Sukur District Head Tussle Poses Risk Of Adamawa Losing UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Adamawa PDP Gubernatorial candidate, Umaru Fintiri

 *Governor Fintiri accused of siding  Kinsmen (Margis)  

By KATO P. LADAN, KadunaThe

people of Sukur Kingdom in Sukur District, is a Host District to Sukur Cultural Landscape, Africa’s first and 25th Cultural Site, and a world historical monument of the United Nations Education, Scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) have accused the present Government of Adamawa State under the leadership of Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of siding with his kinsmen, the Margis who are alleged to be   planning  to rename Sukur District to Mildu District, a Marghi village in Madagali Local Government area of the state.
The Sukur Elders forum, the Sukur Kingdom Traditional Council, Matasa Integrated Community Support Initiative, Sukur Youth Development Association and National Association of Sukur Students in a press conference under signed a press release disagreeing with the appointment of non-Sukur indigenes to be  District Head of the area.

They worry that the district is approximately 30km to Gwoza, a red zone owing to activities of the insurgents presently having relative peace with a possibility of falling into turmoil should the decision of the Governor  go unreversed.

In an indignant mode, Dr John Luka Njile while reading the press statement, said the appointment of non-Sukur indigene or nationality to be the District Head of Sukur and the move to change the name of Sukur District to Midlu District is an affront to their national identity, conscience and the history of Sakun (Sukur) Nation.
According to him, apart from being an attempt to forcefully change their history, and cause pain that could lead to turmoil, and endanger the peaceful co-existence of Sukur and their neighbours, it is also a threat to the whole existence of the Sukur World Heritage Site, which took some painful years for Africa, Nigeria and Adamawa State to get enlisted. 

The struggle to get Sukur listed into the prestigious UNESCO Heritage Site in 1999 was fought with the resources of Nigeria and Adamawa State.
He narrated historical background of Sukur kingdom and said that the formal status of Sukur declared the first African Cultural Landscape to be in the prestigious list of World Heritage Site on the basis of customary values and practice, as recorded by UNESCO has a long standing history as a kingdom for the past thousand years. 

With an organized Central Administrative system, equivalent to all traditional african states, such as the Hausa state, Old Oyo Empire, Songhai, Ghana, Zimbabwe etc before the advent of colonialism.

Sukur is an ancient kingdom of historical importance. It is ranked among the most civilization of West Africa with many International scholarly researches on its kingdom, culture and civilization.

In their press atatement, Luka contended that the Margi ethnic nationality migrated from Pabir, met Sukur and Sukur has been their host. 

The only Margi group that has something in common with Sukur (Sakun) nation are the Margi ‘Dzurngu’ or the hill Margis who have the common nomenclature ‘Medugus’. While other Margi clans are new migrants to the plains of the Yedzeram River, and have no claim to the culture, tradition and chieftaincy of Sukur Kingdom.

“Sukur District was created based on norms, values and tradition of Sukur to preserve the over 700 years of living culture of the dynasty of the Sukur people. More so, as the custodian of World Heritage Site and of course, the first in Africa, Nigeria, Adamawa State and Madagali Local Government Area. 

“There is no way therefore, that a migrant could be appointed the District Head of Sukur. Hence the appointment of non-Sukur indigene or nationality to be the District Head of Sukur, and the wicked move to remove the name ‘SUKUR’ from its History and give it another name is belligerent and a futile attempt to rewrite a history that is older than the entire generation and genealogy of the designers and dreamers of the novae riche and power drunk chunk of new breed political charlatans, who do not know the Political History of Adamawa State and Nigeria.

“The appointment of non-Sukur as District Head of Sukur is repugnant to national justice, equity and a deliberate plan to extinct Africa first cultural beauty/image, good conscience and could be termed barbaric, obnoxious and retrospective which should be condemn by peace loving Nigerians, Adamawa and particularly Madagali indigenes. 

“Madagali Local Government is at the red zone due to activities of the insurgents at the moment. The present Government which is considered as government of change should therefore be very careful and conscious of the peace required to achieve its objectives and programs and not disturb the relative peace achieved through the advice of reckless, selfish and self-conceited individuals who are jeopardizing the fragile peace of Madagali Local Government Area and indeed Adamawa State, for their illusive dream of becoming what History has not bestowed on them – ie the Head of Sukur Kingdom.” Luka said

The Sukur Community accused Ahmadu of using his veto power as the executive Governor of the State and a Margi Man by tribe to change the course of history to cause a serious division among the people who have being co-existing peaceful without having any grudges since the creation of the District that has a Sukur Man ruling the traditional affairs of the area.

