Arising from the publication in this medium in June 2021, entitled “The Travails of Fika Emirate in Potiskum” which chronicled the plight of Fika Emirate; especially the petition by Mai Pataskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram Bauya in 2020 to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who cancelled the approval of 2015 to Fika Emirate to transform the old Potiskum Prisons facility into a museum to preserve the Emirate’s historical artefacts. Wild polemics, diatribes elicited from the previous write up cannot be wished away and these could hurt the sensibilities and comprehension of the general public, hence this piece.
The Interior Minister’s action without investigation and verification from Yobe State Government is an innate plot to execute an ethnic cleansing programme of the Ngizim cum Pataskum Emirate. The Mai Pataskum claims ownership of the entire Potiskum metropolis and the monuments thereat, without recourse to the laws of Yobe state.
The monuments such as the old prisons, Potiskum well very proximal to the palace of the Emir of Fika are contested as a precursor to the ethnic script of annexing the Palace of the Emir of Fika via phony federal might already deployed in the cancellation by the Interior Minister. Meanwhile, no colonial record nor history of Northern Nigeria have recorded the various claims of Pataskum Emirate on the city of Potiskum. If such had existed, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello would not have inaugurated the palace of the Emir of Fika at the present location in Potiskum in 1962. The Palace was earlier used as the official residence of the first British District Officer in charge of Potiskum.
It has been a reign of lies and twisted facts of history which should be straightened. Fika Emirate moved to Potiskum in 1924 following the invitation of the British who arrived at the area in 1902. For an imperial British with a consistent monarch, they embarked on a reorganization of the area in 1909 where they noticed the ineffectiveness of the local chiefdoms far from an Emirate setup, met a sick local ruler who was replaced with Mai Bundi of Potiskum, who still could not pass the British test. Meanwhile, Lawan Sulyman, a brother of the Moi Muhammadu had supervised Potiskum, Dazigau districts as a District Head between 1914-1921 and later as an acting District Head of Mamudo in 1922, the year their father Moi Idrissa died.
While the kingmakers selected Muhammadu as the new Emir, who gave his brother Lawan greater leadership role in the Potiskum area which the Emirate have held considerable influence even before the British arrival in 1902 and the final movement in 1924; Lawan had no reason to antagonize his brother Muhammadu as the duo were the leading chieftains of the British setup in Potiskum and Fika. Moi Muhammadu was never known to visit European friends in Potiskum to rest on account of succession tussle in Fika with Lawan, as to say the least, the hands of Lawan were already full with responsibilities as at the time Moi Idrissa, their father died. Moi Muhammadu of Fika Emirate upon arrival in Potiskum in 1924 did not allow the British courtesies to overwhelm him but sought a united, peaceful and developmental kingdom by appointing an Ngizim Chief, Bauya, as a Village Head to give expression to the existence of the indigenous people of the area despite British erasure of the rustic chiefdoms of pre-colonial and colonial Potiskum for a unified kingdom to further the indirect rule system of government.
The grand ignorance of the polemic writers of Pataskum Emirate especially Mohammed Khalil in his warped write-up entitled: Fika Youth Movement’s Infantile and Immature Resolution is the wild assertion stated thus – “no government embarks on an exercise as creation of Emirates without providing clearly defined boundaries”. This amounts to standing the truth on its head and deliberate act of deception in the light of the instrument of appointment of the Emir of Fika and Mai Pataskum in 2000. For the Emir of Fika, Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim stated as follows: “in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 4(1) and 5 of the Yobe State Emirs (Appointment and Deposition) Edict of 1996 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, (FNIQS), the Executive Governor of Yobe State, Nigeria do hereby appoint Alhaji Abali Ibn Muhammad Idriss (the father of the current 43rd Emir of Fika) as 1st class Emir of Fika Emirate of Yobe State with headquarters at Potiskum. And I hereby prescribe the following areas as the areas constituting your area of authority to include: Muluri, Goya (including Godowoli), Ngalda, Janja, Fika, Potiskum, Damboa and Lailai. Also, the instrument of appointment as Emir of Fika in relation to the defunct Fika Emirate (which he started being Emir in 1976) is hereby revoked and repealed as from the commencement of this order dated 4th January, 2000”.
Also, in the Yobe State Law of Nigeria No. 1 of 2000, Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim, FNIQS, appointed Alhaji Umaru Bubaram as 2nd Class Emir of Pataskum Emirate of Yobe State with headquarters in Yerimaram in Potiskum Local Government Area. The following districts were prescribed as his areas of authority namely: Yandiski, Danchuwa, Gamawa and Ngojin, all suburbs of Potiskum Local Government Area. These facts have been carefully shielded from the public by Ngizim sons and daughters in government in order for their monarch to deceive the whole world of his sole ownership and rulership of Potiskum metropolis. In the light of the above, Fika Emirate is legally empowered to exist and operate in Potiskum.
Whereas the above facts speak for itself, tribal bigots are not contented but develop stunts to challenge and even moot the guts to call for the sack of Fika Emirate from Potiskum; for the Mai Pataskum to operate in his so-called ‘ancestral domain’ in this enlightened generation. They draw false strength from a skewed chiefdom history drawn from incoherent Borno Gazetteers known to have incorrectly chronicled their past rulers. These rulers’ tombs could not be traced in Potiskum or anywhere, unlike the graves of Bolewa/Fika Emirate kings in Fika/Potiskum, soon to assume the status of international heritage/tourist sites. Fika Emirate in Potiskum is a product of divine providence which can never be erased by cheap propaganda and reconstructed history by tribal bigots and all must live to survive with it.
Clutching dead straws from odd corners to advance the inordinate desire to claim ownership of the entire Potiskum metropolis especially the old Potiskum prisons already approved for Fika Emirate to transform into a museum was Pataskum Emirate’s move to the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja for mediation over historical cum cultural rights which are beyond its jurisdiction and inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution. The matter falls in the realm of progressive realization as the enforcement of cultural rights are “un-justiciable”.
The twisted facts of historical claims to the Minister of Interior presented by Mai Pataskum to warrant the cancellation of approval to Fika Emirate to transform the old Potiskum Prisons into a museum are defective. The most honourable act expected of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is to uphold the earlier approval to Fika Emirate for peace to reign in the area.
Archibong is of the Nigerian Guild of Editors