By Ibrahim Musa
Bunturawan Zazzau-Suleja.

It all started on the demise of Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa, the 7th Emir of Zazzau-Suleja from Abu-ja Ruling House.

Many dignitaries thronged into Suleja for condolences among whom was Late Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi one time Civilian Governor of the old Kano State.

After condoling the relevant people, he proceeded to the home of Late Shu'aibu Barde who was the then Galadiman Zazzau-Suleja and Chairman of the King Makers. Interestingly, he was a Teacher to Malam Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim, Dallatun Zazzau-Suleja then. The regards and respect that he never failed to accord Galadima till his death recently.

After the exchanges of pleasantries, Abubakar Rimi fired the first Shot which later culminated to a prolonged tussle and attendant crisis of no equal proportion as a result of loss of Lives and Properties that no one will ever pray for such re-occurrence .  

Ranka ya dade, he continued. Na zo maka Ta'aziya ne na Mai Martaba Sarki da Kuma neman arziki.( I have come to condole you over the death of his Royal Highness and as well to seek for a favour).
Ina rokon arziki ne don Allah ku ba abokina Awwal Ibrahim Sarki.( The favour I'm seeking is for you people to consider my Friend, Awwal Ibrahim as the next Emir).

Galadima immediately retorted: Ba zai yiwu. Ubanshi bai yi Sarki ba. Za mu ba wanda Ubansa ya yi Sarki ne.(It's not possible. His Father was never an Emir. We only consider the person whose Father was an Emir). (The notion that was eventually quashed by the Supreme Court judgement of 1996:
 "Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim V.Galadima Shuaibu Barde & Ors (1996) LLJR- SC.)

This simple narrative was responsible for what led  Suleja to be in turmoil for over seven years without a substantive Emir.

Notably, in line with the laid down procedure, a letter was generated by the then Suleja Local Government Chairman and the immediate passed Member, representing Suleja Constituency in the Niger State House of Assembly, Dr Shu'aibu Liman Iya (Sarkin Malaman Zazzau-Suleja) informing the State Government on the demise of His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa and the need to direct the King Makers to convene for the nomination of a successor. The letter dated 9th July, reads:


I am humbly and formerly writing you in respect of the above subject. This became necessary as a result of the death of Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa, the immediate past Emir, in the early hours Monday, 5th July, 1993. The death of Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa ,by the powers conferred on Your Excellency on the appointment of Chiefs as regulated by the Nigeria (Constitution)Orders in Council and by the Appointment and Deposition of Chiefs Ordinance, has made it necessary for you to assemble the traditional selectors to choose a successor. 

It is the Customary law and custom of the Traditional Institution of Suleja that a Chief be chosen from among the following ruling houses: 

( a) Abu Jatau ruling house, and
( b) Abu Kwaka ruling house. 

The late Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa belonged Abu Jatau's ruling house. The new Emir should therefore come from Abu Kwaka's house....."

On receipt of the  directive from the State Government ,the King Makers which comprised of Chief Imam,Salanke and Magajin Malam under the leadership of Galadima compiled 42 eligible heirs which was later pruned down to 7 and eventually nominated Muhammad Bashir, a Cousin to Awwal Ibrahim and a biological Son of Alhaji Suleman Barau (the 6th Emir from Abu-Kwaka Ruling House). 

However, the nomination of ONLY Alhaji Barshir Suleman according to Suleja Local Government Chairman's observation at the meeting, the King Makers did not comply with the directive to select three candidates.

 Curiously, the King Makers kept to their decision but reluctantly, agreed to select two additional Candidates namely, Alhaji Adamu Katsina and Alhaji Kabir Barau. All the three were the Sons of late Alhaji Suleman Barau, the 6th Emir of Zazzau-Suleja from Abu Kwaka Ruling House and  who was succeeded by Alhaji Ibrahim Dodo Musa, the 7th Emir of Zazzau-Suleja from Abu-ja (Abu Jatau)Ruling House.

In a twist of event, the King Makers have been disbanded and a letter addressed to the Secretary of Suleja Emirate Council vide memo: SSG/PRM/S/86/V 111/380 dated 17th September, 1993 signed by the Secretary to the State Government,Nuhu Galadima stated: 

"In exercise of the powers conferred on Dr Musa Inuwa as the Governor of Niger State......I write to inform you the report of the Committee and the nomination of a new Emir of Zazzau-Suleja has been rejected by him on the following grounds:

 (1) The King making Body was not constituted in accordance with the native law and custom;

 (2) It is observed that three,out of the seven Kingmakers could not participate in the nomination exercise for being "members of the royal family". Even then,it is further discovered that only one Member i.e the Galadima of Suleja had the voting power while the remaining three were supposed to be mere observers, or at best,Advisers. 

