Editor's note: Writer and historian, Bello Balarabe takes a deeper look at the Birnin Yandoto Emirate in Zamfara state, with focus on the role played by Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima, a former governor of the northwest state.
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History is perhaps the one place people with events that have spent their essence just to remain relevant to our reflections and backward search of truths. It doesn't matter if everyone goes, as it's usually the case, to the river of the past to fetch just enough of what they want without swimming the entire length and breadth of the flow to at least understand where it commenced. This is why the responsibility falls to some of us to undertake this arduous task of voyaging entire berths of the specific sections of the historical river to fish out the facts she has held in deposits.
The true history of Yandoton Daji, Keta, Kwaren Ganuwa, Danjibga, Kizara, and Bawa Ganga Districts, recently a subject of interest and verbal kickboxing between the adept and the utterly clueless has become a cause for worry, hence, the need for me to clear the air once and for all and in the process, name and shame some people for whom vested interest has taken out their tongues, reducing them into gutless old men who sit and watch, as a tethered she-goat suffers the pain of parturition in a leash.
The evolution of the territory now referred to Tsafe Emirate can be traced to the first coming of General Obasanjo, when in 1978 specifically, the need for new federal constituencies arose.
Tsafe district (then in Gusau local govt) was considered to be made a federal constituency. But unfortunately, the area (Tsafe District) was adjudged not large enough to make a federal constituency by itself. So, a portion of Gusau District (namely; Yandoton-Daji, Keta, Danjibga and Kwaren Ganuwa) was carved out and added to Tsafe district in order that Tsafe can attain her new status of a federal constituency, but most importantly, for today's Zamfara to achieve mutual development. That's how the seven districts from Gusau (ruled then by village heads) were added to Tsafe to form the then Tsafe federal constituency. It should be noted, that because at the time, Tsafe and Gusau were under the same local government area (Gusau), this venture didn't warrant any rancour or problems. This is because; the seven villages and their heads were still answerable to Gusau district.
This arrangement subsisted until, during the time head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida decreed that all federal constituencies, Tsafe included be elevated to the status of local government areas. This is where it gets interesting. This is because, the then village heads of Yandoton Daji, Keta, Kwaren Ganuwa and Danjibga automatically became part and parcel of the new Tsafe local government area, but their traditional allegiance remained with Gusau - again, without rancour or any bad blood till 1996 when Zamfara state was created.
In 1996, an additional district was created in Tsafe and it was named Yandoton Daji District covering the entire seven villages whose traditional allegiance is still with Gusau but now very much part of Tsafe local government area. Nor, will this be the first place in Nigeria where traditional boundaries transcend formal boundaries. In fact, here in Nigeria, there are emirates whose reach and traditional allegiance covers up to four local government areas but whose traditional administration has remained smooth thanks to history. But I won't dwell on that now.
It is in 2001 that the history of Yandoton Daji, Keta, Kwaren Ganuwa and Danjibga the part that most young and green storytellers know and are comfortable with and try to tell, with the seriousness of a mule, was ushered into reckoning by Governor Ahmad Sani.
It started with former governor, Ahmad Sani Yarima creating Tsafe Emirate and in so doing, he arbitrarily, irresponsibly and carelessly, without recourse to history, lumped Yandoton-Daji district with Tsafe Emirate, cutting off a traditional setup that has existed for more than 200 years.
It is only when one takes in the implications of Governor Yarima's historical gaffe above, specifically the part where it amounts to a blatant robbery of the bloodline of a whole people, perhaps that we can fully appreciate the import of his ill-advised misadventure. Let it be known, that if it ever amounts to evil to create new Emirates, Tsafe will not be one today. One would have thought people like former Governor Yarima who are in the thick of this history will come out to sing the bickering young men to bed once for all. But we all know that's not his modus operandi.
It leaves so much to be desired when people for whom the people have given so much, climb so high into their gilded cages without any care in the world what becomes of them. History will not judge anyone kindly who stands aloof and watch as houses around him burn, yet refuse volunteers the use of his well to procure water to put out the fire. I miss the days when we have responsible elders who will stand for the truth no matter whose ox is gored. Many of our past leaders benefited from the uncompromising stand of this past society. However, they will rather it ends with them.
No matter what, the creation of Birnin Yandoto Emirate if (by the special grace of Allah) comes into fruition will finally signal the beginning of righting the injustice done to Gusau people and their history. I want to urge all who are not down with the idea to find somewhere in their hearts to bury the lie. After all, Birnin Yandoto is now going to commence its journey to future greatness with the blessings of Gusau ta Sambo, its ancestral beacon and as students of history, nothing is more pleasing than to see that historical entries are brought to reposition events back into their true trajectory of travel for posterity's sake.
Even at that, it won’t be out of place for Yarima to come out and apologize to the good people of Gusau and Sambo Dan Ashafa family (Gusau Ruling House) for his gross distortion of ancestral history for selfish reasons.
For his intention to create Birnin Yandoto Emirate, surely, Governor Matawalle is about writing his name in the sands of history with a golden pen by righting the injustice done to Gusau ruling house in particular and the good people of Gusau in general.
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