…..…OF AN EXEMPLARY TRADITIONAL RULER, MAI MARTABA SARKIN ILORIN
BY : MOHAMMAD ABDULKADRI, ANIPR.
Traditional Institution in Nigeria, Ilorin Emirate Council in particular has undergone phases of distinctingly discerning and deserving historical watersheds.
This evolutionary narrative is exemplified and amplified by successive government’s recognitions of the institution, dating back to the Pre- Colonial era.
The tenures and times of the reigns of the various occupants of the exalted stool of the emirship of Ilorin may be similar but certainly and comparatively, were never the same.
The uniqueness of the time of each of the Emir of Ilorin in history are copiously documented in different books authored by LAK Jimoh,, Shafi Jimba and other credible literary icon’s works not to warrant further in this write up.
Their regimes defer based on personalities, peculiarities, popularities and similarities in Styles, Standards and Standpoints that hinged on various issues that defined their times and reigns.
My concern however, in this piece is to key primarily into the celebration galore, on the the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the ascension to the throne of the 11th Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Ganbari, CFR.
Expectedly, the Joyous subjects of the Emir of Ilorin, in their usual characters rolled out drums, trumpets and held prayers for the Emir to mark the 28th years of his ascension to the throne.
Generally, the mood of the people in the city can be likened to the usual festive periods.
Interrogating the plethora of achievements of the Emir on this auspicious occasion occurred to me with due sense of responsibility and utmost necessity as part of my contributions to the celebration.
This effort is therefore justifiably aimed at refreshing reader’s memories since human memories are very short.
It is also to enliven the uniqueness of the Emir’s reign in different apparels, different from the reigns of other emirs in the history of Ilorin.
First, my reasoning is fired by the carefully decided ascention date which is uniquely deserving of an annual celebration as it ignited the buy- in of the people to easily identify and freely connect with the Special date, month and time.
Unforgettably, the 11th Emir ascended the throne of his Forebearers on the 11th Day, in the 11th Month, 11th Minute and 11th Hour in 1995.
The debut of the Emir signaled an extraordinary symbolism and enduring hope of a new dawn to cherish, behold and be celebrated by the people.
Secondly, the Sulu-Gambari’s successful and eventful reign has raised the bar of Peace and tranquility, tranquilizing in religious harmony in a state of harmony.
Thirdly, the reign of the Chairman, Kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers has recorded steady and sustainable rise in population and Geo-Spatial expansion of the ancient City’s Landmarks.
This fact is traceable to its Eastern, Southern, Westeen and Northern flanks.
Fourthly, as the Custodian of the Peoples Culture, Tradition and Religion, the Emir’s commendable and uncompromising performance in all these Areas of his Responsibility remain unparalleled.
History will be kind to the Emir for standing unshakably like “Sobi hill” against all odds as he defended Islam and confronted headlong, the influx and influences of anti – Islamic insideous Forces. As an iconic, enigmatic and dogged fighter for just courses in the interest of Islam, he defeated the alien Cultural Practitioners and worshipers of river goddesses as well as banished them with their cohorts from Garin Alimi without minding whose horse is gored. Sheuuuu.
Fifthly, Ilorin under the Emir Sulu-Gambari, has witnessed appreciable emergence of tested Ulamas and springing up of new Masjids forJumat Prayer as well as the dominance of Madrasats in all nooks and cranies of Ilorin.
This development is complimentary to the refurbished old ones dotting her landscape and of course to the magnificently imposing achitectectural masterpiece of the Central Mosques which are testimonials to the prayers answered by the Almighty Allah for the Amir-l Mumeen of Ilorin.
Sixth, the astronomical growth of the Public and Private educational institutions in Ilorin ranging from Primary to Secondary and Tertiary Institutions are unprecedented.
To buttress this fact, Kwara State University, Malete, Al-Ikma University, Ilorin and Sheikh Kamaldeen University, Ilorin, were established within the 28 years of the progressive reign of the 11th Emir of Ilorin.
Seventh, His Royal Highness’s reign has promoted and stil promoting business friendly environment with Ilorin becoming an Investments Destination of Choice. Ask Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the MD / CEO Kamwire Holdings Dr Kamoru Yusuf, Fiolus, Shagayas Bovas, Boscos and Jezikos among other investors in manufacturing, Trading, Building and Consumable Sectors.
Eight, His Royal Highness’s ascension since almost three decades, down the line, has enviably brought respect and recognitions to the Stool of the emirship of Ilorin, beyond the shores of the country, in a manner never witnessed before.
This, is justifiably so by reasons of his being the most educated, most enlightened and most widely travelled Emir to ascend the throne.
His pedigree as retired Chief Judge, Court of Appeal, Lagos Division can’t be wished away and of course, he is no pushover among comity of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria.
Nineth, Sulu Gambari by his calling as a reputable justice, has redefined Conflict Resolution Mechanism, (CRM) and emplaced Legal finesse, fitness and framework in resolving Chieftaincy and Land matters that are capable of degenerating into Inter-Personal and Inter-C ommunal brouhahas.
Tenth, the resolve of the people of Ilorin, to celebrate annually, the ascension of the Emir to the throne is designed to appreciate him for putting the Community on the National and International limelights in Human Capital development and enlistments in the halls of fame in all spheres. Politics, Academics, Judiciary, journalism, Business, Administration, Military, Medical, Paramilitary, etc.
