Time changes everyday and so does the affairs of individuals and the society we live in with a plethora of governmental structures from the days of old and Pre-Independence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria till date. However,prior to independence,a different system of governance has been existing in northern Nigeria since the 7th century in “EL-KANEMI BORNO EMPIRE TO THE SHEHU USMAN DANFODIO DYNASTY AND ISLAMIC CRUSADES” that came from the Eastern part of the globe,(INDIRECT RULE). Religion changes with time, technology changes with time, economies change with time and so does our culture. It cannot be over emphasized that our culture in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been fading away and declining at an alarming rate due to the emergence of new vices and borrowed lifestyles, mostly from the western world of Europe and the United States of America. Our culture has drastically changed in the past few decades as compared to when we used to command much respect and attention to the ethics governing the cultural aspect in Nigeria.
The relevance, prestige and high esteem that was once the pride of societal values and the high esteem and respect that was a prerogative accorded to traditional leaders evolved in a negative transition , thereby leaving and rendering them as nothing more than ceremonial figures to signify the traditional norms that was once considered as an establishment of final arbiter. Prior to the 1976 local government reforms, traditional rulers in both Northern and Southern Nigeria were autonomous to a certain degree. Their activities and autonomy were independent of governmental affairs, but it is rather unfortunate that they are now relegated to the mercy of a local government chairman, in which they preside over as traditional rulers with a supervisory role and custodians of the shield that protects the masses.
Traditional culture in Nigeria is one of the most colorful and admirable sight one can witness in a lifetime which outstretches from Northern Emirates to the Southern Kingdoms. Decades ago, people from all over the world would come to Nigeria just to get a glimpse of how rich, well structured and colorful its cultural values are, but unfortunately, only a few foreigners bother to come and take account of the activities during festive periods. Traditional leader are intellectuals and very exposed to the extent of being recommended and elevated as leaders with the authority of governing the nation in certain aspects and could be recommended as powers by amending the constitution to upgrade their status in society which has been the case in several Emirates. The Post Independence era ushered in traditional rulers that had reached their carriers in both civilian and military arms of government which gave them the experience and upper edge to rule over their Emirates/kingdoms.
There are several Emirs of Northeast Nigeria,OBA’S and IGWE’S of blessed memory that passed away that has led to the emergence of new traditional rulers that inherited their bloodline and birth right in both southern and northern Nigeria. Several of the new generation of traditional rulers are mostly in their youth. This gives them the advantage of time to familiarize themselves with their subjects in their Emirates. Sheikh Shehu Usman Danfofio through his jihad in the early 19th century led to the rise and development of creating an empire that has lasted through the ages and most of the monarchies today are descendants from his reformation campaign in Northern Nigeria to date,even though he was never a King but an Islamic Scholar,while the southern monarchs are descendant’s of “OYO” empire which led to the emergence, formation and establishment of the monarchical system in the southern part of Nigeria. The southeast monarchies were established through the so called colonial masters who led to the emergence of warrant Chiefs which transformed their monarchical titles to be referred to as “IGWE’S” as their traditional rulers.
So far,HRH,Alhaji,Dr Sa’ad Abubakar III,(Sultan of Sokoto),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Mohammed Sanusi III,(Emir of Kano),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Shehu Idris,(Emir of Zazzau),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman Nagogo,(Emir of Katsina),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Umar Farouk Umar(Emir of Daura),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu,(Emir of Bauchi),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha,(Lamidon Adamawa),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abubakar Shehu Abubakar III,(Emir of Gombe),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Yahaya Abubakar(Etsu Nupe),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Awwal Ibrahim,(Emir of Suleja),HRH,Emir of Nasarawa,HRM,Oba Rilwan Akiolu,(Oba of Lagos),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Ibrahim Sulu Gambari,(Emir of Ilorin),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abubakar Buba Atare II,(Mai Tula) as the youngest of them and and an embodiment of Royal status has discovered resources of economic value in his kingdom like the newly found agricultural discovery of “GORON TULA” and the monarch considered with the highest deposit of barite in the North Eastern part of the country. HRM,(Ooni of Ife),HRM (Oba of Calabar) are all first class monarchs that have ruled their subjects with Justice and fairness which is necessary for the survival of the monarchies,as there is nothing worse than an unjust and unfair ruler to preside over people in society. Traditional Rulers that have been spearheading the survival,development and elevation of the role to be executed and responsibility of Nigeria’s monarchies of which their noble and royal gesture is highly commendable and cannot go unnoticed. They have provided materials and opportunities that will strengthen the existing monarchies of the nation by impeding and defending any threat that lurk’s within the surface and other threat’s that visible and proven to be imminent.
As stated by Alhaji Maitama Sule, (DANMASANIN KANO),of blessed memory,” Power can remain in the hands of an infidel if he is just and fair, but power will never remain in the hands of a believer if he is unjust and unfair”.
