Unveiling of the New Emir of Dutse: A Square Peg in a Square Hole.

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By Hannatu Bilyaminu

Looking glamorous in a light brown and white striped elegant Tsamiya (a dress made with handwoven fabric and known to be worn by royals on special occasions), he wore a white alkyabba (burnoose), laced with alluring brown embroidery, paired with a blue turban that has golden stenciled designs and white shoes, with his Amawali (the lower piece of the turban) covering his mouth and the lower part of his face. The new Emir sits firmly on the golden throne of the Dutse Emirate, looking regal, exquisite, and ready for the enormous task that lies ahead—a task he was prepared for from birth.

Dutse town got its name “Dutse,” the Hausa word for “rock,” from the hilly rocks surrounding the town of Garu, the headquarters of the Emirate, and its environs, covering an area of about 5 square miles. Dutse is the capital of Jigawa State, which was created out of Kano in 1991. Legend has it that a great hunter named Duna-Magu, a Kanuri man, first discovered Dutse, nicknamed Gadawur, as a rich hunting ground for gazelles. “Gada” in Hausa, the settlement of Garu, is said to pre-date the arrival of Bagauda to Kano in the latter years of the 1st millennium.

Salihi and Musa of the Yalligawa and Jalligawa Fulani clans were the principal actors who led the movement that ushered in the ascendancy of Fulani rule in 1806. The duo, as the heads of their clans generally referred to as Fulata-Borno, migrated to what is now referred to as Dutse Gadawur from Birnin Gazargamo in the Kanem-Borno Empire, now in Yobe State, in 1801. These Fulani clans were better known as Fellata or Fulbe. They overthrew the government of Hausa ruler Sarkin Dutse Gwajabo in 1806 after answering the call of Usman bin Fodio. Salihi an Awwal ruled for 12 years (1807–1819) and was succeeded by Musa an Ahmadu, who ruled for 21 years (1819–1840).

Since Salihi and Musa retired Sarkin Dutse Gwajabo, who relinquished power and moved to Jigawar Sarki until his death, all the eighteen Emirs of Dutse are their descendants, from Sarki Bello Ɗan Musa the 3rd Emir who ruled in 1840 – 1849, up the grandfather of the present Emir, Alh. Muhammadu Sunusi Ɗan Bello was the 18th Emir and ruled between 1983 – 1995, and his father the late Emir of Dutse Dr. Nuhu Muhammad Sunusi the 19th Emir was crowned in 1995 and passed on in 2023.

His Highness Alh. Muhammad Hamim Nuhu Sunusi is the eldest son of the late Emir Dr. Nuhu Muhammad Sunusi; he was born on February 26th, 1979. He attended Crescent International School, after which he proceeded to the Federal Government College in Kano. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Monash University, Malaysia, and obtained an MBA in 2006.

In Malaysia, while pursuing his bachelor’s degree, he did an internship with Mercer Consulting, one of the world’s leading insurance consultancy firms. Upon graduation, he became the sales manager at Marcus Evans, a major world leader in the provision of global business intelligence on carrying out market research for organizations willing to invest in the African continent, where he served as the leader for the African research team.

On his return to Nigeria in 2006, he did his National Youth Service at the National Assembly as a personal assistant to one of the members of the National Assembly. From 2007–2011, he served as the Head of Business Development at Bilyak Consulting, an online training firm, for which he was responsible for establishing the Nigerian office.

He then moved to SMD Consulting, an accounting firm with vast experience in accounting and financing, where he headed its Northern region’s operations from 2011 to 2016. He was the managing director of MHS Energy Ltd., a renewable and off-grid company, from 2016 until the time of his appointment as the Emir of Dutse on February 4, 2023, at the age of 44.

Elders who give an account of his childhood speak of a very pleasant young man who was quiet, shy, obedient, very helpful, and compassionate, especially towards the younger ones. He hardly got into fights or any kind of trouble. His peers tell a story of an independent, hardworking man who never allowed the privilege of being the son of a first-class Emir and an heir apparent to the throne get to his head. He is the epitome of humility, tirelessly kind, and a visionary; he worked hard to make his own money and is cautious in spending it, he is firm but friendly; and he is respectful towards all, superiors, equals, and juniors. In his leisure time, he enjoys watching movies, playing golf, and riding horses.

