Auchi hunters presenting an antelope to the Otaru of Auchi at the ceremony

The people of Auchi kingdom celebrated their annual day recently. Adibe Emenyonu who was there, reports

As early as 6a.m., there was a long process of people round the various quarters that make up the Auchi Sacred Kingdom. The people were reciting the entire verses of holy Qur’an and chanted: “Allahu Akbar”, meaning God is the Greatest. The congregation later converged at the architecturally-unique ‘Arafat’ mosque.

The chant no doubt signifies the people’s appreciation of what God has done for the kingdom right from the migration of its forebears from Idah in present day Kogi State to their present abode.

Led by the present head of the Ikelebe Dynasty, the revered Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III, the people happily and not minding the early cold harmattan weather, trooped out to give thanks to the Almight Allah (God) for all his benevolence upon them before they finally reconverged at the palace of the Otaru for the main business of the day, which is entertainment of guests and the annual celebration of Allah most high.

The ceremony, which is the 21st in the series according to Dr. Momodu Sanusi Jimah, the Acting Rector, Auchi Polytechnic, “The Auchi Day is a product of great foresight by the Otaru which today has gone into the psyche of the people as a day for stock taking and celebration of the grace, mercy and favour of Almighty Allah.”

To Jimah, such favours already manifest in the rapid growth of the kingdom in development, finance and economic opportunities.

Reeling out the significance of the ceremony, the Otaru said before his enthronement, he had requested his immediate predecessor to declare a day of cultural extravaganza for the people of Auchi which was agreed but could not commence.

That was why he said upon his ascension on the throne, he had to introduce Auchi Day to enable the people showcase their culture in order to preserve it.

He however stated that in 2009, the festival apart from showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the people, took a religious dimension with the introduced of Qur’anic competition, the first to be held outside the Edo State capital in its 23 years of existence.

“That was how we started the culture of celebrating God. We know that some of our cultures do not actually portray the Almighty Allah. It was the Quranic recitation competition that gave us divine inspiration to now celebrate God. So from 2010 we started celebrating God instead of culture,” the Otaru said.

According to him, “some of the problems confronting us today is because we don’t operate within the teachings of God,” adding that “the absence of God in our day to day dealings is the cause of injustice both to the rich and poor alike.”

The Otaru who therefore, charged traditional rulers to see themselves as representatives of the Almighty God in their domain, warned that such position condemned royal fathers to always speak the truth and ensure justice to all.

Stressing the need for leaders to lead according to the word of God, he noted that peace will always elude any society where injustice is allowed to reign.
His words: “In Nigeria today, I believe justice is not applied in anything we do and that is why we are having problems. When there is injustice you will observe restlessness and that is a big problem. The nation must give justice to both the rich and the poor.

“And for us traditional rulers, God gave us this power to lead our people. And what any King must do is to ensure that justice prevails in his kingdom. It must have no boundaries.”
While expressing his gratitude to the guests who attended the colourful ceremony, the Otaru thanked the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for helping in the growth of the annual event while he was governor.

High point of the celebration was the poem recitation by Salami Aliyah, a pupil of Afemai Coeducational College, Auchi titled: ‘Allhahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!!”
In this poem, Aliya said that praise which means love and trust in God during worshiping, when people gather in faith and if translated means God is the greatest, has been misused and abused by terrorists before explosions and beheadings.

She said: “Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar. A phrase that is misused and abused. You may have heard it from reports covering terrorists in the news. You may have seen videos of sick twisted minds screaming it before explosions and beheadings.

“But we Muslims we know it when we celebrate. When the righteous gather and consecrate becoming one in Salat and Hajj with no colour or race but faith saying Allahu Akbar for the Almighty with one voice, one love and no hate.

“We know it in every prayers five times. We say it in every occasion and in every way. Allahu Akbar when we are scared and weak. Allahu Akbar the meaning of love and trust in a God that we worship. When all gather in faith, translated as God is the greatest.

“So don’t confuse it. Don’t allow terrorists to contaminate it. A peaceful religion and a phrase that is so great. When you hear it let it show its true colour. Let it resonate that Allahu Akbar is about love and trust for six billion Muslims to the creator of our faith.

“Join me once again to say Allahu Akbar who commanded Mary the mother of Jesus Christ in Q. 3:34 and I quote ‘O Mary worship they lord devoutly, prostrate thyself and bow down in prayer with those who bow down’ also to all Christian brothers and sisters.

“Let us follow Psalm 95:6 which says come and let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the lord our maker, join me once again to say Allahu Akbar.”

The occasion was attended by Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by his Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hajia Miriam Abubakar; the Obi of Owa kingdom and Chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM, Dr. Emmanuel Efezomor II; former Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Constance Momoh; Gani Audi and Kingsley Agabi representing Etsako West constituency 1 and Etsako East constituency respectively in the House of Assembly.

Others are the Aidinojie of South-Ibie, Alhaji Danesi, Dr. Muhammed Mustafa Lecky, the Galadima of Auchi kingdom; Sheik Yakubu Elamah, Chief Imam of Auchi Central Mosque and a host of others.

Governor Obaseki in his address read by his representative, Hajia Abubakar, reiterated the desire of his administration to bring development to Auchi and other communities in the state and solicited the assistance of traditional rulers in ensuring conducive environment for investors.

“We want to drive our economy through agriculture and that is why we are making lands available to farmers and giving out empowerments for people to set up their farms.

“I thank the Otaru of Auchi for ensuring that peace reigns in Auchi Kingdom and we will continue to support Auchi Kingdom and other communities in the state in terms of development and empowerment of our women and youths.”

There was also a cultural display by a group of hunters as wells as Qur’anic recitations competition and award of prizes to winners of the various competitions.