Buhari, Tinubu, Others for the Coronation of Emir of Borgu

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Laleye Dipo

All roads lead to New Bussa the headquarters of the Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State and the seat of the Borgu Emirate Council this weekend for the coronation of the new Emir of Borgu Alhaji Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro Kitoro the 1V.

Dantoro will be the 315th Emir of Borgu Kingdom.

President Muhammadu Buhari who has been a long standing friend of the Dantoros and that of the emirate is expected to lead the federal government delegation to the coronation.

Several other dignitaries especially All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are to join the chief host and Governor of Niger State Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello at the epoch making event.

Governor Sanni Bello of Niger State will present the traditional staff of office to Barrister Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro at the emirate grounds in New Bussa on Saturday.

One person who is not expected to be missing in the line-up of who-is-who at the historic event is the APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who by the traditional title of Jagan Borgu is expected to play very prominent role in welcoming and receiving dignitaries at the ceremony.

The title of Jagaban Borgu was bestowed on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by the immediate past Emir of Borgu Senator Haliru Dantoro to cement long standing personal, political and religious friendship which spanned more than two decades. This relationship continued even after the transition to the great beyond of the monarch because the Jagaban Borgu usually associates himself with anything that has to do with the Borgu Kingdom.

The making of the New Emir of Borgu

Recent history has put the Borgu Emirate among one of the oldest emirates and traditional institutions in Nigeria and even Africa as a whole. It is said that the emirate’s history spanned over 1000 years. Some traditionalists even equal the Borgu Kingdom with the Old Oyo Empire and the Benin Kingdom.

So far according to records not less than 314 kings have reigned in the emirate which has maintained its customs and tradition especially as it affects ascension to the throne.

From available records, it was only once in modern times that the appointment of the Emir of Borgu was characterised with crisis as a result of influence by politicians. This was however resisted stoutly by the traditionalists in the emirate. A long and tortuous legal battle followed the attempt to circumvent the views of the Kingmakers and the popular wish of the people but in the end the people had their say leading to the maintenance of the customs and tradition of the people.

However the government had to amend the Borgu Emirate chiefs appointment and deposition law which was partly the cause of the crisis because as at the time Musa Mohammed Kigera joined his ancestors the King making body was not properly constituted.

Immediately after the period of mourning the demise of the last Emir Senator Haliru Dnatoro who passed on at the age of 77 years lapsed, all the Princes began to angle to replace the monarch.

At the end of the day five Princes were to finally contest for the single stool among them were Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro first son of the late emir and Marafa Borgu, Alhaji Mamman Musa Kigera who contested the last election with the deceased monarch, a onetime Commissioner for Information in the administration of former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Alhaji Yussuf Gunu who is also the Maganjin Rafi Borgu and Alhaji Baba Ilori, a one-time member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Adamu Isa and Alhaji Abdullahi.

Unlike in the previous contest when the emirate did not have the full compliments of the kingmakers this time around, the kingmaking body was fully constituted with all the five members available to perform their traditional role.

The five kingmakers are Musa Kaarade, the Bar karabonde of Borgu and chairman of the king making body, Saidu Abdulhamid, the Waziri Borgu, Mohasmmed Shehu the Chief Imam of Borgu Alhaji Aliyu Turare the Batafu of Borgu and Zara Isah the Yun-maga of Borgu.

There are five ruling houses in Borgu Emirate, the Kigera, Kitoto Funli-gijin Kpandara and Kisante ruling houses. The Princes who aspired to succeed Senator Dantoro were shared in between these ruling houses.

All the king makers including the representatives of the local government council and those of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who served as observers assembled at the Borgu Local Government secretariat on November 7, 2015 to commence the process of electing a new Emir of Borgu.

The process was not acrimonious as it was when the late Senator Dantoro was elected. Also it was said that a level playing field was provided for all the contestants and the state Governor Bello or the government reportedly showed little or no interest because “the government had no preferred candidate for the exalted stool.”

At the end of voting Barrister Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro emerged victorious. Other aspirants were said to have immediately congratulated him and prayed for a peaceful and long reign for the new emir.

As is the convention the name of Barrister Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro was forwarded to the state governor for approval and announcement on 9th November 2015. This was done on November 15, 2015 when the instrument of office and appointment was also presented to the new traditional ruler by Governor Bello at government house.

“I dedicate my election to God and the good people of Borgu emirate,” Dantoro said after receiving the instrument of office and promised to build on the good legacies left by his predecessor.

Born on February 2, 1966 the new Emir Barrister Mohammed Sani Haliru Dantoro attended the famous Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he read Law and was subsequently called to the bar. He had a little stint in politics during which he was appointed a Senior Special Assistant in the administration of former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu.

He later quit politics to face his legal practice before being elected the Emir of Borgu.

He is married to two wives and is blessed with seven children.

Already New Bussa the headquarters of the emirate is already in joyous mood as the countdown to the coronation of the new emir begins.

Several organisations have acquired attires that they would adorn on the coronation day.

Security has also been beefed up within and outside the emirate to avoid any emergency.

Police Public Relations Officer Niger State Police Command, DSP Bala Elikana, said not less than 1000 regular and plain cloth policemen have been deployed to the emirate to maintain law and order.

Elikana warned anyone that try to perpetrate trouble that such person will meet with stiff resistance from law enforcement agencies on the ground.

Days to the event all hotels and other recreation centers have been fully booked with some well-wishers reserving their hotel accommodation in Mokwa some 65 kilometres to New Bussa.

“We are expecting an unprecedented large number of people,” a member of the publicity committee of the local organising committee told THISDAY but assured that “we have tried to make provision for everyone that will come.”