Agwam Nuhu Bature: 1940 – 2022, By Sunday Isuwa

Before joining his ancestors on 18 December, 2021, no traditional ruler could speak queen’s English like him. He did not achieve that through acquisition of degrees.

It was as a result of selling books and his resilience for reading and self development.

The Agwam Bajju 1, Mallam Nuhu Bature OON died on Saturday 18 December, 2021 at Salem Hospital Kafanchan.

Bature had left his village in Zonkwa, now in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State to Plateau State after his primary school where he rose to stardom and wealth through selling of books.

The advocate of constitutional role for traditional rulers, Bature, was an  entrepreneur, who founded the famous Modern Bookshop located at Rwang Pam Street in Jos, Plateau state and was the first monarch of Bajju Chiefdom, in Southern Kaduna, a Middle Belt region of Nigeria.

The famous bookshop in Rwang Pam, Plateau State, is one of the biggest bookshops not only in Northern Nigeria, but the country as a whole.

The bookshop did not only molded Academicians, Technocrats, Politicians, Teachers and Students, it provided jobs to several people who in turned, raised decent families.

The Agwam life and times is a big lesson the younger generation should learn from. Hardly people read books these days, which is a sharp contrast of what happened before.

With the evolution of the internet and the coming of web 2.0 which provided more opportunities for people to read, share comment, interact and respond to issues (sending, receiving, through a channel and feedback), many are carried away by chatting in the social media instead of using their precious time for research, reading and self development as the Agwam Bajju 1, Mallam Nuhu Bature did with hard copy books when there was no internet.

The Kaduna First Class Chief, Mallam Nuhu Bature’s 81 years on earth (14 July, 1940 – 18 December, 2021) was that of impact and life changing.

He ascended the throne as Agwam Bajju from 1995 to 18, December, 2021 and was the first monarch of the Bajju Chiefdom after its creation in 1995, following the Zangon Kataf crisis of 1992 in which a resolution was reached and the creation of the long-agitated independent chiefdom for the Atyap and Bajju from the British-imposed Zazzau Emirate was arrived at.

In 2012, Bature, during an interview with this writer, decried that 17 years after the creation of the chiefdom, Kajju (the land of the Bajju people) was yet to have a palace. He will now be buried at the proposed permanent site of the palace. As a wealthy man, Bature used one of his mansions as Palace until his death.

The chiefdom created by the then military governor of Kaduna State, Col Lawal Ja’afaru Isa, had five districts. The district increased overtime to 18 but have now been taken back to five.

Before the coming of Bature, it was many years of political agitation for self-government, elimination of discrimination by the Bajju people.

Being under external rule resulted in many tensions between the Bajju and the Emirate council. Some were imprisoned as a result of the quest for self determination.

Despite the threat to arrest and prosecute any Bajju person or group that request for self-government, the people did not back down their agitation and in 1991, the Zazzau emirate granted Bajju three district heads.

Agwam Bajju burial announcement

Mallam Nuhu Bature headed the Zonkwa district; Mr Caleb Dogo headed the Ungwan Rimi district while His Royal Highness, Dr. David Kantiok is heading the Madakiya district, the only surviving traditional ruler among the three.

Interacting with the Agwam Bajju 1, Mallam Nuhu Bature, was an opportunity of opening undocumented history of not only the Kajju people, but that of Nigeria as a whole.

His library is a place to be, loaded with rich historical books. While interacting with him at his Barnawa Kaduna mansion, Agwam was able to explain the reason he gave a Jewish (Jew) man and founder of Emmanuel Tours in Israel a traditional title, since the Jew and the Jju languages sound the same.

Many wondered why the traditional ruler of the Bajju people is dressed in a Bishop cap-like that contains five ropes that are standing.

The Agwam Bajju cap did not only signifies respect for tradition, culture and religion, the Agwam is a Bishop over his people, carrying the descendants of Baranzan in his head everywhere he go to, through the cap.

The five ropes in the head of Agwam Bajju grouped the clans into five: Ankwak; Tuan; A̠kadon; Kashuwa; and Iduang.

All the Bajju sons and daughters, home and abroad and the towns found their roots from the five sons (Clans) of Baranzan, who the Agwam carries in his head anywhere he goes to. The cap signifies respect and unity.

The Bajju First Class traditional ruler’s attire is different from that of others in Northern Nigeria. The cap is very significant and signifies the uniqueness of the Bajju people as unconquered people.

That’s why the Bajju thrive to be different in every good aspect of life. The Bajju man or woman value relationship, respect, keep to promise and do not envy; except for some people who have gone off the track of the culture.

The Bajju man or woman never allow anyone to look down on them. They are well educated and industrious, hardworking and peaceful, intelligent, and believed in team work while being careful of betrayals. These are values Agwam Bature guarded jealously.

Haven granted self determination by the administration of Col Lawal Ja’afaru Isa, the Bajju people decided they needed something unique inline with their culture, tradition and religion that will command respect; hence, the designing of the Agwam cap by Prof Abbas Magaji Ahuwan and Wife who were both lecturers at the department of fine arts, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. The Bishop-like cap or the Pope-like cap was designed differently from the turban, purposely to differentiate between a Traditional Ruler that is a Christian and the one that is not.

As the Agwam Bajju, Mallam Nuhu Bature is committed to mother earth Friday 14 January, 2022, there is a lot young Nigerians should learn from his life and times.

He was known to be a man of peace. He pursued peace, work for peace and always ensure peaceful coexistence. He was industrious even at old age and never allow his businesses to die.

He was known to be brilliant. His brilliancy was not acquired through certificates but personal reading and self development. His reading hubby inspired him to establish the biggest bookshop in Northern Nigeria, the same business that took him to stardom and wealth.

The next person that will wear the Bishop’s cap (Agwam Bajju) must know that all the five clans are on his head. He must work beyond what was obtainable before and raise the bar even higher.

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The next Agwam Bajju must ensure that the principle of respect and unity is adhere to. The next Agwam must not condone disrespect even as he carries everyone along. The next Agwam must ensure the Bajju tradition, culture, religion and values are respected, protected, promoted and preserved.

The next Agwam must ensure that the five clans including those in the diaspora are united like never before. All the Bajju sons and daughters must unite and be careful with the antecedents of agents of disunity.

 

The Bajju people must rally round any person that emerged as Agwam in love and respect, having in mind that only descendants of Baranzan can ascends the throne. May the soul of Agwam Bajju 1, Mallam Nuhu Bature rest in perfect peace. Amen.

 

Isuwa is a trained Journalist and Editor. He practice in Abuja. He can be reach through: isuwasunday@gmail.com 

 

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