In Ilorin Emirate, one crucial and exciting sociocultural event usually held a day after Sallah is Durbar celebration. The festivity is one of the occasions used by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, to promote the cultural heritage of the people of the state, Daily Trust reports.
Since inception over the years, the event has attracted much attachment. It compels huge interest and participation by not only the indigenes but also the residents.
Not only does it usually come with fanfare but also boosts the economy of the state and businesses of private individuals. But while the enthusiasts waited in anticipation to witness the celebration and relish the joys that accompany it, the festivity was cancelled by the state government. Reason? Insecurity.
While explaining the insecurity threat that compelled the cancellation of the festivity, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Hajia Rabiat Abdulrahman, said that the cancellation followed a police intelligence report that some forces had planned to take advantage of the event to cause breakdown of law and order in the state which would jeopardize the security challenges in the country.
“The suspension, painful as it is, given our people’s attachment to it and government’s investments to promote this colourful cultural heritage, follows a police intelligence report which indicated that some forces plan to use the boisterous nature of the cultural event to instigate a breakdown of law and order in the state, thereby complicating national security challenges,” Hajia Abdulrahman had said in a statement.
Shocked, residents and indigenes have expressed mixed feelings over the decision.
While some of them counted their losses, others including the influential umbrella body of Ilorin indigenes – the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressives Union (IEDPU)- backed the decision and sued for calm.
It’s National President, Alhaji Otta Aliyu-Uthman, who is also a retired Director of the Department of State Security (DSS), said that security of lives and property had precedence over any other thing.
“We are aware of how important and significant the Durbar is to every son and daughter of the Ilorin Emirate as it is our cultural heritage. So, it is not unusual for expectant celebrators to feel unhappy when such an event is put on hold. But it is, however, important to remember that security of lives and property is the primary obligation of any government,” he stressed.
He called on the people of the state to show understanding over what he described as “the tough decision of the government.”
The Chairman of the Durbar Committee, Engineer Alapansapa, however, said that the cancellation required apologies.
“We’re all human beings, not even taking cognizance of the economic implications of it. It is our cultural celebration and heritage which the emir wants to promote. And if suddenly something like that was disrupted, it is only natural for all stakeholders, the sons and daughters of the emirate not to be happy about such disruption. On that note, we want to apologize. The people that spent a lot of money to organize the cancelled event were unable to do anything. But the most important thing is that whenever this kind of situation arises, we have to take it with all seriousness. Life is the most important thing and must be protected. We pray God spares our lives till next year,” he added.
Business people, including traders and marketers, expressed mixed feelings over the decision.
Rukayat Kakakin, a zobo seller said: “The cancellation really affected us because most of us had really prepared by getting extra materials to prepare more drinks in anticipation of sales boom.
Ramatallahi Akanni of Ile Dongarimsaid: “I bought a lot of provisions to sell during the Durbar but here we are now.
Fatimah Abdulfatai Abolore who sells baby clothes at Gegele noted that some clothes and material traders had restocked their shops for the event, but would have to wait for another time.”
Sherifat, a baby care merchant: “We are not affected in anyway because holding Durbar doesn’t determine our sales. In fact, not holding it has allowed free movement for pedestrians.
Kehinde, a rice seller: “We don’t sell during Durbar because we don’t open our shops during the time. So, it doesn’t affect us.”
Alice Adebisi of Olorunshogo Baby Stores: “I am a Christian. The scripture says that whoever is alive during festivities should show gratitude to God. We’re all celebrating together with our emir which explains why we don’t open shop during the event.”
Despite the cancelation, the emir performed the usual bareke, a royal practice that entails reciprocation of an earlier Sallah homage of the governor to the palace in a courtesy visit to the Government House.
As against the usual practice, a grand reception was organized at the emir’s palace. It witnessed a huge crowd who had anticipated some spectacular cultural displays
It also featured a glamorous display of decorated horses and music performances from indigenous artistes, the major highlights of the Durbar.The event that led to Though the cancellation of Durbar celebration has become a history, appointment of nine prominent sons of the Ilorin Emirate by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaja Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has remained a trending issue since the last Eid-al-Kabir celebration.
Not only that a mini durbar was held, the new honorary title holders that were supposed to be announced at the durbar to fill some vacant traditional titles in the Ilorin Emirate were also made. This spurred some excitements across the emirate.
The appointments which cut across political affiliations, religion, law and business has been described as one that has doused the political tension in the state, especially after the cancellation of the iconic event.
Those that were appointed by the royal father include political friends/advisories who are leading players in the 2023 politics in Kwara State.
APC national chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, emerged as the new Turaki of Ilorin, while former acting PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, was named as the new Tafida of Ilorin to replace the late Dr Amuda Aluko, a top politician and medical doctor, who died on 15th May 2020, eldest son of the late Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq and sibling of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Dr Alimi Abdulrazaq, the first Ilorin indigene to receive PhD degree in Law stepped into his late father’s shoes as Mutawale of Ilorin. Popular Lagos-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Suleiman Faruq Onikijipa, was also appointed as the Grand Mufti of Ilorin, Alhaji Waziri Yakubu Gobir bagged the honour of Dawaki of Ilorin, Alhaji Saka Onimago (Shetimma of Ilorin) and Alhaji Kawu Agaka who was appointed Dan Iya of Ilorin. Dr AbdulKadir Oba-Solagberu got the Ubandoma of Ilorin, while Yaqub Aliagan became the Sarkin Mallami of Ilorin. The appointments became a high point of issues in the traditional and political history of Ilorin.
It was Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who opened the floodgate by congratulating the new traditional title holders, while asking Allah to grant them success and long life in their services to the people of Ilorin.
“I congratulate all the new title holders as announced by Mai Martaba, the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari. I am convinced that the decision of the emir was based on the track records of these illustrious sons of Ilorin over the years. I have no doubt that they will discharge the duties of their offices to the admiration of all.
“I charge the new title holders to endeavour to join hands with the Ilorin Emirate Council to promote the larger interest of the community at all times,” the governor said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye.
Also, immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki while congratulating the new appointees, commended the traditional ruler for always striving to bring development to Kwara State and ensuring the progress of indigenes of the emirate.
“The new traditional title holders should see the conferment of titles on them as a challenge to work harder for unity, development and peace in the emirate, in particular and Kwara State in general,” he said.