By BASHIR ADEFAKA
One of the signs that Etsu Nupe occupies a big position in the traditional institution space of Nigeria came to notice when at the tail end of week-long 20th Coronation Anniversary of personality on the throne, His Royal Highness Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, on Saturday September 16, 2023, multifaceted leader, Mai Alfarma Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman of the National Traditonal Rulers Council of Nigeria (NTRCN), made a surprise presence at the August event that came up in September.
The Sultan had been away abroad for a longer time but his plane touching the ground at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja in the early hours of Saturday, after which he immediately proceeded to Minna enroute Bida, indicated the high esteem to which the custodian of the Usmaniyyah throne of the Sokoto Caliphate holds both the throne and the personality of its occupier. And he made it.
The Sultan was, however, not alone doing the Etsu Nupe the great honour with personal and physical attendance. Former Nigeria Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, RTD, GCFR, also attended in his capacity as Chairman of the occasion, ably represented by former Military Head of State, General AbdulSalami Abubakar, RTD, GCFR.
To further underscore the importance of the occasion, General AbdulSalami Abubakar kept hope alive as he stood in for General Babangida as Chairman of the occassion and also attended in his own capacity as one of creame de la creame that made their presence at the 20th coronation anniversary event that was held at the Wadata Palace, in the ancient kingdom of Bida.
The Ooni of Ife and Co-Chairman, National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria (NTRCN), Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Emir of Keffi, Dr. Shehu Chindo Yamusa III, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi, Aragbiji of Iragbiji Land, Oba AbdulRasheed Ayotunde Olabomi, Odundun Asoludero IV, were among prominent people who attended.
IBB’s Chairman speech
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who delivered the message of former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd) at the ceremony, said the royal father had attracted development to Nupe land.
He described him as a bridge builder, peacemaker and beacon of hope for less privileged Nigerians.
The former Nigeria leader said the 20 years of Etsu Nupe on the throne had witnessed peace among all Nigerians in the area irrespective of tribal, religious and ethnic differences.
“He is a humble man to the core who has the interest of Nigeria at heart. I am praying for sound health for him and longevity,” he said.
Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, asked everyone to pray for leaders at all levels for them to be diligent in leading the people aright.
On the Etsu Nupe, the Sultan, who himself was 67 last month August 24 and will be 17 years on the throne coming November 2, said: “The Etsu Nupe, who clocked 71 on 12th of this September and in his 20 years on the thone Saturday September 16, “is God-sent to salvage the people. So, I am urging all Nupes both at home and in the diaspora to support him.”
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan-Ogunwusi, also advised Nigerians to pray for President Bola Tinubu and other leaders to enable to enable them succeed in delivering the needed development for the people and country.
Governor of Niger State Mohammed Umaru Bago called on traditional rulers in the state and other parts of the country to always guide leaders aright so that they would not go astray.
He promised to listen to the wise counsel of traditional rulers in the state and prayed for the Etsu Nupe to sustain the tempo of piety, patriotism and philanthropy.
The Etsu in his speech appealed to Nigerians to be patient with President Tinubu, adding that his policies would soon yield fruits and there would be “light at the end of the tunnel.”
He urged Nupes at home and in the diaspora to come back home and invest in the emirate to bolster development in the land.
About the celebrant
Pertinent, per adventure, to tell that apart from being the Chairman of the Emirate Council, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar who, like Babangida, Abubakar and Sultan Abubakar, is Retired General of the Nigerian Army, is also the Chairman, Co-ordinating Committee of the National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, (NTRCN) headquartered in Abuja.
Yesterday royalty event of the Etsu was not without a space for the Emirate appreciating some notable contributors of progress with honourary traditional titles and they included the eldest daughter of President of Nigeria and Iyaloja-General of Lagos State, Mrs Folashade Ojo, who was decorated at the well attended occasion as Yar-Jarin Nupe and Dr. Abubakar Abdullahi Kuso as Dan Wadatan Nupe.
They were both decorated with full honour of traditional title holding for their unflinching contributions to the development of Bida Emirate Council and humanity in general.
The DEFENDER reports that the military officer-turned monarch, Etsu Yahaya Abubakar, also clocked 71 years September as he was born same date in 1952.
His is also a full blood royalty on both sides of his parenthood. He was essentially born into the Umaru Zaki royal dynasty by his father, Alhaji Abubakar Saganuwa, the late Nakordin Nupe, and mother, Hajiya Habiba Bantigi Ndayako.
While his late father was brother to the 11th Etsu Nupe, late Malam Musa Bello, his late mother was daughter of the ninth Etsu Nupe, Muhammadu Kudu Ndayako, and sister to late Alhaji Umaru Sanda Ndayako, the the 12th Etsu Nupe.
Yahaya Abubakar attended Government College, Sokoto, later Commercial College, Kano ending 1971 and proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna from 1973 to1975 after which he was commissioned Second Lieutenant of the Nigerian Army.
Throughout his sojourn as an Army officer, he exhibited high level of excellence, discipline and dedication to the unity of Nigeria until his last posting at the Defence Headquarters Abuja, as the Director of Foreign Operations, before retiring at the rank of of Brigadier General in September 2003 when he ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Etsu Nupe and Chairman Niger State Emirate Council headquartered in Bida.
