Emir Ado Bayero’s conduct in praise of discretion

Many, many years ago, late Emir Ado Bayero who reigned as king in the ancient city of Kano, taught his lieutenants, and some guests an important lesson about discretion. The non-verbal lesson left a profound impression on the lieutenants and everyone present in the palace on the day.

In those days, many successful business persons in the ancient town who recognized the important role played by the king in the life of everyone in the town, took it upon themselves to send cash and truckloads of gifts to the palace every quarter. They did not want the king to leave the more important matters requiring his attention to chasing contracts from one business organization to another. These persons made sure they handed over the cash gifts in person, while the truckloads of gifts, mostly food items, were delivered by their aides.

Instructively, the king did not collect the cash gifts directly but referred the givers to an official of the palace who received the gift on his behalf. And recorded it in a ledger specially created for that purpose.

Assuming there was solicitation on the part of the king, and thinking there was an opportunity to be part of this private, and away from the eyes system, which he could exploit to his advantage, a gentleman, who wanted the king to give him an important title, decided to join the fray. He prepared his gift and went to see the king. Of course, the king directed him to the official that received such gifts. And things proceeded without much ado.

Until five years later when the gentleman could no longer contain his disappointment at being overlooked by the king in his choice of those he awarded titles. He went to town and made allegations to the effect that the king was not honourable as he postured. When the king got wind of the story, he invited him to the palace.

Then he called the official whose duty it was to keep records of all cash gifts given to the king. In the presence of other visitors and guests to the palace at the time, the king asked him to return the cash gift to the gentleman. The official went to his office and retrieved the envelope, and handed it over to its owner. The package was in the same envelope in which it was delivered, unopened since five years previously.

Indeed, gifts and emotions have a thing or two together. It has been so for ages. Leaders who look in the mirror and see themselves in their honor robes know that the proverbial robes sit well on their bodies because using gifts received, with discretion, they have not perverted the course of justice but upheld the honor of public trust. Yet there are those who insist, saying, “Who honor epp?” How might such persons be epped/helped?

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