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Beyond the hype over new emirates in Borno

It is no longer news that Borno state Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, has created one additional Emirate in Borno state with a promise to create…

It is no longer news that Borno state Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, has created one additional Emirate in Borno state with a promise to create more should the need arise. He has appointed Abba Tor Shehu Masta and not his father, Galadima Modu Sheriff, as Emir of the new Dikwa emirate. Before then, some people had threatened to make the heavens fall should new emirates be created in the state. They alleged that the exercise was intended to install the governor’s father as an emir in the new emirate. Some people have even gone to court to halt the exercise. All these seem to have been overtaken by events now that Governor Sheriff has gone ahead to take the first step in that direction.

The heavens have not fallen as threatened, neither was there a single dissent from the old and new enclaves. It is an indication that the people like it. Infact, people from far and wide are congratulating the new emir. The fact that he did not also appoint his father as the emir, is an indication that the insinuations about his father was a mere propaganda. Far beyond that, I feel it was an attempt to thwart some people’s legitimate and genuine quest to self determination by having emirates of their own. Given the progress recorded in other states that have created emirates or chiefdoms, I still hold the opinion that such an exercise will bring development rather than crisis in Borno state.

The plethora of requests for emirates and chiefdoms across Borno state since the announcement of the creation of the new Dikwa emirate is a pointer to the fact that the idea is after all, noble. People did not initially come out to support the initiative or request for it mainly because of either fear, timidity or docility. Already, the people of Chibok in Borno Emirate, the people of Hawul in Biu emirate, the people of Kwaya/Kusar and Bayo also in Biu, as well as the people of Shani in Shani chiefdom have all submitted memoranda for the creation of chiefdoms. Each of these submissions argued the need for self determination as their driving force.

 Since my last piece in which I encouraged the government to undertake the creation even in the face of the hues and cries by some people, I have continued to receive messages conveying mixed feelings over the creation of chiefdoms. While I do not claim to represent a particular interest in the matter, I make bold to say; the creation of chiefdoms will tend to break the prolonged yoke of servitude and dependency by minority groups in Borno state. This position may be in direct conflict with that of people who have affiliations with the emirate system, but it gives succour to many who see the old order as a form of enslavement.

It is a truism that the creation of chiefdoms for the minority tribes in Southern Kaduna by the Colonel Ja’afaru Isa administration in Kaduna state has helped to heal the wounds of animousity between the minorities and the dominant Zazzau Emirate over the years. It has helped restore the people’s confidence in government. Before the creation of separate chiefdoms for the minorities in Nasarawa State by the Abdullahi Adamu administration, ethno religious conflicts was a daily occurrence. Today, most of the communities clashing with each other have their separate chiefdoms and relative peace reigns in Nasarawa state. These observations are also true of neighbouring Gombe and Yobe states.

The creation of the new Dikwa emirate and the attendant goodwill it generated is enough prove that those who are beating the drums of war in Borno state prior to the creation were merely playing out unpopular scripts. In Biu emirate for example, while we hold the emir of Biu in reverence, we cannot run away from the fact that having additional chiefdom is an imperative for progress and development. Of course, those who stand to benefit from the operations of a larger emirate are bound to see my argument as an anathema, but the desire of a people should never be sacrificed on the alter of preservation of a particular order. Change is the only permanent thing in life, yet it is the only thing that never goes without resistance.

Now that Governor Sheriff has proven the theories of his critics wrong over the creation of chiefdoms, he should be encouraged to go the whole hog by completing the circle. In doing so, he may incure the wrath of some people who prefer the old order, but he will go down in history as one who liberated people from some sort of entrapment. For this alone, and for constructing the road through my town which previous governments, except that of his predecessor, Mala Kachallah, paid lip service to, he deserves my pat on the back. Several others may share my sentiments, but even if no one does, am entitled to my opinion. Abi.

Inuwa Bwala, a journalist contributed this piece from Abuja and could be reached on [email protected]

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