By Simon Musa Reef
The recent appointment of Alhaji Nuhu Bamalli as the new emir of Zazzau by Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna on Wednesday finally laid to rest weeks of assumptions and guesswork that persisted since the death of the former emir, Dr Shehu Idris.
Despite the increasing swing of the rumour mills that fueled doubts over possible emergence of a victorious candidate, early signs that the selection manner may not be devoid of dispute appeared too early in the day after an initial report by the kingmakers was turned down by the state government.
Less than 48 hours after the report was rejected, whispers over the possible implications of the denunciation of the report threw up scenarios that postponed hope held by many that the search for Alhaji Idris’ successor may come to end quickly. The controversy raged for many more hours as tension rose. Even when the governor said he was reading books on the matter, many wondered why he was resorting to books when all he needed to do was to approve one of the three candidates recommended for the vacant stool.
News soon filtered out that certain candidates for the vacant Zazzau throne had not been included in the initial list screened by the kingmakers. A new screening exercise was thus hurriedly conducted at the instance of the Kaduna Government, with the name of Alhaji Bamalli included. The rest, as they say, is now history.
It is very clear that the emergence of the former diplomat, technocrat and businessman as the new emir is set to serve as a good omen for not only the Zazzau people, but Kaduna state and Nigeria. As someone who is well grounded in Islamic and traditions of his people, the new emir is expected to bring to bear his intellectual prowess and business intelligence garnered over the years to inspire his subjects for development.
Until his appointment by the state governor, the new emir held the title of ‘Magajin Garin Zazzau’, the second most prominent princely title of the emirate. The newly appointed monarch has broken the record of being the first Emir from the Mallawa Ruling House in the last 100 years, after the death of his grandfather, Emir Dan Sidi, in 1920.
There has been flood of felicitations from President Muhammadu Buhari, national political heavyweights, diplomatic community, among others, over the emergence of the new emir. Though Alhaji Bamalli’s victory was foretold before the announcement, it is heartwarming to note that some of candidates who contested for the vacant stool have congratulated him and urged their supporters to cooperate with the new royal father. Unlike in some climes where such an exercise normally turns into animosity and sometimes bloodshed, the processes leading to the selection of Idris’ successor could have attracted some qualms, but was devoid of bitter acrimony.
A brief surmise on the life of Alhaji Bamalli is a clear demonstration that he is eminently qualified to step into the shoes of his predecessor. Born in 1966, the new emir was at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he read Law and completed his studies in 1989. He would later obtain a master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same school in 2002.
The new monarch, who is a Senior Chevening Fellow, also bagged a post-graduate diploma in Management from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 1998. He also obtained a fellowship on conflict resolution at the University of York (UK) in 2009, before proceeding on to acquire another diploma in Organisational Leadership from Oxford University, UK in 2015.
Apart from being an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where he obtained Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in 2011, the newly appointed royal father possesses 26 years of cognate experience in Banking, Public Sector, Telecommunications and Manufacturing. The new monarch was also Nigeria’s immediate past Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Additionally, Bamalli served as a Commissioner of Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission between 2015 and 2017. He also served as the acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer & ED Corporate Services at the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Plc between November 2011 and 2014.
In a time when others are canvassing for constitutional roles for traditional rulers, the issues that trailed the selection methods for the new emir of Zazzau were not strange. The intrigues associated with the selection for a new monarch was never peculiar to that of Alhaji Bamalli. Politicians may have seized an opportunity as allowed by the country’s constitution, such maneuvers involved in the selection of new monarchs by politicians are seen as normal. As long as governors decide who emerges victorious in a contest to fill the vacant royal stools, so long will such scheming persists.
It is noteworthy that since the traditional institution is far from being democratized, and to the extent that only kingmakers are involved in the selection process, Nigerians should always be accustomed with the hues and cries trailing the selection of new monarchs.
As long as the choice of monarchs are reliant on final approvals by political leaders, cries of nepotism will always rend the air. Until the appointments of traditional rulers are removed from the control of politicians, and kingmakers made answerable to people in emirates and chiefdoms, complaints over the selection processes will never end.
For Governor el-Rufai whose penchant for courting controversies has become unprecedented, his traducers have cashed in to allege that he had his own candidate already waiting on the wings. With a prince from the Mallawa House now the emir, it is needless to engage in squabbling over his choice. What is most needful now is for the new monarch to engage in efforts that will assist him to continue with the inspiring legacies of his predecessor whose famed love for peace and development was unalterable.
Alhaji Bamalli’s credentials gives him an added advantage to take the emirate to new heights, as he possesses all the qualities to continue with the admirable programmes of his predecessor, including broadening the frontiers of development for his subjects.
As Kaduna citizens, including yours sincerely, share in the joy in the appointment of Alhaji Bamalli as the 19th Emir of Zazzau, it is essential to remind Governor el-Rufai that after the abduction and subsequent gruesome murder of the Agwom Adara, Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima (JP), on October 19, 2018, his throne still remains vacant and the Adara chiefdom Balkanized to pave way for the creation of Kajuru Emirate.
As governor of Kaduna state who swore to remain just and fair to all citizens of the state, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political leanings, the refusal by the state government to appoint a new monarch for the Adara people is a gross violation of their rights. As long as the Adara people remain without a paramount ruler, so long will el-Rufai’s claims for justice remain a verbal exercise that is devoid of sincerity. Democracy is all about the rights of the people and the enthronement of a system that ensures justice for all sides. In the case of Adara people, Governor el-Rufai has been found grossly wanting. It is not too late for him to turn the wheels of justice to correct the painful iniquity of his government. The joy of Zazzau people in having a new emir should not be allowed to continue being an agonizing reminder of the grief of the Adara people.