All the virtues listed above are the same efforts that the traditional rulers in Nigeria strive to provide for their subjects. Other Emir’s that have such virtues and worthy of emulation like,” HIS EMINENCE, Alhaji, Dr Sa’ad Abubakar III, (Sultan of Sokoto), HRH, Alhaji, Dr Umar Farouk Umar, (Emir of Daura),of the famous “BAYAJIDDA”,regarded as the founder and emergence of “HAUSA” in Nigeria and crosses across boarder’s of West Africa. It is not all the time that you see a traditional ruler “EMIR or KING”, eating with commoners and the lowest of the low in social class level. Such humbleness and simplicity can only be witnessed in Daura Emirate which is over 400 hundred years old and gave birth to the famous tale legend of Bayajidda as part of the culture and heritage in northern Nigeria. HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman Nagoggo,(Emir of Katsina),who’s ancestors brought the game of polo to Nigeria and referred to as the “GAME OF KINGs. HRH,Alhaji,Dr Mohammed Sanusi II,(Emir of Kano),who’s attribute have been the reformation and modernization of the northern monarchical system in Nigeria. HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abubakar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi,(Shehu of Borno),who’s empire was the first that established Islam dated to over a thousand years ago in the 7th century and fifty years after the revelation of Prophet Mohammed,(PBUH) before the reformation of Shehu Usman Danfofio from 1804-1806. HRH,Alhaji,Dr Shehu Idris,(Emir of Zazzau),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Zubair Jibrin,(Emir of Birnin Gwari),HRH,Alhaji Dr Sayyadi Mahmud,(Emir of Ringim),HRH,(Emir of Ningi),HRH,(Emir of Gwandu),who happen to be the last of so many nobles preceding their generation of Traditional Rulers. Theses are some of the graceful generosities that people across the African Continent and the globe to a larger extent bear witness to, and theres no doubt that all the (EMIRS, OBA’S and IGWE’S), hold their subject with such high esteem,with the exception of a few. HRH, Dr, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu Abubakar Ill, is one of youngest first class Emirs in Nigeria and his devotion towards the progress of his subjects is equal and second to none. He has dedicated all he has to ensure the social welfare of his subjects. He receives over 500 people a day and has focused mostly on educating the children of the poor and well being of the disabled. His generosity, humbleness and graciousness towards the well being and education of the poor cannot be overlooked. In 2015, he enrolled 1500 children that could not afford to have the privilege of affording an education. He has been working round the clock to initiate charitable activities in order to assist the masses. Among other things,His Majesty has been building institutions of learning process and religious temples to enhance and encourage both Islamic and western education.
There is no reason why culture cannot be part of the change in global modernization and literacy. It is imperative that our most Gracious, most Royal and most Noble Emir’s and Kings of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should stand up for the interest and survival of our cultural establishment. Failure to do so might lead to the inevitable threat of extinction like the monarchies of Russia and France. The traditional leaders should demand the inauguration of reform and conferences in order to constitute a panel of people with Royal bloodline and title holders while the government should also select a few officials on their behalf that will deliberate on the matter in orders to proffer solutions that will elevate the status of our traditional rulers across all six regions of the country.
The 1999 constitution and the Land Use Act should equally be amended so our traditional rulers will not only be recognize as ceremonial figures and play a supervisory role, but will pave a way for them to be part of the transition that will grant them autonomy which will enable them to function independently from the government and in society as well. If our traditional leaders fail to act now, history will judge them as leaders that contributed to societal servitude and the future generations and people in this day and age will not recognize and neither be subject to such degrading treatment, having been born in an era of modern civilization where global communication and awareness shows how prestigious monarchs like that of the United Kingdom do not relegate their subjects to such demeaning treatment, unlike the procedure of being within the circle of our monarchies in Nigeria. Operating with the changes in time and modernization of monarchies in developed and civilized nations like the United Kingdom could be considered as one of the wisdom, technique and strategically applied methods used in preserving their Monarchies that is still in existence today and loved by majority of their subjects. In the process and necessity of preserving our culture and heritage,it would be advisable and more effective if our traditional rulers were to delegate the Emir’s/Kings, title holders that are still in their youth to carry out such an important task that requires vibrant and intellectual rulers from amongst themselves with regard to the issue of cultural significance that needs to be looked into with immediate effect and be given utmost priority, due to the relevance and necessity of the of threat that has been lurking in the shadows for decades. It is with out a doubt and imperative for Traditional Rulers to be part and parcel of societal affairs. They need to speak out when the need arises with regard to aspects of ,”Security,Education,Health,Economic initiatives and Skill Acquisition for the subjects in their realms”,just as His Eminence,(Sultan of Sokoto),HRH HRH,Alhaji Dr Umar Garbai El-Kenemi,(Shehu of Borno),HRH,Emir of Birnin Gwari),HRH,Alhaji,Dr Muhammadu Sanusi II,,(Emir of Kano),HRHAlhaji Dr Umar Farouk Umar,(Emir of Daura) and HRH,Alhaji,Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman Nagoggo,(Emir of Katsina) that uttered a much needed statement regarding insecurity in Katsina during a recent visit by government officials and the Minister of Agriculture stating that “Security should be provided before any commissioning any initiative in the agricultural sector in Northern Nigeria.
May God almighty continue to bless, guide and protect us with his infinite mercy and wisdom. Amin.
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