Ado Bayero is the Emir of kano, a son of the popular emir of Kano, Abdullahi Bayero who reigned for 27 years, Ado Bayero is the longest serving emir in the emirate of Kano's history. During his tenure, he has seen the kano emirate transformed from a native authority to community leadership. He is an influential spiritual and community leader in Northern Nigeria and his palace plays host to official visits by many government personnel and even strangers while he has sometimes played advisory roles in many governments. However, in 1981, Governor Abubakar Rimi restricted traditional homage paid by village heads from the state to Ado Bayero and also excised some domains out of his emirate and in 1984, a travel ban was placed on the emir and his friend Okunade Sijuwade. Though, the military are sometimes seen as relying on traditional rulers for support mostly by distancing themselves from politicians, many military regimes in the past also chipped away at powers of traditional rulers such as Bayero.
Bayero is also a communal leader of an emirate that is sometimes the center of turbulence and a former chancellor of the University of Nigeria and the University of Ibadan. He is sometimes identified by a distinct turban (Rawani), hooded cloak, and a gown ensemble (Riga) while the displays of his horsemen are known for the enwrapped attention it garners from attentive audience.
A complimentary praise epithet by Hausa singer Maizargardi praises Bayero's heritage and wealth and binds it with the responsibility of sharing the wealth with the people. He is also referenced as Dan Abdulahi Bayero and Jikan Abbas.
Bayero was born to the family of Hajiya Hasiya and Abdullahi Bayero and into a Fulani Sullubawa clan that has presided over the emirate of Kano since 1819. He was the eleventh child of his father and the second of his mother. At the age of 7, he was sent to live with Maikano Zagi.
He started his education within the emir's walls in Kano studying Islam, he then followed religious instructions with attendance at the Kano Middle School where he was classmates with Mahmoud Gashash. He graduated from the School of Arabic Studies in 1947 and attended Zaria Clerical College in 1952. Upon his graduation from the School of Arabic Studies, he took up work with the Bank of British West Africa where he was until 1949, the year he joined the Kano Native Authority. At the bank, he was exposed to colleagues from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and he was able to see the evolving Nigerian state from his seat as a bank clerk. In 1954, he won a seat to the Northern regional House of Assembly.
He was the head of the Kano Native Authority police division in 1957 until 1962, before becoming the ambassador of Nigeria to Senegal. As police chief, he tried to minimize the practice of briefly detaining individuals or political opponents on the orders of powerful individuals in Kano. As ambassador in Senegal, he cultivated a relationship with Senegalese president Senghor in whose country like Northern Nigeria, Tijjaniyya leader, Ibrahim Niass had numerous followers. Also, while working as an ambassador, he enrolled in a French class to learn the language. In 1963, he succeeded Muhammadu Inuwa as Emir of Kano with the support of kingmakers, Shehu Ahmadu, madaki, Bello Dandago, Sarkn Dawakin, Bellol Barwa and Mohammed Muhtari Sarkin Bai who liked his short experience in politics.
Bayero became emir during the first republic and at a time the nation went through rapid social, political changes and as regional, sub-regional and ethnic harmony became more discordant. In his first few years, two political movements with a pro Kano stance gained support among some of Kano elites. The first, Kano Peoples Party emerged during the reign of Muhammadu Inuwa and supported the deposed Emir Sanusi, but it soon evaporated. A new one, the Kano State movement emerged towards the end of 1965, favoring more economic autonomy for the province, this movement had Dandago, Maitama Sule and Inuwa Wada as members.
The death of many political agitators of the period from Northern Nigeria in 1966 and subsequent enthronement of a unitary state consolidated a united front in the northern region but also resulted in a spate of crisis and violence in the North including in Kano. Bayero's admirers have commented on his role in bringing calm and stability during the time of the crisis and subsequent ones in Kano.
As emir, he became a patron of Islamic scholarship and embraced Western education as a means to succeed in a modern Nigeria. However, in his reign, the constitutional powers derived as emir was whittled down by the military regimes between 1966-1979. The Native Authority Police and Prisons dept was abolished, the emir's judicial council was supplanted by another body while local government reforms carried out in 1968, 1972, and 1976 reduced the powers of the emir. During the second republic, he witnessed hostilities from the Peoples Redemption Party led government of Abubakar Rimi.
In 2002, he led a Kano elders forum in opposing the onshore and offshore abrogation bill.
- "Alhaji (dr.) Ado Bayero: 40 Years of Service to Humanity", Daily Trust, October 13, 2003.