Shekarau: The Making of Sardaunan Kano - Nigerian Leadership

8 November 2009

By Saka Raji Audu

It has happened again. This time around in the ancient city of Kano, the home state of the hard working, astute and dynamic people's governor, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, a prestigious honour and traditional title of Sardaunan Kano has just been conferred on the governor by the Kano Emirate Council under the leadership of His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero. The day was November 5, 2009 and this coincided with the 54th birthday of the Kano State Governor. The announcement of Shekarau as the Sardaunan Kano by the Emir of Kano was received with joy and enthusiasm by the good people of the State. This honour, which is in recognition and appreciation of the tremendous achievements of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, is the first ever conferred on any body in Kano State.

It should be stated here that after the demise of the late Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and the Premier of the Northern region, there have been some pockets of Sardauna title holders in the northern part of Nigeria. But the ancient city has never had one. It is therefore a big joy that Kano has now produced her first Sardauna in the person of the right honourable Malam Doctor Ibrahim Shekarau, the people's governor of Kano State. Indeed, this is not the first time Shekarau has been conferred with a traditional title. In addition to numerous honours and awards he has received across the country and beyond, Shekarau is the "Onwa Na-Etiri Oha I" of Eha- Alimoi conferred on him by the traditional ruler of Ihalumono, Nsukka local government of Enugu state, Barr. Igwe Charless Abagwo. He is also the "Atun nuse" of Ede land in Oshogbo, Osun state.

With his latest honour as the Sardaunan Kano, Shekarau is now an epitome of WAZOBIA- an acronym that signifies and upholds the unity and diversity of Nigeria. Perhaps, and Perhaps I said, I do not think and I have not heard any politician from the north who has achieved this rare feat. Even our political fathers who fought for the attainment of our independence such as the late Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Michael Okpara, Malam Aminu Kano, etc were individually honoured by their respective regions. I therefore, stand to be corrected if any of the above mentioned personalities had any other traditional title conferred on him apart from the one  conferred on him in his region. Even the late Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe who was born and bread at Zungeru in Niger State was not conferred any title from that place.

Some of the titles conferred on some of these political leaders outside their regions were received from the British colony. This indicated the sectional or tribal badge of Nigeria and Nigerians during those critical periods. With what seems as a gradual acceptance of an ethnic group to honour and recognize others irrespective of tribal differences, such development is a pointer to a very bright future of the country. However, it does not matter what influences such recognition, because if this type of understanding among the different ethnic groups had existed in the past, the progress and development of Nigeria would have been faster than where we are today. This is what I think makes the traditional titles conferred on Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau by the people of Nsukka in Enugu, Ede land in Oshogbo and Kano as highly spectacular and in the right direction. Perhaps, I should also think that both the conferrers and conferee of these traditional titles might not in any way conscious of these significant and historic land mark in favour of Shekarau and the entire people of Nigeria.

Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau has now become a reference point of a detribalized Nigeria. A Nigeria, in which a Yoruba or Ibo man in Kano, will assume state responsibility without considering where he or she comes from and at the same time, forgetting that he or she is not from that state. This is a very good impression that the Sardaunan Kano, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau has already created in his administration. It is this type of political assimilation and association that should be imbibed by leaders.

According to the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, he was very precise when he said: "Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religious who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…”

We can now see why Shekarau, as a detribalized leader, does not discriminate and people of different races, tribes and religion have been living peacefully in the state, at least for the past five years. As a result of Shekarau's sterling qualities in traditional leadership; civil service, development strategy, religious issues, consolidation of community and high quality values and symbols of leadership as espoused by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, the Kano Emirate Council saw him as most suitable to assume the traditional title of Sardaunan Kano. With this development, we have no doubt that Shekarau would continue to exhibit the principle with which the late Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Sardauna of Sokoto is known for, as well as be of good ambassador of the Kano Emirate Council and her people. 

Prior to the conferment of Sardaunan Kano on the governor of Kano State by Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero, Shekarau had also received many awards across the country, which include the Excellence and Leadership Award as Governor of the Year on Grassroots Development by the Sardauna Magazine, most Pensioners Friendly Governor by the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Special Gold Medal Award for Excellence and Good Governance by Africa Independent Television (AIT), the Best Performing Northern Governor and Labour Friendly, Governor Shekarau also received an Honourary Doctorate Degree on Applied Sciences and Management by the University of Port –O- Novo, Benin Republic. 

Other awards received by Governor Shekarau are an honourary member of the Alumni Association of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, bestowed on him by the National President of the association, a Golden Award as the Best Governor on Rural Health Care Delivery by the Security Watch, an Award of Excellence as the Best Performing Governor in the North by the Northern Youth Awareness Forum of Nigeria (NYAFON), Award of Excellence in Governance and Defender of Nigeria's Democracy from the Forum of National Chairmen of Political Parties in Nigeria, award of Excellence from the Association of Promoting Nigerian Languages and Culture. He has also been recognized by the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) for achieving IT milestone development, implementation development of Kano IT Policy, Kano ICT Park and IT Resources Centres, award for Articulated and Inspiring Servant-Leadership Style from the Kano State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KACCIMA). He is a Honourary Fellow of Advertising by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria in recognition of his worthy contributions to the growth and development of the profession in Nigeria.

These are not all. Malam (Dr) Shekarau also received a Honourary Doctorate Degree in Education by the International University College of Technology, Malaysia during its 6th convocation ceremony. Of recent, the governor received a merit award of excellence from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna state council. The governor's home state capped it all by his recent traditional title of 'Sardaunan Kano' from the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero. 

It is important to state here that all these awards, recognitions and conferment are clear evidence that Governor Shekarau of Kano state has really worked hard for the people and the society. No matter what his adversaries and arm-chair critics would always like to say, this type of recognition is the only way we can encourage others to excel in their leadership career. If we fail to appreciate hard work and committed leaders, certainly we cannot apportion blame on those who have failed in their leadership responsibilities. This is why we must learn to say kudos to whoever has done something worth commending, no matter our sentiment. It is through this habit that our society can develop as against throwing envious and sadistic stone at people for no just cause other than envy, jealousy and political mischief.

As people await the formal ceremony for the conferment of the first ever Sardaunan Kano slated some days after the forthcoming Sallah, it is our fervent prayer that God continues to see him through in all his endeavours.

Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email:




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