As Nigerians at home and in diaspora join millions of Nupe people to mark this year’s edition of Nupe day, ABU NMODU , reflects on the event and the clamour for unity and development.
The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji (Dr) Yahaya Abubakar, has upon assuming the exalted stool of his forebears, on 11th September 2003, taken deliberate steps to unite his people and has been preaching peace and unity as the panacea for meaningful development. He has always insisted that the Nupe people must live in peace with other people.
A revered traditional rule, the Etsu Nupe, as parts of the efforts to unite the Nupe people started the celebration of Nupe Day and fixed the 26th June of every year as the day for the annual event. He explained that the date was chosen because it signified the date the Nupe kingdom resisted colonial invasion.
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The Nupe Day celebration is indeed, an avenue for the Nupes to admonish themselves on the need to accomplish the set objectives for economic growth of not only the Nupe land but the State and the country at large just as it provided avenue to re-echo the call for unity, peace and progress of not just the Nupe land byt the nation at large.
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Apart from the fact that the Nupe Day celebration usually serves as an avenue to speak with one voice on issues bordering on the development of the land, it also afforded the opportunity of showcasing the cultural heritage of the Nupe people.
Expectedly, the event also provided the opportunity to show case the rich culture of the Nupe people including the interesting Musical display. This has unique composure that always call for more exploration especially for research.
Obviously impressed with the cultural display, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state who attended one of the Nupe Day celebrations, invited the various cultural groups to the annual carnival in Calabar.
Good enough, the annual Nupe Day celebration which started in 2009, was always supported by Nupe Foundation (Ninibo Nupe), a socio-cultural organisation of Nupe-speaking people of Niger, Kwara, Kogi states and the FCT, as well as the diaspora with its headquarters in Bida.
Although it initially started over the years as a small celebration, the event has gradually grown to attract the attention of local and foreign tourists. For instance, during the last celebration, some foreigners were present at the event.
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The Foundation was formed in 2009 to among other things, provide a platform for all Nupe- speaking people to connect, unite and push to the global stage, the affairs of the Nupe people.
The Foundation is governed through various advisory, non executive and executive structures namely: Patrons, Elders’ Council, Board of trustees and Executive council made up of prominent sons and daughters of Nupe land.
In view of its mandate and the need to ensure efficiency, the Foundation from inception, constituted various committees that are saddled with different responsibilities, they are Agriculture, Political, Socio-cultural, Economic, Education and Security.
One of the key activities of the Foundation is the organisation of the annual Nupe Day celeberation. This annual event offers the Foundation, with strong support of the Etsu Nupe and other Etsus as the grand patron and patrons respectively, a huge opportunity to showcase the various aspects of Nupe culture and the economic potentials of the Kingdom.
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The annual event provided the opportunity for the illustrious sons and daughters as well as guests from within and outside the country to converge on Bida. It is one event the Foundation has used to achieve one of its cardinal objectives of fostering unity among the Nupes and providing catalyst for general development of the people.
Another key objective of the Foundation is to draw investors to different parts of Nupe land to invest in agriculture and other numerous solid minerals that abound.
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Using different fora, the Foundation’s leadership has continued to pressure the state and federal governments to pay attention to the exploration of the rich natural resources the land is endowed with.
Chief among the issues on the list of the Foundation’s demands with the Federal Government is the call for the dredging and utilisation of Baro Port and exploration of Hydro carbon deposits along the basins of Nupeland among others.
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This year’s celebration is coming amidst some pockets of security challenges across the country and in line with his desire for long lasting peace and development, the Etsu Nupe however announced that the celebration will be marked with special prayers for peace and security.
The royal father hinted that the special prayers will be to commiserate Nigerians from different parts of the country who are facing one kind of security challenges or the other.
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As Nigerians join the peace loving people of Nupe extraction to mark this year’s edition of the event, it is believed that the special prayers will help the nation address some of the ills currently ravaging it especially the security challenges which the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing all it can to frontally address it.