By Louis Okoroma
To those who are used to Atiku Abubakar, it did not come as a surprise though the news raised eyebrows in a pleasant way, when whispers turned to reality. On June 1st, 2017, a routine meeting of the Adamawa Emirate Council, held in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, under the able leadership of the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Aliyu Musdafa. The meeting took the significant and important decision to elevate the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the hierarchy of the nobility of the Emirate.
The former Vice President and an illustrious son of the Emirate was pronounced the Waziri Adamawa, or traditional Prime Minister of the Emirate. For Atiku, as he is fondly called by all and sundry, the journey to the revered rank of Waziri, has been a long one.
Before now, he has been the proud and contented holder of the revered and princely title of “Turaki’’, a title which has competed and interchanged with his name Atiku for more than three decades.
In traditional Fulani society, the Turaki, is a prince who is in charge of the household matters of the Lamido or Emir and he is usually regarded as a favorite of the ruler. Thus, the holder of the title, is not a commoner or outsider but someone who has blood ties to the royal house.
It is a testimony to the staying power of this man, and divine favor, that he is around to have the title bestowed on him having been the Turaki Adamawa for close to 35 years. It was on November 19, 1982 that in pomp and pageantry, and in the presence of Nigerians of all walks of life, that Atiku Abubakar, was turbaned as the Turaki Adamawa at the palace of the then Lamido, the late Lamido Aliyu Musdafa, of blessed memory.
Therefore, those who initially raised eyebrows about the Lamido’s decision to confer the Waziri title on Atiku Abubakar could be pardoned because it seemed the decision was taken by consensus and spontaneity, by the members of the Emirate Council following the demise of the former occupant of that position, and the urgent need to fill the position with a popular, and effective person.
Being a member of the royal family of the Emirate by virtue of his marriage to one of the daughters of the late Lamido, Princess Rukaiyat, who is a sister of the current traditional ruler, Atiku’s qualification is not in doubt.
Added to his eligibility, is the fact that all through the years that he served as Turaki, he displayed utmost loyalty to the traditional institution and supported the latter to ensure the peace, prosperity and development of the Emirate.
Atiku’s energy and appeal, according to observers, has greatly delighted the Lamido and his Council. It was therefore natural that they found for him higher responsibility, an opportunity which presented itself when the critical and strategic position of Waziri or prime minister, became vacant.
As traditional prime minister, the new Waziri would be expected to be a reliable Counselor to the Lamido, assisting him with advice for the good governance, peace and stability of the Emirate. The new Waziri, in the thinking of those who know him will excel in this task given the great love he has for his native Adamawa State and its people.
Adamawa Emirate and by extension Adamawa State, is endowed with many outstanding individuals who have played prominent roles in the life of the Nigerian nation and Adamawa State. Atiku Abubakar is a primus inter pares among Adamawa’s illustrious sons and daughters.
“You are fit for this position (of Waziri) because of your total loyalty and support to the development of the (Adamawa) Emirate. Since independence of Nigeria, no citizen of the Emirate had shown love and patriotism to Adamawa like you. You promoted Adamawa to the world and may Allah bless you and give you more health and long life to continue the good work,” Galadima of Adamawa, Alhaji Mustafa Aminu had eulogized the new Waziri when he led a delegation to pay homage to him.
In addition, the new Waziri Adamawa would easily qualify as that one among the many distinguished sons and daughters of the Emirate who has perhaps had the most profound impact on the area, its people and its contemporary history.
Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and the seat of the Emirate is a lively, bustling and academically towering town, thanks to the fame of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), founded by Atiku and located in the town. A development University, the first of its kind in Africa, together with other tertiary institutions in the capital, either owned by the Federal or Adamawa State government, has changed the outlook and atmosphere of the town and the entire State.
The Waziri Adamawa is an enthusiastic entrepreneur, businessman, politician and philanthropist. He has put a huge population in the Emirate and beyond to work by providing them employment in the University that he built and the other businesses that he has founded in the area. The Waziri has set up agricultural farms, a beverages company and an animal feed company.
Aside the desire to enrich agriculture and livestock in the Northeast region and other regions of the country, one other purpose for which reason the new Waziri ventured into animal feed business, is to provide cheap, quality and nutritious animal feed that would make open grazing by herdsmen across the country, less attractive, thereby assisting the nation to put an end to the bloody and violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country, which has greatly soured social and ethnic relations among Nigerians.
Thus, the person chosen as the new Waziri of Adamawa, is a practical person who solves problems and in the process, brings diverse peoples together.
Observers are of the view that the detribalized person that the Waziri is, as well as his interest and ability in development and transformation of people and the environment, would recommend him highly to the diverse peoples of Nigeria who are in need of a true democratic leader to guide the nation in justice and equity.
Thus, his elevation to the second most important leadership position in the Emirate is recognition for his many years of philanthropy that has touched lives and impacted on the aesthetics of the Emirate.
Going by the above, it is clear that the appointment of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as Waziri Adamawa by the traditional ruling Council of the Emirate, was well thought out.
It is a win-win situation for the people and the traditional authority in the area. And to ensure that the Emirate retains the Atiku persona in the affairs of the area, like Oliver Twist, the council in its wisdom, decided to also appoint one of the Waziri’s many sons, Aliyu Atiku Abubakar, son of the Princess Rukaiyat of Adamawa, to step into his shoes as the new Turaki Adamawa.
As the new Waziri starts to discharge the responsibilities attached to this important traditional political office, one hopes that he would as usual do his best and also remain his humble self, a friend, leader and benefactor to several people in the Adamawa Emirate and the nation at large.
Louis Okoroma is a Public Affairs Analyst based in Abuja.