Aminu Ado-Bayero and the Revival of Hawan Sallah Tradition [I]


Abdussamad Ahmad Yusuf

With Hawan Fanisau, Sarkin Kano has completed the Sallah Durbar procession ritual this Eid al-Fitr. Ideally, it should have been a Hawan Ɗorayi, where the Emir mounts horse from the Kano royal seat of power, Gidan Rumfa, to Gidan Sarki na Dorayi — a palace on the outskirts of Kano in Dorayi town.

Out of magnanimity, contributing to the drive for food security, the Kano emirate changed Dorayi to Fanisau since Eid al-Fitr is during the dry season.

“We must look at our culture and see how we can maintain it, no matter how things are changing,” says Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, CFR, the 15th Fulani Emir of Kano, in an interview with Al-Jazeera English while they were making a documentary of the epic Kano Eid al-Fitr Durbar, 2024, a few days ago.

The Kano durbar evolved from traditional and historical events and not out of vacuun. Except Hawan Nassarawa, which symbolizes nexus between Kano and imperialism, all others date back to at least some 500 years.

For instance, a certain Shamakin Kano, a senior slave of Sultan Muhammadu Rumfa (1463-1499), missed the Eid pageantry due to illness. Shamaki, a day later, resumed duty and lamented to the Emir how he missed the Hawan Idi. Out of respect, Rumfa promised to organize a pageantry specifically for him. Immediately after the Asr prayer, Rumfa ordered a procession from his Kano city palace to Gwangwazo, where the king’s mother resided. That’s how Hawan Daushe evolved.

Emir Aminu Ado-Bayero held several titles, including Ɗanmajen Kano, Ɗanburan Kano, Turakin Kano, Sarkin Dawakin Tsakargida, and Wamban Kano. As the Sarkin Dawakin Tsakargida and later Wambai, a senior councilor, he chaired the Durbar committee for nearly a decade, supretending the organization, preparation, and execution of pageantry for late Ado Bayero, the most magnificent Fulani Emir of Kano, and the flamboyant Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II.

These credentials have placed Alhaji Aminu Bayero on a higher pedestal to understand the culture, sub-cultures, and traditions of the Kano emirate; how to better strategize, sustain, and promote them. It’s no surprise that this has, for the first time, invited the attention of Al-Jazeera, a leading global media house, to tell the story of Kano Sallah Durbar.

This return to tradition has brought a fresh breeze to the role of Kano in African culture and arts around the personality of the Emir.

From Hawan Idi, Daushe, Nasarawa to Fanisau, Aminu Bayero has demonstrated the age-old tradition and its adaptation to change in modern Kano — from his dressing in traditional royal regalia and paraphernalia to the majestic steps out of Gidan Rumfa, and the astonished admirers chanting “Allah ƙara lafiya” and various prayers revering their emir.

Yahaya, a childhood friend, we remained committed together attending the Kano Eid ground at Kofar Mata since the days of late Ado Bayero. He was amused this year to see Aminu Ado in such royal splendor. This true allegiance to Kano tradition without borrowing from either the East or West. “Indeed, with Aminu comes the revival of Kano Hawan Sallah,” Yahaya whispered to me, raising his smartphone to record a video of the procession.

As I argued last year: “From Muhammadu Rumfa, who instituted the Hawan Sallah, to Ado Bayero, who gave it its electrifying image, and to the majestic Muhammadu Sanusi II, who time-traveled us to the times of the enigmatic Muhammadu Sanusi I, Aminu Ado-Bayero is a summation of all the Kings and Emirs that have given Kano Sallah its completeness and perfection.

Mr Yusuf wrote in from Kano via