Home Opinion REMEMBERING A TITAN: Galadima Tijjani Hashim

REMEMBERING A TITAN: Galadima Tijjani Hashim


by Huzaifa Dokaji Jr.

Galadima Tijjani Hashim was born in 1932, 40 days before his father was turbaned Dan Buran Kano. He was the 2nd child of his father’s 32 children and was named Tijjani in honour of Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani, founder and spiritual leader of the Tijjaniya Sufi fraternity. Alhaji Tijjani started his traditional education under the tutelage of a certain Malam Haruna, a malamin Hakimi. In 1944, young Tijjani was enrolled into Bebeji Primary School and Kano Middle School In 1948. Malam Tijjani’s education was unfortunately cut short in 1952 after a board of inquiry “found him guilty, along with four other students, of organizing student protest against the school administration. Although the Northern Colonial government suggested that nobody should employ them, Emir Muhammad Sanusi I (1953-1963) had him employed as a Veterinary Assistant under the Kano N.A with a salary of 12 pounds a week.

In 1956, through the influence of Dan Iya Ado Sanusi, was fielded to represent Sumaila District, where his father was district head, in the Northern Regional assembly under the banner of the NPC. Partly because Turaki Hashim’s (1939-1958) sympathy to NEPU was an open secret, all candidates withdrew from the race to show their support. On 29th October 1956, Alhaji Tijjani won the election unopposed; winning a total of 63 out the 65 votes allocated to the Sumaila District Electoral College. A young Tijjani went to the Northern Regional Parliament with the determination to help Kano and the Northern region. Due to his excellent human relation and vocal nature in the parliament.

A young Tijjani went to the Northern Regional Parliament with the determination to help Kano and the Northern region. Due to his excellent human relation and vocal nature in the parliament and party activities, in 1957, the Northern Government appointed him a Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. His generous disposition won for the NPC a large followership in Kaduna. Having realized the potentials and value of the 25-year-old prince from Kano both as a political mobilizer and social strategist, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, further appointed him Chairman of the Kaduna Metropolitan Tenders Board. Alhaji Tijjani cultivated an excellent relationship with the Premier and used it to the advantage of the underprivileged. The late Premier jokingly referred to him as internal trouble, for his never-ending insistence that the Northern government must do better for the underprivileged.

Galadima Tijjani was an active parliamentarian. He contributed t debates with vim and vigour. For example, on 13th March 1957, he forwarded a motion that successfully led to the establishment of some major hospitals in Borno and Sokoto. He further called on the Northern government to come up with more international scholarship schemes so as to boost the population of both male and female doctors which the North was in dire need of.

In 1960, reacting to a motion forwarded by Honorable member G.U Ohikere in opposition to the Sharpeville Massacre in Apartheid South Africa, a 28-year-old Tijjani announced on the floor of the Northern Regional Assembly that he had boycotted all South African products, encouraged Nigerians to do so, and faulted the United Nations for its conspiratorial silence in the murder of Africans. A furious Tijjani promised to join any army of volunteers to liberate South Africa even though Nigeria’s foreign policy would not allow him to do so. He was reportedly the first Nigerian to send aid to the poor black South Africans. The Kano Prince was the force behind the modernization of many Northern Regional Barrack buildings from mud structures and thatched roofs to concrete and zinc roofing in the late 1950s, which were under the purview of the office he held in the Northern Region Internal Affairs ministry. He was also the brain behind the government’s noticeable investment in teaching inmates handcrafts in town and village prisons and contributed greatly towards restructuring the Native Authority Police and Prisons specifically to tackle overcrowding, building collapse, and improvement of prison dietary. Even at a tender age, he exhibited a rare form of concern for the weak and inopportune.

