April 22, 2024

Pataskum polemic writers and realities of Fika Emirate in Potiskum


*Sarkin Potiskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram

Munkail Asab and Fortune Archibong

The media outbursts authored by the duo of Mansur Sadiq and Mohammed Khalil, two “latter day” and “recent historians” holding brief for Pataskum Emirate Council, erroneously situated in Potiskum; (apologies to the few fair-minded sons/daughters of the Emirate) following a release by Fika Youth Movement and our write-up entitled: Fika Emirate and Potiskum Prisons and other related titles which took a swipe at the unjust cancellation of the approval of the Ministry of Interior in October 2015 to Fika Emirate Council to transform the Old Potiskum Prisons facility into a museum by  the current Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; due to a petition in August 2020 by Mai Pataskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram Bauya are fallacies of skewed understanding and deliberate attempt at twisting the facts of history.

Another rationale for Sadiq-Khalil polemics is the call by Fika Youth Movement for the relocation of Pataskum Emirate from Potiskum metropolis to the approved headquarters of the Emirate at Yerimaram. The diatribes should have been ignored as the subjects in question are common knowledge to enlightened minds in order not to dignify these purveyors of ethnic script and false historical propaganda with a response akin to joining nor having issues with them; but for the discerning public, recent students, and readers of history whose tender minds may be polluted with the incongruities, lies, twisted facts and brazen display of skewed history associated with the ill-fated publications.

Straight to their various points of historical divergence captured in their write ups are puerile claims that the location of Potiskum Old Prisons facility and other monuments within its precinct such as the ancient Potiskum well falsely linked and christened after one Awa’nyi, and another twisted lie that the old prisons was the House of Dawi, all intended for the manifestation of the Pataskum Emirate’s secret plan for the annexation of the palace of the Emir of Fika which is very proximal to the two monuments.

From the records, the Potiskum Old Prisons was constructed by Fika Native Authority, and no colonial record nor history of Northern Nigeria have recorded the various claims of Pataskum Emirate on the city of Potiskum; and if such had existed, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello would not have inaugurated the place of 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.

The Bolewa tribe nay Fika Emirate have never contested the facts of their movement to Potiskum in 1924 and the presence of the indigenous tribes of the area which also migrated at one time or the other to the place. The ascendancy of the Bolewa tribe/Fika Emirate to commanding heights and class of the area was a product of diplomacy and levelheadedness.

Given the fact of the British arrival at the Potiskum area around 1902 and subsequent movement of the Bolewa tribe and establishment of Fika Emirate in 1924, the British colonialists have had a deeper knowledge of the ethnic politics of the area and had remarked in one of their colonial excerpts that the Ngizim tribe in particular did not have requisite leadership qualities capable of leading a peaceful colonial-induced communities / tribes of the area and period to support the British colonial reorganization policy which merged Potiskum, Dazigau districts under Fika Native Authority.

Mai Bundi of Potiskum (not Pataskum as erroneously claimed) was deposed as a fallout to his incapacity to meet the British reorganization policy. This made the Moi of Fika the central ruler over Bole, Kare-Kare, Ngamo, Ngazar, Hausa, Fulani and the Kanuri tribes.

Whereas Fika Emirate’s supremacy and popularity in the area was well known even before the arrival of the British in 1902, the Bolewa cum Fika Emirate arrived the area with problem-solving, unification, developmental agenda and not domination as evidenced in their rescue of the area against foreign intruders in the 1850s. This necessitated the British invitation of the Bolewa tribe Cum Fika Emirate to Potiskum for a replica of their superb traditional setup for the overall development of the area.

Had the colonial administrators met what was required of a consummate chiefdom amongst the indigenous tribes which the polemic writers stated that the 13th indigenous ruler was too sick to receive the British upon arrival in 1902, hence the appointment of the 14th ruler at the instance of the British; the entire area would not have had fallen into British control which preferred the setup of Fika Emirate in 1924.

The call for the sack of Bolewa tribe cum Fika Emirate in Potiskum after about a century of survival and rule in the area is rather infantile, senseless and calls for the real interpretation of what is indigenous about the Ngizim tribe and other tribes in the area which have “wa” as the last syllable; an indication that the groups belong to the Chadic linguistic phylum but historically at variance as it was the simple names referred to them by their Hausa neighbours as their real names remain Bole, Ngamo and Ngizim and not Bolewa, Ngizimawa, Ngamawa etc. The Ngizims may have to tell the world how they landed on the soil of Potiskum from heaven without migration from one place to another until their arrival in the area. 

