On April 16, 2019, the Kakandas of Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Adamawa and Taraba states were thrown into mourning as Alhaji Yusuf Muhammad – the paramount ruler from the famous Amiza Ruling House of Muye in Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State, joined his ancestors at the age of 96.
He ascended the throne in 1994 as the ‘Amana of Kakanda’ of Muye Community. The monarch, until his transition to glory, was the 29th ruler of the ancient community and spent 25 years on the throne. It is on record that his kingdom was the most peaceful and most cosmopolitan in the entire Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State, a trait that the deceased ruler was known for and a clear testimony of his democratic, transparent and purposeful leadership skills.
His leadership traits were seen beyond the traditional- political institution throughout his reign which was marked by peace and development within the community and its environs. It is instructive to note that the late Amana of Kakanda was urbane, accommodating, a promoter of peace, unity and an avid believer, who encouraged western and religious education in his domain. His contribution to the Lapai Emirate, through his constant dialogue with residents and faiths, which marked his reign with peace, unity and development, is also noteworthy. He was highly respected, not only in the traditional hierarchy, but also amongst the common folk who came in contact with him.
He lived for others and went out of his way to help people. He was a tireless champion of the Muslim Ummah, a promoter of peace among faiths and dogged fighter for community development. He demonstrated unflagging devotion for improving the unity of the community with a creative spirit and a drive for innovation. He pioneered reforms during his reign by giving the youth and women a voice in the developmental quest of the community.
My memory of the late Amana of Kakanda is that he was a disciplinarian, straightforward, jovial and highly principled man with a large heart that accommodated all shades of opinions, particularly from his subjects and youths. Muye Community under his leadership witnessed lots of physical, human and economic development. When the history of Muye in the last 200 years is written, the name of this unassuming but great leader of his people will be remembered and shown to have promoted development, tolerance, unity, peace and patriotism.
Late Amana of Kakanda was a man of many facets – Altruist, integrity, decent, dignified leader and a philanthropist. A contemplative man by nature, he took his family, humanity, community and religion to the heart of his existence. This was because he understood the relevance of humanity and its looming potential which he continued to contribute to throughout his life time.
The late Amana of Kakanda was an epitome of humility, tolerance, simplicity, as he was accommodating. He was a true advocate of hard work, sacrifice, self confidence, honesty, charity, prudence and focus. All of his contributions were from the heart, without a need for fanfare. His was a remarkable life.
The large turnout of mourners and sympathizers at his funeral and Fidau prayer was a testimony of his being an open minded and accommodating leader. Among those that were in Muye for his funeral were the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello and some of his cabinet members; former Minister of Finance, Alhaji Dr. Ahmadu Abubakar (Walin Muye), Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunus ; Emir of Lapai, Alhaji Umar Bago Tafida II, amongst many traditional rulers and dignitaries.
The late Amana of Kakanda was born on March 23, 1923 in Old Muye and he started his Quranic education in 1929 and completed it in 1937. He left for Onitsha to start his basic education at Onitsha Grammar School in 1941 and came back to Muye in 1946 upon the establishment of a primary school.
Upon completion of primary education, he enrolled into the Nigeria Police Force in 1947 and served until 1958. Upon his resignation from the NPF in 1958, he joined the services of Nigeria Tobacco Company (NTC) Zaria from 1958-1972 and served as the branch chairman of the Trade Union. In 1978, when the country was getting ready for the democratic transition, he participated fully as an active member of the Group Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP) and contested for the State Assembly Membership for Lapai/Kintako which he lost to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) aspirant in the 1979 general elections. From 1979 to 1994, he was into business and a contractor until his appointment as the Amana of Kakanda on March 29, 1994.
A widely travelled person, the late Amana had friends from all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. He was a multi linguist, fluent in languages like Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Bachama, Igala, Tiv, Efik, Idoma, Ebira, Jukun, Kanuri, Uhrobo, Ibibio, Nupe and Fulani.
The late Amana of Kakanda is survived by 4 wives, 22 children and 75 grandchildren.
As we remember ‘Baba’ as he was fondly called by the immediate family and ‘Amana’ by his subjects, we thank Allah for his life and what he has been to many of us and the community, and pray that Allah forgive him all his shortcomings and grant him unconditional Aljannah Firdausi.
Mr. Yahaya wrote from Mamman Maifoni Street, Jagbele Quarters, Muye, Niger State