Former Nasarawa State governor and Senator for Nasarawa South, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura was on March 27, 2021 turbaned Sardaunan Gwandara with a pledge to emulate the late Sir Ahmadu Bello.Igbawase Ukumba reports
Available documentary evidence and oral tradition state that the Gwandara ethnic group belongs to the Aboriginal Hausa tribe refer to as HABE of the pre-Islamic times. It is believed that the Gwandara people were the descendants of Barbushe and the original inhabitants of Kano before the Bagauda arrived Kano.
Historical records also show further that during the reign of Muhammadu Rumfa (1463 – 1499), Islam was introduced into the courts of Kano. King Rumfa, determined to root out all pagan practices, came into conflict with his son, Prince Karshi, who did not accept Islam, preferring the religion of his forefathers, which was the worshipping of shrines of Tsumburbura.
Consequently, Prince Karshi migrated with his supporters southward from Kano in 1474, as a result of their refusal to embrace Islam preferring their old system of worship.
They moved south-wards through Zazzau (Zaria) with stop-overs (Zango) in many places including Padan Karshi; meaning the palace of Prince Karshi. The movement from Padan Karshi led to settlements in Karshi, Ara, Gurku and Gitata among others between the plains of Abuja and Keffi.
The other version of the migration of Gwandara indicated that they moved directly from Kano through Zazzau (Zaria) to the plains between Abuja and Keffi.
The migration from Kano, no doubt, led to the establishment of Karshi kingdom, which has authority over other ethnic groups such as Gade, Yeskwa, Gbagyi (Gwari) and Koro. Indeed it was from the Kingdom that the Gwandara nation dispersed northwards, westwards and southwards to establish other towns and villages.
According to Hodgen (1931), CG Ames (1932) and Kirk Greene (1935) as found in the Gazetteir of Plateau province (Vol 14 of 1934, New Edition published 1972) it was recounted that all the Gwandara villages and towns in Kaduna State were breakaways from the former Keffi Division in Nasarawa State. Similarly, Gwandara in the former Lafia Division were the breakaways from other towns from Keffi Division.
Acccording to S.O Ayih (2003, 2012 and 2013), who wrote extensively on the history of Gwandara and the history of Gwandara towns and villages in Nigeria, he posited that there were over 100 Gwandara towns and villages in Nigeria and they cut across Nasarawa, Kaduna, Niger, FCT-Abuja, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba and Benue States.
Perhaps, the Gwandara people in these locations deemed it wise to champion the course of Northern Nigeria, when they converged on Kwandare town in Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on March 27, 2021 and turbaned one of their own, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, as the Sardaunan Gwandara; a tittle equivalent to that of Sardaunan Sokoto bestowed on the late Premier of the then Northern Nigeria Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
Speaking during the turbanning, the Emir of Kano, who was the royal father of the day, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, expressed optimism in the continuity of the long time relationship that exists between the Kano State Emirate Council and the people of Nasarawa State.
Alhaji Ado Bayero said the Kano Emirate Council has due respect to the Gwandara nation hence the recognition given to His Excellency, Senator Al-Makura by the Gwandara nation was a recognition of not only Nasarawa State, but the whole of Nigeria, which will bring unity and peace among the diverse ethnic groups of Hausa, Fulani, Beriberi and Gwandara.
The Kano Emir, who was represented at the turbanning ceremony by the Sarkin Dawaki Maitutan Kano, Alhaji Bello Abubakar, charged Senator Al-Makura to use his new status as the Sardaunan Gwandara to unite all ethnic nationalities resident in Nasarawa State and beyond.
The Emir of Kano said: “I appeal to Nigerians to pray for the country to overcome the insecurity that is bedeviling the country in recent times. Nigerians should also continue to pray for the country’s leadership and as well cohabitate peacefully for the nation’s development. Let me emphasise the need for peaceful coexistence, which is critical to the development of the country. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to achieve good results.”
The monarch consequently expressed pleasure over the Kwandare gathering, which he said would foster unity, peace, harmony and progress of the Nasarawa State.
For the host and Sangarin Kwandare, Alhaji A Al-Makura, it was appreciation for Governor Abdullahi Sule’s good work for Nasarawa State, as well as the governor’s listening ears to critical stakeholders of the state in his decision making process of developing the state.
He said: “Therefore, today, you (Governor Sule) did not change Senator Al-Makura’s developmental milestones, when he held sway as the executive governor of Nasarawa State, since the inception of your administration. Rather, you have continued with it and even added more values on the Ex-governor Al-Makura’s developmental strides. Therefore, the way you are relating with your immediate predecessor, Al-Makura, nobody will accuse you of antagonism.
