Kaduna — There are strong indications that the Kaduna State Government has changed the list containing names of the three people considered top contenders for the throne of Emir of Zazzau presented to it by the kingmakers of the emirate.
A new list containing four names including Governor Nasir El-Rufai's ally, Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, whose name was missing in the first one has been submitted to the government on Sunday, Daily Trust learnt.
Bamalli is the Magajin Garin Zazzau.
Seven days since the demise of the 18th Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, who died at the age of 84 after a brief illness at the 44 Army Referral Hospital, Kaduna, it is still not clear who will emerge as the 19th Emir of Zazzau.
Correspondents in Kaduna report anxiety in Zaria as residents earnestly wait for the announcement of their new emir.
A list of three princes
Daily Trust recalled that the kingmakers of the Zazzau Emirate Council, on Thursday, submitted the names of three people for the governor to pick one as new emir.
The name of Bamalli was conspicuously missing, development sources said did not go down well with his friend Governor El- Rufai.
Credible sources close to the Kaduna State Government confirmed to Daily Trust on Sunday that the earlier list of three candidates handed over to the government through the commissioner of local government and chieftaincy matters had been changed to place Bamalli as number one on the list.
There were claims that that Bamalli was added to the list to give the Mallawa ruling house equal opportunity to vie for the coveted throne.
Several opinion articles have been published on social media to support the alteration of the original list even as it is not clear who is behind the sponsored write-ups.
This newspaper had exclusively reported that the kingmakers had met with representatives of government and security agencies in Zaria, on Thursday, where they submitted a list of the top three candidates from the 11 contenders.
Those considered were: Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashar Aminu from the Katsinawa Dynasty who scored 89 per cent; Yariman Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammed Munnir Jafaru from Bare-bari Dynasty who scored 87 per cent, and Turakin Zazzau, Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris from Katsinawa Dynasty who scored 53 per cent.
Sources also confirmed that the five kingmakers had been invited to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Friday where representatives of government tried to cajole them, albeit unsuccessfully, to review their list.
Governor El-Rufai had later announced on his Twitter handle that the commissioner responsible for chieftaincy matters was reviewing details of all 11 aspirants and the marks scored them by the kingmakers.
BEWARE OF FAKE NEWS! - This @elrufai has not received anything. The Commissioner responsible for chieftaincy matters is reviewing the 11 aspirants and the assessment of all of them by the kingmakers. I will consider the recommendations then and select the next Emir IN Sha Allah. https://t.co/t5DHWlPv96
-- Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (@elrufai) September 25, 2020
However, sources from Kashim Ibrahim House, on Sunday, confirmed to Daily Trust that the list had now been altered to include Bamalli, the prince from the Mallawa Dynasty with his name placed first on the list.
Though it is still not certain when the government will announce the new emir, the source said: "The governor is under intense pressure to include the candidate of the Mallawa Dynasty because they have not had the chance to sit on the throne for over a century.
"There is no doubt that the whole thing has now become political; there are many interests and the governor is trying to portray neutrality but it is doubtful if he can be neutral in this matter. He also has an interest," he said.
It has been learnt while insiders from government say one of the contenders had compromised the kingmakers to get a favourable score, insiders from the Zazzau Emirate said the allegation was only an excuse to change the original recommendation.
"If anything, the kingmakers had rejected a huge inducement from government representatives to change the earlier list of three candidates," one of the sources said.
Daily Trust has not been able to independently verify both claims.
Another insider told Daily Trust that the Kaduna State government was uncomfortable with the first list especially because of Iyan Zazzau, Alh. Bashar Aminu, who scored the highest, is said to be a candidate of top bigwigs of People's Democratic Party.
When contacted, the governor El-Rufai's Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye did not respond to calls to his phone.