11 March 2009

Nigeria: Emir of Fika, Abali Ibn Muhammadu, Dies At 77

Potiskum Y Hamza Idris — Emir of Fika and chairman of the Yobe State Council of Chiefs Alhaji Abali Ibn Muha-mmadu Idrissa died yesterday. He passed on in his Potiskum palace minutes before his departure to Maiduguri to congratulate the new Shehu of Borno Alhaji Abubakar Kyari Garbai.

Secretary of Fika Emirate Alhaji Mohammad Maina Waziri described the passage of the monarch as "sudden", even though he admitted that the 77 year old paramount ruler had been battling with high blood pressure and old age.

The emir died precisely 40 days after the demise of former governor of Yobe State Senator Mamman Ali who died in the US on January 27.

His death also brought to three the demise of first class traditional rulers from the North in three weeks. Shehu of Borno Alhaji Mustapha Umar Ibn el-Kanemi died on February 20 while Gbong Gwom Jos Da Victor Pam passed on last Saturday.

Idrissa died around 7.45am yesterday when he was about coming out from his palace to go to Maiduguri to commiserate with the emirate over the demise of Mustapha El-Kanemi and to also congratulate the new one. "He was hale and hearty because arrangements had been concluded for his departure as all the vehicles that would convey the late emir and other officials to Maiduguri were ready", the secretary to the emirate said.

A palace source told our reporter that shortly after the emir came out from his room, his health deteriorated and he suddenly collapsed. "He was rushed back into his room and his doctors were called but they could not revive him", he said.

As the chairman of the state council of traditional rulers, Idrissa hardly attended public functions because of his epileptic health and old age as he was always being represented by Emir of Bade Alhaji Umar Suleiman who is the council's vice chairman.

The late monarch's last official function was the conferment of traditional titles on prominent sons and daughters of Fika Emirate on Saturday February 28.

Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State said the demise of the emir came to him as a shock even as he described the late emir as a pillar of stability.

A statement by Abdullahi Bego, the press secretary to the governor quoted the governor as saying "Dr. Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa was a pillar of stability and unity and during his reign, he lived an exemplary life dedicated to the service of Almighty Allah and humanity".

Idrissa was born in 1932 in Potiskum, the headquarters of the present Fika Emirate and was the 12th Emir of Fika and the 43rd in succession to the throne of Fika dynasty which initially comprised the present Fika, Potiskum and Nangere local government areas.

He received his early education at Potiskum Elementary School and Borno Middle School respectively between 1941 and 1950. On completion, the emir attended the then Clerical Training College, Zaria from 1952-1953 and another accounting course in the United Kingdom in 1971.

As a seasoned administrator, the late Fika monarch held a number of positions in the then Fika Native Authority between 1950 and 1961 starting as a prisons scribe in 1952, treasury accountant in 1954 as well as treasurer and councilor of finance from 1955-1961.

His admirers have variously described him as a consummate accountant and an "unrelenting administrator", especially during his days in the civil service.

It was reported that when Idrissa assumed duty as treasurer and councilor for finance, the then Fika Native Authority treasury was said to have been rated grade 'C' by the then Northern Regional Government which was not a favourable disposition. However, before he left the place, the treasury department was said to have been upgraded to Grade 'A'. This according to many was not a small feat from an exceptionally talented person who exhibited administrative dexterity.

In 1962, the royal father transferred his services to the government of former Northern Nigeria and was appointed Assistant District Officer in 1963. He later became Inspector of Taxes in the newly created revenue division of the Ministry of Finance and in 1968 he was appointed to hold the position of the first commissioner of Internal Revenue to the defunct North Eastern State and in October 1975, he was appointed commissioner of health by General Muhammadu Buhari who was the then military governor.

With the creation of Borno State in April 1976, he was re-assigned as the commissioner for local government and social development, a position he held until his appointment as the Emir of Fika in August 1976, following the death of his father Alhaji Muhammadu Ibn Idrissa.

Idrissa had made outstanding contributions to the development of Nigeria which was recognised as he was conferred with the National Honour of Commander of the Order of Niger (CON) in 1979.

The Emir left behind four wives and over 40 children and was one of the large scale farmers in the state. He was highly respected by his subjects who saw him as a father to all.

The Emir of Fika is one of the most prominent traditional rulers in northern Nigeria and also the leader of the Bole people of Yobe State. It was stated that in the 1920's, the emirate moved his court to Potiskum about 70km north of Fika.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 March 2009 )

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