From the records, especially the south to north version account and that of Birnin Ngazargamu down to Daniski – Magaji south and Maidibi north, Fika Emirate have enjoyed a well-organized administration since 1162 when they left Birnin Ngazargamu and where Maidibi ruled from 1162-1229, and to Daniski hills where the 4th ruler Moi Mele Monso ruled from 1468 to 1485 and later to Fika earlier known as Lafiya Moi established by Moi Buriama in 1805 who ruled till 1832.

Moi Muhammadu Idrissa became the Emir of Fika in 1922 upon the death of his father, Moi Idrissa and the king makers of Fika Emirate, a college of eminent elders of the Emirate led by the Madaki selected him to succeed his father seamlessly. The notion that Lawan Sulyman stayed in Mamudo waiting to succeed his father is false because as at when Moi Idrissa died in Fika in 1922, the movement of Fika Emirate to Potiskum was not mooted.

Lawan Sulyman was earlier appointed the District Head of Dazigau in 1914, District Head of Potiskum in 1915 and transferred to Mamudo on February 23, 1922, as acting District Head by the British. Indeed, Lawan Sulyman, had earlier been appointed to supervise the two districts of former Potiskum chiefdoms before the movement of 1924 and had no reason to antagonize Moi Muhammadu, his brother over succession as falsely reported.

The mention that the Ngizim supported Moi Fika to repel an external attack led by one Buba Yero of Gombe is another lie, rather it was Moi Buriama who dealt a deadly blow on the jihadist army south of Fika town and the victory became a common and popular folk captured in a song and drum translated thus: “Buba Yero baki na kyankin bar a…”

Also, that Moi Muhammadu Idrissa was visiting his European friends in Potiskum to rest due to succession tension in Fika is an outright lie. Besides, when the British announced Potiskum as the headquarters of Fika Native Authority, surrounding chiefdoms were always visiting Potiskum to perform civic duties such as tax payment, royalties, and other administrative exigencies at the directive of the British who deemed it necessary to halt the administrative pilgrimage to Potiskum by moving Fika Emirate, the leading chiefdom of the area to Potiskum in 1924.

It was upon the arrival of Moi Fika in Potiskum that the local chiefdoms balkanized by the British to meet the British reorganization policy that the Moi Fika reconsidered the Ngizim tribe into the scheme of things by appointing an Ngizim Chief known as Bauya as village head.

Another ignorance of the polemic writers for Pataskum 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.

Alas, the wild generalization, description of whether Bundiri ward, Kara, Anguwar Bolewa, Lailai districts postulated by Khalil are rantings of an ignorant polemic scribe, historian with scanty knowledge of the area in question, and if he had known the truth of the entire location of the Old Potiskum Prisons facility, the palace of the Emir of Fika and the official areas of authority by Yobe State Government allotted to the Emir of Fika and Mai Pataskum as indicated in the official Gazette of Yobe State, he would have preferred a more dignified assignment than propaganda writing, a tool or pawn in the hands of ethnic separatists of Pataskum.

On the date of approval letter to Fika Emirate in October 2015 to transform the Potiskum Old Prisons facility into a museum to preserve her historical artifacts; an idea earlier mooted during President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua regime when the former Minister of Culture, Alhaji Aliyu Idi Hong visited the area; the polemic writers may have to undergo a remedial programme in administration to understand that upon the assumption duty of General Abdulrahman Dambazau as Minister of Interior in 2015, he inherited all the valid approvals of the Permanent Secretary and it was only the defective approvals he discarded; and the transfer of Old Prisons in Maiduguri, Wukari and Potiskum to Fika Emirate was not included.

Point 8 of Khalil’s polemics had alluded the meeting at the instance of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of December 2020 in Abuja to mean the peaceful resolution or acceptance of the injustice of annulling the approval of Fika to transform the Potiskum Old Prison facility into a museum.

Whereas the three-man team from Fika Emirate had earlier questioned the jurisdiction of the National Human Rights Commission to adjudicate on cultural cum historical matters, the explanation of the commission as the reason for calling the meeting is inconsistent to the facts of the matter in question. A careful perusal of section 10.0, page 7 of the law establishing National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Act of 1995, as amended in 2000 states that “economic, social and cultural rights are not enforceable as a standalone right under the 1999 Constitution.

