Few days ago, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, presented a staff of office to the new paramount ruler of Numana Chiefdom. Our Crime Editor, HASSAN ZAGGI, writes on the feelings of the residents of the area before, during and after the coronation.
Saturday August 25, 2018, was a remarkable day that turned the mourning of the Numana ethnic group into joy.
It was a day of joy because the Numana ethnic group got a new traditional ruler, eight months after the brutal murder of their former royal father- the Etum Numana, Dr. Gambo Makama, by yet to be identified gun men.
One could see the joy in the faces of the people which was accompanied by wield jubilation after the coronation.
It would be recalled that the late Etum Numana, his wife and two others were killed on Sunday, December 31, 2017. His house was also burnt by the killers at his ancestral village- Tsauni Ayuba (Asik), when he left his palace at Gwantu, the Sanga Local Government Headquarters to celebrate the New Year with his kinsmen.
The Numana ethnic group is predominantly found in Kaduna State and some fragments are found in Nasarawa State.
What however, seems to have tempered with the joy of the Numana ethnic group during the coronation ceremony which took place at Government Secondary School, Gwantu, according to findings by The AUTHORITY, was the continues use of Chief of Gwantu instead of the Chief of Numana by the Kaduna State Government.
This is despite the fact that all documents pertaining to the coronation reads Etum Numana.
Investigation by The AUTHORITY indicated that few days to the coronation, there were fears among the people following rumours that the Kaduna State Government had concluded plans to change the title of the Chief from Etum Numana to Etum Gwantu.
Our Correspondent sighted an Armored Personal Carrier (APC) strategically stationed at the junction leading to the Government Secondary School, Gwantu-the venue of the coronation. There was also heavy security presence at Gwantu, the headquarters of Sanga Local Government Area on the day of the coronation.
Speaking, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs- Prof. Kabir Mato, called on the Numana ethnic group and the entire residents of the Sanga Local Government Area to continue to obey constituted authorities, accept the will of God and give the new traditional ruler the needed support.
“We are calling on the people to continue to obey constituted authorities and accept the will of God and give the new traditional ruler the needed support to enable him rule in fairness.
“It is important to remind the people that one of the reasons the Kaduna state government took steps to fix our traditional institutions and districts in the state is to ensure that we restore the glory and dignity of the traditional institution the way God originally made it.
“Kaduna State government is poise to restore the glory and dignity originally accorded to the traditional institutions so that they can contribute their quota in providing leadership in both their domain and the state at large. That is the reason we made some adjustments in the cadre of district heads (Hakimai) which we previously had 399 but have been reduced to 77.”
Gov el-Rufai explains usage of Etum Gwantu
While congratulating His Royal Highness, the Etum Numana, Brig. Gen. Iliya Aliyu Yamma (rtd), the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, said: “I am very pleased to be here to hand over this staff of office to his Highness and I want to use this opportunity to congratulate him once again and to wish him well. May the Almighty God give him long life, good health, wisdom and credibility to continue to rule over this chiefdom with fairness, justice and equity.
“Your Highness, this chiefdom is one of the most important in Kaduna State. It is vital, as part of your responsibilities to ensure that the peace that this chiefdom has enjoyed, continued to be built upon.
“The Commissioner for Local Government has explained why we renamed some of the chiefdoms and move away from creating chiefdoms around ethnic groups towards chiefdoms around territory because within your territory Your Highness, we have peoples of different tribes and ethnicities, people of different religions but they are all your citizens. It is your duty to not only unite them, but to ensure that they live in peace and prosperity.
“This is the basis for re-designating and renaming the chiefdom. It is not to depreciate the chiefdoms but rather to appreciate them and give them more honour and glory.
“We hope, Your Highness, you will use your long years of experience in teaching in the military and leadership to advance the course of this chiefdom, the course of Kaduna state and Nigeria as a whole as you have always done in your long public service career.
“I am very pleased as the governor of Kaduna state that increasingly we are raising the quality of chiefs. Today, we handed over two staff of office to our graded chiefs. Both of them started their careers as teachers and teaching is the most noble of all careers. Both of them have had distinguished lives in public service.
“Today we have a retired general as the chief of this chiefdom. It is important for us to have people of this quality to be our traditional rulers. This is why today is one of my happiest days in my three and half years as governor of Kaduna state that we are seeing people of integrity, of unparralled public service careers, sound education and commitment to their communities becoming their chiefs.”
The governor expressed optimism that the Etum Numana, who is also a retired military officer, “is conversant with leadership and is used to bringing people of different backgrounds together, that he will do same here.”
