By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna state government has changed the name of the “Gbagyi Chiefdom” in Chikun Local Government Area of the state to “Chikun Chiefdom”.
In a statement on Monday in Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, spokesman of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, said the name of the chiefdom was recently changed to reflect government policy that anchors the authority of traditional leaders on territory, not tribe.
According to him, the change is to ensure that the traditional rulers include and command the allegiance of every group within the domain and not just the people who belong to the their tribe.
The statement did not however say whether the name change is applicable to the numerous chiefdoms and emirates bearing tribal names in the state.
The statement also announced the promotion of the traditional ruler of the chiefdom, Mr. Danjuma Barde, from second class Chief to first class Chief, saying that his traditional title which was hitherto known as “Sa Gbagyi” is now to be known as “Etsu Chikun”.
The statement read: “Malam Nasir el-Rufai has approved the elevation of HRH (His Royal Highness) Dr. Danjuma Barde, the Esu Chikun (previously known as Sa Gbagyi), to a first-class chief. “Dr. Barde was appointed Sa Gbagyi on 29th December 2000 and installed on 18th January 2001, as a third-class chief. He was upgraded to a second-class chief in 2007.”
Congratulating the chief on his elevation, the statement quoted el-Rufai as saying that “Dr.Barde deserves this exceptional recognition for his role in promoting peace.”
The statement said “the decision to upgrade the Chikun Chiefdom to first-class status follows a recommendation to that effect by the Ministry of Local Government Affairs.
“The ministry, in a proposal signed by the commissioner Prof. Kabir Mato, noted Dr. Barde’s contribution to peace and his active role as a bridge-builder among the ethnic groups in the chiefdom, a fact the government recently acknowledged in a letter of commendation to the chief.”
The statement added that Mato also drew attention to the fact that much of Dr. Barde’s chiefdom was within Kaduna metropolis, noting, that the chief has been able to promote integration among the diverse population of the chiefdom, which covers the entire Chikun local government area of the state.
“The ministry therefore recommended that he be elevated, to recognise his efforts, and to encourage people who make peace and harmony a priority.
“The name of the chiefdom was recently changed from Gbagyi to Chikun chiefdom to reflect government policy that anchors the authority of traditional leaders on territory, not tribe.
“This is to ensure that the traditional rulers include and command the allegiance of every group within the territory, rather than just the people with whom the ruler share a common ethnicity” the statement explained.