Despite the fact that Northern Nigeria is essentially populated by Hausas, it is the Fulanis who predominate when it comes to Power and Influence. Virtually all communities are populated by Hausas but the same communities have Fulanis as Kings. That is the irony of Northern Nigeria since the days of Uthman dan Fodio. In this piece, Managing Editor, BAMIDELE OGUNDANA brings you some of the Fulanis who wield enormous power in Nigeria.
PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI
The President of Nigeria, Pres. Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani. He was born to a Fulani family on 17 December, 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Adamu and mother Zulaihat.
SENATE PRESIDENT, BUKOLA SARAKI
Not many people know that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki is a Fulani. He is the son of late Dr. Olusola Abubakar Saraki from Ilorin. Both late Dr. Olusola Saraki and his son are Fulani.
EMIR OF GWANDU. IBRAHIM JOKOLO
As a military man, he was Buhari’s ADC when the incumbent President was then a military head of State. He is believed to be one of the closest confidants of the President and one of those who can make him change his mind over issues he had hitherto made up his mind. He was formerly deposed but with the ascension of Buhari to power, the coast was cleared for him to return to power as the Emir of Gwandu.
EMIR OF KANO
Lamido Sanusi, the former CBN Governor is not just an influential traditional ruler but a renowned critic of various governments. Over the years, he has earned himself the reputation of subtle advocacy, despite being of the royal blood. He never shied away from his royal ancestry or even his Fulani lineage even when he was the head of the CBN as he wore royal Fulani robes to offices when he felt like.
When the issue of who and who were the patrons of the Fulani herdsmen came up, he quickly came out to declare that he was their patron. An ethnic jingoist to the core, he has never kept quiet when he has the opportunity of speaking for his people.
The former Chairman of the PDP is not just a successful businessman as the Chairman of African Business Roundtable, he has interests in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. He was one of the major pillars of the PDP before he emerged as the party’s leader during the Jonathan era. He is still a major voice in the North, especially in Adamawa, his home State.
What more can one say about Waziri Adamawa who succeeded in making his son the Turaki of the same Kingdom.. The former Vice President is one of the most astute politicians in the country with political networks that extend far across the continent and beyond. Atiku is a man of many parts married to Igbo and Yoruba wives and aspiring to rule Nigeria. The aspiration has seen him move from one party to another to realize the ambition. He is not just wealthy, he has the machinery to take on any politician in contemporary Nigeria.
He is incumbent Customs Comptroller General. A no – nonsense man, his first coming as a military Governor also witnessed the same traits. He retired as a Colonel and he depicts the Buhari spirit of defiance and singleness of purpose. He is one of the closest men to the President.
The former university Vice Chancellor and senator is one man who has seen many climes. He has served the nation in various capacities and only in 2013 was at the National Conference in Abuja.
Abdulrahman Mohammed, the Rahmaniyya boss is another very influential man of Fulani extraction. Though youngish, his influence belies his age as he is seen as one man who dared to tread where many were afraid of treading. His ability to carve a niche for himself in the oil storage sector has made him one of the few success stories in the business.
He is another success story in the business sector when it comes to the Fulani entrepreneur. With investments in aviation, energy as well as general haulage, the conglomerate he heads has continued to defy all odds hence his influence in the corridors of power.
He is the incumbent Governor of Kebbi State. He is not just a governor who has made impact despite being on his first term, his antecedents as a former World Bank staff has made him blaze trails which even at the national level, other governors as well as cabinet members look up to him, His influence transcends his state as is seen in the LAKE rice which was the initiative of his government and that of Lagos State.
EMIR OF KATSINA
Abdulmumin Kabir Usman is the eleventh Fulani Emir of Katsina and he is also the Chairman of the state council of traditional rulers. He has been on the throne for close to ten years now and given the fact that he is the traditional head of the state that produced the President, he wields a lot of influence among his colleagues and even outside of the state.
EMIR OF DAURA
The Emir of Daura , Frauk Umar Faruk is undoubtedly one of the most influential traditional rulers in the country presently. Apart from the fact that he is an Emir and one of the traditional rulers heading one of the RUMFA states, which were principal states where the children of Uthman Dan fodio were sent, he is the head of the President’s home town and the two are believed to have been very close over time. This has therefore conferred on him a position that is enviable even among his peers.
