Of all the cities in Northern Nigeria, Kano is perhaps the most important. Although it used to be subject to the Sokoto Caliphate, in many respects it has since become a far more important city in Nigeria than Sokoto. Kano was the administrative capital of the entire Northern Nigeria under British colonial rule. Today, it is by far the biggest metropolis in Northern Nigeria. It is not only the vibrant commercial capital of the region; it is a leading epicenter of economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kano is also in many respects the most truly progressive state in Nigeria. It has never been a follow-the-leader city. The people of Kano have a mind of their own. They specialize in bucking the national trend. Kano is the city of trail-blazing Mallam Aminu Kano and the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), which later became the formidable People’s Redemption Party (PRP). It is also the city of Maitama Sule, another one of Nigeria’s former luminaries and perhaps the most distinguished orator ever in the history of Nigerian politics.
For these reasons and more, the politics of Kano have far-reaching regional and national implications. It also goes without saying that the Emir of Kano is inevitably a very influential man, not only in Kano and the North, but in Nigeria as a whole. By virtue of his office, a lot of people look up to him. His views go a long way to shape public opinion in the Northern part of the country and even beyond. This makes the choice of the Emir of Kano more than a local affair. It is a choice that must be made soberly and with great circumspection as befitting such a local office of national significance. SEE MORE ON PAGE 2