Daily Champion (Lagos)

Nigeria: Fufore Area Council As Adamawa's Development Pivot

Yola — The third tier of government in Nigeria (local government) was conceived to be the fulcrum of grassroots development and Fufore Local Government, one of the biggest area councils in Adamawa State can be mirrored in the light of this assertion, having progressively drawn the attention of every government of the state.

Split into seven major district communities namely, Melabu, Gurin, Verre, Mayo-ine, Nyibango, Ribaldu and Danware, Fufore Local Government Area has remained a beacon of admiration by both the state government and its visitors for being rich in water ways and most notably its promise for economic supremacy of the state.

Linguistically, Fufore Local Government is settled area with five major languages known as Fulani (largest), Bata, Verre, Laka and Pere all being tribes largely professing the Islamic faith, having been captured in the Modibbo Adama Jihad of 1811. Adama was an Islamic scholar, a teacher and father of a big race, respected in the length and breath of Adamawa state for his bravely.

According to investigations, there are various thoughts to the emergence and convergence of success towards the holistic peace and economic prosperity of Fufore community in Adamawa state.

Findings have revealed that the success of the seven communities that make up Fufore Local Council accepted Modibbo Adama Jihad, having settled with difficult economic and political conditions of external invasion by the Cameroon and unfriendly hardship obtained from the hands a rude environment.

Fufore which has been naturally positioned as a fadama area, utilized both rainy season farming and irrigation agriculture within the river bank of River Benue.

As a food producing community, both military and civilian governments have been able to encourage the farmers based on pointers of history even at dried seasons for irrigation. According to records, the Adamawa Development Programmes, the State Ministry of Agriculture and the Upper Benue River Basin Authority have involved farmers in Fufore in irrigation practices as a way of sustaining the agricultural tempo and the gain which the entire state stand to benefit from the environment.

Interviews with elders and personalities of the area show that for all the tribes that make up the council, each tribe has its own pattern of traditional industries. They make use of natural and local materials to make products of socio-economic importance out of their community.

First, the Fulani and Bata tribes are known for wood carving and blacksmithing. The end products of these local industries include stools, mortals, pestles, hoe handles, axe handle, canoes, axe, hoe, knives, spears and swords.

The trade of hides and skin is another important source of the economic strength of all the five tribes of the local government. The Fulani's who are the greatest exporters of cows should be identified with this trade after all. Products of the hides and skin industries include hand bags, shoes, traveling bags and so on. And of course, weaving is an important gift of these cultures. The weaving industry produces basket, zanamat, ropes, coloring dyes and weaving of textiles.

The basis of these economic fortunes has not driven the various tribes into laziness as fishing complements the economic most closely. The five tribes, trade in fishing by smoking and retailing some for cash earning.

The impact of keeping a wide range of flock and cattle is another fiesta in the economy. Having vessels of diary products from the cattle, remains the commonest food item which reaches nooks and carnies of the state, the popular "Fura de nono" in which a great quantity circulates the state as a delicacy is also capable of pulling this society out of the intrigues of hunger.

Also revealed, according to explanation by elites of the area, Adamawa's location within the savannah zone characterized by rainy season which starts in April every year is a great thing for the Gurin community of the Fufore local government council. Gurin has a typical temperature to encourage the production of rice and Gurin farmers of the state have taken to this advantage proudly to the admiration of the state government. A pyramid of rice produced bi-annually has also improved the economic standing of the local government above others

While fielding questions from Daily Champion in Yola, principal media assistant to Governor Murtala Nyako, Alhaji Aminu Iyawa who also hails from the council, disclosed that the state government under the current democratic dispensation has taken issues of farmers in Fufore local government on its shoulders due to the heavy revenue the government derives from the economic activities of the area.

He said, 35 percent of the revenue base of the entire state comes from the area through taxes on cow, (Jingali), and dairy products from cattle special market are also unbend source for government's revenue.

Understanding this, the political will demonstrated by different administrations towards uplifting the solid-economic potentials of the area has been note worthy. Under the current democratic dispensation, Governor Murtala Nyako, according to his principal media assistant Aminu Iyawa, gave prompt attention to the educational needs of the local government.

He disclosed that there has been a thorough re-construction and fresh construction of schools, both at primary and post primary levels in the council, through the Universal Basic Education Programme, UBE, the government constructed seven new storey building units in all the major communities of the area to end the age long decay and consequently encourage learning in the area.

While commenting on the UBE projects in fufore local government, council chairman of the local government, Alhaji Liman Jauro, told Daily Champion that the government deemed it fit to reward the council with new educational structures and that the presence of the government has been obvious to cover. He said "Education is the light of the day. Fufore local government is not left behind towards educational development. Since education is needed for both individual and societal progress, the UBE has given us in this local government our fair share, schools have been renovated, and new structures are put in place with a lot of educational materials."

Jauro stated that the government has also provided physical infrastructure, teaching aides, materials like text books, scholarship and feeding subsides to boarding secondary schools within the local government, nothing that, consequently, that has pulled in a wave of academic enthusiasm by both children and youths of the area whose response in school has significantly risen.

The council's chairman said the state government has also done the local government good, in terms of some primary health delivery system. Apart from the free medical care given to children between the ages of one and five years, he stated that all pregnant women receive free medical attention in government hospitals as well as some token given to see them through pregnancies. Of course, he maintained that medical facilities as well as hospital equipment are periodically made in reasonable supplies to sustain and help the growing needs of the council.

As a promising land of economic prosperity, Jauro said the government has embarked on a rapid reconstruction of roads into hinter areas for easy accessibility of the people's agricultural products.

He said the PW construction company which is handling projects in the area has so far shown commitment for quality jobs and timing of its road projects especially in the local government headquarters.

After appraising the projects going on in the council, local government executive chairman, Alhaji Liman Jauro spoke of daunting challenges in the area.

He said there has been the problem of high cost of production which has risen due to depreciation of naira, including high cost of materials for the local industries. He observed that, although water projects have been initiated in some communities of the council, electricity, good water are still lacking. This, he says results to local firms providing their own facilities on stand by basis to replace those provided by governments and that further increases the cost of production.

The chairman maintained that the provision of attractive incentives to land, infrastructure and consultancy services to attract investors remains a challenge.

That industries, infrastructure and creation of favourable investment climate rather than direct participation in industrial project was still worked upon to give the council more viability towards its economic fortunes.

To this end, he said his government has been encouraging the promotion of small and medium scale industrial projects with low capital, investment, labour intensive and simple technology to better the lots of the people of the area. He recalled that cooperative and financial ventures have been opened to help farmers in this regard.

Instructively, the scope and objectives of the people of Fufore local government to accept oneness and indivisibility is in no doubt. The aim at keeping the different ethnic groups together as people of one council has been demonstrated with a long history of non-violence.

The people, according to their elders, united from minds have strength and courage to protect their territorial integrity and other interest with greater determination; especially as some of its communities share boarders with the Cameroon . For this, Adamawa state sees Fufore as a child of necessity.

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