EMIR OF ZAMFARA
Atahiru Muhammad Ahmed is the Emir of Zamfara State. He is one of the new breed of Emirs who are highly learned as he is well read. He is the Chancellor of Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun in Delta State.
SULTAN OF SOKOTO
Sultan Abubakar is the most influential traditional ruler in Nigeria not just because he is the head of the Sultanate but also because, as the head of Muslims in the country, he is revered. As the descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio, he is seen as the father of all the Emirs up North, a position that confers on him more influence. Being a former military officer, you can say many things about him, but you cannot deny his steadfastness when it comes to the cause of his people. He is virtually revered among his people.
EMIR OF ARGUNGU
Another very influential traditional ruler up north is the Emir of Argungu. Argungu, an ancient fishing town is located in Kebbi State. The Emir of the town is a former Customs top shot Samaila Mera. Given the fact that he is learned, he has been one of the most influential emirs in the Kebbi axis where there are four different emirates.
LAMIDO OF ADAMAWA
Muhammadu Barkindo the Lamido of Adamawa is one of the few traditional rulers who are not Emirs up North. He is of course Fulani and his kingdom spreads even into parts of Cameroon hence his threat during the National Conference in 2013 to move to Cameroon. He ascended the throne of his fathers in 2010 and he is believed to be one of the most influential rulers in the North.
He conducted two different presidential elections in Nigeria and had the singular honour of bringing in Buhari after the latter won the Presidential election. The former ASUU president and activist went back to academics after serving his term as the head of the nation’s electoral body, INEC. He however still has a lot of influence on the political system.
RABIU MUSA KWANKWASO
Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso has seen it all as a Minister and also a two term Governor. He came second to the incumbent President in the Presidential primary of the ruling APC in 2015. He is most respected with his strong control of Kano which provided the largest chunk of votes for the President in the March 2015 Presidential election.
Aliko is Africa’s richest man. Simply put, his wealth, affluence and influence transcends Nigeria. He is one of the nation’s largest employer of labour and indeed, the largest outside of government. His influence can therefore only be imagined. Government after government have had to grant him unlimited concessions and tax waivers because of what he stands for and what he is doing in terms of employment as well as giving back to the society. Though he claims not to be a politician, it is widely believed that he plays unseen roles in making and unmaking of leaders of government in the country.
There is another large family with investments in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. To antagonise them or pretend that they are not there is at your own peril. The Dantatas have been in business for several years and they are entrenched in the transportation sector, especially haulage system as well as general merchandise. Years back, one of them singlehandedly financed a governor to office in one of the Northern states. that is to show you the influence and affluence they have to throw around.
He was a two-term governor of Jigawa State as well as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs. One of the pillars of the PDP, he is a frontrunner for the opposition party’s presidential ticket in the next election. Both inside and outside of Jigawa, he is highly regarded as a crowd puller and an orator. He is also a member of the royalty in the State. He is one of the few whose voices, northerners listen to. To his credit even though Boko Haram attacked surrounding states during his days in power as Governor they never came to his state, which was something that many found very curious.
A prince of the Sokoto ruling house, Dasuki could easily have been the Sultan but for the politics of the selection process. Yet, he is today in incarceration. It is not for nothing that he is kept there. He is believed to be so powerful and rich that his release could cause a lot of problems for the country’s present leadership.
EMIR OF ILORIN
Ibrahim Zulu Gambari was formerly a justice before he became the traditional ruler of Ilorin. He is one of the traditional rulers upon whose ancestors the duty of manning the outposts of the Sokoto caliphate fell as Ilorin was the Fulani outpost in the West. He is considered influential given his learned status and also for his wealth of experience having been on the throne for ages. He is of Yoruba and Fulani parentage but when he ascended the throne he jettisoned the Yoruba name and adopted a more clannish name.
The former Inspector General of Police is the head of the very influential Arewa Consultative Forum which is the voice of the North socio-politically. There is no doubt that the body wields a lot of influence in the North as leaders, whether northerners or non northerner take them very serious and listen to them. Before him there were others like retired General IBM Haruna who headed the body.
The former head of the nation’s security outfit remains highly respected in and out of office. It is widely believed that some of the top security appointments that the President makes are even run through him privately before they are announced.
