Community in Gombe rises against cultural extinction

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

Sons and daughters of the Nyimatli tribe, popularly referred to as Tera Language, have gathered at their headquarters in Deba, Gombe State, for its first economic Summit and the 2016 annual Nyimatli Cultural Festival held at Deba Emir’s palace ground.

The two events showcased other activities, including presentation and launching of books, cultural dances and display of artefacts, among others.

In the meantime, the Nyimatli communities have vowed not to relent in mobilizing their people towards self-sufficiency with a view to preserve their culture from total extinction.

They say they are concerned about the overwhelming impact of other languages and cultures, especially of tribes with looming population on the cultures of minority tribes.

DSC_9450The Nyimatli tribe, a minority tribe which occupies larger part of Yamaltu Deba Local Government with a fewer population found in Akko and Kwami Local  Governments of Gombe State, holds cultural festivals annually where  people from 20 districts within and outside the state participate.

While addressing the people during the 2016 Nyimatli Cultural Festival held at Deba Emir’s palace ground, the President of Nyimatli Development Association, Alhaji Bello Mohammed Abdu, said the association would develop programmes that will create job opportunities for its youths and women.

“The famous Nyimatli axion ‘khujom mhuti, ye kawa’, meaning, ‘better death, than shame’, is a testament of the Nyimatli high regard for morality,” he added.

The Tera People of Gombe state are said to be the 2nd largest ethnic group after the Fulani.

They have two emirates, the Deba and Yamaltu and they occupy greater part of Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area.

From time immemorial, various Tera communities organised their separate cultural festivals, until recent times, when the Nyimatli Cultural Association centralised and rotationally hold the event in places where the Tera people are found.

However, in 2009, the event had to be halted due to security chages in the North East.

This year, 2016, the cultural event began with an Economic Summit tagged ‘Nyimatli Cultural Values: Panacea for Corrupt Practices and Social Vices.

Alhaji Mohammed Bello Abdu, the President of the Nyimatli Cultural Development Associationn said “it is gratifying to note that we shall today launch the books on reading and writing Tera Language. Our main objective at mobilising Nyimatli people towards self-sufficiency preserves our dear Nyimatli Language from extinction,”.

Alhaji Abdu said the festival was meant to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the people, which were far beyond the usual cultural dances, and display of artefacts.

DSC_9458He however lamented that, rich cultural values of many minority tribes such as the Nyimatli culture were fast eroding, but that in line with the conviction of the people, the festival would take many back memory lane, where the real cultural values of their people would help in addressing alien social maladies in their society.

As part of development in the area, the President of the Nyimatli Cultural Association said the Nyimatli association had established an ICT Centre, which would provide access for their teeming youths to write the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination into Universities and other higher institutions of learning.

Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State, commended the Nyimatli Cultural Association for holding the Economic Summit as part of the cultural event.

He said it was high time people began to diversify their economic sources and reduce over dependence on imported products, particularly at the current times of dwindling revenues.

The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Dr Charles Iliya said “this is moment of sober reflection and a clarion call to all of us to reduce overdependence on imported products and diversify our economy for the benefit of the present and future generation,”.

Alhaji Yunus Abubakar, a member Representing Yamaltu Deba Federal Constituency at the National Assembly and the Vice President of the cultural association says the cultural activity was a rallying point for the Tera people.

“This event is very, very significant in the history of the Tera, popularly known as Nyimatli, is one of the rallying points, a pivot that brought about unity among the Teras,” Alhaji Abubakar said.

The cultural event was graced by dignitaries and top government officials, as well as other cultural groups and the Nyimatli sons and daughters from within and outside Nigeria.