Daily Trust (Abuja)

1 February 2013

Nigeria: Memories of Auchi Day

Auchi — The annual Auchi Day celebration held early January with many sons and daughters of the Kingdom travelling home for the rich one day event.

There was a lot to see, hear and reflect upon at this year's Auchi Day celebration, which was the 16th in the series, and also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the Auchi Kingdom. It is also an annual event when the famous Momoh clan gathers. With the theme "Celebration of the Most High" there were lectures given, poems and songs were rendered, and there were public performances, as well some recitations from the Holy Qur'an. There was a traditional wrestling match, which was won by Akpekpe quarters, and a tug of war between members of the Nigerian Army and the Auchi Vigilante Group. This was won by the Auchi Vigilante group.

Also musicians and performers from Auchi's Hausa community brought a lot of colour to the celebration. There was a man from the Hausa community who would pass a sharp knife across his abdomen. Each time the Knife would neither make a cut nor yield blood as it passed across his abdomen. The audience marveled. It was an exciting one day event. Alhaji Aliru H. Momoh, the Otaru of Auchi, was present, as well as Princes and Princesses of the Kingdom, and its titled men. Princess Constance Momoh, the former Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau was present, as well as Dr (Mrs) P.O Idogho, the Rector, Auchi Polytechnic and Princess Bekisu Momoh. Alhaji A.Y.E. Dirisu, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella was in attendance, as well as Abubakar Momoh, the Udi of Auchi Kingdom. There were Chiefs from neighbouring communities, as well as representatives of the Oba of Benin. Governor Adams Oshiomhole was present, and the event was a huge homecoming for numerous sons and daughters of Auchi. Many lectures were presented during the event. One lecture which struck many people was that sent in by General Sani Sami, the Emir of Zuru, and which was presented on his behalf by his representative, Alhaji Mohammed Sanchi, District Head of Sanchi, Kebbi State. He took a candid look at the state of the nation, and put forward a number of warnings and admonitions.

His words "There is hardly any aspect of Nigeria's existence that is not under threat today. Nothing seems to work in the country. Not even the country's Unity and Peace are spared. That is why those of us who felt particularly concerned tend to ask the question; do Nigerians have anywhere else to go in the aftermath of ...a catastrophe?'

Later on he says "After 52 years of boisterous unity, the people of Nigeria cannot boast of any indicator of real economic growth and development. What we hear these days are Nigeria's squalors, diseases, hunger and or natural disasters. International ratings put Nigeria at the lowest ebb of world standard of economic performance which invariably put her at the level of the world's lowest standard of living as well." It was a moving lecture which repeatedly drew applause from the audience.

Sheikh Abdul Lateef Abdul-Hakim, Chief Imam of Lagos state House of Assembly Mosque, also presented a paper, as well as Sheikh Ahmad Bello, Bursar, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua University, Katsina. The former in his presentation made thought-provoking submissions.

He said "It is not Allah who has ordered bombings. It is not Allah who has caused poverty. It's because of what the hands of men has brought." His was another very clinical survey of contemporary Nigeria, and like General Sani Sami's presentation drew applause from the assembled audience. Professor Z.I. Oseni, Chief Imam and Waziri of Auchi could not present his paper, owing to lack of time. Many Islamic Scholars and columnists were present including Mohammed Ndagi, a popular columnist with Weekly Trust. Governor Adams Oshiomhole in his speech saluted the Otaru of Auchi and described him as an individual who is highly respected on account of his consistent and progressive principles.

His words "It takes a level of courage and uncommon vision to sustain what we are doing here today. Auchi is one large progressive family... rich in history and tradition."

An unforgettable poem on the Arafat Mosque at Auchi was rendered by Princess Tohirat Haliru Momoh. Her words 'How excellent for the Home of the Lord in Auchi ...It is surely a place where the Angel's live."

In his vote of thanks the Otaru of Auchi stated, while saluting his people, that the purpose of the Auchi Day celebration was to nurture the spirit of love and togetherness among the people of Auchi.

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