On the strength of the the above, on the 20th of September,1993 the State Government made an Order title "Appointment and Deposition of Chiefs..1993 N. S. L. N no.2 of 1993 and created an Electoral College which was empowered to nominate a new Emir in the event of Death, Resignation, or Deposition of the Emir of Suleja. 

The Electoral College consists of: 
(a) Galadiman Zazzau-Suleja
 (b) Sarkin Yaki 
(c) Tafida 
(d) Santali 
(e) (Salanke) 
(f) (Liman Jumma'a 
(g) Magajin Malam. 

The Electoral College was summoned for a meeting to nominate an acceptable Candidate for the Emirship of Suleja on the 22nd September.

 However, Galadima, Salanke, Magajin Malam and Liman Jumma'a were all absent at the meeting but the Chairmen of Suleja and Gurara Local Governments were in attendance as Observers while Alhaji Aliyu Tahir Kontagora (Director, Local Government Affairs) was there as a Supervisor and Alhaji Usman Isa (Director, CASS) served as the Secretary. 

As the quorum has been formed according to the Secretary, the meeting considered the earlier 4 nominees and 4 other ones were equally shortlisted to make 8 on the whole. 

These were: 
Alhaji Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim, 
Alhaji Muhammadu Rabi'u Ishaq,  
Alhaji Muhammadu Bashir Suleman and Muhammad Inuwa Ishaq.

 Consequently, the Government approved the appointment of Alhaji Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim as the new Emir of Zazzau-Suleja and was subsequently turbaned by Galadima who claimed to have done it under duress. 

That was what culminated to years of litigation up to  Supreme Court which delivered Judgement in 1996 in favour of Alhaji Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim but not without continual unrest till year 2000 when the then Civilian Governor, Engr Abdulkadir A. Kure found a lasting solution to the upheaval by restoring law and order that we all enjoy and appreciate.

No sooner had the sanity returned to the rancorous Suleja than His Royal Highness, Malam Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim started to unfold his plans, programs, and projects in his Domain.

(A) *Human Integration*

  The first Challenge confronting His Royal Highness was how to integrate the feuding families, villages, Associations and various interest groups who hitherto were in disarray as a result of the crisis that engulfed everybody both Indigenes and Settlers alike.

He took a giant stride by reaching out to neighbouring Villages of Zuba, Ijah Gwari,Ijah Koro,Bwari, Gawu among others  and injected prominent people from these axis into his Council notable among whom included Hon. Bitrus Kaura, Wazirin Ijah and Alhaji Umaru Abdulkadir,  Barwan Zazzau-Suleja as members.

These two appointments have no doubts restored the confidence in  those localities about the sincerity of His Royal Highness which therefore easily won their supports and cooperation because of the apparent and genuine inclusiveness.

He further identified some prime movers, Opinion leaders or notable personalities in some Communities and appointed them as District Heads despite that they are not even from the royal family .

In addition, he consolidated by giving Traditional Titles to personalities within the enclave in the likes of Danmadami, Marafa,Danmaliki,Kaura etc.

This singular action to a greater extent has earned the Emir an overwhelming followers  from these Communities because the suspicions and apprehensions hitherto harboured have been doused and completely obliterated.

He further identified some stunch individuals on opposition side and gave them Traditional Titles both from Royal Family and beyond. This equally was another magic wand and gradually, the town has started becoming united. Within a short period, we are all under one Umbrella. The Emir has applied his Administrative dexterity as a Lecturer,  Permanent Secretary, the first Executive Governor and indeed his in-depth western and Islamic knowledge which yielded the desired results.


    One remarkable initiative by His Royal Highness is ensuring the security of his Emirate by creating and adequately funding a Security outfit tagged "Suleja Civil Security and Vigilante Corps". The membership of this outfit is carefully selected with people of proven integrity. They are headed by a retired Army personnel, Late Alhaji Abdulwahab (Jakadan Zazzau-Suleja) 
The activities of the outfit are well monitored and regulated while those found wanting are summarily relieved. The Outfit earns the respect and confidence of the residents as it handles both Civil and Criminal challenges. 
It joins the Police and other Security Agencies on patrol .

