History, glitz as Alhaji Amuda becomes 11th Alangua Ubandawaki By Abubakar Imam

Date: 2023-08-24

All roads would, this Friday (August 25, 2023), lead to the ancient palace of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, for a very important sociocultural, traditional and political event. The event shall be the much anticipated turbaning of a retired civil servant and prominent community leader, Alhaji Yusuf Amuda Mahamood, as Alangua Ubandawaki Ward, Pakata, Ilorin. The Ubandawaki Ward is one of the 12 political wards of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State.

The event promises to be a unique one. It is set to be so because the new Alangua is the 11th occupant of the office as his turbaning is to be presided-over by the 11th Emir of Ilorin and probably at the 11th hour of the day. It is also going to be unique because members of the Ubandawaki chieftaincy family and their friends from far and near as well as the good people and residents of the Ubandawaki Ward and, by extension, those of the entire Pakata area of Ilorin are leaving no stone unturned at ensuring that the event is grand in every ramification.

It is very important to say that Alangua Ubandawaki is the only recognised hereditary traditional political title that existed in the entire area now known as Pakata prior to the military subjugation of Ilorin Emirate on February 16,1897 (13th Day of Ramadan in the year 1314 AH) by the forces of the Royal Niger Company (RNC), which culminated in the loss of the "original political independence" of the southernmost Emirate and also precipitated the imposition of colonialism on our illustrious forebears and their land. This fact is captured on pages 274 and 275 of the revised edition of the authoritative "Ilorin: The Journey So Far" by L. A.K. Jimoh. The holder of the title of Alangua Ubandawaki is one of the prominent subchiefs under the Balogun Alanamu of Ilorin, a position currently held by a distinguished Mathematician, foremost academic and outstanding labour activist, Dr Usman Abubakar Akanbi-Jos.

Prior to colonialism, the Alangua was a military sub-commander in addition to his political and administrative leadership of his expansive domain on behalf of the Emir of Ilorin. He, however, reports to the Balogun Alanamu of Ilorin, who deals directly with the Emir. The territory of Alangua Ubandawaki shares geographical borders with those of the Ologbin of Adewole, the Magaji of Oloje and the Balogun Ajikobi of Ilorin as well as the Balogun Alanamu(Alanamu Central).

It would also interest readers to know that Ubandawaki Ward is also one of the most blessed in terms of human resources among the 52 political wards constituting Kwara Central Senatorial District. It has produced scores of highly distinguished frontliners in different fields of human endeavours and whose names cannot be exempted from the list of giants Ilorin Emirate is blessed with and always proud of. These include Shaykh AbdulRahman Pakata (d. 1933), the pioneer Oba Oniwaka of Ilorin; Shaykh Muhammad Ghali Alaaya (d. 1973), a distinguished Muslim cleric,who excelled at home and beyond; and his equally brilliant and celebrated younger brother, Shaykh Ali Arazeem Alaaya (d. 2002), the immediate past Chief Imam and National Missioner of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria as well as Alhaji Amori Gidado (d. 1964), who was the pioneer Secretary of Ilorin General Hospital and a first republic politician. The list of the past heroes of Ilorin Emirate, who hailed from Ubandawaki Ward also include Alhaji Sadku Bako Aladire (d. 1982), a patriotic business tycoon, who was based in Jos, Plateau State; Alhaji Shuaib Baba Pakata (d. 1995), an eminent educator, prolific public administrator and pioneer Chief Executive of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State; Prof. Shehu Ahmad Jimoh, OON (d. 2014), who was the Ilorin Emirate's first Professor in any course of study in Education and first indigene of the frontier Emirate who served as the Chief Executive of an institution of higher learning; and, of course, my late father, Mallam Jimoh Imam Pakata (d. 2012), whose exciting teaching career produced two former Secretaries to the Kwara State Government, among several others.

There are also several surviving patriots, who are related to Ubandawaki Ward, either by birth or marriage, and are outstanding statesmen and women from every parameter of evaluation. They include two former Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Arc. Halima Tayo Alao,fnia; and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi as well as Honourable Justice Halima Ayodele Saleeman of the High Court of Justice, Ilorin; and the Ilorin Emirate's doyen of Estate Management and Town Planning, Alhaji Muri Adi. The list also include a former Head of Civil Service, Kwara State, Alhaji Mudi Adebayo Gold; the longest-serving Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold; a retired military top brass, Group Captain Ayo Saad Abdulsalam; the Ilorin Emirate's first female Dean of a University Faculty, Prof. Medinat Folorunso Salman; and the Ilorin Emirate's first Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Abdulateef Iyanda Bako; and, of course, the immediate past Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin's chapter, Prof. Usman Adebimpe Raheem.

