How royal war was aborted in Adamawa

After months of royal war that tore Mbula people apart, Bwaltum Bentley Biyapo of the Muzong royal clan finally ascended the throne of his ancestors as the 11th Murum Mbula. MUAZU ABARI reports.

Mbula people are mainly found in Demsa, Gerei and Numan local government areas of Adamawa state. Historical sources added Yola-south as one of their homes but report indicates that they originated from Congo among the Bantus.

They are warriors known for their bravery and expertise in war. Despite their pedigree in war, they are however accomondating to strangers whom they see as family members.

They are predominantly farmers, hunters, fishermen and skilled blacksmiths and are one of the earliest to come in contact with Europeans and by extension western education and christianity even though prior to the encounter, they believe in a god called ‘Bakuli’ which is Mbula word for ‘Almighty God’.

The traditional stool

The traditional stool of the Mbulas is mounted by ‘Murum’ which means ‘king or head’. The rulership of Mbula land rotates between the two ruling clans, Muzong and Fwa royal families. A look at the rulership of the kingdom from 1885 when the pioneer Murum emerged till date revealed that apart from ruling the kingdom consecutively, Fwa had dominated the throne than Muzong.

It is therefore not surprising that following the demise of the 10th Murum Mbula who spent 26 years on the throne, some people believed that muzong should produce the new monarch, a development that did not go down well with Fwa who equally believed that they should also be allowed thereby setting the stage for royal war among the two royal houses.

The royal battle
Following the burial rites of Joram Joel from the Fwa royal clan on May 17 2021, the battle to succeeded him commenced immediately with royalists from both ruling clans formally joining the race leading to controversy over which among the two royal houses should produce the new king.

First to fire the salvo was a group sympathetic to Muzong royal clan known as Youth Wing of Mbula Development Association led by their chairman, Emmanuel Nathaniel who addressed a press conference in Yola threatening fire and brimestone against Fwa, accussing them of plotting to subvert the culture and traditions of the people in the selection of the new king.

He said, “Desperate power mongers who want leadership at all cost are becoming a threat to the peace and unity of our people. The following people from Fwa ruling clan are conniving with each other to go against the normal procedures of selecting new Murum Mbula and this is causing tension among our people and if care is not taken may lead to violence.

“The secretary, Mbula Traditional Council Mr Simon Joel Fwa is acting based on the influence of his elder brother, Mr Fenny Fwa both from the same clan who is also using his influence as a former permanent secretary to influence the current permanent secretary, Ministry of Chieftancy Affairs. It is also shocked to us how a sitting local government chairman can aspire for such stool while still holding elected public office.”

Countering this allegation, another group sympathetic to Fwa which called itself Concerned Mbula Youths at another press conference in Yola chaired by its chairman, Barrister Francis Ndagoso lambasted the first group describing them as paid agents used by war mongers to breach the peace of Mbula kingdom.

“We called this press conference to respond to the infatile and irresponsible press conference held by some disgruntled and frustrated youths. Their press conference was a disgrace to Mbula nation. The selection of Murum Mbula is the exclusive preserve of gods, the governor and kingmakers. Simply put, they want their principle of rotation to be adhered to, they claim it is the turn of Muzong to be on the throne and that all princes from Fwa royal clan should be removed from the contest.

“We wish to stated clearly that there is no law that stated that the stool should be rotated between the two houses. If such law exists, they should produce it and so far they have failed. The law is that the appointment of Murum Mbula would be based on customs and traditions and that the tradition is that the Murum Mbula would be selected by four kingmakers namely Molah Kulasala, Molah Kuli, Molah Nzugwalin and Molah Yahau. Based on this, it is clear that these youths are ignorant of the law; they are simply interlopers.”

Journey to the throne
The dream of all royal blood is to ascend the throne of their ancestors. Some have accomplished this dream, some are still battling. Others are hoping while many would return to their ancestors without the throne. For Bwaltum Bentley Biyapo, a great grandson of Mbula worrior and pioneer Murum Mbula Mboiman of the Muzong clan who ruled from 1885-1894, his 46-year sojourn on earth has been fulfilments and realisation of this royal dream.

This thorough bred, energetic and talented young man who epitomises humility, commitments and passion to the cause of his people, is sitting down today on the throne of his ancestors as a first class traditional ruler in Adamawa state.

When he took up the challenges of leading Mbula students at Madibbo Adama university (MAUTECH) Yola during his university days, he never knew that it was a call of destiny preparing him for kingship. Even after his graduation, he never slided from his antecedents, but continued to exhibit decorum expected of someone with a royal blood.

Fintiri tasks monarch on unity

Speaking during the presentation of First Class staff of office to Murum Biyapo Mboiman 11, Gov Ahmadu Fintiri congratulated him over his ascension to the throne of his ancestors and tasked him on peace, unity and development of his people and the state.

“On behalf of the government and the good people of Adamawa state, I wish to congratulate your majesty on your emergence as the 11th Murum Mbula. We have no doubt that with your pedigree and background as an agricultural economist, Mbula kingdom would be better. Above all, your youth equally bestows on you the required energy to delivere on the throne of your ancestors. We are proud of your unblemished records as an outstanding senior officer in FRSC.

“It is instructive that you have chosen the tittle Mboiman 11 after the phenomenal warrior and pioneer Murum Mbula Mboiman. Mboiman was a celebrated ruler. It speaks of your courage, sence of history and readiness to offer Mbula kingdom a leadership defined by fairness, freedom and deep sence of selflessness.

“Your royal majesty, it must now be your duty and responsibility to galvanise all Mbula people wherever they may live for the great task of developing our towns and villages. Nzali Mbula is a land of incredibly talented men and women from all the professions to the art and politics. Your reign shall mark the coming together of all sons and daughters of Mbula to take this blessed land to its rightful place in history.”

Murum pledges new hopes

In his acceptance speech, the new murum Mbula 11 promised to give his people a new hopes and work together with the fresh air administration for peace, unity and development of the state.

“To my people, my message since I became Murum Mbula remains the same and emphatic. I may not be a perfect ruler for I am also fallible because I’m human. Nevertheless, I promise to put in my best and strive for excellence that would take us to a place of pride and fulfilment.Together, we would build an egalitarian society founded on the ideals and values of our forefathers. Human capital development through education and commercial agriculture remain the focal objective we would pursue relentlessly.

“This day marks a critical turning point for the Mbula nation. Today, we lay the foundation and take the first steps towards our journey. For us to achieve the future dream, we must first begin by imbibing peace, hardwork and unity among us and with our kith and kins within and outside the state.

“We would pursue a policy of constructive engagement with all Nigerians living within our jurisdiction irrespective of tribe, religion or creed. Today, I stand on the grounds upon which my forefathers and predecessors stood, but i stand taller because I am standing on their shoulders and from this vantage position, we would build on their legacies and honour their memories. We must restore relevance and dignity not only to the realm but especially to our culture and traditions.The relegation and decline of our culture and traditions must not only be stopped but reversed if we must retain our identity.”

He commended Gov Fintiri for his interest and concern to Mbula people, stressing that his sence of justice and fairness averted a quakmire situation in Mbula land.