Daily Trust

Emir Shehu Idris of Zaz­zau: Exit of a gen­tle­man peace­maker

- From Isa Sa’idu, Zaria Nigeria News · Zaria · Kano · Kano · Plateau State · Kaduna · Nigeria · Enugu · Katsina State · Allah, Nigeria · Kaduna State · University of Nigeria · Nsukka

Af­ter clock­ing 45 years on the throne, an oc­ca­sion cel­e­brated on Fe­bru­ary 8, 2020, Emir Shehu Idris of Zaz­zau has passed on as the long­est-serv­ing emir of the emirate. The highly revered emir is a man of many firsts, as re­ports.

As if in­spired by a pre­mo­ni­tion of his death, Al­haji Shehu Idris, on his 45th an­niver­sary as the 18th Emir of Zaz­zau, ear­lier this year, de­liv­ered an emo­tion-laden speech pray­ing Al­lah, res­i­dents and other Nige­ri­ans to for­give all his short­com­ings. He ex­plained that it was time for him to seek for­give­ness as the end may be near.

Seven months af­ter, the emir passed away on Sun­day, Septem­ber 20, 2020.

Tur­baned Emir of Zaz­zau on Fe­bru­ary 8, 1975, at 39 he was the youngest prince ever to as­cend the ex­alted throne.

The emir’s pleas at his 45th an­niver­sary made lis­ten­ers sober. The whole at­mos­phere be­came maudlin.

“We have all for­given you. May you live long in good health,” the crowd thun­dered in re­sponse to his pleas.

Dur­ing his reign, one of the things the late emir did was to raise ex­po­nen­tially the num­ber of dis­trict heads in the emirate, which ac­cord­ing to the Uban­do­man Gabas of Zaz­zau, Al­haji Aminu Ab­dulka­reem Aminu, was done to ac­com­mo­date and give a sense of be­long­ing to more princes.

prom­i­nent north­ern

Among mon­archs

Aside late Emir of Kano, Al­haji Ado Bayero, late Al­haji Idris was ar­guably one of the most re­spected and revered emirs in the coun­try.

The late emir served in many peace mis­sions in­clud­ing the eth­nore­li­gious crises that be­dev­illed Plateau State in the early 2000s. He is the chair­man of the Kaduna State Coun­cil of Chiefs and the Chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity of Nige­ria Nsukka, Enugu state.

Au­tan Sambo

Al­haji Idris was born to the fam­ily of Malam Idrisu Auta on Fe­bru­ary 20, 1936. The alias of the monarch’s fa­ther was Au­tan Sambo and this is one of the fa­mous songs of praises of the emir, Dan Idrisu Au­tan Sambo.

Al­haji Idris’s fa­ther, Malam Idrisu Au­tan Sambo, died when the emir was only 12 years old.

Ac­cord­ing to the emir’s brief mem­oir, Al­haji Idris be­gan his ed­u­ca­tion at the lo­cal Is­lamic school or makaran­tar allo in Hausa. He later en­rolled in the Zaria El­e­men­tary School be­tween 1947 and 1950. Be­tween 1950 and 1955, the emir had his Mid­dle School ed­u­ca­tion. He then at­tended Katsina Train­ing Col­lege and this qual­i­fied him to be­come a teacher.

The monarch started his teach­ing ca­reer in 1958 at Hunkuyi, now the head­quar­ters of Ku­dan Lo­cal Govern­ment Area of Kaduna State. Later in 1960, Al­haji Idris was ap­pointed the pri­vate sec­re­tary to the then emir, Al­haji Muham­mad Aminu, who ruled for 16 years be­tween 1959 and 1975.

Af­ter serv­ing in dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties in the Zaz­zau palace and the then Na­tive Author­ity, in 1973, Al­haji Idris was tur­baned as Dan Madamin Zaz­zau and the Dis­trict Head of Zaria-Ke­waye.

Upon the death of Emir Muham­madu Aminu, he was suc­ceeded by Al­haji Shehu Idris from the Katsi­nawa dy­nasty of the Zaz­zau Emirate, one of the four rul­ing dy­nas­ties of Zaria, the oth­ers be­ing the Bare-bare, Mallawa and Sul­lubawa.

The Emir’s many firsts

The death of Al­haji Idris has opened a new chap­ter in the his­tory of the Zaz­zau Emirate.

