Weekly Trust - - News - Abubakar Auwal, Sokoto

It ap­pears that a bat­tle-line has been drawn be­tween long-time friends - Bar­ris­ter Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir and Al­haji Has­san Dan­baba, over the ti­tle of Marafa in Sokoto State. The ti­tle be­came va­cant with the demise of Al­haji Umaru Aliyu Shinkafi, who had been the for decades. Shinkafi bagged the ti­tle af­ter the death of Marafa Dan­baba, the fa­ther of Has­san, and as both of them were in-laws to the late Premier of North­ern Nige­ria and Sar­dauna of Sokoto, Sir Ah­madu Bello, the gen­eral per­cep­tion was that the ti­tle was re­served for only those mar­ried to Sar­dauna’s daugh­ters.

Ab­dulka­dir, who is the Zonal Vice Chair­man of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) in charge of North­West zone, cur­rently holds the ti­tle of Ma­gatakarda Babba which was con­ferred on him by the late Sul­tan Muham­madu Mac­cido when he was the Sec­re­tary to the Sokoto Emi­rate Coun­cil. He was also a Com­mis­sioner of Jus­tice dur­ing Gov­er­nor Aliyu Ma­gatakarda Wa­makko’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and later Min­is­ter of Youth and So­cial De­vel­op­ment dur­ing Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

On the other hand, Has­san is a grand­son of the late Premier of North­ern Nige­ria. His mother A’ishat was the sec­ond daughter of the late Sar­dauna. His fa­ther, Marafa, was said to be the pi­o­neer holder of the ti­tle. Has­san cur­rently holds the ti­tle of Ma­ga­jin Gari and is one of the se­nior coun­selors of the Sul­tan as well as one of the king­mak­ers.

Their on­go­ing bat­tle over the ti­tle came to the fore when the re­cent let­ter al­legedly writ­ten by Has­san and ad­dressed to Gov­er­nor Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal, was leaked. In the let­ter, Has­san, a child­hood friend of Ab­dulka­dir and said to have been brought up in the same com­pound, had op­posed the ti­tle of Marafa go­ing to Inuwa on the grounds of his lin­eage.

The let­ter al­legedly read in part, “Your Ex­cel­lency, I write this let­ter be­cause I am con­fi­dent that you were elected by the peo­ple of Sokoto to bring about fur­ther pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment in the state, and not to break up any­one’s house. While it is true that you may have the power, as the gov­er­nor of Sokoto State, for now to do what­ever you wish to do in Sokoto; you can pro­mote who­ever you want to pro­mote to what­ever level, but it is also true that you can­not change or dis­tort his­tory. It is my hope that you will see rea­son to re­flect on the lega­cies left be­hind by Ah­madu Dan­baba and Umaru Shinkafi, the first two hold­ers of the ti­tle.”

Has­san Dan­baba, said he ini­tially be­lieved that the sto­ries about the choice of Ab­dulka­dir for the ti­tle was hearsay, un­til he spoke to cou­ple of very im­por­tant per­son­al­i­ties who con­firmed it. How­ever, shortly af­ter the let­ter leaked, it gen­er­ated re­ac­tions from some res­i­dents of Sokoto me­trop­o­lis, es­pe­cially those fa­mil­iar with the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the duo.

One, who is close to both par­ties, spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that as teenagers Inuwa and Has­san were cher­ished as mod­els of friend­ship, even though Inuwa is much older than Has­san. He how­ever ad­vised them to tread with cau­tion, stress­ing that “there is noth­ing worth fight­ing for in this life.”

The ti­tle of Marafa, ac­cord­ing to the in­cum­bent Emir of Zuru, Al­haji Sani Sami in his book ti­tled “Tra­di­tional Ti­tles in North­ern Nige­ria (2007: Page 62)”came af­ter the Sokoto Ji­had. “This is why it is con­sid­ered to orig­i­nate from Sokoto,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the book, “Marafa is a district head in the city where the Emir or Sul­tan re­sides and the Emir could as­sign some other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to him…It is one of the ti­tles con­ferred on per­sons of non-royal blood.”

Al­haji Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir

Al­haji Has­san Dan­baba

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