Why HRH Muhammad Sanusi hates the title Emir, prefers Sarkin Kano

Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II last week began a tour (RANGADI) of all his 44 districts (which, in Kano, are equivalent to the 44 Local Government Areas). Rangadi is an ancient tradition of Islamic rulers and especially in Hausaland. During the colonial era and its so-called Indirect Rule in Northern Nigeria, the colonial masters also used Rangadi for their own purpose; whereby the Sarakuna, ‘Emirs’ as they called them, would tour districts and reach out to citizens and explain matters of state state policy. During colonialism, most of that policy ended up being news of taxes and other demands. But this particular Rangadi, which Sarkin Kano Sanusi II began last week from Dambatta, is a Rangadi with a difference. It is a call to order - he is as the poet who sang “Hearken to My Joyful Tidings!”
And then some of you would have noticed that I have not called Sanusi ‘Emir’ even for once. Yes, for those who know Sanusi so well as we do, he is a person who minces no words. He is not one to be “politically correct” if being so correct will not achieve the desired purpose. So Sarki Sanusi II eschews the title “Emir” - he doesn’t like it one bit, especially when it is pronounced as bastardised by the colonial masters who turned the beautiful word ‘Amir’ to ‘Emir’ and pronouced it ‘Ehmiyah’. Sanusi says if Lagos has its Oba, Borno has its Shehu, Onitsha has its Obi and the Tiv have a Tor and none of their titles have been so unrecognisably abused, he would return to the title “Sarkin Kano”. And so he has.
So to Dambatta he first went, seat of the Sarkin Bai Muhtar Adnan, the Hakimi or District Head. This fellow, ancient in age but modern in thought, led his district in a grand welcome ceremony for this Sarki who spent a couple of nights fifty kilometres to the north of Kano. The Sarkin Bai, an age-mate and associate of Sanusi’s own grandfather, Sarki Muhammad Sanusi I, said among others that he was proud his humble palace had accommodated Sanusi I, Sanusi II and Ciroma Aminu, son of the former and father of the latter. To assist the Sarkin Bai was his son, Dr. Mansur Mukhtar, Finance Minister under late President Yar’adua.
Sarki Sanusi II delivered a no-holds-barred speech in Dambatta, and left no stone unturned among the social crises bedevillling us. He said:
“I begin in the name of Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our leader and Prophet, Muhammad, his family and companions.”
“I urge all of us to have the fear of Allah wherever we are and in whatever we do. The Prophet said in the famous Hadith of ‘Ihsan’: ‘Worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you cannot see Him, then know that He does see you.”
“O People! Know that our nation is faced by the great challenge of insecurity. Each one of us must be extra vigilant and aware about his surroundings. Whenever anyone sees someone who seems strange and fidgety and out of place and ill-at-ease, that someone must immediately alert community leaders and security agencies. Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘Khuzu hizrakum’! Be on your guard!
“O people! Knowledge is imperative and incumbent upon us. Knowledge of this world, which is called modern or Western education, is compulsory upon us to be able to survive in this world and these times; then the knowledge of trade, industry and entrepreneurship is also compulsory; and above them all is the knowledge of the religion. We must combine all these three to be complete people. Knowledge, or education, must be imbibed together with good conduct, for that is the secret of success. Knowledge is what uplifts societies. Underdevelopment is correlated to under-education.
“Ya Jama’a, O People ! Know that among all types of knowledge, educating the female child is the most important and the most desirable. We urge you to cease forthwith the tradition of sending the girl-child to hawk in the streets, or sending her to the cities as housemaid. The girl-child must go to school, both Islamic and Western. The girl-child shall one day grow to be a mother, and a mother is ultimately the first teacher of the child. If she is not educated, the vicious circle of underdevelopment and ignorance will not be broken.
“And now I turn to the elite among us. Every community and every district has its equivalents of the wealthy. It is highly desirable for such people, like we have seen in many societies, to undertake community support in education, health and social welfare. It would be excellent if such individuals would undertake the support especially of orphans and widows. We shall be very pleased if we learn that some among the wealthy have undertaken to sponsor some indigent children on full scholarship to undergo post-primary and post-secondary education. May Allah make it possible.
“And then to the youth! You must wake up to the realities of today, and realise that the world will not wait for you. You must imbibe the entrepreneurship spirit in addition to the formal religious and Western education. We call upon governments at all levels to continue to put emphasis on vocational and entrepreneurial education so that our youth can be better equipped to face the realities of the time. And if your family has an age-old vocation, all the better not to abandon it for white-collar jobs. And whatever anyone earns, we urge you to imbibe thrift, for the extravagant is the brother of the Devil, according to our religion. And when the youth become useful members of the society, we would have taken a giant step towards eliminating that greatest of our social problems - drugs abuse.
“And now to family matters! Our people are notorious for not being able to hold together their marriages. By some statistics, divorce among our people far surpasses any other community that lives around us. Children of broken homes are more likely to grow up without compassion. This is unacceptable! Community leaders must unite and bring an end to this menace which has given us a bad name and has destroyed our value systems. We shall be very happy if a community would pass a whole year without a single divorce among its members. If such news should come to us, we shall come out and celebrate such a community in sha Allahu!
“And now to the very important matter of TSAFTA, cleanliness. We must be clean in our minds, our persons and in our environment. Health, it is said, is wealth. Wealth has no meaning if there is no health to enjoy it. An important milestone has recently been achieved in this country - more than a year has passed without a single report of polio outbreak. Alhamdu lillah. Parents must continue to present their children for all immunisations. Rigakafi, as we say in Hausa, ya fi magani! Prevention is better than cure. We congratulate the Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his assistants for this important success. May Allah make it sustainable.
“Finally, we urge you to always live by the tenets of our beautiful religion of Islam and our excellent culture. Our State is not only a mirror for others in Nigeria, it has been so for centuries for many regions of Africa. We should continue to keep the flag flying and show the world we are proud to be Muslims by living exemplary lives.
“May Allah help Islam and Muslims; may Allah help Nigeria and Nigerians; may peace and tranquillity be restored in Nigeria. May we be secure in our state and our country, amin.
“Wassalamu Alaikum.”

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