Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has announced the Magajin Garin Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, as the 19th emir of Zazzau 17 days after the demise of Alhaji Shehu Idris, the 18th emir of Zazzau.
Bamalli is from the Mallawa dynasty and is Nigeria’s immediate past Ambassador to Thailand.
He was Born on June 8, 1966 in Zaria, his father, Nuhu Bamalli held the title of Magajin Garin Zazzau before the title was transferred to him.
The emir attended his primary and secondary education in Kaduna city and is a graduate of law from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He has a Master’s degree in international affairs and diplomacy and had attended several national and international courses from Harvard and Oxford Universities as well as Northwestern University in Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.
How it started
Kingmakers of the Zazzau Emirate had, on Friday September 26, submitted names of three princes to Kaduna State government for appointment as the new Emir of Zazzau.
The Emir of Zazzau stool became vacant following the death of Alhaji Shehu Idris who reigned for 45 years.
The kingmakers, according to the minutes of their meeting obtained by Daily Trust, shortlisted the three princes; Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashari Aminu; Yariman Zazzau, Alhaji Mohammed Munir Ja’afaru and Turakin Zazzau, Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris.
The meeting to select the new emir was held on Thursday in Zaria.
The five kingmakers of the Zazzau Emirate; Wazirin Zazzau (Chairman), Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammad Aminu; Fagachin Zazzau, Alhaji Umaru Muhammad; Makama Karamin Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammad Abbas; Chief Imam of Zazzau, Alhaji Dalhatu Kasimu Imam and Limamin Konan Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Aliyu attended the selection meeting.
Ambassador Bamalli, an ally of Governor Nasiru El-Rufai, was not among the shortlisted candidates.
The kingmakers rated the candidates based on eight parameters including qualification, experience as district head, no proven adverse report, relationship with public, national awards, ability to make peace and physical fitness.
On their score sheet, the kingmakers scored Iyan Zazzau 88, Munir Ja’afaru 87 and Aminu Shehu Idris 53.
Only the three were graded, according to the report of the selection meeting.
All the five kingmakers endorsed the recommendation to the governor.
Emergence of Bamalli
However, on September 27, a new list containing four names including Governor El-Rufai’s ally, Bamalli, whose name was missing in the first one, was submitted to the government.
Credible sources close to the Kaduna State Government had confirmed to Daily Trust that the earlier list of three candidates handed over to the government through the commissioner of local government and chieftaincy matters had been changed to place Bamalli as number one on the list.
There were claims that Bamalli was added to the list to give the Mallawa ruling house equal opportunity to vie for the coveted throne.
Several opinion articles have been published on social media to support the alteration of the original list even as it is not clear who is behind the sponsored write-ups.
Sources also confirmed that the five kingmakers had been invited to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Friday where representatives of government tried to cajole them, albeit unsuccessfully, to review their list.
Governor El-Rufai had later announced on his Twitter handle that the commissioner responsible for chieftaincy matters was reviewing details of all 11 aspirants and the marks scored them by the kingmakers.
A source said: “The governor is under intense pressure to include the candidate of the Mallawa Dynasty because they have not had the chance to sit on the throne for over a century.
“There is no doubt that the whole thing has now become political; there are many interests and the governor is trying to portray neutrality but it is doubtful if he can be neutral in this matter. He also has an interest.”
The Selection Twist
The selection process took a dramatic turn last week Wednesday when El-Rufai directed the kingmakers to begin fresh selection of candidates, jettisoning the earlier list submitted to it.
The state government stated that the earlier processes had excluded two untreated applicants including the Bunu Zazzau and the Sarkin Dajin Zazzau, who it said had protested their exclusion in the selection processes.
Another reason it gave for jettisoning the earlier list was that the kingmakers had assessed two candidates on September 24, 2020, without sighting their CVs, which the selectors received a day later.
Many however saw the directive as an excuse to include Bamalli’s name on the list as government officials had confirmed to Daily Trust that the governor was under pressure to compensate the Mallawa dynasty, which has not produced an emir in the last 100 years.
But as suspense persisted over the succession delay, Governor El-Rufai on Tuesday convened a critical meeting with the state’s Council of Chiefs where indication emerged that the governor was going to announce the new emir the following day.
Wednesday’s announcement by El-Rufai’s has put to rest the speculation that the governor was working on a bill to balkanise the Zazzau Emirate into three.
The governor had announced that he was working on an executive bill that would reform the composition and classification of the state’s chieftaincy and traditional council.
The Zazzau Emirate has a first-class status and it is also the largest in Kaduna State, comprising of 11 local government areas.
Who is Ahmed Bamalli?
Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli is Nigeria’s immediate past Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Born in 1966 in Zaria, Bamalli studied Law as first degree from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1989 and obtained a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same institution in 2002.
Until his appointment as emir on Wednesday, Bamalli held the title of Magajin Garin Zazzau; the second most senior princely title in the Zazzau Emirate. He bagged a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, 1998 and did a fellowship on conflict resolution at the University of York (UK), 2009.
He holds another Diploma in organisational leadership from Oxford University, UK, 2015 and is a Senior Chevening Fellow with about 26 years cognate experience covering banking, public sector, telecommunications, and manufacturing. The emir is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where he obtained GMP in 2011 and is married to Mairo Bamalli and blessed with five children.
Based on the Mallawa dynasty tree, Bamalli is the 4th emir from the clan trailing behind three descendants including Malam Musa, the founding father of the Mallawa dynasty.
Musa had reigned between 1804 and 1821 as the first Fulani emir of Zazzau.
Within the Mallawa dynasty, he was followed by Sidi Abdulkadir, the sixth emir of Zazzau and the second from the dynasty who reigned between 1853-1853.
Abubakar, the 9th emir of Zazzau and third from the Mallawa dynasty reigned between 1879-1888, while Aliyu Dan-sidi, the 13th emir of Zazzau and Bamali’s grandfather reigned between 1903 -1920.
Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli has become the first emir of Zazzau from the Mallawa ruling house in 100 years, since the demise of his grandfather, Aliyu Dan-sidi, the 13th emir of Zazzau in 1920.
Soon after he was appointed as the 19th emir, Bamalli wrote on his verified Twitter handle: “Alhamdulillah, after 100 years. The throne is back home. Allah gives power and leadership to whom He wills. Now my watch begins, I shall serve you diligently and selflessly. May Allah help us all. Amin.”