A prince of Zazzau Emirate in Kaduna State, Bashari Aminu, has gone to court to challenge the appointment of Ahmed Bamalli as the new emir of Zazzau.
Mr. Bamalli, erstwhile Nigerian ambassador to Thailand, was announced as the new emir by the Kaduna State Government on Wednesday.
The suit was filed at the Kaduna State High Court. A source close to Mr. Aminu confirmed the legal action.
Mr Bamalli’s appointment followed the death of Shehu Idris who died on September 20, after reigning as emir for 45 years.
Mr. Aminu, who holds the title of Iyan Zazzau, was ranked first in an initial shortlist submitted to Governor Nasir El-Rufai by the five kingmakers of the emirate.
The state government, however, discarded the kingmakers’ report, citing allegations of inducement by one of the contenders.
The government later announced the appointment of Mr Bamalli, following a fresh selection process among 13 princes, ordered by the state government.
Court documents show that Mr Aminu sued Mr El-Rufai and nine others in the suit seeking to quash Mr Bamalli’s appointment.
The court filings signed by Yunus Usman, a senior advocate of Nigeria, seeks 10 reliefs from the court.
Aside Messrs El-Rufai and Bamalli, Mr Aminu also joined the Kaduna State Attorney General, Kaduna Council of Chiefs, Zazzau Emirate Council and the five kingmakers as parties to the suit.
Mr Aminu prayed the court to validate the selection process of the Zazzau kingmakers which placed him ahead of two other princes and excluded Mr Bamalli from the shortlist.
He argues that the appointment of Mr Bamalli contravened Chiefs (Appointment and Depositions) Law Cap 21 of 1991.
Mr Aminu wants the court to declare the appointment as “irregular, illegal, unconstitutional, unjust inequitable and contrary to good conscience, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
He also asked the court to declare that he was “duly and properly selected/elected and appointed as the Emir of Zazzau (Zaria) by the traditional kingmakers of Zazzau in accordance with Zazzau Native Law, Custom and Tradition.”
He also wants the court to bar Mr Bamalli from declaring himself as the emir of Zazzau and to stop the state government from proceeding with Mr Bamalli’s coronation as the Zazzau emir.
Mr El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, could not be reached for comment on this story and whether or not the governor had been served the court papers.