…the governor should be reminded that he is neither a military dictator nor a colonial master, and this is the twenty-first century. He should spend time on abiding by the laws, not reading books to support a wrongful act. Two wrongs will never make a right. Let the votes of the kingmakers stand, and history will be kind to him. To paraphrase Scott Sumner, he should be discouraged from believing in the popular myth that ‘experts are smarter than the crowd’.


Recently, Governor El-Rufai tweeted that he had received the recommendation report on the 11 candidates aspiring to become the Emir of Zazzau. However, his narrative therein is against the facts of the situation, based on an investigation conducted. We should note that the legitimacy of whichever Emir is ultimately chosen comes from the selection made by the kingmakers, and not the final endorsement of the governor.

The governor posted the referred to tweet on Wednesday, September 23, after concluding the third-day prayer for the late Emir. In it, he “prayed for the kingmakers to select the next Emir who will emulate the late Emir.”

The five kingmakers, the Limamin Gari, Alhaji Dalhatu Kasim; the Limamin Kona, Muhammad Aliyu; Wazirin Zazzau, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu; Makama Karami, Alhaji Muhammad Abbas; and Fagacin Zazzau, Alhaji Umar Muhammad, selected three out of the eleven princes drawn up from the four dynasties.

The selection took place on Thursday, September 24, and the State governor’s delegates were present to monitor the process. Those who attended include the secretary to the state government (SSG), the director-general of the Department of State Services, the State commissioner of Police, the Kaduna State head of service, the commissioner of Chieftaincy Affairs, and the attorney general of the State and commissioner for Justice. The SSG coordinated the process through a new rigid set of rules, which include 20 per cent for being a district head, 15 per cent for having a tertirary education degree or Higher National Diploma (HND), 10 per cent for public service, and 10 per cent for no proven adverse report. Others include 15 per cent for good relationship with the public, 10 per cent for physical fitness, and 5 per cent for being recipient of a national award.

…in the traditional institution, such as that of the emirates of northern Nigeria, legitimacy to occupy the throne is acquired through the votes of the traditional king makers. And, in the minds and eyes of the people, the votes of the kingmakers are “vox populi”, and thus, vox dei – the voices of the people are the voices of God.


Following the scoring process, three of the kingmakers voted for Iyan Zazzau, while one each voted for Yariman Zazzau and Turakin Zazzau. Specifically, Limamin Kona, Limamin Gari and Waziri voted for Iyan Zazzau, while Fagaci voted for Yerima, Makama for Turaki. The kingmakers voted in three separate rounds, but the outcome never changed. Again, based on the above criteria set by the government and the votes cast by the kingmakers, Iyan scored 89 per cent; Yarima, 87 per cent; while Turaki scored 53 per cent.

The kingmakers were asked to submit their report on Friday at the State House in Kawo. However, they were only met by two government delegates, the SSG and the commissioner of Chieftaincy Affairs. These officials of State asked the kingmakers to comment on why they rejected the other eight princes who expressed interest in succeeding the Emir. And the investigation found out that all the eleven candidates were sent for security clearance, instead of the three who were selected by the kingmakers. As things stand, the report on the security clearance of the candidates will get to the governor today, Sunday. It also means that the governor has found a way to discard the voting results of the kingmakers and has decided to appoint someone else not selected and voted for.

In modern day democracy, the legitimacy to hold office and exercise political power drives from the votes of the electorate. These votes serve as the expression of acceptance and loyalty to constitutional authority. Similarly, in the traditional institution, such as that of the emirates of northern Nigeria, legitimacy to occupy the throne is acquired through the votes of the traditional king makers. And, in the minds and eyes of the people, the votes of the kingmakers are “vox populi”, and thus, vox dei – the voices of the people are the voices of God.

Finally, the governor should be reminded that he is neither a military dictator nor a colonial master, and this is the twenty-first century. He should spend time on abiding by the laws, not reading books to support a wrongful act. Two wrongs will never make a right. Let the votes of the kingmakers stand, and history will be kind to him. To paraphrase Scott Sumner, he should be discouraged from believing in the popular myth that ‘experts are smarter than the crowd’.

Carrying out his desire against the wish of the people will eventually lead to lawsuits against the governor’s decision.

Muhammad DanAsabe Umar, a public commentator, wrote from Zaria.