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He was the titleholder of Wamban Kano when the British imperialists conquered Kano. He opted for Taqiya (Prudent consciuosness) and surroundered to the invaders. This choice is according to some historians supported by the Quranic verse << Let not the believers take those who deny the truth for their allies in preference to the believers- since he who does this cuts himself off from Allah in everything- unless it be to protect yourself against them in this way >> (Yahya 1986). This was because according to those who opted for this action, the British overpowered the Muslims.

Recent study on the record of Sarki Abbas's court has justified the suggestion that he was prudently councious when he surroundered to the British and that he was deeply committed to maintaining the Islamic tradition of his community. He refused to apply siyasa (politics) in hukm (judgment) as encouraged by the British who had wanted to abrogate the Shari’ah through that strategy (Abun-Nasr 1996). He also defended the rights of Muslim women and orphans who brought their grievances before his judicial council as observed by Christelow: “The Council’s defense of widow’s property rights was closely connected to its consistent defense of orphan’s rights” (Christelow 1991: 139).

Chiroma Lele, the son of Sarki Tukur joined the British contingent that captured Kano and solicited them to appoint him as the next Sarkin Kano. Consequently he started ransacking the houses vacated by his enemies because he assumed that he would be appointed. The resident Arab merchants convinced Lugard that Lele had no support and therefore he was rejected. Abbas negotiated the terms of surrounder with the British. And he was appointed the Sarki but will not be installed untill after a period of probation during which he shall not live in the Sarki’s palace and shall not fill the vacant titles (Fika 1978: 95-97). He was later installed on the 5th of Muharram 1312 (3rd April 1903) (Last 1966: 468) after over a month of probation.

Sarkin Kano Abbas made some prominent appointments to fill vacant positions. He appointed Abdu Sarki, Umaru, Shehu Usman, Abdullahi Bayero his eldest son, as Waziri, Galadima, Wambai and Ciroma respectively (Lovejoy, Mahadi and Mukhtar 1993:73). They all succeeded their blood relatives, who were descendants of Sarkin Kano Ibrahim Dabo. He appointed Hussaini a brother of the previous Madaki Kwairanga to succeed the later, this made the Yolawa to continue to play prominent role in the affairs of Kano Emirate. While Mallam Gidado was appointed Qadi to succeed Sulaiman[1] who returned from Burmi but declined to continue as the Qadi because of ideological reasons. Sulaiman was not related to Gidado, thus his family was marginalised in the affairs of Kano Emirate for almost forty years even though he was married to a sister of Abbas.

Waziri Abdu Sarki a nephew of Sarki Abbas was later deposed for insurbodination. And Abdullahi Bayero was promoted to Waziri while Abd al-Qadir the second son of Abbas was appointed Chiroma. During one of rutine display of authority the colonial Resident of Kano, Dr. Cargill demoted Abdullahi Bayero to his previous title of Chiroma and Abdulkadir was sent to school at Nasarawa. Dan Rimi Allah Bar Sarki who was an intermediary between the colonial authorites and the Sarki was promoted to title of Waziri (Kwaru 1991 and Lovejoy, Mahadi and Mukhtar 1993). Sarki Abbas exercised patience over this elevation and humialation most of his close associates deserted him and joined Allah Bar Sarki except his younger brother Galadima Umaru. When Mr. C. L. Temple a sympathizer of the Sullubawan Dabo and a major adherent of the indirect rule assumed the residency of Kano, he deposed Allah Bar Sarki and Alkali Gidado was appointed Waziri.

During the reign of Sarki Abbas the British reorganised the Emirate administrative structure in accordance with their colonial objectives. They created districts and the Hakimai (Emirate title holders) were deployed to the headquartes of the districts as the District Heads. The principal responsibility of the Hakimai was to collect poll tax and other sources of revenue from the rural areas. Many were later deposed because of tax mismanagement.

Sarkin Kano Abbas will be remembered for generosity and patience, which has remained a quality of some his descendants. He was very generous to Islamic schools and Shariffs (descendants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him). He died on Thursday 30th Rajab 1337 AH (1st May 1919) (Last 1966).

[1] Grandfather of Inuwa Wada Magajin Garin Kano and the late General Murtala Muhammed

Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2008 22:13