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Daura’s garland for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

Daura will on Saturday, February 5 wear a galaxy of colours in celebratory mood as it plays host to thousands of people of all divides from across the country and even beyond. The occasion will be the turbanning of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as the Dan Manar Daura by the Emir of Daura in his palace.

The former sleepy town of Daura, which is the home of President Muhammadu Buhari, is noted for its peaceful nature, with rich and enduring history and cultural platitudes in the northern part of Nigeria. Historically, Daura which is one of the emirates in Katsina State and local government council headquarter, is the spiritual home of the Hausa people.

The emirate is referred to as one of the “seven true Hausa states” because it was ruled by the descendants of Bayajidda’s sons with Daurama and Magira. Located in the Savanna zone, the name Daura in the local parlance means ‘Blacksmith,’ in the Tuareg language and it was said to have been founded by a queen and ruled by women between the ninth and 10th centuries. It was also noted as a rich trading centre with such items as salt, and potash from the Sahara Desert, clothes, slaves, leather and agricultural produce, which include sorghum, millet, onions, peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, and hides and skins; cattle, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys. Recall that President Buhari is one of the well noted cattle rearers from Daura with his herds of cattle and farm, which he talks about glowingly and hopes to retire to it, at the end of his tenure in May 2023.

Daura over the years, especially since 2015 when President Buhari became the president has assumed a new status and significance in Nigeria’s economic and political calculation as it has played host to different events and personalities. However, the event of Saturday February 5 will be of different pomp and vibe, promising to be of fulfilling hues with the crème de la crème of the society ranging from politics, business, religious to social circles expected to grace the August event. More importantly, is the cultural significance of the event, which expectedly will not be devoid of eccentric drama as the audience will be treated to the fusion of two Nigerian cultures, North and South-south.

This time not just the North but that of Hausa-Fulani variant, with the admixture of not just South -south but of the Ikwerre people of Rivers State, the homestead of Amaechi. Aside the cultural significance and entertainment value of the event, on the economic plane, it would bolster the tourism economy of Daura and the state itself as the thousands of people expected to attend the event would certainly spend money on food, accommodation, transportation, luxury, artifacts and other activities of interest to them. On the political plane and other considerations, the decision to honour Amaechi with one of the highest titles of Daura by the emir, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk, who is the 60th emir of the emirate, could be seen as a masterstroke by him to bridge the link between the emirate with other parts of the country and enlarge the coast of goodwill and commonwealth from which the emirate could draw from or depend on for its development.

The title of Dan Manar Daura, which is translated to mean ‘trusted son of Daura’ or ‘confidant of Daura’ could be said to be truly deserved by Amaechi given his antecedents and relationship with the town and its sons and daughters especially President Buhari, who is his boss, a friend and political master.

In more than one ways, it could be said that Amaechi’s political romance with Buhari, especially given the significant roles he played in the election of Buhari as president in 2015 and his re-election in 2019 have not gone unnoticed by the emir and the people of Daura as not just a great favour and honour to Buhari alone but also to the entire emirate. Also, some of the successes that President Buhari have recorded in his about six years reign are in the areas of infrastructure with particular reference to rails where Amaechi as Minister of Transportation is said to have brought his magic touch to bear in transforming the rail sector. Part of this is the fact that Daura itself has benefited from the rail sector revolution with a rail line project running through Daura to Maradi in Niger Republic. Added to this are other amenities with the most notable one being the establishment of the University of Transportation in Daura.

With these and many more, it is right to say that Amaechi is indeed deserving of the honour and title as a ‘trusted friend’ of Daura because the town has not had it this good in other regimes than this present one with Amaechi engineering all that the town is basking in now.

Well, some public commentators and observers may see this new development as part of 2023 politics when viewed against the background of the recent declaration of interest in the presidency by Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the national convention of the party scheduled for February 26. The fact is not lost on many Nigerians that such a prized honour coming from the hometown of the Presiddent himself to his minister bespeaks of a technical endorsement of both the person and capacity of Amaechi. It is, however, instructive that Amaechi himself has been noticeably mute over whether or not he is interested in the 2023 presidential race. This turbanning event, however, may well be the prologue to the lengthy drama of presidential race and contest.

Another angle to this is the fact that Amaechi himself has in the last few months been out of public glare, with no political statements or actions from him, leaving people to second guess his political move in 2023. In all, Nigerians are curious about the political meaning of this traditional honour: the trusted son of Daura. That literally means Daura believes and trusts in Amaechi. In the context of contemporary politics, that title is simply a loaded canon. Indeed, many wonder if Amaechi is the one to come.

 

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