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Exclusive Interview : Aku Uka Speaks on Why Nigeria Must Remain United


 

 His Majesty, the Paramount Ruler of Kwararafa kingdom and Chairman Taraba State Council of Traditional Rulers,  Dr. Shekarau Angyu  Masa-Ibi, Kuvyo II, CON in the special interview with Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper speaks about his passion for helping the less privileges and preserving the cultural heritage of the Kwararafa ethnic nationality.

The revered Aku Uka who clocks 84th on Sunday 18th April 2021 also speaks on reasons for constitutional roles for traditional rulers in the country, among others

 

 

 

Your Majesty,  congratulations  on your 84th birthday, what is your birthday wish in your new year?

Thank you very much and I want to specially welcome you to the palace because I don't really grant media interviews again, but because your newspaper is a credible one in Taraba State, I welcome you once again and urge you to continue the good work. I would say this is my 14th birthday, because this year coincides with the exact day I was born, which happens to be on a Sunday of 18th April  1937, so from 1937 till 2021 its only  14 times my birthday has fell on Sunday.  So this is my 14th birthday because it coincides with the very day I was born, otherwise its 84th birthday and I really thank God for sparing my life up till now is a thing of joy.

My wish is Nigeria should continue to enjoy peace and abundance of blessings to my kingdom. And I also thank God for what he has done in my life. In the entire Northern Region, there is only one traditional ruler who spent more years on throne more than me. I am very grateful to God for that. And I also wish the people continue to prosper in whatever endeavors they find themselves doing.

 

 What is your assessment on State of the Nation, considering many voices calling for disintegration of the Nation?

 

 It is a serious situation. It's quite unfortunate what is happening in Nigeria now. The way it's happening  quite pathetic. We are people God destined to be together. For me I see no reason for the agitation for succession. What is paramount is for us to come back, digest the entire situation and see what went wrong. For us to correct it, live together, people of one destiny and one purpose. In Nigeria now one way or the other, there are certain things that went wrong, hence the agitation for succession. What we need to do is go back to the drawing table and dialogue and seek solution to our problem and together we solve it. Take for instance, the Jukun people are found in 28 states of the country. If we agitate that this Country should go his/her way where will these people of Jukun extractions in 28 states of the country find themselves. Definitely it will not go well for us as a nation. So there is no gain saying that Nigeria should be divided, what we need to do is to dialogue, lets identify our problems and find solutions to it, let's concentrate on the things that unite us as a Nation. The problem of this country amongst many is the change in system of governance, before now, the structure of the Government has ten organs, but now it is just three tiers. Then the administration of society starts from the family, the head each family is a leader, then numbers of  families come together to form a ward, the collection of wards then give us village, number of villages coming together give us district council, from district council we get Native authority to Provincial Administration  then to Regional Government and then the Center which is the State. Then resources goes from the bottom to the top but these days our manners always fall from the top, that is why we are having problem, the resources of the country is allocated from the Federal Government but those days we have our resources and take some to the upper government but now everything has to come from Federal, that's a major problem facing this country. The major cause of our problems today are insecurity, poverty and many more, in the past if you come to Jukun Communities for example you will place your goods let say groundnut and the money it cost as sample, if anyone picks the groundnut he will drop his money there without anybody supervising them and all your items and money would be found intact when you return to your wares, but today it's not like that again.  

Another major problem is the lack of recognition to the Monarchs and religious leaders in the country. God recognize these groups of people, when a traditional ruler gives command his subjects will abide and obey, also religious leaders gives command his followers obey, these sets of individuals have a lot of influence on the people. But the constitution of Nigeria does not recognize these people. Theres is no place the constitution of Nigeria talks about the monarchs and religious leaders but they command the consciences of the society but we have relegate them to fire extinguisher whenever there's problem we rush to them. If given special role it will facilitate peace and unity among the people. In those days during the formation period of Nigeria, the Northern Nigeria has only one leader that will direct the affairs of the place likewise in the West and East, people like Sardauna, Zik, Awolowo among others our people looked up to these leaders but not in these days. In the year 1962  we climbed the Mambilla Plateau on foot together with respected leaders  like Father of late President Umaru Musa YarAdua,  Former Minister Dagash, Sardauna, Ibrahim Biu among many other prominent leaders  because of the concern of the people but now how many politicians can do that, we climb the Plateau to conduct election, then leaders keep to time, if Sardauna tells you he's leaving Jalingo and will be in Wukari by 10am, nothing will change it. By 10am you will see him in Wukari but today nothing like that is happening. They was honesty to service, if a leader says yes, he means yes. What they promised to do for the people, they will do it but now the masses are suffering plying bad roads while the leaders are flying. Definitely what is happening in the country is disheartening. I have never seen where the youths rose against its leaders. It all falls down to unemployment. So we should go back to our formation period and embrace agriculture. Primary schools should teach children how to engage in agriculture and how to be self-reliant. I will never support Nigeria to break up. There's still hope that Nigeria will be better again.

