As the reader can see, I have decided to dedicate today’s column to reactions to three of my last four columns, i.e. those of September 4, 18 and 25. Between them the three attracted a total of over 200 texts and several emails. Two weeks ago I carried a somewhat lengthy but thoughtful reaction to that of September 11.
Among the more thoughtful reactions to the last two columns which I wanted to publish but couldn’t for reasons of space are two; a 689-word piece from Sahalu Saidu, and a shorter one from Dr Nura H. Alkali. I’ll publish them next week, God willing.
Gen Danjuma, Suntai and Taraba
Let me start this rejoinder with a disclaimer. I’m not here to defend the famed Abonta Kwararafa, General T.Y Danjuma. No. The colossus can do that himself or, if he likes, engage better hands to do that for him. All I seek to do is to widen the arguments of ace columnist Mohammed Haruna, and probably shed new lights on some of the issues he raised in his column of September 4 (“Another open letter to General T. Y. Danjuma”) on the current constitutional and political crisis in Taraba state. By accusing the General of silence, the writer probably thought the Jarmai Zazzau would just act without carefully checking what is going on. In Haruna’s piece, there was even a veiled attempt to even make the detribalized and patriotic general appear to be siding with Christians in this whole drama.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Taraba political logjam may appear to a distant watcher a religious struggle between Muslims and Christians but on a closer look, it is what it is: a crude cold battle for power. Speaker Haruna Tsokwa, for instance, who is hell bent on sending Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai back to the US for medication is a dyed-in- the-wool believer and elder in the conservative, predominantly Jukun, CRCN church. Hon. Josiah Kente who leads the anti Suntai army is a born-again believer. Some Christians in the Taraba state House of Assembly oppose any idea of a Suntai continuous stay in Government House.
For the teeming people of the southern part of the state, power shift to that zone is at the center of it all. In a recent meeting at Takum, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha, the senator representing the zone at the National Assembly, said he was prepared to lay down his seat as a senator(if not his life even) for this aspiration. That is the measure of his and our resolve on this matter. Not for him to be governor but that the zone produces one! Every true son and daughter of Southern Taraba feels this way too. All the other zones in the state have produced a governor and we have played second place for far too long since Taraba was created.
We in the southern zone don’t hate Muslims! We can’t afford to!
Former Commissioner of Information,
How do you expect the general (T. Y. Danjuma) to intervene when his foot soldiers in Christ (Jerry Gana and John Dara) were at the airport to receive Suntai? My opinion is that you may be asking the wrong person to intervene on the crisis in Taraba.
I disagree with you on the assertion that the so-called Middle Belt which is located in north-central Nigeria is mainly Christian, because looking at the states that make up the Middle Belt, only Plateau and Benue are mainly Christian. And by the way, is General Danjuma from the Middle Belt? Methinks he is from Taraba State and the last time I checked, Taraba State is geographically in the North -Eastern part of Nigeria.
Galadima Road, Kano.
Ten Tears of Etsu Nupe
Yours on “Ten years of the 13th Etsu Nupe” (September 18) refers. Mallam Dendo had seven sons namely, Mamman Majigi, Abdugboya and Usman Zaki by his Fulani wife Adama; Mustapha, Mamudu, and Masaba, by his Nupe wife Fatima; and Ibrahim by another Nupe wife. Umaru Majigi was the eldest grandson of Mallam Dendo and son of Mamman Majigi.
I completely disagree with you that Etsu Nupe has been too liberal in awarding his emirate’s traditional titles. The Etsu has NEVER EVER given title to any undeserving person. I expected you to have given instances. I have known the Etsu Nupe since 2nd July, 1973 when we assembled at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, for cadet training as members of Regular Course 14. In fact, one of our Indian Instructors, Capt Grewal, saw the good leadership qualities in him and gave him the title chief. That became his alias as we began to call him chief or sarki.
Capt Momy G (rtd),
Publicity Secretary, NDA Regular Course 14.