The Ahmadu Bello University Graduate who presently heads the Directorate of State Security was sent away from the same organisation before Buhari recalled him to head the body. As an insider, he understands the workings of the body perfectly and given the fact that he hails from the President’s home state and town, it was only natural that he was given the job. The influence he has in the government can only be gauged by the fact that despite the clashes he has with the NSA, he has been able to hold himself and continue in office.
He is the man many loathe with a passion on account od the influence he wields in the corridors of power. The man who is widely regarded as the country’s unofficial ruler is another Daura man and even a relation of the President.
Despite all the calls that he be sidelined in the running of the country especially in terms of appointments and decision making, he continues to wield a lot of powers. His role in the government came to limelight more when the wife of the President sometimes last year exploded over a cabal holding her husband to ransom and that they never took part in the electioneering campaign yet they were the ones dictating who got what in the government. His role has not abated after the outburst.
AHMED RUFAI ABUBAKAR
He is the newly appointed Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency. He was earlier appointed a top aide of the President before his present appointment. He also hails from Daura, the President’s home town. Curiously, he worked at the Intelligence Agency before he was retired shortly before he could become a substantive Director years back.
He was Nigeria’s President between 1979 and 1983 when he was removed by Buhari in a military coup. Shehu Shagari, the reluctant President has kids and grandchildren in politics. From his Shagari village home, he has continued to influence things in the corridors of power.
EMIR OF KAZAURE
He became the Emir in 1998. Najib Hussein Adamu is the tenth Emir since the foundation of the emirate in 1819. The Emirate is located in today’s Jigawa state. Emir Adamu is one of the most vocal emirs in the North Western part of the country as he is enlightened.
EMIR OF GOMBE
Abubakar Shehu Abubakar is the 10th Emir of Gombe State. He succeeded his father who passed on in May 2014. A graduate of political science, he follows the trait and trend of many newly emerging traditional rulers up north who are very literate and who know how to use their influence as descendants of Usman dan Fodio to grow their communities.
EMIR OF BAUCHI
Rilwanu Aadamu Jimba, the Emir of Bauchi came into office in 2010. He is another top Emir in the North and being a First class traditional ruler in the state, he is undoubtedly one of the voices that cannot be ignored in the scheme of things. Heading a major city with its rich political history also accords him a lot of respect among his peers since there are other emirs who look up to him even though they are in the same state.
EMIR OF ZAZZAU
The Emir of Zaria or Zazzau as he is called is another powerful Emir in the scheme of things in the North. When the rankings of the children of Fodio is taken into cognisance, he is given a prime of place. The incumbent Emir, Shehu Idris is someone who has learnt the ropes having been there since the 1970s. Based on this, many of the younger Emirs always look up to him, the same way politicians also look up to him.
NASIR EL RUFAI
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai and his brothers who are into telecommunications sector have also proved to be very influential. There is no doubt that the Kaduna governor played a major role in the choice of those who emerged as ministers in the Buhari administration even as he presides over his own state.
He is even one of those being touted to succeed the President in case his second term dream is aborted. This goes a long way to show how influential he is in the corridors of power.
MANSUR DAN ALI
A retired Brigadier, he is the incumbent Minister of Defence. He hails from Zamfara State and he has held several military postings before he retired as a General in 2013 during the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The retired General has ensured that the Fulanis continue to rise steadily in ranks within the Nigerian military system.
A renowned Northern publisher, he is from Katsina State. He is believed to be one of the most influential people in the corridors of power today on account of his closeness to the President. Ismaila Funtua has vested interests in many businesses in Abuja including a major construction company.
He has been around the corridors of power for long and he knows what to do with it.
EMIR OF GWANDU
Mohammadu Ilyasu Bashaar is the Emir of Gwandu. Given the way the emirship and even the part of the country is steeped in tradition, Gwandu is one of the towns that are ranked close to Sokoto in terms of authority among the towns headed by the sons of Fodio. Leaders of the town are therefore considered very influential in the scheme of things up North.
EMIR OF HADEJIA
Hadejia is located in Jigawa State and it is one of the major outposts where the brothers of Fodio took over as Emirs. The incumbent Emir, who has been on the throne is Adamu Abubakar Maje who came to the throne in 2002. He is also very influential in the corridors of power as one of the major First Class traditional rulers in the State.