By Matthew Kuju
Recall, that, in the last edition of Eggonnews newspaper, it was reported that the biggest project being executed in Nassarawa Eggon town is the massive construction of the main living hall (Bubban Zaure) that contains modern facilities at the palace of the paramount traditional ruler of Eggon nation, the Aren Eggon located in Nassarawa Eggon.
Eggonnews reported that the living hall is modelled after a similar structure for one of the Kings in Europe. However, the one under construction at the Aren Eggon’s palace is an improved version of the one in Europe and is much bigger in size and facilities.
Eggonnews also reported that the project is being executed by Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza, DHE for short.
Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza is a royalist from Lizzin Keffi village area, of Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area whose Envulu Anzaku Namo family members are the only exclusive royalists to the stool of that village head. He is the pioneer Executive Secretary of the National Judicial Council, a position he held for 13 years.
DHE appreciates the significance of the traditional institution and places high premium on it. He holds the revered title of Danburan Eggon, a title he inherited from his father. He is also the Yariman Lizzin Keffi, Jarman Doma, Majen Lafia, Sarkin Yaki Akun and Turakin Koro Kuje.
Before embarking on the project, he received the approval and blessing of the Traditional Council through Dan Galadima Eggon, Dr James Angbazo.
When he chose to construct a befitting living edifice for the Aren Eggon, he did not first discuss it with his father, himself holding a revered title of Makaman Eggon.
However, one fateful day when the father went to the palace for a council meeting, he enquired as to who was executing the project. To his pleasant surprise, he was told that it was his son, DHE, who was constructing the edifice.
When he later got home, he asked his son if he was the one executing the project at the palace. When the son – DHE – answered in the affirmative, the father said he was most pleased with the project. He encouraged him to accomplish it and said he would die a happy person because of the project. Months later, the father passed on. May his soul rest in peace, Amen!
According to DHE, part of the reasons he has undertaken the project is because he holds in high esteem the paramount royal throne of the Eggon people. However, the state of the Palace of the Aren Eggon has been a thing of concern to him for long. It was not speaking well of the calibre of the Eggon people!
He was particularly displeased and embarrassed when in 2019, some prominent personalities were at the Palace for the funeral of a prominent politician. There were no good conveniences for the personalities to use. Some of them even taunted the Eggon people that despite their numbers and the high positions they had occupied and are still occupying in Government and private sectors, they do not have a befitting palace.
DHE also recalled when the Chief Servant of Niger State, the former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu lamented over what he saw of Nassarawa Eggon when he came to town for the wedding of the son of his friend, Pharmacist Joel Adagadzu. He (Babangida Aliyu) said he was disappointed with what he saw in Nassarawa Eggon in terms of development, knowing the calibre of people the Eggon nation is blessed with; given the fact that the Eggon are the most populous, most educated and most industrious in Nasarawa State. It was more of a challenge to the Eggon people to wake up and change the development and of Nassarawa Eggon, headquarters of the Eggon Nation.
It appears DHE decided to pick the gauntlet and has been attempting to change the image of the town for good by embarking on some development in the town to attract socio-economic benefits.
He then decided to focus on phase one of the project in the palace by working on the main Living Hall edifice, being the image of Eggon nation.
Ever since the story was published, there have been torrents of applause to the Danburan Eggon, Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza for what many see and describe as one of the greatest edifices built around.
Over the years, many (especially) Eggon people have lamented the state of the palace of the revered paramount traditional ruler of the Eggon people, the Aren Eggon without any practical step towards changing the story.
As it is said, the deeper the valley (of lamentations over the poor state of the Aren Eggon’s Palace), the higher the mountain top (of praises poured on DHE).
Speaking to Eggonnews, the Dan Galadima Eggon, Dr James Angbazo said:
“People are not only respected by their population but also by their human capacity, and even where you stay. If you are the Head of State and you are staying in two-bedroom house, how do you expect people to respect you? If you see the Buckingham Palace where the Queen of England stays, if you see Castles, you cannot but give them the honour and respect.
“When you come to Northern Nigeria, you can see the palaces of the Emirs and the Sultan, they occupy large expanses of land. Go to Benue State, the State Government had to take a large expanse of land and built what you can rightly call a befitting palace to befit the status of the Tor Tiv.