For his accomplishment as one of the leading personalities of the NPC in Kano and Northern Nigeria, in 1966, the Northern Government appointed Alhaji Tijjani as the Acting Provincial Commissioner for the then newly created Kabba Province. Tijjani was famous for his presence and intervention so much so that, to quote late Dan Masanin Kano Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule (1929-2017),” no Northern Politician received more people in Kaduna than him”. The January 1966 coup brought Tijjani Hashim’s career to an end. In appreciation of his contribution to the sarauta institution and Kano in general, the late Emir of Kano appointed him as Dan Isan Kano. He was promoted to Turakin Kano in 1976, Dan Iya in 1989, and Galadima in 1991.


Sarki Warisi (1063-1095) was the first to introduce titles and attach administrative duties to them in the opening decade of the 10th century. The responsibility of each title determines its position and relevance in the affairs of Kano. A titleholder may be from the business, clerical, disadvantaged, or noble class. Many times, an individual beloved to a ruler, may rise above other titleholders, official hierarchy and administrative precedence notwithstanding. Put it simply: the individual defines the title as the title defines the individual, even though age and precedence are significant determinants. For example, the ousted Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II (2013-2020) amplified the mightiness of his previous title of Dan Majen Kano (2012-2013) the same way Professor Isa Hashim augmented his title of Jarman Kano (2007-2019). The mightiness of a titleholder could visibly be seen in three things flamboyant courtiers, food, and an opulent horse stable as outlined by Mai Algaita Hussaini in a song he composed in praise of Dankadan Kano Ibrahim II (1948-1953):

Mun yi ja dan Jatau, dan Hussaini kai mana shuni

Dubi gaban dan Jatau, Daga girke sai girke;

duk cikin mu bamu da huntu.”

“Kas kuyangi Babban daro, Dan Hussaini kai mana ƙarƙo.

Mai akawal mai hurde, wanda ya yi bikilin baje Haushi.

Ibrahim na Buhari.”

Galadima Tijjani assumed an enigmatic position as a titleholder. For example as Dan Isa, he was responsible for the emergence of Shehu Mustafa Umar (1974-2009) as the 18th Shehu of Borno, even though the latter was not even on the list of contenders. Not only did this prove Dan Isa Tijjani as Tangori uban yan Sarki, as holders of the Dan Isa title are known in the Kano palace, but as Tangori uban Sarakuna. He would later through his vast network of friends in the corridor of power, influence the emergence of many Emirs and tile holders in Northern Nigeria as could be seen in the cases of Alhaji Ibrahim Kolapo Sulu Gambari as the Emir of Ilorin in 1995 and Alhaji Halliru Dan Toro as Emir of Bargu (2002-2015) among others.

It is an understating to say Galadima Tijjani did justice to the titles he held. For example, as Turakin Kano, his central duty was protecting both the Emir and the palace from harm as could be understood from the epithets: dabdu na bakin malafa and Bugau alkalin yakin fada. The roles he played in this direction against governor Abubakar Rimi’s division of the Kano Emirate and querying late Emir Ado Beyero need no repetition here as proof. As Dan Iya, Tijjani was truly iyashi makam kafa ga saraki, as favour seeking nobles stormed his home for appointments and introductions. To those who wanted to cripple the Sarauata institution, he was kurman dutse kosa gari da gaba, dubkarare tukar yaki.

As Galadiman Kano (1992-2014), Tijjani Hashim was the bastion and bulwark of Kano and its sarauta institution as codified by the praises accorded to the esteemed office he was holding. When he opposed the creation of states out of old Kano state both in 1993 and 1996, it was in his capacity as Tomo Jiniyar Gari, Daudu karfin birni and Daudu gatan birni. When he spent his day attending to the poor and needy it was in his capacity as baunin giwa isa rabo, gajere ramin shuka, dan karami sai alheri and babba a daka babba a waje. When he mediated between individuals, ordinary, blue-blooded, both within and without the Sarauta, it was in his capacity as Daudu rakumin Kano, rumfa sha shirgi. A newspaper article is no avenue to exhaust the positive virtues of this great titan.

On 29th September 2014, we lost Galadima Tijjani to the cold hands of death after a brief illness. May his soul rest in peace.

Mr Dokaji, an MA Student at the Department of History, Bayero University Kano, can be reached via: 08135353532


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