Daily Trust (Abuja)

1 February 2013

Nigeria: A Sentry for Sarauta [I]

opinion

Alhaji Ado Bayero is a much loved monarch in the city of radical politics and revolutionary irreverence to authority including the traditional that he represent and which they sometimes exaggeratedly venerate.

But perhaps these contradictions are a part of the contrariness that makes Kano Kano - this urban wilderness with its never changing though sometimes dignified, metropolitan provincialness; a foremost centre of traditional scholarship existing side by side with hearless organised syndicates of the violent, criminal underclass steeped in its irredeemable ignorance.

The story of this enigmatic city is simple and straight backward - and , in the end one can only say Kano is Kano because Kano is Kano - and that's all; for; it is its own reason for being.

A true melting pot of that proverbial elephantine eliminatory entrails that digestd and denatures whatever is ingested into it, and alters whoever settles in it until it has made a full Bakane out of him. It is the city of rebellion that yet cherishes and adores Ado, this foremost representative of conservative traditionalism in the country today, but in the end it would all prove a Rome that deserted Nero.

Alhaji Ado Bayero who, though not the supreme authority of the Sultanate, has come to personify its stiff upper lip aristocratic dignity with literal gravitas, and by the power of majestic silence has come to the epic of its traditional charisma; and, by the color of the originality he has added to royalty, this monarch has come to symbolize the quintessence of Hausa-Fulani pageantry.

And suddenly His Eminence Alhaji Ado Bayero was alone and in need of help on the streets of Kano. But in reality it was not Ado Bayero who was beleaguered, targeted and abandoned at hot Zoo Road spot; It was sarauta itself.

Though like all the others, Alhaji Ado Bayero is conscious and respectful of and deferential to traditional hierarchy, he has, almost without trying, and, indeed with conscious attempt not to, come to permanently eclipse all other turbans in Nigeria today and his Kano all other cities. An attack on this figure is an attack on the institution; and if any dogarai are left to defend Ado Bayero in Kano, the time for soul-searching for sarauta has come - if it has not passed already.

Even if martyrdom cannot be bettered, not because there is nothing to offer better than life nor yet because there is nothing nobler than a life sacrificed for others; yet in this case it has been worsted, and not because the dead is incomplete, but because its aftermath has been incongruent.

How could anyone have done this to an Emir in the North, and not just any Emir; but to an Ado Bayero, and not just anywhere but right inside his Kano. Where were the people of kano who always say they love their Emir so much? Where was that so-called pre-eminence and pioneering spirit that told you Ko dame kazoo an fika? Fire is no hotter than it was before, and isn't the unvisisted grave of Bakin Wake only 184 kilometers away in Katsina?

Couldn't Kanawa have come down the high house and borrow and sustain the great lesson in the exploits of Boys of the Guddoi Brigade in Azare, a mere 200 kilometers away to the east?

At the crack of gunfire on December 16, 2012, the youth of Azare who have had enough, didn't take to their heels, scampering headlong into any available open homestead. Instead, they rushed outside and took a stand. And with bare hands, they surrounded, confronted, fought, overpowered and disarmed the gunmen even as they kept shooting them dead. There was nothing you could do with someone who had conquered the fear of death - or even just the fear of the gun.

A week after this episode, a police undercover agent who got careless and his gun showed in public, tested the vigilance of Azare youths; and the next minute only his official identity card would save him from certain death. And a week after soldiers who thought they could clear a traffic logjam that they had helped cause, got the shock of their lives. A shot to scare people attracted more; and a second shot created a multitude - and the soldiers had to take to their heels. The people of Azare had conquered the fear of what they carried. And they would neve forget Abubakar Dan Jakada, Sabiu Sale, Muhammadu Dan Sokoto, Mustapha Tasiu, Magaji Aminu General, Mahmud Sani Adamu Gire who made this possible..

The Saturday, January 19 attack on the entourage of His Eminence Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano must rank as one of the saddest and most incongruent acts; and more than all the attacks before it, notably the attempt on the Shehu of Borno on....... and the one on the Emir of Fika on........... it has highlighted our vulnerability.

It is not the fact of the attack, it is the fact of our collective reaction to it - The spirit of a nation - any nation - dies the moment it is overwhelmed by fear, especially the fear of the gun. And as does that of a region, a state or a city. While an individual may take to his heels in the moment of overwhelming fright, a city must take its stand; because, first of all, it cannot run away, and it is not allowed to fear what it doesn't understand and allow itself to be frightened by the mere fluencing of its own shadow.

Unfortunately, the North has today taken to its heels, and so have our cities and towns and countryside. And after such a flight there is really no use crying over or attempting to mop up the spilt milk of prestige.

As a general rule there is anonymity in sacrifice; but for martyrdom, the ultimate in sacrifice, there is assured immortality. From that late morning of 19/1/13 Ado Bala and have become an inextricable and unforgettable part of the history of Kano in a way that even its famous kings have previously hoped and depend for.

While in some theological traditions martyrdom requires the fact of the oath, hatred for religion being the main motive for the cause of death, which must itself be welcome and in some cases even be unresulted by the sufferer, the reality is that each community knows its heroes, and must know how to honour them.

The martyr is the ultimate true believer able to offer the ultimate sacrifice - of himself and that which is dearest to him - at the altar of whatever the idea is.

The martyr is at the heart of all great history; for martyrdom is next only and perhaps the only cause for true, immortality.

The nature of the sacrifice offeref by these brave dogarai puts to shame the claims of the idea of modern democratic nation state to peoples' allegiance; because democracy is incapable of creating an institution that can elicit this type of unforced loyalty.

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