EDITORIAL: Emir Shehu Idris of Zazzau: 1936-2020

EDITORIAL: Emir Shehu Idris of Zazzau: 1936-2020

EDITORIAL: Emir Shehu Idris of Zazzau: 1936-2020

One of the icons of the traditional royal institutions in northern Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Idris 18th Emir of Zazzau recently answered the final call of nature when he passed on on September 20 2020 at the age of eighty-four years. His was a long reign, having ascended the throne of his forbears on 8th February 1975 in succession to Emir of Zazzau Alhaji Muhammadu Aminu. During his reign, he dealt with different issues and was able to keep his head high in honour and dignity while the military held sway and the nation returned to democratic rule in 1999.

One of the icons of the traditional royal institutions in northern Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Idris 18th Emir of Zazzau recently answered the final call of nature when he passed on on September 20 2020 at the age of eighty-four years. His was a long reign, having ascended the throne of his forbears on 8th February 1975 in succession to Emir of Zazzau Alhaji Muhammadu Aminu. During his reign, he dealt with different issues and was able to keep his head high in honour and dignity while the military held sway and the nation returned to democratic rule in 1999.

The late emir was born on February 20th, 1936 to the Maiunguwa Idrisu Auta family in the Zazzau emirate. His father Maiunguwa Idris, was the last born of the Emir Zazzau Muhammadu Sambo who reigned from c.1879 to 1888. His mother was Hajiya Aminatu. As is the custom, he started Islamic education at a young age having been tutored by two Islamic scholars, before enrolling in Zaria Elementary School in 1947 for formal studies. He lost his father at this time when he was twelve years old. From 1950 to 1955, he attended Zaria Middle School, from where he moved on to Katsina Training College to train as a teacher. In 1958, he started his teaching career in Hunkuyi and taught in some other schools in Zaria.

In 1965, he was appointed secretary to the Zaria Native Authority Council. In 1973 he was appointed Dan Madamin Zaria and made the district head of Zaria. Two years later in 1975, he was crowned emir following the demise of his predecessor, Muhammad Aminu. Late on the evening of September 20th, Nigerians received news of the sad passing of Alhaji Shehu Idris, the Emir of Zazzau. The report was that he took ill and died after a short admission in the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna and was interred according to the tenets of the Islamic faith. Shehu Idris ruled for 45 years.

During his reign, he was a pillar of society and served as a bridge between the government and the people of Zaria. Having ruled for such a long time, he witnessed rapid social, political, and economic changes. He saw the entrance and exit of several successive governments both in his state of Kaduna and in the country. Yet, through times of peace and times of trouble, he had remained focused and constant, a beacon for his people as they searched for a better life both in religion and secular matters. That he never had any open conflict with any government is a tribute to his strength of character, his wisdom and his moral rectitude.

He was a source of stability in the land and played an important role in calming the sentiments of his people in times of conflict and instability. No doubt he must have been dismayed by the carnage which became of southern Kaduna, an area that had known relative peace in the past. Zaria has indeed lost a father and a man of wisdom and humility. To remain on a royal throne, presiding over the affairs of an emirate for over forty-five years is no mean feat on any account. Human beings are not easy to lead. But it is also true that a long reign often bestows wisdom in royals who give themselves fully to the service of the people.

To ensure continued amicable relations between the emirate and the government, and continued peace and stability in Kaduna, the state government has announced a successor to the Zazzau throne in the person of HRH Ahmed Nuhu Bamali. Bamali’s appointment came seventeen days after the throne became vacant. It is hoped that the new emir will reach out with an olive branch to other contestants to the throne and members of the Zaria Emirate Council to calm frayed nerves that seemed to have arisen after he was pronounced Emir by Governor Ahmed El Rufai.

We also call on all stakeholders who subscribe to the view that it is God Almighty that gives power to lend a hand of support to the new emir so that peace may reign in the state. We wish the new emir, HRM Ahmed Bamali a peaceful and successful reign.

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