With news that Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano, passed away in the early hours of Friday the 6th of June 2014, the country lost a great leader and an even greater man. As we mourn his passing at the ripe old age of 83, we also reflect on the impact he made in his position as the Emir of Kano. He was, without doubt, one of the most successful and respected figures in the country.
As a leader and a monarch, he was very much respected and the human qualities and unassuming way in which he conducted himself set him apart as a leadership role model for the entire country. Alhaji Ado Bayero was a point of pride and distinction for his subjects and many Nigerians who appreciated his intelligence, humility and the wisdom which he imparted throughout his reign. He was a person who believed strongly in freedom and fairness and he stood for those values with tenacity and fortitude his whole life. He always rose above the struggles that so often drag us into the doldrums of loathing, hostility and gloom. He stood above all that.
It is fitting that just last year the late Emir of Kano celebrated his Golden Jubilee on the thrown. That milestone gave his subjects and well-meaning Nigerians the opportunity to show him appreciation and it provided an avenue for his memory to be etched and carried into the future. That milestone gave those of us who were not present during his ascension to the throne an opportunity to learn more about the man behind the monarchy.
51 years ago, when the young Mallam Ado Bayero was summoned back to Nigeria while on a French course in France, little did he know the mammoth role that destiny would bestow on him. Upon the passing of Emir Muhammadu Inuwa, his uncle, Alhaji Ado Bayero was appointed the new Emir of Kano.
Mallam Ado Bayero was born on the 15th June 1930 at the time that his father, Abdullahi Bayero, had been on the throne for four years. Mallam Ado was the eleventh child of his father and the second of three born to his mother, Hajiya Hasiya.
He trained vigorously in religious studies and latter enrolled in contemporary school. After graduating in 1947, he then took up employment with the British Bank for West Africa, now the First Bank of Nigeria.
Alhaji Ado Bayero left the bank to begin his career with the Kano Native Authority in 1949. While working for the Native Authority, he attended a number of clerical and administrative courses in Nigeria and abroad. In 1952 he attended the Clerical Training College, Zaria. He then took a course on Local Government in the United Kingdom. In 1953 he became the Chief Clerk of the Kano Town Council. He contested and won the election to the Northern Regional House of Assembly in Kaduna on the ticket of the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) in 1954, and he made his inaugural speech in the House on 3rd. March 1955. In April 1957 Ado Bayero resigned his seat in the House to take up an appointment as the Police Chief of the Kano Native Administration Police. He was appointed Nigeria’s Ambassador to Senegal in late 1962. With such a glittering career in his past, the Emir was well poised for the role in which his popularity was unassailable; the role that he has upheld for 51 strong years before his passing.
He was an Emir who was widely recognized as a true patriot and a man of great humility and justice. In reflection of those qualities he had, Alhaji Ado Bayero, had often been called to play numerous mediating roles all over the country. His Golden Jubilee last year was not only a celebration of his throne, but it was an affirmation of his place as a national leader. People of different tribes all over Nigeria trooped into Kano last year to show their admiration for him and their respect for the job that he had done.
During last years’ Golden Jubilee celebrations, all reservations over the security challenges that plagued the north and even targeted the Emir himself were drowned out by the people’s enthusiasm to celebrate such a deserving leader. In the lead up to the Jubilee, enormous crowds headed towards Kano, residents packed the streets in order to get a glimpse of their Monarch. Witnesses to the emerging crowds spoke of well-wishers of all ages who seemed genuinely moved by that milestone in their history.
That he ruled over the exceptional and complex people of Kano for 51 years, given the cocktail of challenges and turbulence this country has gone through, while maintaining the respect and love of his subjects, was a testimony to the great Emir that he was. The people of Kano have, from time, proven themselves to be a resilient, independent, entrepreneurial, creative, hardworking and ingenious people. They have never opted for second best and have never been ones to suffer fools gladly. I know this because I see it in my daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and one side of my father’s family, who are all proudly from Kano.
