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Interview: The Caliphate Is Under Attack- Dr Umar Ardo


Dr Umar Ardo, a former lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA),and historian says the creation of four new emirate councils in Kano is simply an affront against the Caliphate Establishment being led by Governor Ganduje in close collaboration with certain disgruntled and misguided members of the Kano Royal family.


In an interview Dr Ardo says, “It is as much a result of the war within the aristocracy as it is about the animosity between Emir Muhammad Sanusi and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje”

The excerpt:


The government of Kano just created four new emirate council. What does this really mean for the original emirate council in the state?

ARDO: Well, it is not just about the Kano Emirate council it is also about the Caliphate establishment. Ganduje is simply taking on the Caliphate Establishment. This is a direct challenge onto the Fulbe people anywhere they are in the world because the Sokoto Caliphate Establishment is the identity and pride of the Fulbe race. If truly the problem is Emir Sanusi why can’t he simply initiate the process of deposing him and appoint someone else? This way the Emirate Institution remains intact. But to go beyond the Emir and destroy the institution is a diabolical move whose motives go far beyond the surface. Clearly Ganduje is after the destruction of the Caliphate Establishment using Emir Sanusi as a smokescreen.

The Sultan, all members of the Caliphate, the Muslim Ummah and the Fulbe people should not only condemn it but should stand up against it. The Emirates have already been created from the time of Shehu Othman Danfodio.

And if you now start balkanizing them, you are just reducing the prestige and effectiveness of the emirate system.

It is the Caliphate establishment that is the loser. If the emir of Kano today is having a problem with the governor, supposing, and the governor of Kano did what he is doing, after Emir Sanusi is gone, there is going to be a new emir. What happens? Or when the governor goes and a new government comes, what happens? So we are not thinking through things by doing what we are doing.

I am just sad. As a member of the caliphate establishment, I feel dishonored by the actions of the Kano State Government.

What are the chances that this law will be repealed by the government that replaces Abdullahi Ganduje’s?

ARDO: It is very possible because it has happened before. Abubakar Rimi did the same thing if you can remember during the second republic. When Sabo Barkinzo came in, Sabo Barkinzo dissolved it, creating animosity among members of the aristocracy. And I feel sad that some members of the aristocracy, some members of the traditional institution are themselves culpable because they are working along with the government for their selfish interest, destroying the very foundation of the traditional institution that’s their source of wealth and prestige.

They should be seen to be opposing what the government is doing, whether or not they benefit. But because of their selfish interest, they are supporting the position of the government. It has happened in Taraba.

In Taraba today, the Muri emirate has been cut down to Jalingo town. Even in Jalingo town, part of it is not in Muri Emirate. People just want to rewrite history because they happen to be in positions of authority today.

People who have no sense of history take actions that destroy the fabric of society. Such persons are what we Historians call ‘victims of Kisra Effect’. But at the end of the day such people rue the consequences of the diabolical actions.

Can Emir Sanusi be blamed in any way for what has befallen him. Has he repeated the mistakes of his own grandfather?

ARDO: Nothing has befallen Emir Sanusi; the effect is on the whole Caliphate system. Nothing has befallen the Emir. Even if he leaves office today he’ll be counted among the emirs of Kano. And Ganduje will be recorded as one who came to destroy what Sheick Uthman Bin Fodie established. As a Historian, I don’t envy his posterity. Besides, what’s happening is all political. The state government feels the emir is not overtly supportive of its position, the governor thinks that the emir is opposed to him that’s why he came up with this shenanigan.

I cannot blame the emir for anything. He is blameless. What did he do? What did the emir of Kano do?

What long term implications will the move by the state government have on the traditional institution across the north?

ARDO: It will give cue to some governors who, like Ganduje, have animosity against the Caliphate institution and the emirate system to also try to do the same in order to destroy the establishment.

Already, our people within the caliphate system are under attack from those outside the system. Yet, internal squabbles within the caliphate establishment is helping to destroy the system. I wrote my PhD on political conflict among the Fulbe aristocracy of the emirate system, so I know what is going on.

Some of the members of the caliphate establishment are themselves instigators of the problem because they are not on good terms with their cousins who are on the throne, forgetting that they are destroying the system of which they hope to one day benefit from.

They are in fact benefitting from it because you must not have to be an emir to benefit from the emirate establishment.

The logic of the government is that the new councils will bring development to people and villages where they have been created. Isn’t this true?

ARDO: I heard what the governor said that they will participate in agriculture, in security, etc. When did the governor come to know that they will participate in agriculture and security? This is no argument. The caliphate establishment has a clear hierarchy.

The Sultan is at the pinnacle of the hierarchy. Under him are the emirs. Under the emir, there is district head. Under the district head, there is a village head. Under the village head, there is a ward head.

In each community, there is a ward head. If you want to participate, you participate from the ward level. Or your participation will only happen when you have an emir on top of you directly? If you say we are going to take this argument, then we must create emirs in each and every ward in Kano state.

That is no argument whatsoever.  From the way and manner the whole thing was done you know there’s no meticulousness in it. The bill was introduced on Monday and passed first reading the same day. Went into second reading on Tuesday and passed on Wednesday and signed into law the same day. Within 48hrs a law was created! There was no debate, no public hearing, no nothing. We just have a new law on such a very critical and touchy issue. All because of the selfish political interests of one man! It’s not right.

If you needed any proof that the current leadership in Kano is highly irresponsible, this so-called law is the clincher! It is clearly a bad law. I disapprove of it and I call upon Governor Ganduje and Members of the Legislature to immediately repeal it with the same alacrity that they enacted it. Or let the court summarily quash the law as a bad law and quash the unlawful hurried process of enacting it.

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