THE PATHWAY TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE PEACE IN TAKUM AND THE ENTIRE KUTEB LAND
By Rikwense Muri
Truth be told, peace is not a cheap commodity in today’s world of weapon proliferation, instability and violence. Therefore all who desire peace in their community must be willing and able to pay the price for it. Right now Takum and the entire Kuteb land needs a sustainable peace that will attack government projects, tourism and business. In this article I will be sharing on how to tackle some of the challenges facing our land and build sustainable peace. Our roles as Kuteb will be my focus because it’s vital towards realizing whatever we desire to see in our land.
Takum belongs to Kuteb by history. Ukwe stool belongs to Kuteb by tradition. But officially after the codification of the Traditional stools in Northern Nigeria in Kaduna in 1963 (Known as the 1963 gazette), Ukwe does not belong to Kuteb alone in the selection process and the subsequent enthronement. Chamba, Kpanzun, Hausawa and Kuteb are major stakeholders in the process.
The Takum of today is not a community of the primitive era, it is a recognized urban territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In a republic, laws guides every activities of man be it religion, business, tradition or politics. We must see things in this light to be part of the peace process in Takum.
We must also come in term with fact that the various institutions in Takum that should have been vehicles of bringing us together are not more visible as they used to be. The EKAS Church is already divided between Kuteb and the other tribes as RCCN and CRCN. KYN which speaks with one voice for the Kuteb is divided. No faction is even speaking because non has legitimacy across board. No festival that will bring us together as one nation. Political party proliferation has divided us into different political interests and ideologies.
The only institution that should have bring us all together irrespective of tribes, religion or political affiliation is the Ukwe Takum. Now the stool is vacant, the people and all the stakeholders in the process of installing new Ukwe are divided. What does the future holds for Takum?
The administrative structure of the British colonial indirect rule was adopted to ensure that Ukwe represents the interest of everyone in Takum and ensure that everyone feel secure and protected as citizens of Takum.
The 1963 gazette law allows the Hausa, Chamba, Kuteb, and kpanzun to be included in the decision of installing Ukwe Takum. Now as it is Kuteb cannot single handedly install Ukwe Takum. They can however as custodian of the culture and traditions of land influence the process through the selection of the Ukwe designee to be presented to the kingmakers to be elected. Also all Princess in the Royal family can lobby their way to contest to be elected by the kingmakers.
By law, the process of installing Ukwe Takum is not a secret affair. It’s not just local tribal tradition but now legal tradition.
This 1963 gazette also makes it impossible for anyone or tribe of the kingmakers to be regarded as second class citizens of Takum. They either choose to live together as brothers or they will perish together as fools.
It’s has difficult as that. Therefore, we must ensure that we enlighten ourselves well in our efforts to restore peace and stability to Takum. Two wrongs can never make right. I as a Kuteb cannot write out the Chamba, Hausawa, and Kpazun, as major stakeholders in Takum today. These other tribes should not underestimate the traditional authority of Kuteb people in Takum.
Just like Biafra, Middle belt, Kanuri empire, Fulani Caliphate, Benin Kingdom, Oduduwa were merged together by law as Nigerians: Chamba, Kpanzun, Hausawa, and Kuteb are merged together for the development and prosperity of Takum. The law specifies our individual and collective roles in building Takum. We know were the King will come from among us, from the Kuteb Likam and Aketen clans, but he must come as a blessing to us all.
That’s why if you look closely, the Aricwu and Arikam Kutebs are more interrelated with the Chamba, Kpanzun and Hausawa than to other clans of Kuteb. In those days they see themselves as more brothers than other andetirikwen. They hardly intermarry with the “puka kuna” but see each other as stakeholders in Takum till date. Until recently many Likam and Aketen clans could not speak Kuteb language. Their local dialect is lost to the interrelationships with the Chamba and Kpanzun.
Today many members of the Takum Royal family who understand the accepted 1963 gazette, all not happy with escalation of the conflict of Takum due to ignorance of most of the commentators on the modern Takum city under the jurisdiction of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This ignorance turns sincere people into trouble makers due to the unworkability of their position on the discussion table.
What’s the way forward for Kuteb nation?
1. The Role of Elders must be played collectively with one voice from a single forum. No single Kuteb elder has authority over issues facing Kuteb land but together they can exerts authority that will be respected by all Kuteb and government. Elites Elders like Ndufu Dr Nuhu Andeyaba, Chief D.S Nyapuri, Ndufu Ibrahim Jauro, Ndufu Ukwe Taka, Ndufu Yakubu Tuktur, Ndufu Engr Joshua Wasa, Ndufu Joshua Hassan, Ndufu Prof Ibrahim Musa, Ndufu Danladi Kifasi, Ndufu Nuhu Iratsi, Ndufu Bitrus Kefas, Ndufu Barr Bawa Pyiki etc. All can come together and speak with one voice of conscience for posterity. They can unite KYN and give our political elites guidance on developmental politics.
2. KYN must speak up for the Kuteb nation. These kinds of meeting oriented KYN without communiqué on behalf of Kuteb nation must be trained on how goals are achieved in the current society. We want a strong KYN with a media presence and negotiational ability. A KYN that will be seen and heard by mbateb. A politically neutral KYN for all.
3. KYN must open door for talks with the other tribal stakeholders in Takum for peaceful coexistence, power sharing in politics, cultural festivals restoration, Ukwe installation process etc. Just reach out to your neighbor and discuss. This is what will build confidence and restore lasting peace.
4. Involvement of everyone in the peace building process in pairs and gender. Youths, women and Elders must meet across tribal affiliation to discuss the way forward under a friendly environment beginning from the elites.
5. Take bold decisions and ensure to carry everyone along especially the constituted authority.
Finally since the major cause of Takum conflict is the Ukwe, Royal Families must not shy away from playing a major role in the process that will to peaceful installation. At least we Kuteb people should be officially inform of the choice of the Ukwe designee.
This to me should have been the phases of the recognition:
1. Royal Family recognition
2. Clan recognition
3. Tribal recognition
4. Kingmakers recognition and election
5. Government staff of recognition and inauguration
6. The general universal recognition of the Ukwe.
That’s how its being done in most Royal issues around Nigeria using 1963 gazette.
Right now if we have Ukwe designee, it’s still at 1st and 2nd phase of recognition. The Royal family must wake up to their responsibility to play their role in the process that will bring about the installation of the new Ukwe Takum.
Together we can lend our voices towards a deliberate peaceful efforts to Takum conflict which is now at the final stage of resolution. Final peace is just at the corner.
Peace is possible in a divided society but it’s not a cheap commodity. We must come together to restore the glory of our land using the best African practice to ensure peaceful resolution of our unfortunate conflict that has destroyed our land.
May God crown our efforts with success.