In addition to Engr. Sulaiman Oba Saleeman, a senior member of the Ubandawaki chieftaincy family and former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Kwara State,who,in 1972, became a member of the first generation of professional engineers produced by Ilorin Emirate, Ubandawaki Ward is also the home of the doyen of theatre arts practice in Nigeria, Alhaji Adebayo Salami, otherwise known as Oga Bello, and his ebullient son, Abdulateef Femi Adebayo. It is also the home of a foremost media entrepreneur and unassuming political technocrat, Mallam Yunoos AbdulRahman and his upwardly mobile son, Taofeeq AbdulRahman; as well as the current Vice President (Northern Zone) of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Alhaji Saheed Tunde Yahaya; and my humble mentor and guardian, Dr Abdulwahab Salman Adisa of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The unassuming Chairman/Chief Executive of Yarab Communications, Lagos, Alhaji Yaqoob Mobolaji AbdulRazaq, also hails from the Ward.

Mention must also be made of Nigeria's erstwhile Ambassador and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Dr Babatunde Ayinla Nurudeen; the highly patriotic Commissioner of Police, FCID, Abuja, CP Garba Salman-Dogo; a retired General Manager, Legal Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), who is now based in Maryland, United States of America, Alhaji Adesina Badir Shuaib; and the pioneer Director, Finance and Accounts, Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Alhaji Hanafi Oladimeji Bello, who is also a distinguished scion of the Ubandawaki chieftaincy family; the Zonal Head, National Deposit Insurance Corporation of Nigeria, Kano Zone and a son in-law to the Ubandawaki family, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aladire; Dr Raheem Iyanda Lawal of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State; an award winning Professor of Islamic Law and prominent cleric-don, AbdulRazzaq Abdulmajeed Alaro; and, of course, Alhaji Sahid Bolakale Baba,a patriotic Estate Surveyor and Valuer and Deputy Director, Works, University of Ilorin, who incidentally is a nephew to the new Alangua as a son of the immediate past holder of the title and a strong encourager of this piece, to mention but a few of eminent subjects of the new Mai Angua.

The title of Alangua Ubandawaki remains a respected one ever since its establishment about 200 years ago. The title and its successive holders are venerable and venerated. They are respected because the succeeding holders of the title earned the respect and loyalty of their subjects even before their appointments. One thing that is, however, going smooth for the title and its successive holders as well as the Ubandawaki chieftaincy family is that the position is, more often than not, "uncontested" for.

Members of the family, across history, appear to hold on tenaciously to an "unwritten agreement" that the office would always go to its oldest surviving male member each time a vacancy exists except when such a person declines the offer. This incident of decline does not often happen.

History has it that it happened only thrice since the institutionalisation of the chieftaincy title. The first was about 100 years ago when the grand father of the new Alangua, Mallam AbdulGafar, refused to take the position first occupied by his father, Mallam Haliru, who, along with his brother, Mallam Abubakar Garba, was said to have migrated to Ilorin from Gwandu in the present-day Kebbi State through Igbeti in the present-day Olorunsogo Local Government Area of Oyo State. Mallam AbdulGafar, who was a pious businessman, was said to have declined the offer despite being the oldest surviving male member of the family and also a man of considerable means, based on asceticism. He was said to have done so in emulation of the founding father of Ilorin Emirate, Shaykh Saliu ibn Janta (Shehu Alimi), who also did not assume the position of the Emir of Ilorin when the entire community and neighbours expected him to do so and become the "Amir Yoruba". The decision of Shaykh Alimi to stick to spiritualism and promotion of Islamic learning and heritage rather than political leadership paved way for two of his sons, Shaykh Abdulsalam and Shaykh Shitta, to become the first and second Emir of Ilorin, respectively.

Just as Shaykh Alimi was posthumously and divinely "rewarded" with his two sons succeeding each other and their descendants occupying the great seat one after the other till date, two of the children of Mallam AbdulGafar also mounted the throne of their forebears many years after the death of their heroic father. The two were Alhaji Mahamood AbdulGafar Ubandawaki, who reigned between 1976 and 1989; and Alhaji Saleeman AbdulGafar Ubandawaki, whose reign was probably the shortest as it lasted between November, 1989 and April, 1990 when he died at the age of 75. Two of their brothers could, however, not attain the position as they both passed on in the course of the reign of the former. They were Alhaji Hanafi AbdulGafar Ubandawaki,the father of my beloved mentor, consistent benefactor and good brother, Alhaji Hanafi Oladimeji Bello; and Mallam Yakubu AbdulGafar Ubandawaki,the father of Mallam Abdulwahab Yakub, a patriotic senior officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC),Kwara State Command.