The Etum Numana vows to mobilize support for government
In his remarks, after receiving the staff of office, the Etum Numana, Brig. Gen. Iliya Aliyu Yamma (rtd), vowed to mobilize the people to support the policies and programmes of the government.
The royal father who applauded the governor for giving him the opportunity to serve and lead his people, said: “I am very much aware that leadership comes with a lot of challenges and I promised you we will do our best to mobilize the people to support government in its activities to serve us.”
Presented requests to the Governor
The royal father, whom many described as intelligent and highly diplomatic, used the opportunity to present the many challenges faced by his people to the governor.
“Your Excellency, one of the legacies you have bequitted to us in the last three and the half years is the involvement of communities in budgeting as regards to projects that are dear to them. My chiefdom is a very big beneficiary of this, we thank you so much.
“Your Excellency, without mincing words, we have never had it so good. But as usual, we will always ask for more.
“We have had history of challenges, most of them, security and you came and partner with us with the help of the security services and normalcy has returned.
“We cherished it so much and we will do everything humanly possible to maintain this peace. It is only then that our people will enjoy their socio-economic activities.
“Your Excellency, one of the challenges we had towards the end of last year was the brutal and cowardly assassination of the late Etum Numana, a peace loving gentleman. It was so gruesome that he was assassinated with his pregnant wife in his country home and the house was completely burnt down.
“Your Excellency, we thank you for the cooperation and understanding you extended to us, but we still have challenges.
“The family of the late Etum Numana is still in the temporary palace we have in Gwantu. We plead with you to partner with the local government and assist so that we can reconstruct the family home so that the family can relocate.
“I thank you very much Your Excellency. We cherish the dead and we honour the dead, the family will remain in the temporary palace until we find alternative of reconstructing their country home.
“Your Excellency, quickly followed to that, we are aware of the importance you accord to traditional institutions and that include their accommodation. Most the palaces started some years ago are at different stages of completion, Your Excellency, I am aware of your efforts to make the traditional rulers comfortable. I plead with you to start with ours because we are in a precarious situation.”
Request for repairs of damaged roads
The royal father also appealed to the Kaduna State government to assist in the repair of critical roads linking different parts of the local government which have been damaged by erosion and heavy rain fall.
“Your Excellency, some of the projects my community has benefited is the state road linking Gwantu to Wasa. The road is critical to us, but unfortunately because of the heavy downpour, the bridge crossing the river at Gani Sarki linking all communities up to Wasa has been washed up. Your Excellency, we find it difficult to pursue our socio-economic activities. The repair of that bridge is beyond the capability of the local government. I am sure. Your Excellency will come to our aid.
“Your Excellency, we hope that in the next one or two months when the rain stops, you will assist the local government authorities to revisit the road. The road linking Giginya Maikasa and Gani Madaki was well done but it is impassable right now because of the heavy downpour. It will require a lot of drainages and culverts. The road linking Zangye and Nandu is one of the legacy of your administration, that road also because of the heavy downpour is impassable right now. We know you will do well to help us in the next one or two months when the rain subsides.
“Your Excellency, the place of Sanga local government will have a new face henceforth with your cooperation and support,” the royal father stressed.
While some prominent sons of the Numana ethnic group interviewed by The AUTHORITY kicked against the constant usage of the name Etum Gwantu instead of Etum Numana, others however, averred that there was nothing to worry about.
One of them who prayed anonymity while responding to questions from The AUTHORITY said: “There is no doubt the change of the name will bring rapid development to our area as this will mean that more chiefdoms will be created in the years ahead. I urge our people to see it in that aspect.”
However, a title holder in the chiefdom who also pleaded not to be named said: “Why must the government change the name of our title from Etum Numana to Etum Gwantu? We are opposed to it. This is just a deliberate plan to sow some seeds of discord among our people in the years ahead. We are supposed to be consulted before such change is made. We believe that the governor knows what he is doing and he mean well for our people.”
There is however, a general consensus among most of the elders interviewed by The AUTHORITY,that the state government has the best interest of the people at heart and will not want to do anything that will bring confusion to residents of the area.
They, however, called on the Kaduna State government to continue to give the Etum Numana the needed support for the rapid development and growth of the area.
They also advised the Numana ethnic group and all other residents of the area to live in peace and harmony with each other and also give maximum support to the royal father to enable him succeed as according to them: “the new paramount ruler has the capacity and good will to attract development to the area.”
The coronation ceremony was however successful and hitch-free as there was massive display of the rich culture of the Numana people.