By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has described the speculations that it plans to transform chiefdoms in the southern part of the state to emirates as mischievous.
A memo approving the upgrading of one of the chiefdoms in Kauru Local Government Area of the state to an emirate has gone viral with speculations that the state government wants to rebrand the chiefdoms in Southern Kaduna to emirates.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Local Government, Prof. Kabir Mato, said those spreading such rumours are mischief makers who are enemies of peace.
â€œSuch conflict entrepreneurs should be ignored and condemned by all lovers of harmony,” he said.
Mato explained that: “Kauru Chiefdom is one of the three chiefdoms in Kauru Local Government.
“The local government is named after Kauru town, like Jemaâ€™a LGA is named after Jemaâ€™a Emirate and Kachia LGA after Kachia town.
“Similarly, Zangon Kataf LGA owes its name to Zangon Kataf town and Kagarko LGA to Kagarko town.”
According to him, â€œThe three graded traditional rulers/traditional councils in the said Kauru Local Government as at today are: Kauru Emirate, Tsam (Chawai) Chiefdom and Kumana Chiefdom.”
He also said: “Each of these chiefdoms is independent and the heads of these traditional institutions are addressed in line with their cultural affinities, long standing historical antecedents and other peculiarities within their chiefdoms.â€
Mato disclosed that the head of Kauru traditional council requested a change in its nomenclature, opting for the title of emir.
“The request was granted and the new Kauru Emirate is one and the same with the former Kauru chiefdom, with its domain restricted to Kauru town,” the commissioner added.
Mato said the other two other traditional councils of Tsam (Chawai) Chiefdom and Kumana Chiefdom are also independent monarchs running the affairs of their traditional councils in line with their own cultural and historical antecedents.
He maintained that the situation is similar to Jemaâ€™a Local Government which has five graded traditional institutions namely Jemaâ€™a Emirate, Gwong (Kagoma) Chiefdom, Nikyop (Kaninkon) Chiefdom, Godogodo Chiefdom and Fantswam Chiefdom.
He stressed that: â€œThe point to note here is, only the head of Jemaâ€™a emirate is addressed as emir, while the other royal fathers answer titles derived from their cultural affinities.”
He said: “The ministry of local government is implementing government policy to reposition the traditional institutions in the state. The government believes that this action would enhance the glory and prestige of these institutions, and contribute to engendering harmonious co-existence as well as promote sense of belonging in all our communities.”
However, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), the umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in Southern Kaduna, has condemned the policy, alleging that Governor Nasir el-Rufai is pursuing an agenda.
Reacting to the issue in an interview, President of SOKAPU Solomon Musa said the only way the union would be convinced that the governor is not executing an agenda is when chiefdoms are created for ethnic nationalities resident in the Northern part of Kaduna State.
Speaking further, Musa said: â€œAbout two years ago, the governor went to the media to give some statistics about the population of non Muslims in Kaduna State.
â€œNow he is doing everything to prosecute his agenda. Why is he not creating chiefdoms in Kaduna North senatorial zone?
â€œHe wants to ensure that there are emirate councils in southern Kaduna, but he does not think it is also proper to create chiefdoms for ethnic nationalities in the northern senatorial zone.
â€œWe oppose it, we will not stand for it unless ethnic nationalities in the Kaduna north senatorial zone are also given chiefdoms.
The governor is prosecuting his agenda.â€