Gbagyi People Writes el-Rufai Over Attempt To Temper With Traditional Institution

Gbagyi traditional display

His Excellency 8th August 2017
Mallam Nasir A. El-Rufia
Executive Governor of Kaduna State
Sir Kashim Ibrahim House

Your Excellency, Sir,

Upon the receipt of the letter date 24th July 2017, by Sa Gbagyi (Dr. Danjuma S. Barde), in respect of the above subject matter from the sub-committee on Nomenclature, requesting him to propose a more suitable title/name for his chiefdom for adoption. After several consultations by the Gbagyi Sound Minds (a socio-cultural pressure group) and other stakeholders, we extensively and intensely deliberated on the request and resolved as follows:
While we commend His Excellency for his dynamism and zeal with which he pursues governance in our dear state Kaduna, we wish observe that some of the decisions, actions and inactions of the Governor are too dicey to an extent that they tend to give false impression of what the problems of the state are.
Recently, your administration embarked on the illegal sack of district and village heads across all chiefdoms and emirates, which to you have been ‘successfully concluded’ but under legal litigation. On the line now is the review of the chieftaincy system in the state, for which a committee was constituted and currently in business. The first term of reference of this committee is to “examine the nomenclature of the graded chiefs which emphasizes ethnic identity and propose new ones based on town/location…” pursuant to this the sub-committee on nomenclature has requested our chief to propose a most suitable title/name… for adoption”, so that the much needed unity and harmonious co-existence amongst your diverse communities would be achieved. With humility and every sense of responsibility, we wish to emphatically and unequivocally bring to His Excellency, that this is an exercise in futility and will end up bearing no good fruit, and it will amount to squeezing a piece of rock in other to extract water from it. Therefore, we hereby suggest that the government should redirect its energy and strength to areas of greater priorities rather than shadow chasing.
Gbagyi Sound Minds thereby invite His Excellency to note and be guided by the following reasons, but permit us to school you on how the Gbgayi Chiefdom emerged:
Gbagyi chiefdom or Gbagyi traditional council have been in existence long before the coming of the British colonialist. History has it that Gbagyi people were the first aborigine in the present day Kaduna state, though the Usman Danfodio jihad never hoisted their flags in our communities, our people were forcefully subjected to the absolute monarchism under the Zazzua rule in Zaria by the colonial government. Being fully aware of our distinct cultural and traditional differences with the Hausa/Fulani in Zaria, we therefore sought and struggled for our own chiefdom to called Gbagyi Traditional Council and a leader known as Sa-Gbagyi-1 of Kaduna state, this struggle started as far back as November 28th 1992.
Worldwide, but notably in former colonial societies and particularly in Africa, traditional rulership or chieftaincies are relics of the social conditions and systems of social organization of primitive or pre-colonial societies, including our own in Kaduna and Gbaggyi in particular. This system of organization was design to function around distinct communities whose members were bound together by a common ethnicity/culture which gave them their identity. To use an anthropological concept, each ‘tribe’ was and should be recognized by the totality of its ways of life (culture), which is an embodiment of it traditions, values and language. The minorities of Northern Nigeria many of which are non-Islamist societies including our own in Kaduna should be in this light. Modern day traditional institutions/rulership are therefore intended to recognize the diversity in the cultures of various ethnic nationalities which should serve as veritable channels of programme formulation and implementation in modern state administration. Thus, denying them recognition by their ethnic appellations and the titles of their chief’s amounts to transforming them to something else other than traditional institutions.
In other states of Nigeria and most African civilizations, such institutions are similarly recognize by their ethnic names not their town/location as proposed by your administration. Examples, O’Childoma, Estu Nupe, Chu Mada, Ohinoyi Igbirra, etc. elsewhere in Africa the same situation obtains in Buganda (Uganda), Zulu (Rep. Of South Africa) and Ashanti (Ghana) kingdoms, Kikuyu of Kenya.
We respectfully think that His Excellency missed the point when he eludes the change in nomenclature as the panacea to peaceful and harmonious co-existence. We hereby challenge His Excellency to cite one example where the ethic nomenclatures of any chiefdom has ever been identified as the cause of conflict or recommended to be amended in order to achieve peace. A study of the structure and composition of our chiefdom reveals that an inbuilt mechanism is already in place to accommodate people who are not of the same ethnic stock in the chiefdom just as the Gbgayi people feel comfortably accommodated in other chiefdoms/emirates.
Uniformity has never been and can never be the basis of the organization and administration of traditional institutions in the context of modern state administration. We want to make it abundantly clear that even before the coming of the British colonialist, the Gbagyi system of traditional administration is native to its people since creation by God. It may interest you to know that the title of our chief, “Sa-Gbagyi” connotes someone like God, a representative for the Gbagyi people.
Your Excellency, Sir we wish to restate that this agenda that you are now pursuing in respect of traditional institution will in no way help your administration. It will rather throw the state into greater chaos and therefore truncate the peaceful co-existence you claim the exercise will achieve. Go into your history books and you will understand that the chiefdoms you have today were achieved after over a hundred years of struggle and sacrificing of blood by the people of Kaduna. The same was achieved with greater relative ease and peace and evolved as a natural process of the development of society in other minority enclaves in Northern Nigeria. What joy then do you derive in rubbishing the genuine efforts of your predecessors (colonial, military and civilian democratic government) in putting structures that will sustain peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the diverse communities of the state?
May we close by requesting that much effort should be devoted in helping us incorporating former Gbagyi indigenous communities, were our people have been displace and ruled out of our entity back to our rulership and traditional institution. Therefore, we end by letting you know that if you are pursuing this agenda behind the Gbagyi Cheifdom, we will continue to recognize our chiefdom as “Gabgyi Chiefdom” and the title of our chief as “Sa-Gbagyi-1 of Kaduna state” meaning all status-quo should be maintained and so shall we continue to recognize both till eternity.

Respectfully yours,
Comrade. Jim Gami Makama, President Gbagyi Sound mind.
Comrade. George Benjamin, Vice-President Gbagyi Sound mind.
Mr David Tanko Jesse, Secretary General,
Mr. Samson Yari, Member
Mr. Noah Audu, Member
Mr. Tobias Aboki, Member



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