 

 

  Your Majesty sir, let come down to Taraba State, how you will describe the government of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku?

The Governor Darius led administration his doing excellently well so far, he has done extremely well because before his assumption of office, our people will bear witness that  every part of the state was in crisis and chaos through his efforts today we are enjoying relative peace and that is very commendable, if there is anything we must continue to commend Governor Ishaku for, his is extreme commitment to peace. Also in the aspect of primary education, I set up a committee to go round the villages to report back to me the peoples commitment to education, particularly primary education and the report has been very wonderful. All the villages that they went they saw primary schools are being renovated and new ones built, that is very important to us because basic education is key. The aspect of education I want to draw his attention too is Science and Technical education we need to improve in that area, every Senatorial district in Taraba State has science based schools, I want the government to give special attention to these schools . So in all assessments the government has done extremely well. Take for instance our neighbors in Benue there is no peace whatsoever and the people take law into their hands, even killing military officers but we are have relatively peace here.

The Jukun and the Tiv have been neighbors for years but not with crisis, how can the these groups continue to live together peacefully?

 

Like I told you this government has tried in ensuring relative peace between the Jukun and our Tiv brothers, we the Jukuns will continue to be loyal to every policies and programmes of government, both Tiv and Jukun are my subject mine is to call on them to continue to live in peace with one and another I want them to shield there sword and live in peace. The problem now is with the Tiv people, in as much as all peace efforts are in progress, they should stop any form of attack with their neighbors so I will call on the Tiv people to allow peace to reign with all their neighbors, they should embrace dialogue at all time . Also I want to call on the federal government to unresolved boundary adjustment in border communities.

The issue of unresolved boundary demarcation in border communities of Taraba and Benue is a major issue been creating series of problems if this is speed up we will enjoy lasting peace. Even government can create buffer zones in areas where these boundary issues are knotty. 

You have a foundation, your Majesty can you tell us more about it and its achievements so far

 

Well regarding this foundation, informally I have been helping the less privileges among my people for many years now, so we decided to make it formal. Have being helping many orphans with their education, I have trained many graduates in hundreds even to Masters level, many aged people and widows are also being assisted, some were empowered to startup businesses, before some my subjects saw the good work I was doing and started supporting me in cash and material things and we share it to the vulnerable in the society, then we decided to make it formal. We did not just start yesterday but now decided to register it with government and do things formally, we now have more people involved to screen the beneficiaries. Apart from that I'm so starting a project Center for Research and Cultural Development, we have started putting this in place and collecting artifacts for the entire Kwararafa ethnic nationalities to have our museum, library and where we can be impacting knowledge about our origin, culture and tradition.  

 

The Kwararafa Empire spread across the country, as the Supreme ruler Sir, what efforts are you putting in place to bring all your descendants together to preserve the cultural heritage?

 

In the past there is a festival that bring the entire Kwararafa people together,  Puje festival but the last time it was celebrated was in 1960 because it require huge sum if resources to put together . Now I'm thinking of how that can happen and I think it will be possible with the establishment of the Kwararafa Center for Cultural Development that will attract people to see what we have here for research purpose and for learning and come with a uniting force to bring us together, the Jukuns are spread across the country and am very passionate about bringing them together to foster peace and sustain our cultural heritage.

 

The Jukun race is among the largest ethnic groups in the country, do you feel marginalized in the cause of our nationhood.

From our conversation, you are the one to deduce if the Jukun people are marginalized or not. We are among the first ethnic group that came to settle in the present day Nigeria we are yet to have a state for the Kwararafa kingdom despite our large population and spread, my call is to Nigerians to live in peace and be our brother's keeper for us to have a nation of our dream.

 

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