It was a conviviality and celebration of the 20th year on the throne for Sir Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe, in Bida on September 16th, 2023. The day was reported to be colourful, with arrays of dignitaries from all walks of life within and outside Nigeria celebrating with the Nupe nation. The event was marked with several activities, including the empowerment of over one hundred women in the form of social corporate responsibility by the Digital Space Capital, a growing financial service institution in Nigeria and the launching of a book in honour of Emir Yahaya Abubakar in his seventy-one years of existence. The Niger state governor, Umaru Bago, described the Etsu Nupe as a bridge builder, valiant, selfless, and compassionate leader who had influenced a peaceful co-existence of people within his kingdom.
I have maintained in several articles that Nigeria is blessed with people, and its diversity must be utilised to maximise the greatness the country could manifest. Without apology, I have positioned that Nigerians’ intellectual capability is beyond limits and can turn Nigeria into an enviable nation. We need political leadership with open minds and the capacity to use human and natural resources to our advantage.
The traditional rulers are crucial and paramount in advocating roles for the people at the grassroots. There are intellects among them, unlike when anyone can be installed as a ruler. These days, the pedigree and exposure of the person are a significant consideration. The stool, be it Obi, Oba, Emir, or Igwe, is a veritable platform to serve people and advance their lives and posterities. Gone are the days when the traditional rulers were seen and lived as messiahs. They are now leaders and change agents in the advancement and prosperity of their kingdom.
I have read about the Nupe people. I read about a few notable children of the Nupe nation, like Sam Nda-Isaiah, Jerry Gana, Zainab Kure, and Mamman Vasta. I became more intrigued by the Nupe nation when I met Mohammed Nami and became aware of his leadership influence at the Federal Inland Revenue Service, where I have spoken at their corporate retreats. My encounter with Nami created an indelible imprint of the values and friendliness of the Nupes.
The traditional rulers are crucial and paramount in advocating roles for the people at the grassroots
I had my first evergreen encounter with the Emir, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, at a meeting he was chairing. Indeed, our word is always a reflection of who we are. His words at that meeting were cemented by love from the Nupe people. Though the discussion was business-related, the Etsu Nupe, in his direction of the affairs of the day, portrayed selflessness, focus and aptness in his comments, not thinking of having to travel miles away from home to support the ideas and innovations of young people. The Emir was dedicated to the course of discussions and showed exceptional leadership to us.
After that, I cannot but feel blessed to have met a king who had been on the throne of his forefathers for twenty years and yet remained simple, humble, accommodating, and friendly in conversations and attributions. He listened to us, acknowledged everyone’s comments, and provided responses that inspired us to see the big picture. He proved that a leadership position is not for what the leaders can get but for what they can sacrifice and contribute to a common objective.
Since 2003, Etsu Nupe has contributed to humanity after serving as the director of operations in the military and at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja. Since he ascended the throne of his forefathers, he had made improving the lives of the Nupe people his principal objective. His reign is known for fostering the peaceful co-existence of people from all tribes in his kingdom. This is also reflected in his vast friendships across Nigeria and abroad. I know his close-knit ties with the Oni of Ife and other traditional leaders in Nigeria.
For the Nupe people, it is twenty years of service with the throne as the platform for uplifting the people irrespective of their religion and tribes. The Etsu Nupe has been serving in various capacities. He is the chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers. He is the chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, a national post of influence among the rulers. He was a leading figure in the committee that craved to create the Edu state and committee management Board of the Abuja National Mosque.
From all his career and rulership experience, I see him as a leader of influence with high value for due diligence and processes. This he exuded in his response to Bello Masaba’s controversial case, where he set up a five-person committee to review and handle the case without degenerating into further chaos.
At 71, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar is the epitome of selflessness, aptitude and leadership influence in a diversified entity. His simple aura, charisma and unassuming nature are lessons worth emulating for people who intend to make generational impacts. No doubt, he came, saw, and set something in motion for the Nupe people and everyone who had come across him. I wish the Etsu Nupe more glorious years full of wisdom and strength to continue to foster the unity and progress of his people and those around him.