Bello Iro Malumfashi
On Saturday, the 5th of February 2022, all roads will most certainly be leading all the way to the ancient, historic city of Daura in the Northwest, with the singular mission of witnessing the coronation of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Chibuke Amaechi as the Dan Amana of Daura by His Royal Highness, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk , the Emir of Daura.
State governors, ministers, legislators, the who is who in the nation’s political tableau, diplomats and captains of industry are expected to be part of the galaxy of the dignitaries and guests at the regal event. Colours of pomp and pageantry would be highlighted further by the Durbar of Horse Riders in majestic attires of turbans and flowing gowns, the coterie of traditional musicians and of course, the throngs of praise singers and hangers on who usually seize on such rare occasions, to peddle their unique ways of scouring for stipends.
Before a glimpse into the many points of significance of the occasion, the meaning of the title of Dan Amana in the Hausa lexicology and culture, the character and credentials of Chief Rotimi Amaechi that qualified him for the honour as well as other related issues, it is worthwhile to embark on a brief excursion into the Palace of Daura in the oral and written History of the Hausa Nation.
The most popular History though, oral, unwritten, or mythical account regarding formation of the Hausa city states which dates back to the end of the 10th Century, is centered around the City of Daura.
It all began with the visit of a Wayfarer widely said to be of Arabian descent from Baghdad named Bayajida Abu Yazid, who killed a notorious serpent that had, except on Fridays, tormented the people by preventing them from fetching water from the Kusugu well, their only source of water in the town. In appreciation and excitement with the bravery of Bayajida, the reigning Monarch of the town, Queen Daurama accepted to marry him. Their seven grand children through their son, Bawo, went on to establish the historic seven Hausa States (Hausa Bakwai) or autonomous kingdoms of Daura, Biram, Katsina, Zazzau (Zaria), Kano, Rano and Gobir which lasted for centuries to the early years of the 19th century.
In spite of the several transformations experienced over the centuries, Daura has till date, retained its reverence and prestige as the cradle and embodiment of the history, culture and time honoured traditions of the Hausa people.
The conferment of Royal titles as a mark of honour and reward for outstanding services by the noble and other citizens in present day Hausa societies is one such practices that have lingered through the ages.
This practice in Hausa societies, is much akin to the British Royal conferment of knighthood with the titles of Baron or Baroness, Order of the British Empire, OBE, Knight of the British Empire, KBE among a host of others. As it is in Britain and monarchies around the world, beneficiaries of the royal laurels are not always citizens as seen in the instances of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Adetokunbo Ademola.
It is in the light of this background that we should understand the decision of the Daura Emirate Council under His Highness, the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk to confer the prestigious title of Dan Amana of Daura on the Minister of Transportation, the Right Honourable Rotimi Chibuke Amaechi.
Amaechi, as it is well known, is of the Ikwerre ethnic group in faraway Rivers state. What, many would ask, is the meaning and significance of the title, Dan Amana in the Hausa traditional setting in general and in Daura Emirate institution in this particular instance. Why was he singled out from the lot of the present Federal Cabinet members for this enviable honour?
Dan Amana, in everyday Hausa language, is used in reference to someone that is trustworthy, a person of noble character and carriage, a confidant or, an honourable gentleman whose words can be relied upon. Expanded, it also can mean an altruist.
It is in the light of the above that we welcome this singular honour done to a deserving personality who has not only actualized the dream and aspirations of his Principal in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari , a true son of Daura, in spearheading his railway revolution nation wide but also established the only University of transportation in the country cited in the ancient City. The people of Daura through the Emir, have by this token, spoken loud and clear of their love and appreciation of the enigma called Chief Rotimi Chibuke Amaechi, The Dan Amana of Daura Kingdom. Congratulations, the newest member of the Daura Royal Kingdom.
*Malumfashi is a public affairs analyst