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Profile of the 11th Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari



His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, a direct descendant of the revered scholar, Sheikh Alimi, ‎is the 11th Emir of Ilorin and permanent Chairman Kwara State Traditional Councils.

He is one of the 10 most powerful traditional rulers in the northern Nigeria. The stool of Emir of Ilorin is one of the most revered and prominent seat of Royalty in Nigeria.

The stool belongs to the three most exalted class of monarchs holding the title of Shehu in the entire history of Northern Nigeria. There is Shehu Usman Danfodio of Sokoto, Shehu El-Kanemi of Borno and Shehu Alimi Dan Janta of Ilorin.

These are the descendants of Shehu Alimi who are also Emirs of Ilorin.

Emirs of Ilorin and dates:

Reign               Ruler
18years    Abdusalami Dan Alimi
18years Shitta Dan Alimi
8years Zubairu Dan Abdusalami
23years Shitta Aliyu Dan Shitta
5years Momo Dan Zubairu
18years Sulaymanu Dan Aliyu
4years Shuaibu Bawa Dan Zubairu
40years Abdulkadir Dan Shuaibu Bawa
33years Zulkarnaini Muhammadu Gambari Dan Bawa
3years Aliyu Dan Abdulkadir
1995 Till Date Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari ‎Dan Bawa

Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari was turbaned as the Ciroman Ilorin by his late father and 9th Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Zulkarnaini Muhammadu Gambari in 1984 while in active service as the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division.

He finally ascended the throne of his fore bearers as the 11th Emir of Ilorin on August 28 1995 and was coronated on November 11, 1995 as he relinquished his position as the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division without any blemish.

Unique Qualities

There are 11 major things you need to know about the 11th Emir of Ilorin.
1. He was born on ‎22nd April 1940
2. He is a direct descendant of Sheikh Alimi
3. He became the Ciroma’n Ilorin on ‎30th November 1984.
4 He rose to become a Justice of Court of Appeal and served across the country.
5.‎He ascended the throne as the 11th Emir of Ilorin on 28th Aug 1995 and Coronated on 11 November 1995 at exactly 11:11am.
6. He is the son of Hajia Ayisatu (Nma) who was:
7 Granddaughter of the 7th Emir of Ilorin, Shehu Shuaibu Dan Bawa
8. Daughter of the 8th Emir of Ilorin, Shehu Abdulkadir Dan Shuaibu Bawa
9. Wife of the ‎9th Emir of Ilorin, Shehu Zulkarnaini Muhammadu Gambari
10. Sister of the 10th Emir of Ilorin, Shehu Aliyu Abdulkadir
11. Mother of the 11th Emir, Shehu Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari Jikan Bawa

As a quintessential personality, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari had the 7th Emir ‎of Ilorin, Shehu Shuaibu Dan Bawa who reigned from 1915 to 1919 as both his maternal great-grand father (Shuaibu-Abdulkadir-Ayisatu-Ibrahim) and paternal great grandfather (Shuaibu -Muhammadu Laofe-Zulkarnaini-Ibrahim) making him to become an uncommon Prince and finally a rear Emir who can be described as a ‘White Elephant’ which is very scarce to come by in the forest.

Hajia Nma who died on Monday June 4, 2019 was not only a rear Princess ‎of the land but she was also indeed a complete Royalty. When His Royal Highness went on pilgrimage with his mother some years ago, while other pilgrims were busy carrying luggage ‎up and down, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari was busy carrying his mother showing the affection for her as commanded by Allah.


One of the major factors that develops a community is Education. During the reign of Shehu Zulkarnaini Muhammadu Gambari (1959-1992), who is also the father of ‎the present Emir, the Kwara State College of Technology now Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Kwara state College of Education, Ilorin while the University of Ilorin were founded.
During the reign of Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, tertiary institutions have continue to increase with the establishment of Al-Hikmah University, Kwara State University Malete and Muyideen College of education among other notable private and government owned establishments across the state such as International Aviation College and the Advanced Diagnostic Centre.
Not only that, the numbers of Professors of ‎Ilorin origin across the world has continue to grow as Ilorin is now donating Professors to institutions across the country and world at large.

It is during his reign that two Professors of Ilorin origin; Professor Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem and Professor AbdulGaniyu Ambali became the Vice Chancellor of the better by far University, the University of Ilorin and awarded Order of the Federal Republic, OFR, and Officer of the Order of Niger, OON, respectively. In addition, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah is also from Ilorin.
Insha Allah, you will still live to see more of them becoming VC in your lifetime.
Other dignitaries who rose to the peak of their careers include;

1. Justice Salihu Alfa ‎Belgore GCON — Chief Justice of Nigeria
2. Admiral Ibrahim Ola Sa’ad‎ GCON— Chief of Defense Staff
3. Justice Mustapha Akanbi CON— Chairman of ICPC.
4. Senator Bukola Saraki CON— Senate President among others.

He also spearheaded the renovation of the Ilorin Central Mosque that was constructed by his late father in 1979 to become a world class edifice and next to that of Prophet Muhammad in Medina, Saudi Arabia. This was brought to reality with the full support of the then Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Until recently when he was‎ redeployed to the University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State, the Emir had held sway as the Chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University,Awka, Anambra State for 14 years (2001-2015).

During his 11th coronation anniversary on the throne in 2006, the Emir turbaned 11 personalities as traditional title holders in the community, prominent among whom are; Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (Turaki’n Ilorin) and a legal luminary who is also his eldest son, Barrister Abubakar Bature Sulu-Gambari (Ciroma’n Ilorin).

Sulu-Gambari has not only presided over the affairs of his immediate community in the years past, he was also a delegate to the last constitutional conference where he contributed immensely to the national discuss.

The White Elephant also founded the Shehu Alimi Foundation for Peace and Development with 11-man Committee and made Sheikh Dr. AbdulKadir Oba-Solagberu its National President.

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