His Royal Highness must be acknowledged and given the credit for his royal foresight because the outfit has been in existence long before the proliferation of the nationwide Terrorism, banditry and kidnapping menace .

   One  of remarkable attributes of His Royal Highness is his medicare intervention to  people especially the indigents. It is on records that he settles medical bills for the Sick and in some cases, create time to visit them both at homes and Hospitals when the traffic is less.

In fact, he has appointed a Staff from the Palace as liaising Officer to the General Hospital for anyone that requires medical attention.

One of the duties of that Liaison officer is to convey the sick person (s) with the approval of His Royal Highness to the Hospital for attention while the bills are charged to Emirate Council's Account. Many people especially the indigents are Beneficiaries of this benevolence. This is in addition to constructing a Children's Ward in the hospital to ease congestion and paying for some hospital Workers that are not on the Payroll of the State Government in his bid to cushion the effects of Staff shortage especially the lower Cadre.


   His Royal Highness, Malam Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim has been noted for showing care and compassion for the Orphans.

It is on records that he has above fifty Orphans (conservatively) under his care. He feeds them, clothes them, foot their medical bills and ensure their joy and happiness especially during festivities like Fasting Periods and Sallah Celebrations where new Clothes were given to them while Rams and Cows were slaughtered for them to equally have the feel of the moments.


   One remarkable credit that must go to His Royal Highness is how he ensures a religious harmony in his Domain with people of different Fates practicing their Beliefs without hinderance .

For example, he has used his Royal prowess to ensure that both Izala and Dariqa sects live in harmony with one another.

Notably, he tactfully appoints a member of one Sect as the Chief Imam of the Central Mosque with a Na'ibi (2 ic) from the other sect and they have been co-existing with full respect and understanding.

Each sect has its own Mosque including the Jumma'a ones while the leading Ulamas and their followers alike meet at intervals or on occasions like weddings, Funerals etc. All these were made possible because of his royal accumem.


     The people of Suleja Emirate especially the Muslim Community will forever remember and pray for His Royal Highness and remain grateful for the giant steps he has taken in the construction of Suleja Central Mosque currently going on. This project has been earmarked to engulf over #1b.

One remarkable aspect in this drive is how every Sect does contribute monetarily and otherwise to seeing to the success  of the Central Mosque construction.

He has been reputed to have constructed several Mosques and led Friday Prayers in different locations within his domain. Furthermore, for over twenty years, he has been sponsoring the indigents to Saudi Arabia for Pilgrimage from his Guards (Dogarai) , house keepers,Drivers and others outside the circle. 

Apart from sending Aids to the bereaved, he is equally known for joining and in some cases leading Funeral Prayers and even accompanying the Corpses to the Graveyard. (He has notably secured a vast Land as a reserve for a Cemetery at Unguwar Tudu in anticipation of the present one being exhausted.A remarkable feat that is seldom found amongst Emirs in this part of the World. 

For so many years now, he has been sponsoring Suleja Contingents on National Qur'anic Recitation Competitions and giving them handsome Rewards on their return with victories as motivation and appreciation.

Worthy of note, just last Month, Borgu (in Niger State) Contingent was on its way to Plateau State and the Vehicle got attacked in the night few Kilometers to Suleja and the Occupants dispossessed of their belongings. His Royal Highness in his magnanimity sent an intervention to cushion the effects of their robbed Phones, Money and other Valuable. 

Verily, His Royal Highness, Malam Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim CON,FNAL set an unbeatable record just like his predecessor before last, Alhaji Suleman Barau who was the first Emir to acquire Western Education in the North, He is on the other hand, the first to be a Governor and later an Emir in the whole North .

These and many others that he might have done discreetly are few among the things that made up his success stories and endured him more to his Subjects and Admirers even outside his Domain in his thirty years of reign as the 8th Emir of Zazzau-Suleja and the 68th among the Habe Rulers. 

He has celebrated his 82nd Birthday on the 8th of this Month though in a low -key as has been his principles.

This obviously made him to be a Bride that has enjoy open embrace from his Subjects having benefited immensely from his style of leadership.

Ironically, to the amazement of Sulejites, the very same Awwal Ibrahim that was erroneously rejected   has been discovered to be the very valuable Corner Stone that Suleja needed all the while to take it to  prosperity.

Happy Thirty years Anniversary today ,Mai Zazzau-Suleja.

Wishing you many more prosperous years ahead.
ALLAH ya ja Zamanin na Turunku.

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