From Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
Kwatarkwashi town in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State is known for its rock and water spring.
The popular Kwatarkwashi Rock is massive, about 350 metres above sea level, which makes the ancient town a tourist attraction.
Kwatarkwashi people, in ancient times, were known for their special annual event, Daukar Maiki (catching the eagle), whereby a live eagle was caught annually from the top of the rock and presented to the leader of the community.
The people of Kwatarkwashi emirate are known as people that engage in community development projects and they are also popular for a traditional play known as Baura. Kwatarkwashi town, which was founded over 621 years ago, recently became a hotspot destination of sorts, as people from all walks of life trooped to the town to celebrate a milestone in the life of the Emir of Kwatarkwashi, Alhaji Ahmed Umar, as he celebrated 60 years on the throne of his forefathers.
The anniversary celebration, included the turbanning of some individuals, who had in one way or the other contributed to the development of Kwatarkwashi Emirate. The rich cultural heritage of the people was also on parade.
The 92-year-old Emir, was first appointed a village head in Samawa by his elder brother, who was then a district head. Alhaji Umar, from all indications, had been fully acquainted with all rudiments of leadership, which helped him to weather the storm in the last 60 years of his tenure as the traditional ruler of Kwatarkwashi emirate.
The Emir was turbaned as the 28th traditional ruler of Kwatarkwashi by late Sultan of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar III, on March 17, 1961, thus making him one of the longest-reigning monarchs in Nigeria. The charismatic Emir is known as incorruptible and courageous, which are the hallmarks of the sons and daughters of Kwatarkwashi.
Alhaji Umar explained that, to be a leader of people, particularly as a traditional ruler, one required a lot of patience and prayers to Allah to guide and grant wisdom to enable one succeed.
He cautioned leaders to weigh their actions always because traditional rulers’ actions and words were what the subjects used to determine the rulers’ reign.
“A traditional ruler must always try to live above board by being fair and just to all people in the kingdom, no matter the economic or political status of the person,” he said.
Alhaji Umar said some of his achievements as a ruler included the abolishment of social vices such as drinking alcohol and prostitution in the emirate.
“Presently, in Kwatarkwashi Emirate, there is not a single beer parlour or alcohol-drinking spot. We also don’t have anywhere where prostitution is taking place or houses where prostitutes stay and practice their trade,” he said.
The Emir said, 60 years ago, when he ascended the throne, the emirate had only two schools, which included the one for adult education and the middle school established in 1953.
Alhaji Umar said he had attracted several developmental projects, such as roads, schools, hospitals and modern markets, among others, to the emirate.
The Emir is described as a modest, Allah-fearing traditional ruler, who did not allow his blue blood to influence him to surcharge his subjects directly or indirectly.
Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim, a former governor of old Sokoto State, which then included present-day Zamfara State, who grew up in Kwatarkwashi town, described the Emir as a humble and patient person, making him to stay out of any rift with his subjects or the government.
“I grew up in this town and knew over 90 per cent of the people when I was young. I can tell you that the people here are very hospitable and accommodating. They like visitors, they are caring and peace-loving people,” he said.
The former governor, who is an indigene of the state from Talata Mafara LGA, advocated constitutional roles for traditional rulers whom he said were the critical stakeholders and custodians of culture and traditions and also play vital roles in ensuring security of life and property of their subjects.
Alhaji Sanda Danjari, a former commissioner of information in the state, who holds the traditional title of Makama Kwatarkwashi, described the Emir as an upright leader whose major preoccupation was to see the positive rise of his subjects.
“We are fearless, brave and honest; that is our trademark,” he said.