Thousands of people led by their traditional rulers from 39 districts stormed the ancient city of Bauchi to join residents in celebrating this year’s Sallah durbar in a colourful way despite the short notice.
However, in Sokoto, the story was different as the durbar could not hold due to harsh weather conditions, Daily Trust reports.
In Bauchi, this year’s Sallah durbar witnessed a heavy security presence from various operatives, including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), teams of hunters and hundreds of vigilantes stationed in different strategic locations, particularly the venue of the event. Despite security fears, the event, which lasted for almost five hours, was carried out peacefully.
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As early as 7am on Thursday, thousands of people of the ancient city of Bauchi trooped out en masse to attend the Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the main Eid ground, along the Bauchi-Gombe road. Males, females, children and the aged dressed in their new cloths on board tricycles and motorcycles while traditional titleholders and their families in their colourful attires rode on horses as they made their ways to the Eid ground to
The Sallah durbar commenced shortly after the Eid prayer. The Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, in company of his 39 district heads, dressed in magnificent robes and turbans, riding on their horses from Kofar Wambai, marched through the Central Market roundabout, Unguwan Jaki and terminated at the emir’s palace, a situation that caused traffic gridlock due to an unprecedented crowd that swarmed the road, cheering the charismatic monarch and his entourage.
What made this year’s event special was the thunderous welcome accorded the emir by residents of the city, especially young men and women, as well as children who trooped out along the roads to shower love and respect to the royal father. Many others climbed on top of their buildings trying to catch a glimpse of their traditional ruler and the colourful display of his entourage. A distance that is not more that 15 minutes took the emir almost two hours to return to his palace due to the crowd.
The emir was received by dignitaries led by Governor Bala Mohammed, some senior government officials and other people who stormed the palace, the Central Mosque and surrounding vicinity waiting patiently for real Sallah durbar showcasing horsemanship and display of the absolute loyalty to the monarch.
The peak of the event took place at the emir’s palace, where traditional greetings by the 39 district heads and their families, warriors and entourages were conducted in hierarchical order during the traditional military parade.
The first to arrive at the palace were traditional warriors of the Bauchi Emirate. They were received with a series of gunshots to demonstrate their firepower and military strength. Many people, especially youths and children who were not conversant with loud sounds, were scared of the gunshots at the beginning.
The most astonishing part of the durbar was when the emir arrived at his palace and was also preceded by a series of gunshots, followed by his advance defence team of agile youths, dressed in traditional military wears and riding their horses on high speed to clear way for the royal father.
Other special forces of the palace followed suit and ensured safety on the way. They returned to the emir’s entourage before his final arrival. When the monarch arrived, both dignitaries and the crowd gave a resounding welcome on standing ovation, cheering the emir, amidst various traditional musicians, drummers and trumpeters blowing from different angles.
Flanked by Governor Mohammed, the emir settled down to receive the traditional military parade and greetings from the 39 district heads, who dressed in different colourful attires, with their different security guards and horses also dressed in various colourful wears, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the emirate, as well as to demonstrate their allegiance and loyalty to the king.
Speaking at the event, Emir Adamu admonished the people of Bauchi to embrace peace by imbibing the spirit of forgiveness and respect for one another, irrespective of religious or political differences.
“We should be grateful to the almighty Allah for completing Ramadan fasting alive and in good health. We reflect on the lessons learnt in our day-to-day activities by improving our relationship with Allah (SWT), fellow Muslim Umma and adherents of other faiths.
“I am appealing to you all to imbibe the spirit of the fear of God and strengthen family ties and fellowship, as well as uphold goodwill to one another for the betterment of the society.
“We should desist from rumour mongering and all forms of social vices. Instead, let us restore the culture of praying for God’s guidance for all our leaders. We should also fervently pray for the return of permanent peace and economic development in our state and the country.
“I also thank the governor of the state for his efforts at ensuring peace and the development of Bauchi State,’’ he said.
Also speaking on the discovery of petroleum in Bauchi State, the monarch appealed to the people to pray for the success of the project so that the product would be discovered in a commercial quantity for the development of the state and the country.
The royal father prayed for the eternal rest of the souls of the founder of the Sultanate, Sheikh Usmanu Danfodio; the founder of Bauchi Emirate, Malam Yakubun Bauchi and his predecessors.
He thanked the people of Bauchi for accommodating thousands of displaced people and living peacefully with them.
“I want to specially thank the people of Bauchi for their consistent prayers for peace in the state and Nigeria in general. I must commend you for your cooperation with the current administration in the state. I advise you to continue to guard all government infrastructures in your respective domains,’’ he added.
Presentation of traditional music from different districts also added glamour to the event.
How harsh weather marred durbar in Sokoto
The highly anticipated Sallah durbar in Sokoto did not hold due to harsh weather.
Residents of the ancient city thronged to Sultan’s Palace shortly after observing a two-raka’at Eid prayer at Fakon Idi to witness the historic annual event, which they have been missing since 2019 due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daily Trust Saturday learnt that some of the residents, particularly children and females, forfeited their prayer in order to get suitable positions that would enable them catch fun unhindered.
Our correspondent observed that the roundabout at the gate of the palace was taken over by fun-seekers, while some of them were either sitting or standing on the fence of the Sultan Bello Mosque, which is directly opposite the palace, in anticipation of the usually colourful show.
The fun-seekers cut across ages and sexes. Married women were also seen among them.
Traditional singers, trumpeters and other entertainers were handy to make the event lively, thanks to security operatives, men of the Nigeria Red Cross Society and members of vigilante groups, who did their best to maintain law and order and limit the number of people going into the palace and the podium reserved for the Sultan and his quests.
As an age-long tradition, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, his deputy, Maniru Dan’iya and other members of his council joined other traditional rulers, heads of security operatives, community leaders and other distinguished personalities who waited on the podium for the arrival of the Sultan from the mosque.
Tambuwal, who holds the Matawallen Sokoto traditional title, was clad in a white flowing gown and turban, as well as his deputy, who also holds the title of Walin Sokoto.
The governor had earlier prayed at the Fakon Idi Eid praying ground, alongside the Sultan and other faithful.
Shortly after the arrival of Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and members of his Council, horse riders assembled for the durbar procession. Notable among them were princes led by the eldest son of the sultan, Amir, Yan Tauri, other traditional rulers and camel riders.
However, the durbar was cut short by the speech of the Sultan, which was meant to disperse the people on time due to the scorching sun.
The Sultan thanked the almighty God for sparing their lives to complete the 30-day Ramadan fasting and witnessed another Eid prayer, noting that many people were not that lucky.
He also thanked the Muslim Ummah (community) for using the period to pray for their leaders and the country, and urged them to sustain the tempo.
The monarch commended preachers for their annual tafsir, which he said were orderly and devoid of incitement, and had promoted peaceful coexistence among the people.
He appealed to the federal and state governments to live up to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of their people.
Sultan Abubakar regretted that the level of insecurity in the country was getting out of control, which he said had become a source of concern to many Nigerians.
He noted that people were living in perpetual fear because of the high rate of crimes, such as kidnapping for ransom, banditry, among others.
He also reiterated his call on Muslims to continue seeking God’s intervention on the situation.
“We believe that with fervent prayers, repentance and positive change in our attitudes, Allah will restore peace in our country,’’ he said.
The Sultan, however, called on perpetrators of crimes to fear God and allow peace to reign, saying, “Our country is endowed and wealthy, but without peace we cannot make any meaningful progress.’’
He commended Governor Tambuwal for various developmental projects in the state and further called on Nigerians to continue to observe COVID-19 protocols.
Many people appeared unhappy because they could not watch their usual durbar.