Most Emirates will take a while to choose a new Emir, but for the Dutse Emirate, it was an easy choice as all seven kingmakers unanimously agreed to the enthronement of His Highness Alh. Muhammad Hamim Nuhu Sunusi is the 20th Emir of Dutse among three contenders for the royal seat. 

Being born into a royal family meant that he, like his father, was raised helping to attend to the needs of his father’s subjects. He has been involved in counseling disputing parties, helping the oppressed, and giving to the needy, a role for which he officially took a title in 2007 as sarkin Dawakin Tsakar Gida and later Dan Iya, the Councillor responsible for youth guidance and counseling.

The new Emir worked closely with his father, who imbibed in him a great sense of responsibility, high moral standards, and adherence to cultural norms and values agreeable to Islamic doctrine. Like his father, he has the right skill set needed for a leader in his time; he has religious knowledge to enable him to lead in line with the teachings of the Qur’an and sunnah; advanced Western education to lead well and position his people for better development and opportunities relevant in the 21st century; and enough exposure to see beyond the obvious while respecting the treasures within.

Traditional rulers wield so much power—the power to shape lives through the implementation of policies and inspire young minds. They actively combat societal ills such as disease, poverty, ignorance, corruption, crime, drug addiction, insurgency, impunity in public office, and youth delinquency. They are catalysts of development and a force agitating for policy implementation; they monitor and review policies implemented and their impact on their communities; and they ensure the preservation of our sense of community in the face of the inevitable forces of urbanization.

They also form a beautiful part of our identity as people and a solid piece of our memories. For me, the late Emir of Dutse, His Highness Dr. Nuhu Muhammad Sunusi, made each Sallah a memorable event. I look forward to it, peeking through the mammoth crowd, climbing atop cars just so I can catch a glimpse of him and his councilors, district heads, village heads, and ward heads dressed in colorful costumes, riding horses, followed by musicians and dancers, to simply wave at them. It doesn’t matter if they saw or recognized me; it means the world that I see and recognizes them. I can’t wait to see the new Emir take his father’s place in this year’s Hawan Bariki.

The new Emir came from the youth, and for them, as Dan Iyan Dutse, the Councillor, oversaw the affairs of the youth and provided guidance and counseling, he came up with initiatives such as youth empowerment through skills acquisition programs to get the youth busy doing the right things, especially to discourage substance abuse and encourage self-reliance and school enrollment. No doubt, it is why he receives resounding cheers whenever his entourage comes to pass during Hawan Sallah, and the youth would echo “Allah Ja kwanan Dan Iya mai samari,” meaning long live Dan Iya, the youth’s favorite.

The enthronement of His Highness Alh. Muhammad Hamim Nuhu Sunusi certainly puts a square peg in a square hole, as his leadership traits were aptly captured by his father, His Highness Dr. Nuhu Muhammad Sunusi, while describing his grandfather, His Highness Alh. Muhammad Sanusi Dan Bello (may Allah have mercy on them) in his memoir, ‘Reminiscence of the Days in My Life’. He wrote, “He was tolerant yet blunt; he was nice yet firm in dealing with his subjects; he was harsh at times, yet a defender of the weak in society; he was generous, yet very prudent with the public property; he was obedient to his superiors yet fearless.”

In his acceptance speech, the new Emir reiterates his commitment to the welfare of his people. He promises to do justice and continue the legacy his father left. He said, “I will continue with the legacy my father left, and I will try my best to see that all the good things my father, the late Emir, did, are sustained and that I add to it”. He also promised to visit all the districts in his jurisdiction to distribute alms to the needy.

Your Highness, as you ascend the throne of your father to be the shepherd of your people, know that you are loved and respected in equal measure. May you have the wisdom and resilience of your father; may you lead with humility and compassion; may you be guided and guarded by Allah every step of the way; may you reign long, Amin.

Hannatu Bilyaminu writes from Dutse.



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