Gwandara tribe revives culture, confirms Kaura, Ngajiya in Idu, FCT


By Abba – Eku Onyeka, Abuja

Gwandara tribe of Idu – Koro community, Abuja the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), recently confirmed and coronated new second in command to their Village Head (Kaura) and woman leader, or representative of the women in their palace (Ngajiya). They also used the occasion to revive and showcase their age – long rich cultures.

The event attracted people from all works of life in attendance who came to witness the rich culture of the indigenous tribe of Gwandara ethnic group.

Gwandara indigenes of Idu – Koro, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in FCT, was originally known for farming and hunting.The reason behind the reviving and showcasing the rich culture of the tribe was as a result of confirmation and coronation of new Kaura and Ngajiya, after the demise of the former ones over a year ago. While the title of Kaura went to Mallam Muhammad Dantani, that of Ngajiya went to Hajiya Salamatu Lami Bala Dina.

The village head of the community, Chief Muhammad Bawa Makama, while speaking to our correspondent at the event, said the community had been in its present place of habitation for about 819 years, having settled there in the year 1202. Bawa added that due to the fact that the tribe, full of rich culture, tradition and custom, before any coronation or similar events were done by the tribe in the community, for the event to be successful, there were title holders that made things happen.

The titled chiefs, according to the traditional ruler were the palace Spokesman (Sakada) and members of his group, like Dangaladima, Gwabere, Jarmei, Makama, Jagaba, among others; the Kaura with members of his group like Galadima, Wombai, Sakadadaki, Dalatu, Waziri and; the Youth Leader (Barde) and members of his group, like Sakada – barde, Kaura – barde, Galadima – barde, Sarkin – ara, Sarkin – kugiri, Gouna- samari and Sarauniya – yamata, among others.

Attributing their positive contributions to the development of the community as the reason why Idu Traditional Council (ITC) gave the title to the newly coronated, the Village Head advised them to go about their duties with the fear of God, even as he informed that they were tested by the Council for a year and found them worthy.

Though the audience was among others entertained by traditional Asalla Dancing Group and Yaya Kaka Cultural Group, but some masquerades that also made the event exciting, include Ashama Sarkin Angulu, Ashama Rabo, Adamariko, Ngaji Idu. However, what gave more color to the occasion was the appearance of the Kakamayiwa Idu Masquerade, said to have appeared last, over two decades ago, during the burial ceremony of the then Dangaladima Idu, being the father of the present Village Head of the Community.

Throwing lights about Kakamayiwa Idu Masquerade, the Village head informed that in the olden days, the masquerade was celebrated yearly, during which it would appear for a whole week, disappear for a year and appear again in another year’s time. What was consumed during the festivity, according to the Village Head was local youghurt (kwunu) made from the corns contributed by farmers and prepared by the women for public consumption and generally consumed for the seven days marked out for the feast at the village square.

Still proving to the world, how rich the tribe is in culture, he said that another important and yearly celebration by the communty in the olden days was Awaworo Festival. This festival, according to the Village Head, was observed to mark the beginning of eating of new yams. He informed that awareness about the festival was made by the town crier, telling the people to stop going to farm, so as to celebrate the festival together, even as he informed that any defaulter was brought from the farm to the village square and made to celebrate the festival with the people, in line with the custom.

Urging the government to motivate rekindling of tribal cultures that aren’t repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, Bawa said that their culture were neither against any religion and law, nor repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. He decried the speed at which Nigerian languages have over the time been going into extinction. This, he attributed to preference to foreign ones, even as he warned that any tribe whose language and culture goes into extinction, such tribe, according to him remains disappeared from the surface of the earth and forgotten forever. He however advised today’s generation to shun the habit of treating native languages and culture with disregard.

As the Ngajiya couldn’t be spoken to at press time, the Kaura, when spoken to promised to go about his duties with the fear of God, even as he urged for cordial relationship for effective administration to be the result. When asked, he said that the rekindling and showcasing of culture weren’t against islam, just as he added that he would give the Village Head the deserved assistance, as well as involve God in performance of their traditional duties in the community.