‘Cultural Integration, Catalyst for National Unity’

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One of the yardsticks of national harmony is the cross integration of culture and social affiliation amongst different kingdoms irrespective of cultural and religious discrepancy. This was the view expressed by the HRH (Dr.) Appolus Chu, Egbere Emere Okori of Eleme Kingdom, Rivers State when he took a trip all the way from South-south to the North to attend the just concluded 2018 Nzem Berom, a cultural festival of the Berom nation in Plateau State, writes Mary Ekah

Apart from constantly preaching peace, unity, tolerance and understanding, HRH (Dr.) Appolus Chu, recently embarked on visits to various regions in Nigeria, a gesture he wants other traditional rulers to emulate. Believing that one of the yardsticks for national unity is the cross integration of culture and social affiliation amongst different kingdoms HRH Appolus Chu is of the view that cultural integration is a catalyst for national unity. His presence at the cultural event therefore was not a coincidence but well planned trip which aligns with his belief in the saying, ‘there is unity in diversity’.

Suffice it to say that the majestic appearance of HRH Dr Appolus Chu alongside other dignitaries, including the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalong at the Nzem Berom 2018 cultural festival in Jos, the Plateau State capital is evidence to this fact.

Hundreds of people thronged the Jos Stadium, venue of the most consistent and promising festival in Nigeria. There, HRH Appolus Chu received a rowdy welcome as the His Royal Majesty, the Gbong Gwon, Jos, Da Jacob Buba welcomed him to Jos.

Nzem Berom was instituted in 1981 as a unifying cultural festival of the Berom people in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria and indeed, the Berom people are irresistible with unique cultural endowment and love for their tongue, which has sustained the survival of the festival. Under the watch of His Royal Majesty, the Gbong Gwon, Jos, Da Jacob Buba, the over 1.6 million people of Berom nation have kept faith with the ambitious project of sustaining their unity, growing their young population and showcasing the gift of nature through strategically showcasing the rich Berom geographical landmass as an agricultural tourism destination.

Describing Jos as a home for tourists, HRH Chu said, “I appreciate the Gbong Gwom Jos, His Majesty, Dr Jacob Gyang Buba for guarding the culture and tradition of his people jealously. By promoting his culture in this manner, he is also affording his people the opportunity to come together in love and unity and this is a crystal for national unity.”

Applauding the Gbong Gwom Jos for guarding his culture jealously, Chu noted, “Jos is a place for tourism and this festival is a message to the people out there that here is a place fertile for investments.”

The major features of the festival included a royal procession and deployment of well kitted Berom traditional warriors, a colourful parade of traditional dance groups as well as the exhibition of the Berom cuisine artefacts, mineral resources and raw materials.

The festival was concluded with a dinner for guests at the Palace of His Majesty, Dr. Jacob Gyang Buba. As custom with Nzem Berom, all invited guests and their entourage were hosted to welcome dinner at the Gbong Gwon majestic palace with the dining area nearly occupying a very huge table.

In continuation of his peace campaign that traditional rulers should be their brother’s keeper, synergise and network so as promote cultural tolerance, integration and cohesion, HRH Chu in the same vein, paid a visit to the Emir of Misua, Bauchi State, HRH Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman to commiserate with the people of the town and the Emir of Misua over the 22 students of Government Day Secondary School, Misau in Bauchi State who died in an auto crash along Bauchi-Kano in February this year while travelling to Kano for an excursion.

Although it is very rare and uncommon in the Nigerian traditional institution, for kings to regularly visit one another, mostly, considering the distance, for example, the distance between the Northern Nigeria and South-South, it is always very difficult for kings from one end to regularly visit kings on the other end. But for a noble man of rare personality, distances know no barrier in HRH Appolus Chu’s philosophy of building synergy and oneness aimed at the developing the nation, Nigeria.

Chu believes that if such ideology is bought into by other traditional rulers, in the nation, it will no doubt bring greatness to Nigeria because development will become the order of the day as traditional rulers are those who hold the system down for government to avoid distraction.

Traditional rulers contribute immensely to social development of the society and as such can trickle development as long as there is peace, love and stability and this is what HRH Appolus Chu stands for – synergy, unity, relationship and connectivity amongst traditional rulers across the nation.

“Unity and prosperity in this great country could be more realised if the traditional rulers in the different parts of the country could interact with themselves. By so doing their subjects will emulate them,” Chu said.

The massive show of ovation, claps and cheers, all indicated that an august visitor has entered Misua and the people were fully prepared to receive him. Accosted by royal horsemen, all positioned with the reputable sense of royalty and decked in colourful traditional attires, HRH (Dr.) Applous Chu was warmly welcomed by the people of Misau to their emirate and to the palace of the Emir of Misua, Bauchi State.

Highly elated and filled with excitement, HRH, Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman embraced his friend and colleague, Dr. Appolus Chu, who came all the way from the Niger Delta in South-south to commensurate with him and his entire emirate for the untimely demise of their children.

Addressing the people of Misua, HRH Chu said, “This visit is long overdue. When the incident where the Misua people lost their children happened, I was so devastated. You know what children stand for, they are our future and when one now loses them, there are apparently some setbacks in the family and community they came from. I pray that as many that had lost their children during that very sad incident, God will fill the vacuums they have left in their lives and that of the communities.”

“We the people of Okoli community in Eleme Kingdom, Rivers State have found it necessary to be here because your Emir is my friend and because he is my friend, the entire people of Misua are my friends too. This visit is also to show love, unity, passion and also to improve in our relationship and we shall continue to support each other as one Nigeria. When it continues like this and we pass the legacy to our children and next generation, there won’t be need for us to carry gun or to strive with one another,” Chu noted.

In his response, HRH Ahmed Suleiman thanked Chu for his visit, noting that the people of Misau Emirate will never forget the gesture demonstrated by HRH, Appolus Chu who did not only travel miles to visit and commensurate with them but went further to donated five million naira to the deceased families.

“Unity and prosperity in this great country could be more realised if the traditional rulers in the different parts of the country could interact with themselves. By so doing their subjects will emulate them. Through such interaction, religious and tribal crisis which have disturbed our beloved country will be tackled,” he noted.
The Emir of Misau said further that it is the tradition of the Misua people that when visitors come, they are given traditional gifts as a token of appreciation of their visit. To this end, HRH Chu was presented with some royal gifts which included a well decorated white horse on which HRH Appolus Chu took a ride.