Internet InfoMedia kings battle for an ancient throne in nigeria
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Two men claim to be the emir of Kano, an ancient kingdom in northern Nigeria. Their struggle for power and influence is feeding into a wider competition ahead of the country’s next election.

One king has been barricaded in the palace, protected from potential usurpers by hundreds of subjects armed with sticks and machetes.

Another king, evicted from the same palace in May, is living in an annex down the road, dispatching lawyers to courthouses in an attempt to regain the throne.

The battle unfolding for the emirate of Kano — one of West Africa’s oldest and most revered kingdoms — is not just a struggle for an ancient throne, but also part of a wider contest for control over the most populous state in Africa’s most populous country.

The emirs of Kano once had absolute power, ruling over their subjects from the intricately decorated palace in the city of Kano, an ancient commercial hub just south of the Sahara.

Today, though rulers still sit on sumptuous thrones, wear silken gowns and have courtiers to fan them wherever they go, their kingdom is part of Nigeria, Africa’s biggest democracy, and they operate alongside its elected officials.

Like British monarchs, they have great influence over their subjects, but few official powers.

Supporters armed with homemade weapons provide security to Emir Sanusi.Tom Saater for The New York Times

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