Presently, there are six first class Emirs in what used to be the Kano Province of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Four in the old Kano, and since 1991, a total of six between Kano and Jigawa States
In this same Province, the first ever political movement in Nigeria to take on established political, economic and social concensus of it’s time was conceived, planned and executed. That was NEPU, and then it’s precursor movement, the PRP. The most passionate of it’s protagonists (The Talakawas) and its most vicious antagonists (The traditional establishment) coexisted there.
From the grandeur and opulent splendour of Kano city in the center, to the conservative and rich planes of Hadejia on the east, to a graceful Gumel and enlightened Kazaure on its northern fringes, Kano Province was an ideological battle ground. These confrontations first in the realms of philosophy and ideas, were often physical and sometimes even fatal.
Both sides were determined to win, and at all cost too. One to change the existing order and the other to stick to the reality on ground. The traditional establishment with both the motives and the coercive resources at it’s disposal naturally favoured the status quo. While the other camp, vulnerable and at the receiving end of the establishment’s fury, viewed it (the establishment) as evil and undesirable. All were very extreme in their positions and with benefits of hindsight most of them might have done things differently today.
What could have otherwise birthed a healthy contest of ideas around human dignity, freedom and liberty and even positively advance our civilisation was to unfortunately turn to an acrimoniously ill defined class struggle with bitter rhetoric and unhealthy politcal posturing. The ‘progressives’, as the change elements would want to be addressed mobilized around NEPU and the Talaka priority sentiments. Meanwhile the traditional leadership and the native authorities, favoured the status quo around the NPC and it’s conservative ideals.
Those Four Emirs (now Six) were thought to have symbolised the latter. But NOT anymore!
Because about five of these six Emirs are today not only very progressive and forward looking but also radical agents of change by all standards. One of them was especially so comfortable and natural in this rather unsual role that he could have passed off as a NEPU spokesperson if he were to exist and advance his disruptive views 70yrs ago
Unfortunately, Arewa chooses to either quietly ignore these ‘Progressives’ on the throne, mischievously misrepresent their views or in the extremes, even mark them for strategic silencing. There now exist a paradox of the progressive Shepherds looking for a progressive flock to lead. A NEPU from the throne at the top. A reverse NEPU movement if you like!
It matters little out here what our ideological instincts are. We are stucked with what is convenient or even opportunistic. Elements of both the progressives and the conservatives are entranched behind the decided lines of either. This perhaps is one possible explanation of the paradox of progressive and radical Emirs side by side a complacent, reactionary and deeply conservative Talakawa class
Accordingly, the progressives elements are littered, disharmonius, competitive and sometimes even on rancorous collisions. They may need to locate themselves and link up across their class, sectarian and political divides for yet another daring attempt at a revolutionary change!
The protagonists of NEPU and their antagonists in the NPC both had their excesses, and had in so many ways either promoted or condoned behaviours that may not be acceptable to civilized standards even at that time. Their politics was very bitter and the class rhetorics extreme. That has to be noted and completely avoided. We shan’t be captives of the past and its handed down sentiments while at the same time seeking a better future.
The future progressive fraternity in Arewa should be that which any progressive Emir can feel as free as to comfortably participate and even offer leadership if the majority so desire. And that which the Talakawas are equally as comfortable as to freely offer such leadership roles and mobilize for its success. Or vice versa.