Lafia Emirate has been known for peace right from the reign of the late Emir up till the present. In an interview with MOHAMMED YANGIDA, the Galadima Lafia, Muhammed Jibrin says the new Emir is also passionate about the welfare of the people.
What are your takes from the life of the late Emir of Lafia, Dr Isa Mustapha Agwai?
We thank God for the reign of the former Emir; our time with him has taught us a lot. He was a man of discipline and peace. He always called to rob minds together and find solution to problem. You will agree with me that Lafia improved and developed during his reign. This is because he focused all his attention towards developing the town for the comfort of his subjects. Anything that entails development was of immense interest to him. That was his main focus. Whatever he felt would not benefit his people he stayed away from such. He was a just man; highly respected and loved by everyone, including the youths who looked up to him as a father. He had a long reign from when he was crowned to when he passed away. We enjoyed 44 years of prosperity, progress and peace under him. He was indeed a father who did his best for his children. Therefore, we thank God. It was time for him to rest and God took him home. We pray that would God bless him for all his efforts and reward him with Aljannatul Firdausi.
What kind of reign do you expect from the 17th Emir, Sidi Mohammed Bage II?
After the passing away of our late Emir, we prayed to God to choose the right person who would wipe our tears away and God chose Justice Sidi. I believe we would enjoy a good reign under him same as we did during the last Emir’s time and even more. The reason being that there is evidence that he is a lover of people; he is someone who wants to bring development to Lafia so that every one’s needs can be met. He is a person that can listen. For that reason, we have proof that Justice Sidi Mohammed Bage 11 would continue the good work of the former Emir and foster unity and peace among the people of Lafia. It is our greatest desire that he lives long because we have seen his moves towards developing Lafia. He is just what we need having lost our beloved father to the cold hands of death. May God give him long life, guide his steps and help him rule the people of Lafia justly and with love. Just as the past Emirs have ruled Lafia peacefully and enjoyed love and support from the masses, so also his reign would be.
As regards only two ruling houses in Lafia, what do you recommend?
It is not a rumor but a fact that there were five ruling houses from the creation of Lafia together with the three excluded houses. By right, they are eligible to contest. They are not agitating for something that isn’t theirs or trying to cease power; it is absolutely their right. Lafia was formed with these five families from the beginning until now that we have the 17th Emir. The leaders should see reason and unite these families and work together; we all want the same thing which is to develop Lafia and make it a better place for us all. Our fore- fathers saw a reason to unite and work together when they formed Lafia, but the exclusion of the three other ruling houses from the list of Lafia Emirate houses is a recent issue. Before, there was no issue like that as all the five families were recognised. May God give the new Emir the wisdom to address this issue so that our people will stand as one.
Does Justice Sidi enjoy wide range of support from the Kanuri?
Absolutely, the support is marvelous. The new Emir is a man of the people and a man of integrity. Since his announcement as the new Emir of Lafia, people have been coming to render their helping hands to support his reign. Not just the Kanuri or the Bareb-baris but people all over the state are solidly behind him. The children and youths are not left out too. It is evident that just as the youths listened to the late Emir when he cautioned them on certain things, they will also listen and obey their new father. In fact, no man in the history of Lafia Emirate has been able to pull the kind of crowd justice Sidi is pulling to our amazement.
When he was announced as the new Emir of Lafia, the support he has been getting is beyond anyone’s expectation. And it is with joy that we also will render our support to him. We prayed to God to choose the right person to lead us and He has chosen the one we love. Just as he is ordained by God, we pray that our father and king will rule us with love like a father as his children. May he live long. And we the children would continue to support him. When a child respects and support his father he also will be blessed.
The seat of the Galadima which is among the top ranking officials has been neglected by previous Emirs. Do you think the new Emir would restore it to its former glory?
You cannot over-emphasise my duty as the Galadima of Lafia. Like you rightly said, it has been neglected and given little or no attention in the past. I do not have the right resources and mantle to carry out my duties effectively as Galadima, but I strongly hope and believe that the new Emir would do it differently.
He cannot meet every one in person and listen to their complains. That is where we come in; we are his helping hands. He has addressed this issue with me and promised to look into it. His actions have already suggested that he means business and would make positive changes around there. For sure, I am certain he would look into this and do Justice to it.
I pray that the glory to my seat would be restored so that I can serve the people and the emir effectively within my remaining days on earth.
Gully erosion has been devastating your area for years. What is your appeal to the authority and the Emir?
Yes, I shouldn’t have come to the press and make appeal to my father who is the Emir of Lafia. Traditionally, we have channels of presenting issues like this to the emirate, but the circumstances warrant me to that. And our father can understand me and forgive that because you as a press man asked me the question that I cannot avoid. It is because the issue is about life and dead that needs urgent government attention. You see my people are suffering the worst impact of the menace every rainy season. This is as a result of the abandoned drainage system embarked upon and all water channels in the Lafia metropolitan run to the Amba River which constitutes a serious challenge around our houses. We are appealing to our father, the Emir of Lafia to please intervene on this matter so that my people can sleep with their two eyes close one day. As you can see, over 15 percent of the size of our land is being washed away. Both government agencies and politicians have been coming to see the place but nothing has been done up to this moment.
What is your call to the youths and people of Lafia Emirate?
I am calling on the youths in Lafia Emirate and the state at large to support our Emir and the emirate council. They should always live in peace, be law-abiding, respect constituted authorities and tolerate one another in the interest of development.