About 13 chiefdoms and emirates, mostly in central and southern parts of Kaduna state, will be renamed just as Governor Nasiru el-Rufai set up a committee to restructure the 32 emirates and chiefdoms in the state.
In June, the state government had sacked 313 districts and 4,453 village heads, in an attempt to cut down the financial burden on the local government councils.
The state, therefore, reverted to 77 districts and 1,429 village units that existed before 2001, when the traditional institution was deregulated by Governor Mohammed Makarfi administration.
Some of the affected district heads have already instituted legal actions challenging the state government’s action.
The 32 chiefdoms and emirates in Kaduna State, comprises 10 first-class status, nine second-class and 13 third class.
But a top state official, however, told Daily Trust that no emirate or chiefdom will be scrapped or merged, as speculated in some quarters.
“The ongoing restructuring has nothing to do with the number of the chiefdoms and emirates. There won’t be a merger of any chiefdom or emirate. Governor El-Rufai has accepted the 32 chiefdoms and emirates he inherited,” the state Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani, said.
Official documents analysed by this newspaper show that the 13-member committee has six months to complete its assignment. But the committee’s lifespan which expired last week was given additional one week to complete its assignment.
Unlike the previous committee that trimmed the number of district and villages which comprised only civil servants, the current committee included three traditional rulers.
The State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani chairs the committee, with Permanent Secretary in the ministry Stephen Joseph, serving as secretary.
The three traditional rulers on the committee are the Chief of Zangon Kataf, Agwaptyap Dominic Gambo Yahaya; Chief of Gbagyi, Sa-Bagyi Danjuma Barde; and Ciroman Zazzau, Alhaji Sa’idu Mailafia.
The academics appointed into the committee are Professor Abdullahi Ashafa of History Department and Professor John La’ah, Dean of School of Science, Kaduna State University; as well as administrator, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, Professor Shehu Dalhat.
Other government officials on the committee are Director General, Kaduna Geographic Information Service, Ibrahim Hussaini; Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Chris Umar; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Rural and Community Development, Ibrahim Sambo; Special Adviser (legal) to the Governor, Aisha Dikko; and former Permanent Secretary, Auwalu Aliyu Damau.
The terms of reference of the committee, include (i) to examine the existing nomenclature of the graded chiefs which emphasizes ethnic identity and propose new ones based on town/location of the chiefdom taking due cognizance of the historical antecedents of the chiefdom; (ii) to study the cultural affinities, long-standing historical antecedents and other peculiarities of the people within a chiefdom/emirate and advise on possible adjustments; (iii) to propose alternative system of boundary delineation between Emirates/Chiefdoms in the State to mitigate the incidence of incessant boundary disputes.
Other mandates of the committee include (iv) to advise on the possibility of placing the staff of the district and village administration under the control and supervision of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) to guarantee their career progression in the service; and (v) to advise generally on ways to improve the operations of the Traditional Institution in the State to restore its glory and esteem amongst the people.
The committee chairman Jafaru Sani said the restructuring will give the traditional rulers more powers. He said the chiefdoms and emirates were asked to come up with names that reflect the names of town or city where they are domiciled.
“What we are out to do is that nomenclatures that reflect ethnic groups and tribes will be changed because such system excludes significant populations living in their areas. By that, we also hope that the settler/indigene dichotomy will be abrogated,” he said.
The exercise will enable the traditional rulers to have the command and respect of all people living in their domain irrespective of their ethnic affiliations. “There is no need to change the nomenclature of any chiefdom or emirate bearing the name of a town or local government area,” the commissioner said.
He said boundary adjustments of some of the traditional institutions become necessary because of the recurring problems associated with it.
“The committee will readjust the boundaries of some of the chiefdoms and emirates. Currently, we have 57 boundary disputes from the newly created chiefdoms and emirates. We want to reduce these crises to the barest minimum,” he said.
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