Day Sha'aban Globalized Zazzau Traditional Values

By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman

For years, the Fulani had been in Hausa land as more or less a subject race, until the year 1804 when Uthman Dan Fodio, (a scholar whose reputed sanctity earned him great influence among the Muslims and even over the pagans of Gobir) defeated Yunfa the king of Gobir in order to purify Islam.

Following this defeat, the heads of various Fulani clans flocked to the Sheikh whom they recognised as Amirul muminin (Commander of the faithful) asking his blessing to extend the jihad to their areas.

Thereafter, the Jihad commenced in earnest across the Hausa land as the Shehu distributed fourteen flags to twelve eminent people of which Malam Musa was assigned authority to confront the then Have rulers of Zazzau with their headquarters in Zaria.

According to the History Professor, Murray Last, the following Emirs: Umar Dallaje, Gwani Mukhtar, Ibrahim Zaki, Modibbo Adama, Suleiman and Malam Musa were scholars of note before they were saddled with emirship powers by the Shehu himself.

And according to Alan Burns, a British historian, these Fulani rulers including Malam Musa of Zazzau administered the country for some time with ability and justice. The Fulani of Zaria were however divided into a number of lineages such as the Mallawa, Barebari, Katsinawa and the Sullubawa.

Hon Mohammed Sani Sha'aban who was conferred the traditional title of Danburam Zazzau by His Highness, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris last Saturday, is of the Mallawa dynasty - a direct descendant of Malam Musa.

As a double advantage, Sha'aban enjoys a maternal affinity with the Katsinawa dynasty which has been ruling Zazzau for 41 years now.

A week before the coronation proper, international and local dignitaries began to troop into Zaria.

The in flow of dignitaries was so huge that by Friday, a day to the coronation proper, all hotel accommodations in Zaria including VIP guest houses were exhausted.

The actual coronation on Saturday saw a colourful ceremony at the Emir of Zazzau's palace which was filled to capacity even as early as 7.00 am.

The grand ceremony was attended by local and international dignitaries including former Defence Minister, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, former Permanent Secretary of Defence, Alh. Ismaila Aliyu, the Dallatun Zazzau, Ramalan Yero, former Kaduna State Governor and the former Governor of Benue State Gabriel Suswam to mention a few.

Also on hand to witness the occasion were a host of members of the Diplomatic Corps including those from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the state of Georgia, United States of America.

In his royal address after the turbaning, His Highness the Emir of Zazzau who spoke through the Waziri of Zazzau explained that the decision to make Sha'aban the Danburam Zazzau was in recognition of his selfless contribution to the development of and genuine concern for the people of the entire emirate.

Sha'aban, according to the Emir, is as an illustrious son, and a worthy ambassador of the emirate whose immense contributions to the community over the years are invaluable.

After the turbaning, Sha'aban and his cavalry of well decorated horses left the palace and through the city to Tudun Wada and terminated at his residence in GRA Sabon Gari where a reception was held for for a huge cloud of guests and invited dignitaries.

Celebrations and festivities continued late into the evening at the residence of the Danburam Zazzau where guests and well-wishers were entertained.

The Danmasanin Akko and Turakin Jimeta, Alhaji Gimba Yau Kumo, the immediate past Managing Director and Chief Executive of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria said:

“The celebrant, Muhammad Sani Sha'aban who is today by the will of Almighty Allah is Danburam of Zazzau is a friend, a brother and is somebody that is part of me. Today's occasion has proved, not only to the people of Zazzau, but to the entire Nigerians that this man has not only national, but international connections. I hope with this title bestowed on him by His Royal Highness, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, another responsibility has been placed on Sha'aban, just as explained during the turbaning by the Wazirin Zazzau, for him to now take not only the people of Zazzau, but the people of Kaduna in particular and Nigeria in general to the next pedestal in terms of securing employment for the teeming youths: in terms of getting job opportunities for the people of Kaduna and Nigeria; in terms of bringing foreign investors to Nigeria; in terms of making Nigeria great again under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“As a friend and a brother to the celebrant, the Emir of Zazzau is a father to everybody. Anybody that happens to come from this part of the country, knows that he is one of the few leaders that are living today; they’ve seen yesterday, they’ve seen the days before us, and now they are having a session with us. They are in a better position to forecast what may likely happen in future. So this father of everybody in the North has demonstrated the fact that he is the father to everybody, by selecting Sha'aban as Danburam Zazzau, because Sha'aban is somebody who accommodates, is somebody who brings together various ethnic groups across Nigeria into one place just meet him in Kaduna or Abuja, and you will know the type of person he is.

“This singular honour bestowed on Sha'aban by the Emir of Zazzau is highly commendable; we hope and pray that other traditional rulers in Northern Nigeria will do the same by honouring reputable daughters and sons in their domains to encourage them to promote unity, peace and development of their domains.”

Another childhood friend of Sani Sha'aban, Sardauna Habib in his remarks, had this to say:

“The title of Danburam bestowed on Sha'aban by the emir of Zazzau is an honour well deserved and is long overdue, but we thank God; it's never too late. I'm certain now that this honour done to him will ginger him to strive to do more for Zazzau, Kaduna and Nigeria as a whole. We equally like to thank His Royal Highness, the Emir for recognising Sha'aban and giving him this title of Danburam. For long Sha'aban has shown his commitment, loyalty, allegiance to the emirate, to the people of Zazzau and as a true father to all, the Emir has reciprocated the kind gesture by honouring him as one of his royal subjects. It is a well deserved honour.

“The Zazzau emirate is one of the most respected traditional institutions in Northern Nigeria and the people of the emirate are also people who cherish integrity, honesty and respect for human values."

If you use Saturday's event was preceded by a gala night on Friday, March 4th 2016 at the Zaria Polo Club where guests were entertained to performances by local artists.

Another remarkable prelude to the occasion took place in far away United States of America where Sha'aban was officially celebrated by the state of Georgia.

As part of its contribution to the happy moment, the Governor of Georgia officially pronounced Friday the March 4, as Hon Mohammed Sani Sha'aban Day on government offices throughout Georgia observed a half-day work.

Additional, the government offered a honorary citizenship of the state of Georgia to Sha'aban.

As a mark of this honour, an African-American medical practitioner, Dr. Paul Pen came all the way from Atlanta, a state of Georgia in the United States and had this to say:

“I have known the celebrant, Honourable Sani Mohammed Sha'aban for almost twenty five years. I first met him when he was a guest of the Mayor of Atlanta when the then Governor of Georgia Joe Frank Harris, honoured them as part of a distinguished group of business men from Nigeria who were in Georgia, United States. We instantly became friends, and ever since, our friendship transcended to brotherhood.

“I came purposely to be part of this monumental occasion, to celebrate with my brother and also to deliver a letter of proclamation from the congress of Georgia to the celebrant that Friday March 4, 2016 was declared Sani Sha'aban Day in Atlanta in order to identify and celebrate with this enigma whose philanthropic gestures go beyond the shores of Africa up to the United States. That is why I am here because we are now family.

“What I witnessed today in Zaria is tremendous. I am at a loss for words to describe this occasion. I was thrilled and excited by the passion, the traditions and the royal grandeurs that were displayed throughout the occasion. I am highly elated. I have never witnessed occasions like these. This memory will linger on me for many years to come.

“From the Emir’s palace, the turbaning, the procession; all these stages were fantastic and when I thought we were done, another elaborate merriment awaited us at the house. And another thing I observed with the people of Zaria and Northern Nigeria is the fact that respect here is high; there is this general behaviour of mutual respect for the people, both the inhabitants of Zaria and the visitors."