A number of significant communities predominantly occupied by adherents of Islamic faith in Plateau state have suffered unprecedented hardships because the stools of their various heads were left vacant for years. The communities have been neglected without functional traditional authorities for decades thereby causing a lot of ruins to healthy living among residents of the area.
Located across local government areas in the southern part of the state, the communities live with no track record of internal dispute within their ruling houses that should be assumed to have birthed the prolonged delay of the approval of the processes of the selection and instatement of their shepherds by the local and state authorities.
Largely inhabited by Muslims faithful, such communities have existed for one, two or perhaps many decades without having their heads instated to them despite concerted serial efforts by stakeholders from the affected areas on their legitimate desires to actualize the installment of their leaders which are to no avail.
There have been very substantial evidence that some influential paramount rulers, specifically districts heads, from among other clans and prominent figures within the local and regional governments are those frequently opposed to the appointments of the village heads of those Muslim communities in the state. They may have been adding huge impetus to the continuing silence in appointing the heads of the various communities because of the differences in ethnicity and religion.
They clearly wouldn’t want to let it happen so long as majority of the dwellers of the areas remain Muslims. Meanwhile the vacant state of the stools of the heads of the communities were due to the demised of their previous heads all of whom until their dead, were confirmed Muslims. May Allah rest their departed souls and comfort with their families! Amin.
Upon the demise of their previous heads, however, it is on record that each of the communities had channeled formal communication to the council of chiefs at the various local government levels, expressing their desires for the authorities to approve the process of the selection of new heads who should take on the throne of their respective villages.
Given the continuing unreasonable delay of the approval of the method of the selection of their heads by the various paramount rulers within the area councils, residents of the communities would not cease to step forward to the Bureau for Local Government Affairs to report their worrying situations in the state.
Yet it’s very disheartening and unfortunate that the local and state authorities have failed to respond to their prayers. This leaves the residents in deep nostalgia whenever they are to be served with reports of installment of traditional rulers in neighbouring villages. The communities include Yelwa, in Shendam LGA, Kurgwi, and Kwande communities in Quan’pan LGA and Kuka community also in Shendam.
They are among the most populous communities in the southern region that are so much productive and have been contributing greatly to the economic gains of the state.
In Quan’pan LGA, for instance, the stool of the village head of the Kwande community is vacant for 32 years today since the demise of late Miskoom Hoomkwap Sule, the (Long Kwo of Kwo chiefdom) who died in July 1988.
Since then, residents of the community have been anxiously pushing forward their ambitions to have his successor fittingly appointed to them by the local and state authorities but their efforts couldn’t yield fruitful result.
However, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande is among the many contestants who would want to succeed the throne of the of the Long Kwo of Kwo chiefdom and nothing would have disqualified him if not for the fact that he is a firm adherent of Islam. Recall that Kwande is a descendant of the Gomei ethnic group, a native group that Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state belongs to. It’s obvious that Kwande would have been the most befitting candidate to take on the throne if not for the fact that he is a Muslim.Still in Quan’pan LGA, stool of the head of the Kurgwi community has been vacant for the past three decades since the demise of the last Sangari of the community Muhammed Kyari II, who died in the 1983. Since then, there have been series of request by the residents of the community to local and state authorities towards actualizing the instatement of their shepherds but turns to no avail. It’s also obvious that the community would have gotten its head long ago if not for the fact that all the contestants that should rightly inherit the stool are conspicuously Muslims.
In Shendam LGA, the last 30 years of 196-year history of Yelwa community have seen the village go without a head since the last village head, Adamu Othman, died on November 26, 1992. The Late Othman had ruled for almost 40 years before his demise.
Yelwa has been a viable centre of commerce with people transacting different business activities such as trading, animal rearing, and transportation. Apart from these, people also engage in commercial agriculture of yam, rice, maize, grants, among other farm produce often transported to other parts of the country.
Similarly, the residents of Kuka community in Shendam LGA would not speak of the sweet of leadership since the demise of Miskwom Auta Riemyan Nienen who reigned from 1986-2001.
19 years today since his demise, the stool of the village head of the community has seen no successor. It’s evident that all these communities are Muslim dominated communities and if not for the religious differences, the story of their traditional authorities would have been entirely different.Should this be a modern form of slavery, residents of the areas wouldn’t relent in longing and yearning for speedy emancipation.
His Excellency Sir Governor Simon Lalong, I am confident that given how you have installed village and district heads to many communities that may not have probably been so relevant as the identified Muslim communities and with your public pronouncements that under your watch, nobody should be allowed to be treated as a second class citizen in the state, I urge you with due respect to as a matter of urgency, direct for an immediate approval of the appointment of the heads of these Muslim communities to enable them feel a considerate sense of belonging.
Yusuf Mairiga Shekarau