“We want to tell you (Governor Sule) that as long as your elder brother, Senator Al-Makura, is today turbaned as the Sardaunan Gwandara; you (Governor Sule) cannot therefore come to Kwandare and go empty handed. Today, the good people of Kwandare will honour you, as long as you have traveled to Kwandare town, with a chieftaincy tittle of Turakin Kwandare.”
The Sangarin Kwandare was overwhelmed that Governor Sule was yet to clock two years on the saddle but what people of the state have seen so far as his achievements were wonderful.
“We pray for God’s guidance and protection as he (Governor Sule) administers the state. We are appealing that you (Sule) should not waste your time going out to campaign for your second term, but entrust your campaign in our hands, which we are going to deliver efficiently and effectively,” the Nasarawa monarch assured Governor Sule.
Though the governor was at Kwandare specifically to show solidarity to Al-Makura, he was unexpectedly turbaned with the chieftaincy tittle of Turakin Kwandare by the Sangarin Kwandare.
Sule said: “Since my sojourn on earth, I have never been dressed in a chieftaincy regalia except in Kwandare, despite that I am a prince. Notwithstanding, my royal father and Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), gave me a brief history of what the forefathers said about the evolution of Kwandare.
“Today, somebody left the corridors of governance but is still being glorified in our clime where the moment one leaves the saddle of powers, he is deserted by his followers. I want to give one testimony about Tanko Al-Makura that he is a detribalised human being, not religiously sentimental. Senator Al-Makura’s major preoccupation is to do what God wants to be done unto mankind.
“By the grace of God, I didn’t do his Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), neither was I his commissioner nor adviser, hence I am in a better position to give testimony on his personality. Senator Al-Makura even booted me from an appointment given to me as chairman of the state investment company by Late Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma.
“But when the time came for the senator to do what is right for the state, he beamed his searchlight and discovered me as the right person for the job of governing the state. Therefore, I have a personal conviction in my person.”
Sule said he had another personal commitment for himself that wherever Tanko Al-Makura has laid as a foundation for the development of Nasarawa State, he (Sule) would add ten more bricks on top of that foundation.
“Anywhere Tanko Al-Makura’s developmental foundation is found, if I am able, I will do three of such; not that I’d surpass him, but to capitalise on his foresight in the development of Nasarawa State by way of showing my appreciation,” Governor explained.
Al-Makura’s feeling on the day was one of its kind. It was something that he had never had before in his life. Therefore to say the erstwhile governor of Nasarawa State was overwhelmed was an understatement, saying he had seen love on the day of his coronation.
Acccording to him, “I have seen affection. I have seen concern; I have seen commitment and affinity by all categories of people who I have come around with since my childhood, since my adolescent and throughout my political life.”
“This kind of love, affection and commitment was expressed in an unfettered manner by the way people answered my invitation to come and felicitate with me, and all the people that were involved in this ceremony. Not only that, the number of hours people have decided to keep to their seats to ensure they witness the function was something else.
“If you look at the calibre of people that graced the occasion, including the Executive Governor Abdullahi Sule himself; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; the other two of my senator colleagues; and the two eminent representatives of the Emir of Kano, the city which our ancestors originated.”
He expressed his feelings when interacting with journalists at his residence in Lafia shortly after he was coronated as the Sardaunan Gwandara, adding that he has seen so much love that has ignited so much reflection and nostalgia, which also made him think about how his forefathers left Kano to settle in that area.
“So, I think that it is something that one does not see everyday. That is why I am overwhelmed and excited. And above all, I am humbled by the way people received and responded to my invitation,” the new Sardauna maintained.
The tittle of Sardauna has assumed a very special meaning since Sir Ahmadu Bello became one. Before he became a Sardauna, there could have been some Sardaunas. But the actual understanding the position assumed took root only at the time that Sir Ahmadu Bello became the Sardauna.
Al-Makura explained: “What is meant by that to a large extent, to so many people is somebody that is dispassionate. Somebody that does not believe in primordial sentiment. Somebody that embraces all. Somebody that does not discriminate against religion, tribe or creed.
“That is what Sardauna has come to assume in terms of meaning, in terms of concept. And that is why I am very happy to receive this recognition, because I would want to be like Sardauna of Sokoto. “This country needs many Sardaunas of Sokoto to ensure peace, stability and security of this country. By assuming this position, I have made a pledge to sacrifice as much as I can for the sake of humanity without any differences of religion, tribe, creed, even political parties.
“If you come from a different political party, I treat you like a human being that desires some kind of etiquettes, some kind of protocols, some kind of respects. So, I am really happy and I pray that God will give me the wisdom to act the way of the Sardauna and even add value to what Sardauna has enunciated,” Al-Makura stated.