To the credit of the Emir’s 28 blissful years on the throne, Ilorin produced three Executive Governors of Kwara State and still counting.They include, Late Mohammed Alabi Lawal, Senator, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the performing incumbent, who is the current Chairman, Nigerias’ Governor Forum, NGF, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, OFR . Also in the Ministerial appointments, Ilorin extractions like Hajia, Arc. Halima Tayo Alao and Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman, now DG NILDS as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Development Affairs, Dr. Salihu Modibbo Belgore can’t be forgotten. Not to forget our own Director General, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Major General Wahab Ayo Giwa, rtd, Director, General Michael Imodu Institute of Labour Study, Isa Aremu, Director General, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Alhaji Issa Onilu, General Officer Commanding, 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Bamidele Alabi and Controller General, Federal Fire Service, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Jaji are all prides of our cherished Community.
Not to talk of our increasing numbers of erudite Professors, former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin Professor Oba Abdulraheem, VC University of Abuja Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah and the upsurge in the numbers of the members of the Silk, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Judges, Captains of entrepreneurs, Bank Executives and business moguls.
Eleventh reason for the Eleventh Emir’s achievements to be celebrated, is in the area of Sports development under his exemplar rulership as the sole sponsor of the annual Emir’s Football Competition.
Twelveth, another area of the sterling Royal Footprints on the Sands of Time for the son of the 9th Emir of Ilorin, Zulukarnaini Sulu-Gambari, is the outlawing of Night Party within the Ilorin Metropolis and the baning of blockages of Intra City roads for ceremonies.
Thirteenth, and very importantly too, is the noble portrait of the emir as the architect of the Modern State Capital City. Ilorin prides itself impressively for the explosive and aggressive Infrastructural developments in Flyovers, roads, improved power supply, new Shopping Malls, Markets, Hospitals Recreational Centers and banks etc.
In summary, other successes recorded in the peaceful and purposeful reign of Sulu-Ganbari are itemised below:
× Banning of sales and consumption of alcohol within the core traditional areas of Ilorin.
×Royal permission for the Expansion and authorisation of the Development Strides of the IEDPU and its numerous People- Centric activities are unwavering.
× Increased Federal Presence in Ilorin under Emir Sulu- Gambari call for appreciation.
× Emir revived, reviewed and repositioned the popular Durbar to be a melting point of unity for the indigenes and mechanism for economic empowerment for traders during festive periods. Enquire from the Danmasani of Ilorin, Engineer Alapansanpa who is the Chairman, Planing Committee.
× The Emir also Instituted Financial and Materials support for the victims of rainstorms in Ilorin. Shettiman of Okuta Emirate who is the Media Aide to the Emir of Ilorin, Abdulazeez Arowana can testify to this Magnanimous gesture.
×At Royal Family levels of the Sheikh Alimi Ruling Dynasty, two of the Emir’s Maternal Cousins ascended the thrones of Sarkin Kano and the Emir of Bichi in Kano State.
The colourful memories of their historic never- to -be- forgotten homecoming to Ilorin linger on and will remain evergreen in the anals of the ancient City and Kano Emirate Council.
× Three of the Emir’s children also made history. One, for the attainment of enviable carerer status of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN and for his emergece as the Ciroma of Ilorin, Abubakar Sulu-Gambari.
The Emir’s other son bagged two Political appointments in quick succession as Secretary to the kwara State Government and now the Chief of Staff, CoS to the Governor, Prince Mahe Abdulkadir while this writer was also appointed Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Former Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi,CFR, rtd.
× Under His Royal Highness’s 28th years on the throne, the Emir’s Palace was restructured to wear a befitting First Class outlooks to meet contemporary Modern Royal Standards.
× The enviable records of achievements of the Emir revealed that, in response to his fatherly clarion calls, more Social-Cultural bodies of Ilorin Emirate Sprang up at home and in Diaspora to boost support for the city.
× Royal backings for the incumbent Governor and Government’s Policies and Programmes are receiving monumental support by the Emir. His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq can testify to the robust father and son bonding with the Emir.
× Under his messianic reign, kwara Contigents to various editions of National and International Quranic Memorisation Competitions won laurels at to make Ilorin proud.
× Since the Emir’s 28 years of active Chairmanship of the kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers, they continued to toe the paths of unity and dialogue to jaw-jaw and not War-War which also is impacting on the Peaceful Co-existence in the state.
× Also, Agro-Allied ventures appreciated substantially in Ilorin and its environs for food sufficiency.
× Since coming on board as Emir of Ilorin, Dr Gambari has deepened the hospitable ambiance of Ilorin which allows for non indigenes to Co-exist Peacefully and ply their legitimate trades to attain prosperity.
In all of these 28 reasons and lots more to celebrate the 28 years of the Emir of Ilorin on the throne, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has proved that he is God- Chosen as pragmatic ruler and an enigma.
Remarkably too, the Royal Father has propagated the narratives built around the ancient city being a land, flowing with Milk and Honey and as International renowned citadel of Islamic Tenets, Teaching and Learning.
Long may the Emir Sulu-Gambari rule in good health, to take Ilorin to greater pedestals where teething challenges of Youths Misdemeanor, Cultism, Crimes and all forms of threats to security will be completely obliterated.
Abdulkadri, a Prince of Ilorin writes from Abuja.
12th November, 2023.
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