• Buhari, Tinubu, El-Rufai, CAN others mourn
• Munir Jafaru tipped as successor
Shock, grief, and eulogies came from across the country to Kaduna State yesterday as the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, died in his Zaria palace at 84 years of age.
Pleading anonymity, a palace source told journalists in Zaria that the monarch, who was appointed on February 15, 1975, died yesterday after a protracted illness.
“The late monarch has been battling with an undisclosed ailment for a decade until this morning when death snatched him away,” he told newsmen yesterday.
Idris, who was the 18th Fulani ruler of the emirate, left behind four wives and several children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Until his death, he was the chairman of the state’s council of traditional rulers.
MEANWHILE, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock over the monarch’s passing.
In a condolence message to the government and people of Kaduna, Buhari stated: “With the passing of Alhaji Shehu Idris, Nigeria has lost one of its longest-reigning monarchs, whose contributions to the unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians cannot be forgotten in years to come.
“The Emir of Zazzau, who ascended the throne in 1975, used his long reign to serve his people with dedication and identified with their aspirations at all times.”
He prayed to God to forgive the late emir of his wrongdoings and grant his family and subjects the fortitude to bear the loss.
In the same vein, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said the monarch’s passing marked the end of an era in Zazzau and the North.
In a condolence message yesterday, Tinubu described the late emir as a detribalised Nigerian, who was committed to the nation’s unity and progress.
Also mourning the monarch, Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central, said: “I received the news of the demise of Emir of Zaria, Alhaji Shehu Idris, with shock. We have lost a unifying figure, a titan of peace and tolerance. He was a pillar of transformation and a bridge connecting religion, culture, and modernity.”
The Guardian gathered that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad II, would attend his burial slated for later in the day.
However, the Wazirin Zazzau, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu, said the emir died in Kaduna while preparing for a trip to London for treatment.
Joining the mourners were the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, and Senator Ahmed Makarfi. Others are the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Lawan commiserated with the people and government of Kaduna.
“During his long reign, the departed emir applied his wisdom and prestige to enhance peace and transformational development in Zazzau Emirate,” he added.
The National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, said the late Idris ruled Zazzau in a period of rapid political, economic and social changes, but never lost focus.
On his part, the Chairman of CAN, Kaduna chapter, Rev. Joseph Hayab, commiserated with the people of Zazzau, saying “the late emir left us at a very important time of rebuilding and restoration of peace, love, and friendship in our dear state, a role he had been playing as emir for many years.”
HOWEVER, the Yeriman Zazzau, Alhaji Munir Jafaru, has been tipped as his successor.
Jafaru, who was the Managing Director of Nigerian Maritime Authority, served as Commissioner in different ministries in Kaduna.
But the palace has remained quiet on the succession plan, as the kingmakers were preoccupied with the burial and prayer rites for the deceased.
BORN on February 8, 1936, Idris emerged the 18th Emir of Zazzau on February 8, 1975.
He was born to the family of Mallam Idrisu Auta and Hajiya Aminatu. Auta’s father was Sarkin Zazzau Muhammadu Sambo, who reigned from 1879 to 1888, while his grandfather, Sarkin Zazzau Abdulkarimi, reigned from 1834 to 1846.
The late emir was tutored by two Islamic scholars in Zaria before he continued with formal studies at the Zaria Elementary School from 1947 to 1950. During this period, he lost his father at 12 years old. Idris continued both his qur’anic and formal education and enrolled in the Zaria Middle School in 1950 and finished studies in 1955. He then attended Katsina Training College to become a teacher.
In 1958, he was a teacher in Hunkuyi and few other areas in Zaria.
In the 1960s, he was appointed private secretary to the Sarkin Zazzau, Muhammadu Aminu, He was also appointed secretary to the Zaria Native Authority Council in 1965.
In 1973, he has bestowed the title of Dan Madamin Zaria and was appointed the District Head of Zaria and Kewaye.
On January 10, 2015, he celebrated his 40th coronation anniversary, and February 8, 2020, the 45th anniversary.