The state of compliance in Nigeria of economic, social and cultural rights particularly shelter, food, security and education remain in the realm of “progressive realization’ without well-defined benchmarks and indicators to measure compliance”. By virtue of the 1999 constitution, the enforcement of cultural rights are “non-justiciable”, hence the misguided strategy of using the National Human Rights Commission to drum support to the historical dislocation plot of Mai Pataskum to petition an approval to Fika Emirate and the swift compliance of Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola via the Nigerian Correctional Service which the Mai Pataskum retired from is highly suspicious and a calculated attempt at the annexation of Fika Emirate in Potiskum by local, Abuja-based collaborators and mercenaries. 

In a bid to confuse issues, the polemic writers have compared the Ilorin cum Afonja issue in Kwara State and concluded by describing the Bolewa ascendancy in Potiskum and British influence as external intruders. Yet, good students of history cannot wish away British structures in Nigeria as the crux of the Nigerian bureaucracy, and neither could anyone claim ignorance to the realities of Hausa-Fulani hegemony in Northern Nigeria and Nigerian nation in general.

From 1902 when the British established full presence in the Potiskum area and 1924 when they asked the Bolewa tribe cum Fika Emirate to move to Potiskum, it was twenty-two good years of trial of the indigenous tribes and arrival at conclusion of what is best for the area, hence modern-day polemic writers cannot be wiser than the people who met and made their fathers at cradle.

Also, for an imperial British exposed to a very stable monarchy, the local chiefdoms they met in Potiskum especially the Ngizim was thoroughly assessed and discovered to be only fit for subsistence but rustic royalty far from an Emirate. Had they met the British standard, the reverse would have been the case as by their nature would not have been magnanimous as Moi Fika to appoint their chief as a village Head. Fika Emirate in Potiskum is a product of divine providence which cannot be wished away, and all must live to survive with it.

On the issue of the suicide bomber’s attack on the 43rd Emir of Fika as a plot to give Pataskum nay Ngizim tribe a bad name in order to hang it, the security agencies of the area have in their records the full report of the suicide bombing episode and details of the senseless Ngizim bomber who carried out the unfortunate act.

Given the fact of the polemic writers’ acceptance that two Emirates and Emirs should not operate in one metropolis, and call for the movement of Fika Emirate from Potiskum for the Mai Pataskum to operate in his traditional cum ancestral domain; let the Nigerian Land Tenure System, powers of the State Government on Occupancy, appointment, deposition and delineation of areas of authority be reiterated once again to prove that the demands and continued clamour of Mai Pataskum for ownership of Potiskum allotted to Fika Emirate by virtue of the instrument of appointment by Yobe State Government would not be abdicated for an illegality.

The laws have clearly stated Yerimaram as the headquarters of Pataskum Emirate which if they had moved to the area to actualize their age-long desire for an independent chiefdom from Fika Emirate would have been far developed by now.

For a people who have inter-married, lived together peacefully for several years; who has sowed this seed of discord and bug of separation which reached the crescendo in 2000 when Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim assuaged with the odious act of breaking Fika Emirate?

The discordant population of Ngizim drumming the song of war and sack of Fika Emirate from Potiskum, especially the polemic writers should rather look inwards and build on their chequered history as their progenitors at some point depended on the incoherent account of Borno gazetters which could not chronicle their supposed rulers.

What a people whose so-called rulers could not be traced to their tombs in Potiskum or anywhere, unlike the rulers of Fika whose graves in Fika/Potiskum would soon transform into international heritage/tourist sites!  Yet, several fair minded Ngizim people have opted to remain in Fika Emirate and abhorred the separatist plot of their kinsmen such as Alhaji Hassan Sabo Dantamas, the Village Head of Damazai and other personalities of goodwill.

The ethnic bigots rewarded the former Governor with one of their star titles known as Sardauna of Pataskum while the late Emir Fika donated a title due for personalities of his ilk as the Makaman Fika. While Pataskum Emirate through their paid polemic writers are demanding for the impossible movement of Fika Emirate from Potiskum which they have used all known tactics such as using their sons in Government to arrange the deposition and exile of the Emir of Fika to Yobe between 2009-2010, which God intervened, the issue of Potiskum Prisons is another bait for their annexation programme against Fika Emirate by pulling federal strings to confuse the people with a female custodial centre.

The Mai Pataskum should rather attract the female custodial centre to his prescribed area by the government of Yobe State and hasten the development of Yerimaram with Federal presence as a retired prisons officer and shelve the inordinate but hidden ethnic cleansing intentions.

Until the approval to Fika Emirate by Federal Ministry of Interior to transform the Old Potiskum Prisons facility into a museum is upheld; the evil, divisive petition which the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola used to cancel the earlier approval without consultation, verification and confirmation of Yobe State Government have murdered the peace of the area and the wake-keeping may spill to Abuja!

Asab and Archibong are of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.

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