At the grand finale of the event marking his 71st birthday and 20th coronation anniversary, on Saturday September 16, 2023, Etsu Yahaya Abubakar could not hold back his joy as he appreciated retinue of dignitaries from across Nigeria and the international community, who thronged the ancient town of Bida to be counted as part of the event showcasing the 20 years of the great king on the throne and show their respect to and celebrate with the great philanthropist and lover of downtrodden.
Asides the former military leaders present, either represented or physical (Babangida and Abubakar), other members of the political class who made it to the occasion included Governor of Niger State, Abdullahi Bago, a former Niger State Governor, Dr. Aliyu Babangida Mu’azu (Talban Minna), Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, Group Managing Director/CEO of KAM Holding, Dr. Kamoru Yusuf MON, members of the NAtional Assembly, Members of the Niger State House of Assembly, members of the state executive council, industrialists from within and outside the country, groups, and associations among others.
Asides the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar CFR, mni, other members of the traditional institution present included the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero CFR, Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammed I, CFR, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi CFR, Ona of Abaji and Chairman FCT Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Baba Yunusa, CON, and Oluwo of Iwo Empire, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu I.
Other monarchs present wete Emir Azara, Emir of Awe, Emir of Kazaure, Emir of Borgu, Emir of Minna, Emir of Kagara, Sarkin Sudan Kotangora, Emir of Lafiagi, Emir of Shonga, Etsu Tsaragi, Etsu Agaei, Etsu Lapai, Olofa of Offa, Afaji of Faaji, Owalobbo of Obno-Ile, Andoma of Doma, Representative of Oba of Benin, Representative of Emir of Gombe, Representative of Etsu Patigi, Representative of Etsu Bassange, Representative of Obi of Onisha, and many more.
Among goodwill messages ahead of the big event were those from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Infornation a d National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, and Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado II.
In his statement felicitating with the first, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had described the Etsu Nupe as a consummate statesman and a most respected national leader.
The President, according to the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale, said: “I join a multitude of Nigerians, family members and friends in celebrating His Royal Highness, the Etsu Nupe. This is a remarkable moment which calls for thanksgiving in the celebration of a purposeful life that has been well lived.
“Throughout his decorated career as a military official and upon his ascension to the revered throne of his forefathers two decades ago, the traditional ruler has remained steadfast in his service to Nigeria and his people.”
Tinubu, therefore, prayed for more fulfilling years for the traditional ruler and urged him to rededicate himself in his effort to improve society.
In a report published by The DEFENDER titled, “BAGADOZHI! Information Minister Idris salutes Etsu Nupe at 71”, the Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, had sent a congratulatory message to His Royal Highness Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe on his 71st birthday anniversary.
In the statement personally signed by the Minister, whose title of Kaakin Nupe coincidentally means the Emirate’s Minister of Information, dated September 11, 2023, the Sopkesman of the government of Africa’s largest economy described the king as a worthy leader who has displayed exceptional wisdom to his people.
“I wish to congratulate His Royal Highness, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, on the occasion of his 71st birthday and the commemoration of his 20th year of ascension to the throne.
“Etsu Nupe has been a worthy leader who has displayed exceptional wisdom to his people, and to which both the Niger State and federal governments have benefitted over the past two decades.
“It is not in doubt that his reign has witnessed peace and prosperity in Nupeland and will continue to be a blessing to his people and to the nation.
“I therefore wish to identify with the successful reign of His Highness and congratulate him and his people on his notable achievements, and to thank the Almighty Allah for making him a shining example among traditional rulers in Nigeria.
“Bagadozhi!” He saluted the king.
Emir of Ilorin
Similarly, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, expressed joy over the 71st birthday anniversary of the highly respected monarch who has served as a diligent army officer before his enthronement as the Chief Custodian of the tradition and culture of the people of Bida Emirate Council and beyond.
The Emir’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement signed by his spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, saying: “Etsu Yahaya Abubakar, a world class traditional ruler has by all indications demonstrated his commitments to the unity and peaceful co-existence amongst the people of the country.
“The Etsu Nupe is a great philanthropist, God-fearing and detribalize Nigerian with genuine passion for national cohesion”, the Emir of Ilorin said even as he prayed to Almighty Allah to continue to grant the Etsu Nupe peaceful reign and appealed to the government and people of Niger state to continue to support their highly revered monarch with prayers at all times.
Sarkin Fulani of Lagos
In his goodwill message published exclusively by The DEFENDER, the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos and Chairman Fulani Council of Chiefs, South West Nigeria, His Highness Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado II, congratulated the Etsu Nupe, His Royal Highness Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, on the anniversary.
He also prayed for Almighty Allah to continue to be with the Etsu in his continued service to humanity and wished him God’s protection and guidance.
While wishing Etsu Abubakar and his Emirate well as he clocks 71, the Sarkin Fulani also prayed that Nigeria succeed and that Allah guides leaders of the country to sail the ship of the country successfully to berth place of greatness.