With the likes of the late, great Mallam Aminu Kano, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, Alhaji Maitama Yusuf, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, Sheikh Jaafar, amongst so many other great Kanawa, Kano people have always been ready to stand up for what they believe in and reject what they don’t. And even though, their hospitality, warmth and sense of tradition has always provided a balance to their spunk in nature, had the Emir not ruled over them with the honor and grace he has, they would not have celebrated him in the way they did last year or mourn him in the way they do so now. Through this and by any accounting, his reign and his life have been successful.
As we head into an uncertain future as a nation, one hopes that the qualities and legacies of leaders such as the Emir of Kano should be imbibed by all. May we, as citizens, learn from people like the Emir, behave in the manner the Emir did and lead in the way the Emir showed us. His leadership and the leadership of others like him revive hope.
As the good people of Kano celebrate and salute the life of their leader and father and mourn for the loss of a man who has truly proven himself, many of us will join them in prayers and sorrow.
To all who loved and respected him – his subjects, staff, neighbors, colleagues, admirers, friends and family, especially my step mother, Hajia Asiya Musa Musawa (Nee Ado Bayero), my little brother Mohammed Musawa and my cousins Zainab Sanusi and Darman Sanusi – I say:“MAY THE ALMIGHTY REWARD YOU AND HELP YOU TO APPLY ENDURANCE AND APPRECIATION IN THIS DIFFICULT TIME…
…INDEED, OUR SPIRIT, POSSESSIONS AND FAMILIES ARE MAGNIFICENT GIFTS WHICH GOD HAS LOANED US FOR A PERIOD AND HE TAKES THEM AWAY AFTER THE TERMINATION OF THAT PERIOD. GRATITUDE BECOMES NECESSARY WHEN HE GIVES, AND PATIENCE IS MANDATORY WHEN HE TAKES…
…MAI GIRMA, ALHAJI ADO BAYERO, SARKIN KANO, YOUR EMIR, BOSS, NEIGHBOR, FRIEND, COLLEAGUE, BROTHER, FATHER, HUSBAND AND SON, WAS FROM AMONG THAT GREAT GIFT WHICH GOD ALLOWED YOU TO ENJOY IN A WAY THAT WAS FORTUNATE AND GRATIFYING. ALTHOUGH YOU LOVED HIM, HIS PLACE IS WITH HIS MAKER NOW. AS HE HAS GONE HOME, IT IS YOUR DUTY TO SHOW PATIENCE IN HIS DEATH AND GRATITUDE FOR HIS LIFE…
…MAY THE ALMIGHTY AUGMENT YOUR RECOMPENSE, BE KIND IN YOUR MISFORTUNE, FORGIVE THE DECEASED, ENCOURAGE YOU WITH ENDURANCE AND GIVE YOU PEACE. I PRAY YOU HAVE THE FORTITUDE TO BEAR HIS HEAVY LOSS!”
As the people of Kano close the chapter of a man and Emir that was truly great, “I PRAY THAT GOD FORGIVE AND HAVE MERCY ON THE SOUL OF ALHAJI ADO BAYERO AND MAKE HONORABLE HIS RECEPTION. MAY ALLAH KEEP HIM SAFE AND SOUND, PROTECT THE PLACE WHERE HE HAS RESTED AND MAKE HIS ENTRANCE WIDE; BLESS HIM FOR HIS GOOD DEEDS AND SURROUND HIM WITH A GARDEN FILLED WITH BEAUTY. MAY HE RECEIVE THE GENTLE BLOW OF A COOL BREEZE, BE WASHED WITH SNOWFLAKES, ICE, SLEET, WATER AND EVERYTHING PURE AND CLEANSED OF SIN AS A WHITE CLOTH IS PURIFIED PERFECTLY. I PRAY ALLAH ADMITS HIM TO PARADISE AND MAY HIS GRAVE BE SPACIOUS AND FILLED WITH LIGH…; AMIN.”
It is with pride that I as a Nigerian thank, salute and mourn the exit of the Emir of Kano, Mai Girma, Alhaji Ado Bayero, whose life and legacy will be remembered in time to come…