Prominent northern leaders under the aegis of Friends of Democracy have made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the creation of four new emirate councils by the Kano State government to avert the breakdown of law and order in the state.
They also called on Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to embark on more consultations on the matter so that the misgivings arising from his split of the Kano Emirate Council into five can be resolved.
In a press statement they issued yesterday, the elders’ group comprising Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, Mallam Bilya Bala, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Mr. Hubert Shaiyen, and Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, charged the Kano State House of Assembly to reconvene and do the needful by holding public hearings on the matter. The leaders expressed concern on the raging crisis in the state which emanated from the creation of new emirates by the Ganduje administration.
While calling on the people to remain calm, the Friends of Democracy urged President Buhari to use his “good offices to appeal to the authorities of Kano State to speedily engage on the reversal process. It should be noted that a minor eruption of violence from Kano can easily conflagrate the region and possibly, the country. People are angry at various levels and for various reasons, and some may use this as an opportunity to vent their anger. The federal government and, particularly V7, the Presidency should treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves.”
The elders said that by the development, Kano State has lost its status as one of only two states in Nigeria with one emirate or traditional council, noting that Sokoto, the seat of the Sultan of Sokoto, is the other state with a similar arrangement.
They further said that the new policy could also lead to a breakdown of social cohesion and unity in the state and that the emerging divisions on the issue could lead to the politicisation of traditional authority in Kano.
The group averred that violence might erupt due to popular opposition to the new emirate structure.
To them, such an important action by the governor should have been subjected to very wide consultations and deep consideration before it was taken.
The elders cautioned that precipitate action should be avoided in the governance of delicate issues in the state.
According to them, “the people should have been consulted on whether they wanted a restructuring of their emirate. We note for example that citizens in Wudil after a stakeholders’ meeting on Sunday have expressed their opposition to the restructuring policy and appealed to the state government to return them to the old Kano Emirate where they rightly belong.”
The Tofa-led group observed that the current arrangement is not backed by historical antecedents and is of no benefit to the affected communities.
It, however, called on the people of Kano to remain calm and reach out in a peaceful manner to the relevant authorities to reconsider the decisions taken.
The statement reads in part: “A court of competent jurisdiction has directed that the process of restructuration should discontinue until a decision is reached on the substantive case. All parties should comply with the rule of law and stay action while reflecting on the way forward.
“That the Kano State House of Assembly reconvenes immediately to trigger the legislative process of holding public hearings in the overarching interest of peace.
“That the Kano State government harken to the voices of moderation by closely working with the House of Assembly, traditional rulers and elders in having a rethink.”
On the process leadinn to the creation of the new emirates, the elders recalled that on Monday, 6th May, one Ibrahim Salisu, representing a civil society group had submitted a petition to the Kano State House of Assembly seeking for the decentralisation of the Kano Emirate.
“The petitioner demanded the upgrade of the traditional rulers of Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya to the status of first class emirs and the creation of additional emirates in Kano. The Assembly was recalled from recess and immediately reconvened by the Speaker. Between Monday and Wednesday, the Bill had been crafted, passed through three readings, adopted and signed into law by the governor.
“By the end of the week, new emirs were appointed and issued their letters and instruments of authority. By this action, Kano lost its status as one of only two states in Nigeria with one emirate or traditional council. Sokoto, the seat of the Sultan of Sokoto, is the other state with a similar arrangement.”
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