Anxiety is gradually building up in the ancient city of Zaria seven days after the demise of the late Emir Shehu Idris as his successor has not been appointed.
Sources said if not for the last-minute politicking, a new emir would have emerged soon after the seven-day Fidda’u prayers for the late emir, which was held yesterday.
Findings by Daily Trust revealed that there have been an uneasy calm in the ancient city since Friday when news filtered that three princes have been recommended by the Zazzau kingmakers for Governor Nasir El-Rufai to select one as the new emir.
The dominant discussion among residents on Sunday was the issue of who becomes the new emir.
People supporting the princes have been discussing the chances of their favourites.
There is an increased presence of people at the GRA residence of Yariman Zazzau, Alhaji Munir Jafaru who is one of the contenders.
The people were seen in clusters discussing the variables that would work for their favourite candidate, hence the reason they gathered at the entrance of his house in solidarity.
People were also seen at the Sabon Gari, Zaria official residence of Alhaji Bashar Aminu where he spent most of his life while serving as district head of the area.
Inside the ancient walls, friends and well-wishers of Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris were seen at the precinct of the Zazzau Palace hoping that their favourite candidate would emerge.
Again, members of the Mallawa Dynasty that were taken aback for the alleged “surprise disappearance” of the name of Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, the titleholder of the Magajin Garin Zazzau, are now hopeful that he may make it to the throne.
The time it took to have new emir in the past
Our correspondent gathered based on recent history that it took a week or less to appoint a new emir in Zazzau.
It was gathered that late Sarki Jafaru died on a Friday and the following Friday, late Sarki Muhammadu Aminu was appointed as the new emir of Zazzau.
Also, Late Sarki Aminu died on a Tuesday while receiving treatment outside the shores of Nigeria abroad, but four days after, late Sarki Shehu Idris was named as the new emir on Saturday.
Daily Trust reports that prayers are still being offered at different mosques of the ancient city for Allah to select the best candidate to fill the vacant seat.
Interest, politics behind delay
Daily Trust reports that the original list containing names of three people considered top contenders for the throne of Emir of Zazzau presented to the Kaduna State Government by the kingmakers of the Zazzau Emirate has been altered.
A new list containing four names including Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s ally, Magajin Garin Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, whose name was missing in the first one was submitted to the government on Sunday, Daily Trust learnt.
Seven days since the demise of the 18th Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, who died at the age of 84 after a brief illness at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, it is still not clear who will emerge as the 19th Emir of Zazzau.
Our correspondent recalled that the kingmakers had on Thursday, September 24, submitted the names of three people for the governor to pick one as new emir.
The name of Bamalli was conspicuously missing, development sources said did not go down well with his friend, Governor El- Rufai.
There were claims that Bamalli was added to the list to give the Mallawa 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.
This newspaper had exclusively reported that the kingmakers had met with representatives of government and security agencies in Zaria, on Thursday, where they submitted a list of the top three candidates from the 11 contenders.
Those considered were: Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashar Aminu from the Katsinawa Dynasty who scored 89 percent; Yariman Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammed Munir Jafaru from Bare-bari Dynasty who scored 87 percent, and Turakin Zazzau, Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris from Katsinawa Dynasty who scored 53 percent.
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 the 11 aspirants and the marks given to them by the kingmakers.
However, sources from Kashim Ibrahim House, on Sunday, confirmed to Daily Trust that the list had now been altered to include Bamalli, the prince from the Mallawa Dynasty with his name placed first on the list.
Though it is still not certain when the government will announce the new emir, the 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,” he said.
Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters
Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox
Our correspondent gathered that while insiders from the government say one of the contenders had compromised the kingmakers to get a favourable score, insiders from the Zazzau Emirate said the allegation was only an excuse to change the original recommendation.
“If anything, the kingmakers had rejected a huge inducement from government representatives to change the earlier list of three candidates,” one of the sources said.
Both claims could not be independently verified by the Daily Trust.
Another insider told our correspondent that the Kaduna State government was uncomfortable with the first list especially because of Iyan Zazzau, Alh. Bashar Aminu, who scored the highest, is said to be a candidate of top Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bigwigs.
Only El-Rufai has the final say
Sources in Kaduna told the Daily Trust last night that with what transpired in the last few days, only El- Rufai knows who would be the next emir of Zazzau.
“The governor had met with relevant stakeholders and weigh different options, including the implications of going against the wish of the kingmakers,” of the sources said.
“It is now clearly at the discretion of the governor to pick who he wants as the new monarch,” he said.
When contacted, the governor El-Rufai’s Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye did not respond to calls to his phone.