20th September 2020, Zazzau Emirate of Kaduna State, with weighty heart, conducted the funeral of its longest serving Emir since 1808, HRH Alhaji Shehu Idris, may Allah continue to rest his soul. It returned to a long wait with a baited breathe, for the announcement by the state government of his successor!
The announcement came 17 days later. After Zaria city, the seat of the Emirate was sealed by heavy security operatives in anticipation of an uprising of monumental consequences; because, apparently, the state choice did not rhyme with general expectation of the majority.
However within split seconds after the announcement, will come another from the people’s favourite, Malam Muhammadu Munir Jaafaru (MMMJ), thanking all concerned, urging them to remain calm; deferring everything that happened to the actual wishes of God, who gives dominion to those who deservedly earned it, in His sight, at a time He deems appropriate! He went straight to the palace amidst showers of cameras and performed his oath of fealty to the newly announced Emir.
With this singular act, Zaria and Kaduna State was aided into avoiding a possible gory experience of a physical crisis that would have cost many lives and properties. It was saved from a long-time political tension; ruling party internal discord and a cold-war that may provide a window for the opposition to cover a significant mileage in the race towards grabbing a large chunk of share of the state’s political fortune.
This of course was not enough for the mind of MMMJ to give for the sake of peace and progress in Zazzau and Kaduna State. When he was invited by the new Emir, HRH Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, to accept to be knighted again with a higher responsibility in the palace, he gladly carried all his teaming dynastic members and supporters – who hitherto have already started feigning indifference in the affairs of the Emirate –into fealty of active service to the Emirate, by humbly and honourably accepting to be invested again; a mark of a distinguished noble!
Friday 5th March 2021 was the day of the investiture of MMMJ as the Commander of the Knights of the Zazzau Emirates; by the 19th Emir of Zazzau Malam Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli. In the order and tradition established by the 19th century Jihad of Shehu Usman Danfodiyo in these shores!
Amidst encomiums the Emir soberly reflected on the history of the Emirate and its princely and non-princely knights; pedigree of MMMJ’s lineage and their sterling contributions to the positive evolution of the Emirate, before coming down to the exceptional records of contributions of MMMJ in Zazzau, Kaduna State and Nigeria at large which currently should earn him a title no less than the commander of the Knights of the Emirates, Madaki. He is from that day Madakin Zazzau and not Yeriman Zazzau, his former title!
Certainly Madakin Zazzau Malam Muhammadu Munir Jafaru has so far proven to be an exception among the nobles in the Northern Emirates. If the late Iyan Zazzau, Malam Muhammad Bashir Aminu was reported, in some quarters, at the time of his funeral, to have been the richest Prince of the Northern Emirates, with a distinguished excellent record of rare personal discipline and self-organization; Madaki Munir Jaafaru can be evidently said to be the most popular and loved-by-all of them with an exceptional record in interpersonal civility and diplomacy.
In the ancient or medieval orders of a cultured society, distinguished nobles are marked by the extent of the benefit they covered in the acquisition and display of the point to point items in the long-standing codes of chivalry. Think about the rosy and ideal image painted of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in the highly fanaticized fictional Hollywood Drama series, The Game of Thrones. Consider the near perfect depiction of Ertugrul in the world popular Turkish series, Dirilis Eturgrul.
By contemporary standards, though within different contexts – as in the gap between fiction and reality – Malam Munir Ja’afaru could be said to be a closest approximation of an ideal Knight of the Caliphal Northern Nigeria. Educated to the height of expertise in Law Islamic and Civil; Refined in etiquettes and disposition; humane, generous and gallant; distinctly intellectually curious; reticent and resistant to the pull of the luxuries of cheap popularity and ease of sentimental appeal offered by the current wave of social media.
This, despite him being active in it and following details of events happening around. Non-judgmental; Modern, but entrenched in a time-honoured traditional paradigm. Firm in conviction but extremely polite in registering discontent or noncompliance; there is an unstifled focus on established and just societal goals not prioritization of self-gratification as proven from the above narration.
Certainly the elevation of Malam Muhammadu Munir Jaafaru to the station of Madakin Zazzau from Yeriman Zazzau, in the hierarchy of the knighthood, at this time when the government is showing an inclination towards engaging the Emirate more, in the day to day affairs of governance, is one of the finest desired additions to the order. It is our hope and prayer that God would strengthen us, the government, our Emir and the Madaki with the needed extra commitment to execute the right policy decision that will help address the underlying malaises of our society. Ameen!
Ibraheem A. Waziri writes from Zaria.