The Former Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, has revealed how he was confirmed as Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in Nigeria by Sheikh Mahy Ibrahim Nyass when he paid him a visit in Senegal on Monday.
There are counter claims trailing the status of the Khalifa of the Tijjaniyya sect in Nigeria, the legality of the appointment of the former Kano emir, and whether the protégés of other senior clerics of the sect would pay allegiance to Malam Sanusi even if he had received his letter of endorsement from Kaulaha.
Two prominent clerics- Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi and Sheikh Sheriff Ibrahim Saleh- are seen as the torchbearers of the Tijjaniyya sect in Nigeria.
Former Emir Sanusi had in an interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC, on Tuesday, said a delegation of prominent scholars was sent to Nigeria by Khalifa Sheikh Mahy Nyass to consult Nigerian clerics on their preferred choice to lead the sect in the country.
He said that 98 per cent of the clerics selected him as their choice.
His words; “As people already know, this was my grandfather’s position… The late Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi I and all my life, I have no ambition than to inherit him. I inherited him and became the Emir of Kano and today, Almighty Allah has made it possible for me and I inherited him as Khalifa of Tijjaniyya.
“I have nothing to say but to thank Almighty Allah and seek for his guidance to help me discharge my responsibility,” he said.
However, while followers of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi said they were not aware of the latest endorsement of Sanusi from Senegal and were not consulted before the decision was taken, there was no information from the side of Sheikh Sheriff Saleh on how they view the appointment.
Tijjaniyya sect has millions of followers in West Africa, particularly in Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Ghana, and some parts of Sudan.
Its leaders are highly revered and they also exude influence in terms of religious, cultural and social decisions.
I’ve no rift with Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi
While reacting to a question on whether Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi is aware and agreed with his confirmation as Khalifa, Malam Sanusi said he has no problem with the Sheikh and that he is his grandfather.
“Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi has never said anything bad about me other than love and support. He is my father and close friend to my grandfather Emir Muhammad Sanusi I.
“What happened was that Khalifa Sheikh Mahy Nyass sent his brother Sheikh Quraish to Nigeria and he went round and consulted many clerics and Muqaddims. He went to southern Nigeria part of the country and sought for their opinions and they agreed.
“Even though they (Nyass family) used to just select the person they want, but the grand Khalifah requested that clerics should be contacted in Nigeria and they went round all parts of the country and I was recommended,” he said.
Malam Sanusi said he will now face his work as Khalifa of Tijjaniyya to bring about development and unity among Muslims.
“The first victory is how 98 per cent of our people unite and decided to select one person as a leader. Once people trust your leadership then there is unity. We will now come and see how we can figure out the challenges that the Tijjaniyya is facing and how we can address them.
“We will also look at the challenges facing entire Muslims particularly in Northern Nigeria. Tijjaniyya followers are Muslims and indigenes of Nigeria. There are problems in education, family crisis, children, Tsangaya and Zawiyyas; these are some of the issues we will look and come up with a system that will show we are in the 21st century,” he said.