The late emir has many firsts to his credit. He sets the record of be­ing the first emir to as­sume the throne at the age of 39. With his 45th an­niver­sary on Fe­bru­ary 8, he be­came the first per­son to serve for that long as emir in the his­tory of the emirate.

Be­fore then, Sarkin Zaz­zau Ja­faru had sat on the throne for 22 years be­tween 1937 and 1959.

Find­ings showed that late Idris worked with 19 gov­er­nors of Kaduna State. He is also the first to rise through the ranks of the tra­di­tional hi­er­ar­chy of Zaz­zau emirate to be­come the emir.

Born a leader

Ac­cord­ing to Wam­ban Zaz­zau, Al­haji Ab­dulka­reem Aminu, events that fol­lowed the birth of Al­haji Idris in­di­cated that a leader was born.

“On the day His High­ness was born, an army of bees took over the house buzzing ev­ery­where. Sim­i­larly, as he grew up, peo­ple gath­ered around him any­where he stayed. His sim­plic­ity and hu­mil­ity and other at­tributes in­di­cated that he was born a leader be­fore he even emerged as the emir.

“These at­tributes were still with His

High­ness un­til his demise. He is hon­est. He has a good sense of judg­ment. One can un­der­stand this when a case is brought be­fore him. The way he han­dles dis­putes is al­ways amaz­ing to us,” he said.

Al­haji Aminu added: “Those of us that are part of the Zaz­zau royal fam­ily are in­deed happy with this an­niver­sary. In the his­tory of the emirate, His High­ness is the first emir to serve for 45 years. Al­lah has blessed him with long life. We are in­deed sad­dened by his demise at this pe­riod that Nige­ria needs him most.

“Again, the emir is al­ways af­ter the wel­fare of his sub­jects. Not only that, but the emir is also a peace­maker. He as­sists the poor, the rich and the royal. There­fore, he is not only the Emir of Zaz­zau, but his hu­man­i­tar­ian and peace­mak­ing ac­tiv­i­ties spread across nooks and cran­nies of Nige­ria.”

Al­haji Aminu ad­vised Nige­ri­ans to em­u­late the good virtues of the emir by lov­ing one an­other.

Rulers of dy­nas­ties

The his­tory of Zaz­zau Emirate re­vealed that each of the four dy­nas­ties of the Zaz­zau Emirate has pro­duced emirs at dif­fer­ent times.

For in­stance, the Mallawa dy­nasty had pro­duced four emirs, Malam Musa, Malam Ab­dulka­dir Dan Musa, Malam Abubakar Dan Musa and Malam Alu Dan Sidi.

The Bare-bare dy­nasty has nine. They in­clude Malam Ya­musa, Malam Ham­mada Dan Ya­musa, Malam Mam­man Sani Dan Ya­musa, Malam Ab­dul­lahi Dan Ham­mada, Malam Yero Dan Ab­dul­lahi, Malam Kwasau Dan Ab­dul­lahi, Malam Dal­hatu Dan Yero, Malam Ibrahim Dan Kwasau and Malam Ja­faru Dan Isiyaku.

The Katsi­nawa dy­nasty pro­duced four emirs. They are Malam Ab­dulka­rim, Malam Sambo Dan Ab­dulka­rim, Malam Muham­madu Aminu and Al­haji Shehu Idris.

The Sul­lubawa dy­nasty has pro­duced only one emir. He is Sarkin Zaz­zau Malam Ab­dul­salam.

Zaz­zau Emirate has a his­tory span­ning more than 1,000 years. How­ever, the Ji­had of Sheikh Us­manu dan Fo­dio marked a new be­gin­ning for the emirate.

Be­fore the cre­ation of chief­doms in the south­ern part of Kaduna by the Ah­mad Makarfi ad­min­is­tra­tion, most of the area was un­der the Zaz­zau Emirate.

Up to to­day, most parts of Zone I, North­ern Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict, ex­cept Lere, are un­der the Zaz­zau Emirate.

In the same vein, most parts of Kaduna Cen­tral, Zone-II, are un­der the emirate ex­cept for Birnin Gwari.

The sad coun­te­nance of the res­i­dents of Zaria, es­pe­cially those from the royal fam­i­lies, was in­fec­tious yes­ter­day. The prayers on the lips of most peo­ple were for Al­lah to for­give the man they tagged “peace-maker and gen­tle­man.”

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