Thanks a lot for your incisive Wednesday articles. However sometimes factual errors do crop up in them. For instance, in the Etsu Nupe piece you stated at the end of the third paragraph that the Dan Fodio’s jihad was carried out in the LATE 19th century instead of d EARLY part of the century.
I am from Ogidi (the town where, as you pointed out, the Nupe army defeated the British cavalry on June 26, 1896). A distinguished delegation from Bida was with us on the occasion of Ogidi Day on June 15. The team comprised Manko Babayitso (Ciroma), Yakawu, Yabagi Shehu, Prince Ndayako and Bako Mustapha. That was the first time since 1897 that Ogidi would receive that level of Nupe visitors.
Head, Corporate Communications,
Federal Housing Authority,
Your column of September 18 refers please. It is NOT correct that of the five Etsu in Usman Zaki’s House Etsu Yahaya’s 10 yrs is longest. The longest reign to date in that house is that of Bello (1915 to 1926). Also the similarities between Nupe and Yoruba languages and cultures are not products of 1804 Jihad but due to close interaction between the two people that dated much earlier than the Jihad. One of the most popular Alafin of Oyo, Shango, was said to be half Nupe.
I read with nostalgia ten years of the 13th Etsu. Having finished from Federal Polytechnic, Bida, in 1981 and still living among the Nupe 32 years after, I find them similar in many ways to my Igbo people. I have spent the greater part of my life here in harmony and wish that the promises of an integrated nation shall not elude us. Long live the Nupe Kingdom!
Twenty years of Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja
Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja Awwal got his emirship courtesy of “ogas at the top.” (“Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja, the (almost) rejected stone…” September 25). Pray for the day ogas at the bottom will decide both traditional and political leadership
A superb “historical” write-up, that is, despite some few uncharitable, unnecessary and uncalled for insinuations, particularly as the columnist went into wild imagination about the role of the late Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Umaru Ndayako, in the saga as Chairman of the Niger State council of emirs. Objective comment and history will commend the Etsu Nupe for electing to protect and defend the custom, tradition and choice of Suleja people above the selfish interests of his state Governor and the nation’s then military president, which showed rare courage.
Two: there was nothing like “a classic case of how tenacity in the pursuit of one’s objective is more likely than not to pay off” in Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim’s ascension to the throne. Rather it was just a case of the common sense Hausa adage of “kowa yasamu rana sai yayi shanya” (literally, we are all opportunists) that was vigorously exploited by varying shades of elite friends and acquaintances in the run down to President Ibrahim Babangida’s 1992-94 political engineering.That was when the likes of Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, Abiola, Bashir Tofa and many others from the military, academia, bureaucracy, business, etc, were created, empowered and imposed ostensibly to facilitate the perpetuation of the military President in power.
Thirdly, there are no problems any longer with the emirate kingmakers and so-called two ruling houses as feared by the columnist. The then governor, Dr. Musa Inuwa, was instructed to amend the custom, tradition and kingmakership as they related to ascension of the Emir of Suleja and to remove all restrictions previously placed on aspirant Awwal Ibrahim. The kingmakers now are the Santali, Sarkinyaki and the Mallams. Whether the ruling house is one or two is to be determined by political interest of the “oga at the top” of the day.
I always enjoy your column due to the fact that it is always well researched in great detail with the facts well documented. This piece on Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja is a case in point reaffirming the fact power belongs to Allah (SWT) and He gives it to whom He wills. In addition to that just imagine how many unpopular leaders we rejected who might have been our salvation in this country just like the emir. This is food indeed for thought for every Nigerian.
Ahmed S. J.
As a fellow journalist, I’ve kept track of your articles primarily because of your skills in writing and sticking to the cause you believe in even if it is pseudo sectarian. However, in the article you wrote on Sarkin Zazzaun Suleja, you misunderstood what a linguist means. A linguist is not a person who speaks many languages. He is a person who does a scientific study of languages. He who understands and speaks several languages like Emir Awwal is a polyglot.