Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi (CFR) is the 20th Shehu of the famous El-Kanemi dynasty of Borno in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
He ascended the royal throne in 2009 after the death of his predecessor, the 19th Shehu, Alh. (Dr) Mustapha Umar Ibn El-Kanemi. His Grand Father, late Shehu Abubakar Garbai Ibn Ibrahim El-Kanemi (1902 – 1922), was the 6th Shehu of Borno who, as fate would have it, built the present Palace in Shehuri, Maiduguri, in 1907. He was therefore referred to as the “Architect” and “founder” of modern Yerwa which came to be known as Maiduguri. The present Shehu was only a teenager of seventeen years of age when his late father, Shehu Umar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi (1968 to 1974) also a notable Shehu died. At the time of his birth in 1957, the late Shehu Umar Garbai, was the District Head of Damagun in the present day Yobe State, the birth place of Shehu Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El kanemi.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that His Royal Highness, Shehu Abubakar Ibn Garbai is a grandson of a monarch, whose late Father was also one. The cap he wears can aptly and succinctly be described as perfectly “befitting” the title which was bequeathed to him. Nobody could have been fitter to wear the royal cap better than him at the time dynasty bestowed it on him, in spite of the earlier reported hues and cries from some quarters. Upon all that, the Shehu has remained calm, humble, modest and reproachable despite the earlier reported anxieties and acrimonies at the initial stage. He has ever since been building bridges of unity, peace, cooperation and harmony amongst his subjects and other royalties outside his domain. He has also exhibited a high level of maturity, dexterity, astuteness, amity and patience with every one. The 20th Shehu is a well educated and vastly experienced public servant who has proved his mettle in public service as an Administrator of resources and persons per excellence. His track record is unblemished and illuminating which made many to describe him as “intimidating and embellished”.
The Shehu rose through the ranks from Clerical Assistant in 1976 to the position of Permanent Secretary in 2008 when he retired from the services of the state Government. In 2008 he was appointed the District Head of Magumeri, prior to his eventual appointment as the Shehu of Borno after the death of his predecessor that year. The Shehu is an immensely educated monarch who possesses among other qualifications a Masters Degree in Public Administration (2000) and another one in Industrial and Labour Relations (1998) obtained from the famous Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria and University of Maiduguri. He was therefore ready and capable of leading his people in the 21st century which is that of knowledge, conflicts and conflict- resolutions. He has not disappointed his people since his ascendancy to the exalted throne.
As a deputy president of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs,(SCIA), patron of jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Vice chairman of the Nigerian inter faith sub-committees where he has brought his wealth of experiences to broker peace and resolve conflicts, the esteemable and venerable monarch has been contributing positively to make society better and conflict free. He loves his people passionately and unequivocally committed to improving their lot in human capacity building and development through education. In the JNI, SCIA and the council of traditional rulers in the North, the Shehu has indeed been strongly supportive giving purposeful, robust and positive contributions to develop a better society, economic and political justice, fairness and equity. He has been working assiduously with the sultan to create better understanding of the social problems bedeviling society like the issue of insecurity in the North.
In order to restore peace, order and normalcy in Maiduguri and indeed in Nigeria, the Shehu has been silently working hand-in-hand with other traditional rulers to ensure that alternatives to conflict are attained through cooperation, understanding, persuasion and diplomacy. He has also been working relentlessly to empower the large number of unemployed youth in his domain through education and job creation.