Elder Statesman urges Government to revive agricultural shows

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

The Nigerian Government has been called upon to revive annual Agricultural festivals organised some years ago, for enhancement of culture and traditions of the people.

An Elder Statesman and a traditional title holder in Gombe, the Waziri, Yeriman Gombe,  Alhaji Yaya Hammari Sa’ad, told Voice of Nigeria that the resuscitation of the show would showcase agricultural and other cultural heritage of the State, as well as the people.

Alhaji Sa’ad such cultural practices were gradually being replaced by other cultures that were becoming detrimental to traditions inherited from the forefathers.

He wants the resuscitation of games like the local wrestling, (kokuwa) and Horse race (Durbar), which he said should be conducted more frequently and not only during Sallah celebrations.

“We want the government to instil this cultural heritage to be maintained, so that those coming up can see how we were doing it before, how we were rearing our cattle before, not so the scientific means,” the Gombe elder statesman said.

Alhaji Sa’ad urged the government to imbibe other types of farming methods, like Fish farming, Cattle rearing and Horse racing to generate more revenue in the state.

 

Background

Agricultural shows were a common tradition and activity people look forward in the past, especially in northern Nigeria, which were periodically organised, giving opportunity to farmers to improve on their skills for greater yield.

At such times, men and women farmers always strive to produce the best in their field of farming, that way; prizes are presented to the best three in every category.

Aside from the exhibition of agricultural products, the shows also exhibited cultural and traditional displays on the sidelines, which usually attract visitors from within and outside the area, thereby generating more revenue and enhancing the economic base of the people.

However, this has become history today.

That is why the Gombe Elder Statesman wants that tradition reactivated.

For him, those times gave his tribe, Fulani, the avenue to showcase its culture to the world, although he says his people still practice and maintained this unique culture over the years, such as the popular Durbar, horse racing.

Alhaji Sa’ad said the best process of getting that done was by empowering the Chairmen of Chiefs in a state to organise such festivals to project the culture of their people.

In his own words: “The benefits of having this being maintained and also reactivated, is there is greater understanding, there is unity and exchange of ideas between the farmers and cattle rearers. So if we continue maintaining this Agricultural shows, the blacksmith, the goldsmith, everybody will be there. And then rearing of cattle, fattening them, it is only an idea for others to borrow.       

According to Alhaji Yaya Hammari Sa’ad, one of the things that make Gombe State unique and a nerve centre in the North Eastern part of Nigeria is the ability and the passion its people have for farming, hence the call for government at both state and federal levels to be encouraged to see the importance the agric shows and resuscitate them.

 “Let it be centralised and controlled as it was before. A controller should be the Chairman of the Council of Chiefs and Emirs; hence he was given this title. This should be maintained. He should be allowed and directed to invite the emirs to come to Gombe and perform this Agricultural show,” said Alhaji Yaya Hammari Sa’ad.    

The elder statesman also called on parents to take time to educate their children on the rich cultural heritage in their land, by making them read books that would enlighten them.

He said movies depicting rich cultures of the state should be shown regularly to remind children of their heritage, so that all the foreign cultures they have adopted could be done away with, because they do not teach Africa’s kind of moral lessons.

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Gombe Emirate

He went down memory lane, to the time the Gombe Emirate was established by Sultan Buba Yero, from 1801 to 1944.

He ran the linage of Sultan Buba Yero from the time he was given a flag by Usman Dan Fodio, (the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate), to fight the jihad and he came and settled by the bank of River Benue and by 1804, his migration and settlement in Ribadu and thereafter in Dukku to Gombe Abba and finally to the present 11th Emir of Gombe, who is His Royal Highness, Abubakar Shehu Abubakar, who took over from his father, Shehu Abubakar in 2014.

He said the uniqueness of the Palace in Gombe was that four of the emirs had been buried there, making it a tourist attraction.

He said in times past, a lot of cultural and agricultural practices were observed by the people, who were mostly farmers and were seen engaging in cotton farming and agricultural show, which brought about positive developments in the area, such as the establishment of the Agricultural Development Bank, among others.

He said it was during that time that the Dadinkowa Dam was constructed.

Equally important also, he said, was the fact that, the traditions of the Fulani in the emirate was horse racing and was still being practiced today.

He said however that the emirate used to be one, which was split into several others, Dukku, Funakaye, Nafada, Yamaltu, Deba, Akko, Kaltungo, Tangale, Cham, Dadiya, Balanga, Talase, Akko-Gona and Pindiga, all created from the then Gombe Emirate.

The move, according to him, led to the split of the cultural bonds, because formerly when they were under the emir of Gombe, as district heads, the Emir of Gombe could invite them to carry out any directives relating to cultural activities or any other issue, especially the annual  agricultural show, which he described as marvellous.

He lamented that almost all of the cultures had vanished, except some few, who observe them independently, like the Tangale people.

 

Nnenna.O