Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Ado Bayero - Longest Reigning Emir, Approaches His Golden Jubilee

The Kano Emirate Council has existed for some 207 years and of that number, Ado Bayero has reigned as emir for exactly 49 years. By October 2013, he would be celebrating his golden jubilee on the throne. Not only is he the longest serving emir in Kano's history, no other emir as come close to spending three decades on the throne.

Ado Bayero has witnessed the transformation of Nigeria and Kano from the days of colonial rule to the first attempt at self rule in the 1960s and the long years of military rule and now the challenges of today's democratic dispensation. At 82 however, his age has began to tell on him and more and more, he appears less in public. While his reign could continue for another decade, many believe there will never be an emir like him.

During his tenure, he has seen the Kano emirate transform from a native authority to community leadership. He is an influential spiritual and community leader in Northern Nigeria and his palace plays host to official visits by many government personnel and visitors.

Every now however, there have been friction between the emirate council and the civilian or military authorities in the state. In 1981, Governor Abubakar Rimi restricted traditional homage paid by village heads from the state to Ado Bayero and also excised some domains out of his emirate and in 1984, a travel ban was placed on the emir and his friend Okunade Sijuwade.

Though, the military are sometimes seen as relying on traditional rulers for support, mostly by distancing themselves from politicians, many military regimes in the past also chipped away at powers of traditional rulers such as Bayero.

The emir's insatiable thirst for knowledge, a trait he inherited from his father gave birth to an open door leadership style, which makes education accessible to all gender male or female. He is also a true custodian of the rich cultural heritage of Kano, a course he specially promotes by encouraging its study among his people.

Three years after his meritorious turbaning as the emir of the ancient Kano emirate, Alhaji Ado Bayero was appointed the first chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 1966. This appointment was a befitting tribute because he is not only a visionary and honest leader but also an intellectually sound emir who carries with him the trust of his followers.

Alhaji (Dr.) Ado Bayero has meritoriously spent forty-nine years on the throne for the development of the state, which houses over 12 million people. A man who is committed to the development and spread of Islam across the nation, his contributions to this course has been in cash and kind.

Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero is a man of his words. He attaches a lot of importance to the words of his lips. His consistency in ruling by the tenets of his promise makes him a true royal father to look up to by both the young and old. A good reference point is the faithfulness with which he serves his subjects. In his acceptance speech as the emir in 1963, he promised to dedicate himself to the service of his people, the emirate, the state and the country; a promise he strictly adhered to one time police chief still maintains his uncompromising stance as a superintendent of law and order-a legacy he preaches and places before all to emulate.

Alhaji Bayero's 49 years as the royal father are no doubt years of remarkable achievements. Love for his subjects and visitors characterised his years on the throne. Also, his emphasis on unity and education for both males and females is a conspicuous indication that the emir is clairvoyant and futuristic in his plans.

In the same way, the emirate council and the Kano State Government, under Rabiu Kwankwaso is planning an elaborate celebration to mark his 50th year on the throne. For this purpose, a committee has been set up.

His Royal Highness deserves nothing less than prayers for the Almighty God to elongate his stay on the throne with long life and good health.

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