Display of royal culture
Culture was on display at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU) in Lapai, Niger State, when the Hausa-Fulani Students’ Association (HAFUSA) held its Cultural Day and Bikin Dawra Rawani (coronation) for its new Sarkin (leader). MAHMUD ABDULSALAM reports.
By 10 a.m, the Fada (palace) had been filled. Made from bamboo straws, the makeshift palace was beautifully decorated. Seated at the palace’s entrance were guests and students, waiting for the emir.
Moment after, sounds of Kaakaki (traditional trumpet) permeated the air, heralding the arrival of the ‘emir’ and his entourage.
Welcome to the Bikin Dawra Rawani (coronation) and cultural day of the Hausa-Fulani Students’ Association (HAFUSA) at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU) in Lapai, Niger State, which was held last Saturday.
The emir, Isah Yahaya, his Gimbiya (queen) and chiefs made their way into the palace on royal horses adorned with chains of coins and leather materials. Clad in Baban Riga (flowing robes) and Rawani (turban), the emir and his chiefs in the Masarauta (emirate council) were cheerfully received by the guests.
As he prepared to get off the horse, the emir threw kola nuts at his ‘subjects’ . In response, they chanted Ranke ya dade! (Long shall you live, Your Highness). Others hailed the emir, screaming: Sarki, an gaishe ka (Your Majesty, we salute you), Allah ya jazamin Sarki (May God prolong your reign, Your Majesty).
Surrounded by a group of red-cloth palace guards, the emir held a staff with his left hand and raised his firmly-clenched right fist to acknowledge the compliments.
As the coronation rites were going on in the forecourt of the Management Lecture Theatre (MLT), the Yan Wasan Kwaikwayo (traditional palace jesters) threw rib-cracking jokes to entertain the audience. After the coronation, the emir and his chiefs stepped out for ‘special prayers’ by religious clerics.
The association’s Patron, Mallam Idris Kusharki, explained the importance of the event in Hausa-Fulani society. Coronation of emir, he said, is an important heritage in Hausa-Fulani culture, without which a society is doom, if the coronation rites are not performed.
He said the ceremony would help foster peace and promote love among diverse members of a community, adding that integrity, moral character and leadership credibility of the emir could be put to question if the rights are not performed.
He said: “Coronation is seen as harbinger of positive changes in a traditional Hausa-Fulani society. It is a belief that, only emirs who are likely to be oppressive, arrogant and egocentric will shun coronation.”
Kusharki prayed for divine wisdom to direct the affairs of the incoming leaders. He advised them to be humble and to seek counsel in the running of the association’s affair.
The outgoing emir, Muhammad Salihu, expressed gratitude to Allah for having a “hitch-free”reign, saying: “The association has achieved outstanding progress under our reign.”
He added: “We have projected the association to become strong and influential, even beyond the campus. By our humble achievements, we have redefined the concept of service and servant leadership. These are part of the legacies my administration is leaving behind.
“We projected our culture by organising strategic cultural events, which we used to build bridges of unity by ensuring our members cohabit peacefully with students from other ethnic groups. The legacy projects we promised when we came had been completed.”
The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Muhammad Nasir Maiturare, who was the special guest of honour, noted that Hausa-Fulani’s culture promotes social order and unique belief system, advising members of the association to reject negative values that would tarnish the image of the association and their heritage.
He said: “As Hausa-Fulani ethnic groups, we have been portrayed wickedly by stereotypical words and languages. The onus lies on you all to always show decent public conduct. This will help in correcting the wrong stereotypes about northerners, Muslims and Hausa-Fulani in particular.”
The emir conferred a traditional title of Na’isan (Dependable trustee) on the VC during the ceremony. In his acceptance message, Prof Maiturare appreciated members of the association for the honour, admonishing them to be law-abiding and take their studies seriously.
The VC said: “The Hausa-Fulani are renowned for their scholarship. Historically, they are not known to have condemned any form of knowledge. Instead, they are passionate about education. We have northerners becoming renowned clerics, professors and industrialists. You must reject any idea that says you should not acquire education.”
Stepping out to address the guests, Isah hailed his predecessor for making “valuable contributions” to the growth of the association, promising to consolidate on Muhammad’s achievements.
He said he would welcome constructive criticisms from members of the association, adding that he would not reject “wise counsel” that would help the association’s progress. The emir cautioned his ‘subjects’ against vices that may bring disrepute to the name of the association.
After the emir’s speech, the guests were entertained by a troupe of Yan mata (young ladies) that performed traditional dance steps. As this was going on, sumptuous traditional delicacies, such as Dambu, Dan Wake, Fura da Nono, Alewa, Kunu, Tuwo, Masa, and Zogale, were served.
Some students told CAMPUSLIFE that the event as spectacular, saying it was a display of a tradition.
A 300-Level student, Happiness Christopher, said the event erased the wrong impression she had about Hausa-Fulani people. Fascinated by the cultural display, Happiness said: “The Hausa-Fulani people are not actually what they are perceived to be. I learnt many things about their tradition, belief system and food, which changed my impression about these unique people. I have been shown that Hausa-Fulani people are intelligent, literate and accommodating.”
Another student, Zainab Abdulmalik, said the event made her proud of her heritage, adding: “It was fun to be served my best meal at the event.”
The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Dr Aliyu Ma’ali, advised members of other cultural groups on the campus to promote values that would foster peace and unity in the school. He described the emir’s coronation as a “colourful display of tradition”, noting that Hausa-Fulani culture does not support illiteracy and laziness.
He said: “There is no culture that does not have its values and distinct belief system. As we have seen from this event, the culture of Hausa-Fulani people promotes co-habitation, respect and good virtues. It is an act of mischief to use actions of a few misguided people should to judge a whole race. From what we seen here, illiteracy and laziness do not have basis in our culture. I advise other cultural groups to emulate the association by showcasing their cultural heritages in this colourful manner that would enable their colleagues learn and respect their cultures.”