Kano — A Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Usman Na'Abba, yesterday dissolved the four new emirates created by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in May, this year.
He also restrained the four traditional rulers appointed by the governor to stop parading themselves as first class emirs.
The court also yesterday nullified the Kano State Emirs Appointment and Disposition Law, 2019, which was passed by the state House of Assembly that paved way for the creation of the additional emirates and subsequent appointment of new emirs.
The emirs sacked by the court are:
Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero of Bichi of Bichi Emirate, Alhaji Tafida Abubakar of Karaye, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir Gaya of Gaya and Dr Ibrahim Abubakar 11 of Karaye Emirate.
It would be recalled that a former Minority Leader in the 8th Kano Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Rabi'u Gwarzo, had approached the Kano High Court where he challenged the creation of four new emirates and the subsequent appointment of emirs for them.
He sued all the defendants on the grounds that the procedures followed by the 8th Assembly were not in conformity of the rules and guidelines of the House.
Reacting to the judgment, the Kano State Government said it will continue to recognize the affected traditional rulers as first class emirs and will be dealing with them in all matters.
There were protests in the affected emirates with residents saying their new found glory should be allowed to prosper.
However, in Kano metropolis, the situation was calm as at the time of filing this report as residents were going on with their businesses.
What the judge said
In his ruling, Justice Na'Abba averred that the Kano State House of Assembly had violated Section 101 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria that guides the lawmakers on how to conduct proceedings in line with the assembly's rules and guidelines.
He, therefore, declared as null and void, the accelerated proceedings of the state legislature conducted on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May, 2019, that paved way for the creation of the four emirates and appointment of four emirs.
"The state governor should not assent any law which its procedure violates supremacy of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended," the judge declared.
The judge had earlier dismissed the preliminary objections by the Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ibrahim Mukhtar, and other respondents in the suit that the plaintiff lacked the right to challenge the new Kano law.
Daily Trust recalled that yesterday's judgment was beside another pending suit filed by four kingmakers in Kano Emirate challenging Governor Ganduje for tampering with the single first class emirate in Kano which has Muhammadu Sanusi 11 as emir.
The four complainants are: Madakin Kano, District head of Dawakintofa, Yusuf Nabahani; Makaman Kano, District head of Wudil, Abdullahi Sarki-Ibrahim; Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta, District head of Gabasawa, Bello Abubakar and Sarkin Ban Kano, District head of Dambatta, Mukhtar Adnan.
They argued in the writ of summons that "Kano existed for over 1000 years since 999 AD. Following the Fulani Jihad led by Shehu Uthman Danfodio of 1804 and the conquest of Kano in 1807, it became an emirate under the ridership of an emir.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgment, Barrister Maliki Kuliya who is counsel to the former assembly member that went to court, expressed satisfaction with the verdict, saying "the court has vindicated his client. The judiciary deserves commendation for this single action."
On his part, the state Attorney General Barrister Mukhtar, who was the 5th defendant in the case, expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict and said all the defendants would study the judgment before deciding on whether to appeal the verdict or not.
Collaborating, the Deputy Speaker of the Kano Assembly, Engr. Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari, said the House has already asked its lawyers to study the judgment and advise the lawmakers on next line of action to be taken.
"Although the Speaker of the House of Assembly Alhaji Abdulazeez Garba Gafasa is in Saudi Arabia for Lesser Hajj, I have contacted him on the issue and we have resolved that our lawyers should study the verdict and give their advice on what the House should do.
"This is not something that we will rush in taking our decision. We have to study it very carefully and then decide on what to do. So, this is our stand for now and after our lawyers give their input, we will again inform the public," he said.
Our emirates stand- Gov't
The Kano State Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said the Kano State Government is studying the ruling with a view to taking immediate appropriate action.
Garba, in a statement he signed, lamented that despite the constitutional power and authority conferred on the State Assembly on such progressive and important issue, the court ruled otherwise. The statement added that the government would not fold its arms and concedes such constitutional power in the interest of the wellbeing of the people and general development of the state.
"Despite the ruling, the government still recognizes the affected emirs as First-Class Emirs and will continue dealing with them as such," the statement indicated.
The commissioner, therefore, advised people to be calm, law abiding and await further action on the part of government.
Speaking to Daily Trust on the judgment, Malam Ali Yahaya Sheshe, a resident of Kano, said the court was not fair to the assembly, Kano State Government and the affected emirs.
"The judge should categorically tell us where the assembly goofed not just to say they have violated Section 101 of the Nigerian Constitution. The judge should explain in details how the lawmakers violated the section."
Another resident, Aliyu Inusa Muhammad, said, "I am not happy with this development because it will not take us anywhere. The emirates have been created in order to bring development closer to the people. Therefore, the court should weigh the interest of just one persons and that of millions of others before making its decision."
Muhammad added that Kano was not the only state that has five first class emirs.
But Malam Ali Isyaku said the judgment was long overdue. "The creation of the new emirates and appointment of four emirs were politically motivated," he said.
"The rational for the creation for the additional emirates is clear for everyone to understand. The governor and the state assembly collaborated and created the additional emirates and appointed the emirs just to embarrass Emir of Kano Malam Muhammad Sanusi. Everybody knows this," he said.
Our correspondent reports that the judgment was greeted with peaceful protests by hundreds of youth across the four dissolved emirates. The youths took to the streets shortly after the verdict holding placards with different inscriptions.
Daily Trust reports that there were simultaneously reactions in Karaye, Rano, Bichi and Gaya emirates by the youths.
Some of the placards they carried were written in Hausa and had the following messages: 'Masarautun mu na nan daram', meaning 'Our emirates are here to stay'; 'Al'ummar Garin Gaya muna godiya ga mai girma gwamna', meaning 'The people of Gaya are grateful to Governor Ganduje'; 'Ba mu yarda da hukuncin Kotu ba,' meaning 'We are not satisfied with the court ruling' among others.
In Karaye emirate, the youths converged at the local government secretariat along Rogo road and trekked to the emir's palace which is about 2 kilometres away; while in Bichi emirate, the youths staged the protest at the emir's palace lamenting the judgment.
In Rano and Gaya emirates, hundreds of protesters converged at the emirs' palaces in protest against the verdict.
Our correspondent reports that the creation of the four emirates in Kano had sparked divergent opinion in different quarters, with some saying the move was to cliff the influence of Emir Sanusi who allegedly opposed Ganduje's reelection bid in addition to severally condemning some of his policies.
But Ganduje and his handlers had severally said the new emirates were not a product of political vendetta but to take developments to the grassroots.