Mustapha El-Kanemi

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Mustapha Umar El-Kanemi is a Nigerian traditional chief from Borno State who is the current and 19th Shehu of Borno. He is a son of Umar El-Kanemi, the 17th Shehu of Borno.

As Shehu, he has at various points in time voiced his support for education and against traditional rulers engaging in partisan politics. In 1978, he was appointed as the chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt.


El-Kanemi was born to the family of the 17th Shehu of Borno, Umar Sanda Al-Amin El-Kanemi in Dikwa, he is a descendant of the famed Mohammed El-Kanemi and the El-kanemi dynasty. He was educated at the Dikwa Elementary School and the Borno Middle School. After completing his studies at the middle school, he entered the workforce as a court clerk in the office of the Wali of Borno. He subsequently worked in the police force before becoming a representative of the Shehu in 1949.

In 1956, he joined the politics of the independence period as a member of the Northern House of Assembly and in 1961, he became the parliamentary secretary in the regional Ministry of Lands and Survey. After the end of the first republic, he returned to Maiduguri. Between 1968 and 1974, he served as the district head of Mafa and later that of Nganzai.

In 1974, El-Kanemi was turbaned Shehu of Borno and officially crowned in 1975. As Shehu, he embarked on a state wide tour of Borno in 1975 and 1976 with a message to the citizenry of cooperation with the government, peace and civic responsibility.

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