By Adnan Bawa Bello
Sir Ahmadu Bello (1910-1966) the Sardauna of Sokoto and former premier of the defunct northern region of Nigeria was a great grandson of Sheikh Usman Danfodio (1754- 1817) the reformer and founder of the Sokoto caliphate.
Sardauna was a close friend of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi 1 (1903- 1963) and also his brother. Sardauna’s paternal grandmother and Sanusi’s paternal grandfather Emir of Kano Abbas (1903- 1919) were both sired by the Emir of Kano Abdullahi Maje Karofi (1855- 1882).
Sardauna was accused of misappropriating cattle tax (Jangali) at the time when he was the district head of Gusau then under the Sokoto Native Authority and was convicted by the court of Sultan Abubakar 111 (1903 – 1988). Emir Sanusi 1 who was then Chiroman Kano tried his best to get Sardauna out of the quagmire.
He hired a lawyer who appealed against the Sultan’s Judgment at a colonial court in Zaria and Sarduna was set free. It was said that Chiroma Sanusi spent 50 pounds to get sardauna exonerated and regain his freedom.
One Good Turn Deserves Another
Emir Sanusi‘s Father Abdullahi Bayero (1926 – 1953) died on 25th December 1953. Sardauna was then the minister for Local Governments of Northern Nigeria and therefore the supervisor of all the various Native Authorities in the Northern Nigeria.
A class mate of Sardauna at Katsina teachers training College Madakin Kano shehu Ahmad (1911-1984) informed Sardauna via a telephone call of the death of Bayero. After condoling Madaki Shehu, Sardauna then informed him about his preference for his friend Sanusi to succeed his father.
Official document obtained from Kano Cabinet Office in the late 1960’s indicated that the Kano province colonial resident officer Mr. AT. Weatherhead recommended the then Galadiman Kano Inuwa for the position of the Emir of Kano.
Inuwa was Sanusi’s paternal uncle.
Sardauna used his position as the Minister for local Government and his connections to influence the Governor of the then Northern Region Sir. Byran Sherwood Smith to exorcise the recommendation of Kano province resident officer and to countenance his own recommendation of Sanusi.
Sardauna informed Madaki Shehu about the development and requested him to ensure the inclusion of Sanusi’s name among the list to be submitted by the king makers to the Government for its approval. The King makers then were Madaki Shehu Ahmed, Sarkin Bai Adnan, Makama Muhammadu and Sarkin Dawaki Bello Dandago.
Now with the privileged information at Sanusi’s disposal that the recommended candidate of the Kano province Government has been jettisoned by the regional Government and the inclusion of his name by the King makers, Sanusi appeared in Royal regalia symbolic to Sarki (Emir) before the official announcement and people started paying homage and congratulating him for emerging as victorious amongst the contestants.
This scenario was the reason for the ignorant palace slaves and his blind followers to spread the rumor that he was so powerful to the extent that he appointed himself as the Emir by himself. This delusion still persists among the biased and the uneducated ones in Kano.
Emir of Kano Sanusi 1 appreciated Sardauna’s gesture for clearing the obstacle put on his way by Kano province resident officer Mr. Weatherhead to succeed his father as the Emir of Kano. He in turn assisted Sardauna in his political career, he made sure Sardauana’s party the Northern People Congress (NPC) won all the seats of the Federal House of Representatives election of 1954 in Kano.
This despite the popularity of Malam Aminu Kano’s Party the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). Sanusi swayed other Northern Emirs to support the NPC. The late Alhaji Maitama Sule the Danmasani of Kano stated that Sanusi ensured that sardauna defeated Sir Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa at the Jos convention in the election of national chairman of NPC.
All the Kano delegates who were the majority under the leadership of Sarkin Dawaki Bello Dandago were impacted not to vote in favour of the more popular candidate, Balewa, but to subscribe to Sardauna.
Emir Sanusi assisted NPC in all ramifications and in turn Sardauna in his political pursuit to became the chairman of his party, the position he used to grow to premier of the northern region and became the most influential in the region and the nation at large.