Daura, the hometown of the outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari, is in a festive mood akin to that of the eve of Sallah celebrations as residents prepare to receive their son whose eight-year tenure comes to an end on Monday, May 29.
The preparations for the welcome celebration are being spearheaded by the Emir of Daura, Dr Umar Farouq Umar.
When our reporter visited Daura on Saturday, the emir was seen in a very casual outing, inspecting and monitoring the level and progress of preparations ahead of May 29 to ensure conformity with plans.
“If you don’t know the emir or his vehicle, you wouldn’t know that he is the one going round to see how things are going on. This is to show you how much importance His Royal Highness attaches to this homecoming,” a source privy to the emirate council has said.
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Durbar, other traditional events in store
To receive the president, Daily Trust gathered the Daura Emirate Council, on one hand, is organising a grand durbar (horse riding) in honour of Muhammadu Buhari, Bayajidda II, among other traditional events such as dambe (boxing), Kokawa (wrestling) and Sharo/Shadi (Fulani traditional festival).
It was the emir who first broke the news of the planned durbar when Governor Aminu Masari paid him a farewell visit at his palace last week.
“I want to inform His Excellency that we are planning a grand durbar to welcome our son and our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, Bayajidda II. You are therefore invited either to participate as a horse rider, being a title holder of Matawallen Hausa or as a special guest,” the emir said.
In addition to the plans by the emirate council, Daily Trust learnt that an amalgam of associations was also making its own plan, majorly to receive and accompany the president to his residence.
Alhaji Aliyu Daura, Chairman of Daura Emirate Development Association (DEDA), said most of the members of the associations would wait for the president’s convoy at Dannakola village; while some important personalities would be at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Airport, Katsina, to receive the president.
“As you know, when the president arrives Katsina, he may likely use a helicopter to Daura, while his convoy will be received at Dannakola by members of different groups and associations.
“Others will be at the helipad where the president and his family will land at Daura, they will be received and accompanied to his home on May 29, while the durbar organised by the emirate will take place the following day,” he said.
According to a copy of invitation obtained by Daily Trust, the durbar procession will begin at 8:00am on Tuesday, May 30 and it will take place at Kangiwa Square, Daura.
According to the invitation, durbar participants – district heads, village heads and other horse riders- will arrive at the venue by 8:00, while the emir and his courtiers will be at the Sarki Abdurrahman gate roundabout by 8:30am.
While all important dignitaries are expected to be at the venue by 9am, the celebrant, Muhammadu Buhari, will be seated by 10am and the durbar proper will commence at 10:15am and end at 12:15pm according to the plan.
Old house wears a new look
According to tradition, presidents have a choice of where to live after leaving office, in which a new house could be built for them. However, with President Muhammadu Buhari, it is his Daura old residence that is only painted without a new structure built within.
Even prior to his election in 2015, President Buhari had been shuttling between his Daura residence and that of Kaduna, believed to be given to him by the late Shehu Musa Yar’adua. Daily Trust however gathered that the Sultan road residence in Kaduna is also undergoing repairs.
When our reporter visited the Daura residence, the house looked good in a new white paint. Although the security men at the gate denied access into the residence and taking of pictures, some of them confirmed that no other significant renovation was performed on the residence apart from the paint.
“We read in your reports (media) that truck loads of goods were taken into the house. Well, we have not seen them, maybe they are still on the road,” one of them said jokingly.
Daily Trust, however, observed that other security measures have been taken to safeguard the neighborhoods of the president as barriers were mounted on all roads leading to the residence.
Why we are happy to welcome Buhari back home – Residents
Some residents of Daura have expressed their happiness and readiness to receive the president back home at the end of his tenure.
A businessman, Alhaji Labaran Maiyadi Daura, said, “We are grateful to God Almighty for showing us the successful and peaceful end of the administration of General Buhari.
“We are really happy and we have witnessed tremendous developments, not only here in Daura but throughout the nation, and above all, peace has returned to the nation.’’
When asked why he was so excited, Maiyadi said: “Here is man who fell sick during his first tenure and went abroad for medication, with some wishing that he died there, but Allah in his mercy returned him alive and even granted him another term, which he is completing successfully.
“All we did at that time was to pray for him, not only here in Nigeria but even our neighbours in the Republic of Niger, had prayed for his recovery. We are thankful to them, because I have witnessed several Friday prayers in Niger where they offered prayers for his recovery,” he added.
Aminu Muhammad Daura, said the whole town was happy to have Buhari back, saying the president has done a lot for the development of the town.
He said Daura now has everything that the president’s family needed to live comfortably, both in terms of security and other social amenities, adding that he couldn’t wait to celebrate the return of the president.
Lawal said: “Since Daura came into existence many years ago and till date, the ancient city has never witnessed the kind of change and transformation it is currently experiencing under Buhari’s reign as president. If you take each of the sectors in Daura LGA, you will see that something new has been achieved under his watch.
Others expressed mixed feelings as they would miss a lot of privileges enjoyed by a president’s hometown.
In his eight-year term, Daura has gotten the University of Transport; Federal Polytechnic, Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital, Women and Children Hospital, School for People with Special Needs, Nigerian Air Force Response Air Wing, township roads, drainages and water works.
Others are the Nigerian Army 171 Battalion Base, the Forwarding Operating Base of the Nigerian Army, the upgrade and expansion of Daura Mini Stadium, the Sustainable Development Goals Skills Acquisition Centre, completion of the Sabke Dam, Daura which supplies water to Daura and neighbouring communities; and the 73km 132KVA line from Katsina and two 30 and 40 MVA transformers to boost power supply as well as the ongoing Kano-Maradi rail line passing through the town.
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