When the profoundly blessed Alhaji Saleeman passed on after a brief illness, Alhaji Abdulkadir Woli, who was previously based at Agbor, was appointed as the 9th Alangua Ubandawaki. His reign lasted between 1990 and 2011. He was succeeded by the immediate elder brother of the new Alangua, Alhaji AbdulGafar Baba Mahamood Pakata. Alhaji Baba Pakata died on Saturday, April 15, 2023, after about twelve years of a very remarkable, peaceful and prosperous reign.

The turbaning of Alhaji Amuda, widely known among his contemporaries as "Myson Power" and "Baba Rafa", among younger elements to which this author belongs, would make it the second time at least in the last 50 years when two full siblings would be succeeding each other on the respected throne of Alangua Ubandawaki. The first time was 34 years ago when Alhaji Saleeman AbdulGafar Ubandawaki directly took over from his elder brother, Alhaji Mahamood AbdulGafar Ubandawaki. The succession was during the historic reign of His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Sulu Gambari, CFR, the father of the incumbent Emir of Ilorin, who reigned from 1959 to 1992.

The new Alangua is a man who is well respected across the community for his simplicity, industry, fraternity and courage as well as honesty. He is also well versed in history and has consistently proven that he is a man of his words. He has friends among different generations of the community. He is also a very humble personality who always greets anyone he comes across not minding his or her age. He is also quite generous and extremely contended as far as material possession is concerned. Alhaji Amuda is also a firm believer in the unquestionable potency of the Almighty Allah to do whatever He wishes.

The new Alangua was born over 80 years ago in Ilorin. He is the second son of Alhaji Mahamood AbdulGafar Ubandawaki, who lived from 1899 to 1989. He obtained his junior primary education at Pakata Elementary School (now Pakata LGEA School), Ilorin. He eventually completed his primary education studies at Baptist Primary School, Surulere, Ilorin, in 1963.

After trying his hands at one or two occupations such as the traditional Aso-Oke weaving at home and trading in Agbor in the present-day Delta State, the new Alangua,who enjoys hunting as an hobby, joined the services of the Kwara State Government on July 7,1976. He was posted to the Kwara State Ministry of Justice, Ilorin. He subsequently served directly under several Commissioners for Justice and Attorney-General of Kwara State, one of whom is Alhaji Saka Abimbola Issau, SAN, who is a friend to his cousin, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Saleeman and an indigene of the neighbouring Isale-Jagun in the greater Pakata community. The new Alangua Ubandawaki eventually retired from the civil service in 2010 after many years of meritorious services to the government and people of Kwara State.

With his appointment, Alhaji Amuda has become a member of the Ilorin Emirate Magaji and Alangua Forum. He is also the Grand Patron of all the sociocultural and Islamic religious organisations existing and operating within the Ubandawaki Ward as the traditional head of the Ward. These include the Pakata Area Development Association (PADA), the "Pakata Patriots",Ilorin (PPI); the Pakata Muslim Community (PMC),the Pakata Youth Ambassadors( PYA) as well as the Ubandawaki Youth Development Association (UYDA), among several others.

As a living witness to the growth and development of Ilorin Emirate, particularly that of Pakata area of Ilorin, in the last few decades, I can attest to the fact that the tenures of Alhaji Amuda's last three predecessors undoubtedly recorded many phenomenal transformations in the annals of the community. These include the physical transformation of the community in the realm of landmark personal and public projects across the length and breadth of the ward. The tenure of his three distinguished predecessors also witnessed impressive progress in the human capital wherewithal of the community with several sensitive and influential public service positions and political appointments coming the way of indigenes of the ward from local, state and federal levels as well innumerable personal and professional progresses recorded by several others.

If the night determines what happens the following day, I am very optimistic that the reign of the new Alangua would surely witness fantastic and innumerable socioeconomic transformations that would bring more progress to his domain and thereby banish poverty from allover Ubandawaki Ward and the entire Pakata area.

The new Alangua is an happily married man. He is also blessed with many children and grandchildren who are doing very well.

As Alhaji Amuda is turbaned as the 11th Alangua Ubandawaki, I join hundreds of indigenes of the community in wishing him a very long, peaceful, progressive and prosperous reign on the stool of his illustrious ancestors.

Imam is National Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union and Chief Scribe,"Pakata Patriots",Ilorin.


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