In an effort to state out  facts on the subject matter, Luka said since the creation of the District in 1991, by the then Governor, Late Alhaji Saleh Michika under the leadership of General Ibrahim Babangida that the district has been ruled by a Sukur decent, Late Rev. Ezra Makarma and his son, a Sukur man, Ezra Makama replaced him in 2017.

“Now the only thing we hold dear to our chests have been confiscated by the power that be, probably with a notion that we can do nothing about it, since we are powerless. But we know and believe that we might be powerless, but our God is not.

“We might be voiceless but the country we belong to and importantly God we serve will hear our plea and restore what belong to us. We wish to reiterate that this is the centre of our cooperate existence as a people.

“From the foregoing statements, the love and passion accorded by Nigeria as a comity have not trickled down to us because of the obvious fact that we are underdogs as far as the politics of Adamawa State is concerned. 

“Also the influence of peaceful co-existence with our neigbours in Madagali, is now practically imperiled by the actions of this present government. This is the path no one want to trek as our people and indeed every inhabitant of Madagali, have so far ached out a very difficult living in the shadows of death and danger. We must collectively refrain from actions that can artificially add salt to our wounds.” He added

He continued  that: “We have been enduring an increasing series of neglect and injustices that are becoming increasingly difficult to bear and as such, has the potential to make us, and no doubt our posterity to nurse grievances that may not be easily overlooked/forgotten.

“Note that all injustices, notwithstanding, we still believe and trust that the state of neglect, nepotism and inequalities infringement can be reversed now that the issue has been brought to the State and National levels for discourse and remedy by today’s press briefing.

“That the authorities treat the glaring lapses, in regards to leadership of Sukur people and the District, and be handled with utmost urgency.Whether or not the present government considers the issues at hand as a security issues, it behooves us to state clearly that it is a point of fact, serious security issues and as such should be treated urgently to avert unforeseen state of chaos.

“The call and move to change Sukur District to Midlu District is not practicable and has evil intention.The long term redress to the inequities suffered by our people ‘’the Sukur people’’ can only be effected by restoring back the leadership of the District to the right owner, whose father died after being the District Head for 26 years, and in accordance with rules and regulations of the Mubi Emirate Council.

“We are also calling for the creation of Sukur Chiefdom out of Mubi Emirate so that the kingdom enjoys the status of other Kingdoms in Nigeria e.g Oyo, Nupe, Hausa land, Tiv, Chamba, Bachama, Hoba and other autonomous Kingdoms to ensure equity and justice prevails.”

The Director of Media and Communications affairs of the Governor, Mr Solomon Kumangar while responding to the issued press statement by Sukur Community, said Governor Fintiri remains an unbiased man and remains fair to all.
According to him, the Governor has no interest of who becomes the District Head but only ratified what he met on ground on his resumption to office as the elected Governor.

He refuted the statement of Sukur kinsmen as being economical with the truth as the District Head in question comprises of five communities with a rotational chiefs selection and it happened that the last District Head was from Sukur, that does not give them the authority to lay claim as the sole preserve of the District as their own.

He said that the District was first created in 1983 as Mildu district  when late Sale Michika was the Governor of the state and changed the name to a tribe of a community (Sukur) because of political interests.

He said changing the name from Sukur to Mildu is a plea of other four communities in the interest of peace because in the entire Madagali LGA, it is only Sukur District that bears the name of a tribe.

“About four other communities are asking for the reversal of the former name to Mildu District so it will be in tandem of other Communities,the districts of these Communities were named after towns not tribe.” Solomon said.

He added  that Governor Fintiri only ended up a process that has been concluded by his predecessor.

He is a God fearing man, a unifying figure and a de-tribelised  personality that cannot do what is just not right because of some people’s interest or he belongs to a particular group of people as a Governor.”

He warned that anybody trying to forment trouble or break law and order, the security would play their role to foster peace in the state.

It would be recalled that the lingering tussle hds being going on unabated for months with the communities of Sukur and Madagali holding up to their fact and reality of history.

This happened immediately a leader  emerged through a five-man  selection process and a Margi man was voted into the seat.

Immediately, the selection was described by Sukur  as violated and a foul play and  may result to losing out the entire heritage if something urgent is not done according to Dr. Luka John.

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