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Nigerians In History- Ado Abdullahi Bayero

Popularly known as the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero (CFR, LLD, JP) was born on the 25th of July in the year 1930.  He was the Emir of Kano from 1963 to his death in 2014. Bayero was seen as one of Nigeria’s most prominent and revered Muslim leaders who was a successful businessman and had worked as a banker, police officer, MP and diplomat. He was also a former ambassador to Senegal. 

Background and Brief History

Bayero was born to the family of Hajiya Hasiya and Abdullahi Bayero and into the Fulani Sullubawa clan that has presided over the emirate of Kano since 1819. He was the eleventh child of his father and the second of his mother. His Father, Abdullahi Bayero, a former emir, reigned for 27 years. 

When Ado attained the age of seven, he was sent to live with Maikano Zagi. He started his education in Kano studying Islam, after which he attended Kano Middle School. He graduated from the School of Arabic Studies in 1947. He then worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of British West Africa until 1949, when he joined the Kano Native Authority. He attended Zaria Clerical College in 1952. In 1954, he won a seat to the Northern Regional House of Assembly.

Working Experience and Headship of the Emirate

He was head of the Kano Native Authority police division from 1957 until 1962. During which he tried to minimize the practice of briefly detaining individuals and political opponents on the orders of powerful individuals in Kano. He then became the Nigerian ambassador to Senegal. During this time he enrolled in a French-language class. 

Muhammadu Sanusi who was Ado Bayero’s half-brother ruled after their father from 1953-1963. Following Sanusi’s dethronement in 1963, Muhammadu Inuwa took over as Emir of Kano but could only rule for three months. After Inuwa’s death, Ado Bayero ascended the throne in October 1963. Bayero was the longest-serving emir in Kano’s history. Bayero’s Palace played host to official visits by many government personnel and foreigners, but in 1981 Governor Abubakar Rimi restricted traditional homage paid by village heads to Ado Bayero and excised some domains from his emirate. 

Bayero became emir during the first republic, at a time when Nigeria was going through rapid social and political changes and regional, sub-regional and ethnic discord was increasing. In his first few years, two pro-Kano political movements gained support among some Kano elites. The Kano People’s Party emerged during the reign of Muhammadu Inuwa and supported the deposed Emir Sanusi, but it soon evaporated. The Kano State Movement emerged towards the end of 1965 and favoured more economic autonomy for the province.

The death, in 1966 of many political agitators from northern Nigeria and the subsequent establishment of a unitary state consolidated a united front in the northern region but also resulted in a spate of violence there, including in Kano. Bayero’s admirers credit him with bringing calm and stability during this and later crises in Kano.

Bayero: Lineage of the Greats

Ado Bayero was the son of Abdullahi Bayero and grandson of Muhammad Abbas. Ado Bayero was the 13th Fulani emir since the Fulani War or Usman dan Fodio‘s Jihad – when the Fulani took over the Hausa city-states. He was one of the strongest and most powerful emirs in the history of the Hausa land. He was renowned for his abundant wealth, maintained by means of stock market investments and large-scale agricultural entrepreneurship both at home and abroad.

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As emir, he became a patron of Islamic scholarship and embraced Western education as a means to succeed in a modern Nigeria. As a result, he a vocal critic of the Islamist group Boko Haram, who strongly campaigned against western education. In 2002 he led a Kano elders forum in opposing the onshore and offshore abrogation bill.

Bayero was a former chancellor of the University of Nigeria and served as the chancellor of the University of Ibadan. He has served as the chief of the Kano police. He was installed the Emir of Kano on October 22, 1963, becoming the 13th Fulani emir of Kano and the 56th ruler of the Kano Kingdom. He died on 6 June 2014. He was succeeded by his brother’s grandson Muhammadu Sanusi II.



Featured Image Source: Stella Dimoko Korkus

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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