Tuesday, October 13, 2020

OPINION: The frustration of Southern Kaduna Indigenous Traditional Structures: A Seeming Step In Complementing The Fruitless Jihad In Southern Kaduna, By Steven Kefas


In Nigeria the traditional institution predates both the Uthman Danfodio Jihad and the colonial administrations. This is evident in the fact that before the arrival of Uthman Danfodio into Nigeria the indigenous people of the North and South had their various traditional leadership system which was serving them pretty well. 
These traditional leadership system had leaders who were people oriented in the discharge of their leadership roles and they did not only provide traditional leadership but also religious and political leadership with a focus at defending their rich beliefs and territories against external aggressors.
Southern Kaduna has always suffered attempts at complete extermination of her rich cultural practice, particularly her traditional leadership structure like the history books reveals. We continue to struggle for self rule as visible in the history of the struggle for chiefdoms in southern Kaduna since precolonial era till the year 2000. After the ethno-religious crisis that rocked Kaduna in the early 2000s the then Kaduna state governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi in his own wisdom embarked on the creation of Chiefdoms for ethnic nationalities in Kaduna state. This act brought about some sense of fulfillment and belonging for the over 60 ethnic nationalities in the state. It also brought leadership closer to the people which made it possible for peace and order to be maintained across the state.
This achievement by the Makarfi administration brought a turn around and marked the begining of good things as massive development became the order. The process of peace building, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for each other among the diverse cultures, religions e.t.c was reached. This brought the issue of communal clashes in Kaduna State to a dead end as Kaduna State was ushered to the path of progress and sustainable development.
After the emergence of Nasiru Elrufai as governor, traditional institutions especially in the southern part of Kaduna state began to witness some mysterious occurrences. Some traditional rulers of repute were assassinated while their killers are yet to be identified in some cases. Some were identified but yet to be prosecuted. For instance the Etum Numana Gambo Makama alongside his wife were assassinated by unknown gunmen on the 1st of January 2018. His killers are still 'at large'.
Three days later the Agom Ikullu, Mr Yohanna Sidi Kukah was abducted by gunmen. Kukah was fortunate to be freed by his abductors after ransom was paid.
Few months later in the same year, The Agwom Adara, Dr Raphael Maiwada Galadima, was abducted on the 19 of October 2018 alongside his wife. His wife was eventually released while the paramount ruler was murdered by his abductors after ransom was paid.
While the Etum Numana was eventually replaced by the state government, the Agwom Adara wasn't. And while his throne remains empty till date, the Adara Chiefdom was balkanized, and an Emirate established in Kajuru, a Local government with over 95% Christian population. Note there was no conquest to warrant establishing an Emirate.
The story is the same in Godogodo Chiefdom where the late Chief who died in August 2020 is yet to be replaced. Instead a so called caretaker that has no legitimacy in our culture is now in charge.
With the swiftness at appointing an Emir for Zazzau, one is compelled to ask, if a caretaker team is legitimate in our traditional system. Why was a caretaker not appointed over Zazzau Emirate? Why was a new Emir appointed just 18 days after the demise of the former emir?
The Fantswam Chiefdom is still without a chief after the demise of its former Chief Musa Didam in November 2018. The throne remains vacant as at today with no body talking about appointing a new Chief.

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY TO APPOINT CHIEFS?

Many have tried to absolve the Kaduna state governor of being responsible for not replacing these slain and demised monarchs. Some said it is the kingmakers duty to select and recommend to the governor.
Findings have shown that the governor needs to give the nod before such exercise can commence, this invariably means that if the governor doesn't consent to the process, even when the kingmakers make decisions it shall be null and void. In the case of Adara, their Chiefdom ceased to exist the day a malicious gazette from the state government balkanizing the Chiefdom was signed.
Today the Adara nation, one of the largest ethnic nationalities in Southern Kaduna, is without a traditional ruler. 
The Adara ethnic nationality is a warrior tribe. History recorded how they fought and resisted the Danfodio Jihadists led by Usman Yabo when they invaded their land in the early 1800s. Usman Yabo and his army fled to Fantswam land for safety and eventually named the place Jama'a Dororo meaning the people of Dororo. 
Ironically, the Adara nation could not be conquered by the then Danfodio Jihadists but has been 'conquered' by Governor El-Rufai who has established an Emirate over their land in place of their Indigenous traditional Chief signifying conquest.
When Usman Yabo settled in Fantswam, even though no war or conquest was achieved he founded an emirate amidst the people who gave him and his people the portion of land where they stayed, south of Fantswam territory. Yabo's descendant, the Hausa-Fulani ruler, Muhammadu, moved his capital to the heart of the Fantswam land in 1933, this was done with the support of the British colonialists.
In Kagarko where I come from, the Indigenous Chief of Koro land, the Ere Koro has today been reduced to a nobody following the establishment of an Emirate in Kagarko. This was also done unilaterally by Governor Elrufai to further advance his agenda. Jere, another Community originally owned by the Gbagyis also has an Emirate even though the late Emir Dr Sa'ad Usman who passed on in April 2020 is yet to be replaced. Note that Jere and Kagarko are few kilometers apart and some believed that not replacing the Jere Emir is deliberate since Kagarko now has an Emirate and an Emir.
The story is the same in Kauru where a new Emirate was also established in June 2018, the Kaduna state government in its effort to justify the creation of the Emirate said that it was the Kauru traditional council that demanded for a change of name and opted for an Emirate in place of Chiefdom.
One thing worthy of note in all of these is the fact that the assassination of our chiefs; Adara and Numana), the demise of the Fantswam Chief, the abduction of the Agom Ikullu and the controversial establishment of Emirates across Southern Kaduna all took place in 2018. This could be mere coincidence, though I don't believe so.
While I continue to call on the Kaduna state government to please give the nod for all vacant Chiefdoms to be replaced immediately, I also want to reemphasize that the killers of both the Agom Adara and the Etum Numana must be brought to book and prosecuted quickly.
Justice must be served to all those it has been denied for any meaningful peace to be attained.

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