The palace of the paramount traditional ruler of Adamawa Emirate, the Lamido was agog on Sunday, the 25th of November, 2018 with people from all parts of Nigeria and abroad. Most of these people were splendidly dressed in all colours and beautiful designs that a first time visitor would instantly know that a very important and royal event was about to take place.
There were courtiers in large numbers ushering different traditional rulers, distinguished personalities from all across the country and beyond, title holders both from Adamawa Emirate and other Emirates and chiefdoms, far and near. The ceremony was the formal conferment of the prestigious traditional title of Wazirin Adamawa, traditional Prime Minister of the Emirate, on no less a noble personality than Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria, 1999- 2007 and by the will of providence, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP) for the 2019 national elections!
Significantly, the turbanning ceremony coincided with the 72nd birthday anniversary of Atiku Abubakar, who was born on November 25th 1946, in the town of Jada, Adamawa State. An only child, Atiku’s father was the late Garba Atiku Abdulkadir while his beloved mother of blessed memory was Aisha Kande, after whom he named an impressive female hall of residence at the prestigious American University of Nigeria (AUN), owned by him.
Like most children, born in colonial Nigeria, Atiku was born into very modest circumstances and not with any kind of special spoon, silver or gold. The history of Atiku’s life is one of someone who fabricated his own spoon with any material within his reach and with divine favour on the outcome.
Atiku as a child sold firewood to help his family, tendered flock (he was a herdsman) worked on the farm with his parents and in better days, did holiday job under the guidance of Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, one of the prominent men to come out of Northern Nigeria, and one of his early mentors.
In later years, after completing his Secondary School education and obtaining his Diploma in Law from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, he joined the Nigeria Customs and worked for twenty years and doing some farming by the side. After his voluntary retirement, he went fulltime into business, entrepreneurship and politics. He was at one time elected Governor of Adamawa State and before he could exercise the powers of the office, he was picked as Vice President of Nigeria by former President Olusegun Obasanjo with whom he won the 1999 presidential election. Atiku became very wealthy from his business pursuits and devoted a good chunk of this wealth into philanthropy and humanitarian causes.
The elaborate ceremony in Yola, was made possible by the conferment on Atiku Abubakar of the title of Wazirin Adamawa on June 1st, 2017 at a meeting of the Adamawa Emirate Council held in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, under the able leadership of the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Aliyu Musdafa.
For Atiku, as he is fondly called by all and sundry, the journey to the revered rank of Waziri has been a long one. Before now, he has been the proud and contented holder of the revered and princely title of “Turaki’’, a title which has competed and interchanged with his name Atiku for more than three decades.
In traditional Fulani society, the Turaki, is a prince who is in charge of the household matters of the Lamido or Emir and he is usually regarded as a favourite of the ruler. Thus, the holder of the title, is not a commoner or outsider but someone who has blood ties to the royal house.
It is a testimony to the staying power of this man, and divine favour, that he is around to have the title of Wazirin bestowed on him having been the Turaki Adamawa for close to 35 years. It was on November 19, 1982 that in pomp and pageantry, and in the presence of Nigerians of all walks of life, Atiku Abubakar, was turbaned as the Turaki Adamawa at the palace of the then paramount ruler, the late Lamido Aliyu Musdafa, of blessed memory.
Adamawa Emirate and by extension Adamawa State, is endowed with many outstanding individuals who have played prominent roles in the life of the Nigerian nation and Adamawa State. Atiku Abubakar is a primus inter pares among Adamawa’s illustrious sons and daughters.
In addition, the new Waziri Adamawa would easily qualify as that one among the many distinguished sons and daughters of the Emirate who has perhaps had the most profound impact on the area, its people and its contemporary history.
Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and the seat of the Emirate, is a lively, bustling and academically towering town, thanks to the fame of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), founded by Atiku and located in the town. A Development University, the first of its kind in Africa, together with other tertiary institutions in the capital, either owned by the Federal or Adamawa State government, has changed the outlook and atmosphere of the town and the entire State.
The Waziri Adamawa is an enthusiastic entrepreneur, businessman, politician and philanthropist. He has put a huge population in the Emirate and beyond to work by providing them employment in the University that he built and the other businesses that he has founded in the area. The Waziri has set up agricultural farms, a beverages company and an animal feed company. Aside the desire to enrich agriculture and livestock in the Northeast region and other regions of the country, one other purpose for which reason the new Waziri ventured into animal feed business, is to provide cheap, quality and nutritious animal feed that would make open grazing by herdsmen across the country, less attractive, thereby assisting the nation to put an end to the bloody and violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
Thus, the person chosen as the new Waziri of Adamawa, is a practical person who solves problems and in the process, brings diverse peoples together.
Observers are of the view that the detribalized person that the Waziri is, as well as his interest and ability in development and transformation of people and the environment, would recommend him highly to the diverse peoples of Nigeria who are in need of a true democratic leader to guide the nation in justice and equity. Thus, his elevation to the second most important leadership position in the Emirate is a recognition for his many years of philanthropy and enterprise that has touched lives and impacted on the aesthetics of the Emirate.
The educational and business enterprises set up by the Waziri Atiku Abubakar has greatly changed the appearance of Yola, the seat of the Adamawa Emirate, from a sleepy town that it used to be, to a modest cosmopolitan city that it is today, which has a huge potential for growth and development. Yola, is now home to Nigerians of all walks of life and foreigners alike, who in various ways keep the many enterprises of the Waziri, running and well.
As the new Waziri starts to discharge the responsibilities attached to this important traditional political office, his admirers all over the country expect that he would give exemplary leadership to his people and the generality of Nigerians who look forward to his unveiling as Nigeria’s new President come May 29, 2019.
– Okoroma is a public affairs analyst based in Abuja