The Grand Khalifa of Tijaniyya movement in the world, Sheikh Mahy Niasse, and other top leaders in Nigeria have boycotted a zikr and prayer sessions sponsored by Kano State Government at the Emir’s Palace.
The zikr, a kind of gathering for litany of prayers practiced by Sufi Muslims, is scheduled to hold on Friday.
Sources said the Kano gathering was organised to clash with a similar event in Lokoja to be presided over by the new leader of the movement in Nigeria and former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Insiders told DAILY NIGERIAN that the zikr was organised by the state government and the Kano Emirate Council to undermine Mr Sanusi’s leadership of the movement and create division within the ranks of the movement.
“The Kano State governor hired a private jet to take Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi and his son Ibrahim; Isah Bayero and some officials of the state government to Kaulaha (Kaolack) in Senegal to convince the Grand Khalifa Sheikh Mahy Niass to come to Kano for the zikr,” a source familiar with the visit said.
“But sensing that the invitation was meant to cause disaffection and division in the movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Mahy snubbed them, and refused to either accept the invitation or send a representative.
“They then went to the Chief Imam of Kaulaha Sheikh Tijani Cisse who also rejected their invitation.”
DAILY NIGERIAN learnt that the Grand Khalifa, however, endorsed the Sanusi-led event in Lokoja and sent a 22-man delegation led by the Deputy Khalifa of Tijaniyya Sheikh Muhammadu Lamin Niyass to participate.
Sources said other Tijaniyya leaders in Nigeria, with the exception of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, are expected to also grace the Lokoja zikr.
“All the notable leaders of Tijaniya in Nigeria, who constitute the Shura, are currently in Lokoja. The caliphs of Sheikh Maihula, Sheikh Kafinga, Sheikh Salga, Sheikh Tuhami, Sheikh Abdullahi Uwais as well as Sheikh Ibrahim Maqary, Sheikh Manzo Arzai and Sheikh Shuaibu Gwammaja have all shunned the Kano event for the one holding in Lokoja,” said the source.
Worried by the rejection and dejection, the governor’s emiseries then went to Algeria, to shop for some descendants of the founder Tijaniyya tariqa, Sheikh Ahmad Tijani, who are also laying claims to leadership of the movement.
On Thursday, Mr Ganduje and emir of Kano Aminu Bayero received the factional leader of the movement, Sheikh Ali bn Arabi, from Algeria.
When contacted, Mr Ganduje’s spokesman, Abba Anwar, directed our inquiry to the state commissioner for Religious Affairs, Tahar Adam.
Mr Adam however declined comment on the matter, saying he would not speak to a journalist on phone, and then hung up.
Aminu Dahiru Bauchi, who spoke to DAILY NIGERIAN in his personal capacity, said his father’s visit to Kaolack was a regular visit not connected to the invitation extended to Sheikh Mahy to attend the Kano zikr.
“Shehi (Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi) is loved by many people who offered him free jet whenever he plans to travel.
“Let me give you this example, if you wake Shehi up from sleep and offer him a visit to Madina, Fez or Kaulaha, he will gladly go because of his respect and love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani and Sheikh Ibrahim Niass,” he said.
Efforts to frustrate the Lokoja gathering
After efforts to induce the Tijjani leaders failed, DAILY NIGERIAN learnt that the Kano State government made underground moves to scuttle the Lokoja event.
Addressing Tijaniyya leaders when they paid him a courtesy call at Kogi Government House, Lokoja on Thursday, the state governor, Yahaya Bello, said was he asked to stop the Sanusi-led event but refused to.
Although the governor did not disclose who asked him to do so, insiders said it might be one of the Kogi governor’s colleagues who is having a running battle with the new Tijaniyya caliph in Nigeria.