda and lies telling them that a place like Kano is hostile to non-indigenes,” he said.
He added: “I can also attest to the fact that Kano is unique because leaders of different religious and ethnic communities are at an ample liberty to practice their religion without hindrance. Muslim clerics in the city and the traditional institutions are always admonishing youths to avoid all forms of violence in the name of religion. They always tell them that destroying one’s place of worship is an act of sacrilege.”
The consensus opinion among prominent Nigerians, especially Kano residents and others is that the uniqueness of Kano stemmed from the prayers of blessed God’s servants, whose total supplication to him has never been polluted by the dubious intents and that Kano’s rising popularity as a bastion of commerce, royalty, and Islamic scholarship will remain so till the end of time.