“It is how you market yourself to the outsiders that they will buy you. The Palace of the Gbong Gwom Jos, they had to relocate it from where it used to be to the old Government House, the whole of that place for the palace and the Secretariat of the Plateau State Traditional Council.
“Everyone wants his palace to be big, and I am sure everyone who sees that palace of the Aren Eggon now will appreciate the beautiful work being done.
“For the building of palaces, there are several ways by which it could be done. For the First-Class Chiefs, during Abdulahi Adamu’s period, they were given money to renovate their palaces. The same thing happened during Aliyu Akwe’s time.
“Individuals can decide to build the palaces of their chiefs. The chief himself, if he is well endowed, he can build or renovate his palace to the taste he wants. There is no law that bars you from that and you stay where you want.
“Any individual who wants to help can build the palace. The motive is different.
But as to the case of the Aren Eggon, we all saw that the place and structure was already dilapidated. The state of the palace has been of great concern to the Aren Eggon and he tried to do something. You can see the uncompleted upstairs there; it was his effort. There was something that hindered him. There was this old small building by the right-hand side as you were entering the palace that he tried to bring it down. The Local Government approved that but there was stiff resistance by some persons who said it was an Islamic school which was said to have been built by the late Ahmadu Bello and therefore could not be demolished. There was threat of bloodshed.
“The argument being propounded in many quarters was that the palace was that of the entire Eggon people which should not be given any religious colouration. In the real sense, what should be in the palace should be a shrine, what the Eggon people call Azhili.
“However, we have a philanthropist, who came and said God endowed him with some wealth, and that he has done it in some places, and therefore, as son of the land, he would want to also edify his people’s palace. He came about three times and I related it to Baba the Aren Eggon. The Aren Eggon said so long as that old small building would not be brought down, then the palace should be left the way it was but he believed that one day, one way or the other, the palace would be restructured.
“It was based on that the philanthropist, who is a Muslim, came with an Imam and the JNI with four other persons. They came to the palace to let us know that the building was the property of the Eggon people and so could be pulled down. That was how the structure was brought down.
“Even at that, we were still sceptical, and we had to ask, please do not expose the Aren Eggon to ridicule, do not bring down the old building and leave the Aren Eggon naked. Secondly, it was stated that the architectural design should be approved by the Aren Eggon. He was told that since it was going to be for the good of the Eggon nation, he would gladly accept it.
“The question was again put across to him if he had the resources to start and complete the work. He assured the palace through his architect that the institution would not be embarrassed whereby the old building would be demolished and the work left half done. He gave all the assurance that he had the resources.
“He stressed that he was doing it partly because the Aren Eggon has personally blessed him for him to have been in government for 13 years in NJC and came out without any scratches and that anytime he comes, Baba the Aren Eggon blesses him. To him, the least he could do is to edify the Eggon nation.
“I am talking about no other person but Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza. He said he has been doing such in other places and renovating other buildings even here in Nassarawa Eggon, like the Police Station, the Area Court, the Civil Defence office and many others which he has carried out.
“Some persons have come to ask that they hope he is not doing this work in the palace for a for a hidden motive, we said that is not the case. We said they could also think about some projects to do as he is doing. There are many projects, they could pick any and do. The more we have such projects, the merrier for the Eggon people. People should keep envy aside.
“I want to quickly add that some people who are in opposition with the person, the usual monthly support they used to give to the Security outfits in the town has ceased because someone has renovated their offices. That is politics for you!!”
Also speaking, the Moyin Eggon, Mr Isuwa Tsaku averred that:
“For me, it has been long overdue looking at Eggon nation and the palace before now, it was nothing to write home about. The project presently ongoing, though being handled by an individual, we have to appreciate God. For me, if we can have more people with that kind of heart who will ask themselves what they can do to promote the development of my land, Eggon nation will be the better for it. I think the project at the Aren Eggon’s palace is something to appreciate God and appreciate the individual for it.
“It is a fantastic project for me and I believe for Eggon nation. I also believe that the other Eggon sons and daughters should be grateful for such a very beautiful and magnificent palace.
“I wish to call on the person doing this work to sustain the good work and I pray that God would bless and protect him. He truly has the heart and love for Eggon nation, if not he would not embark on such a gigantic project. The entire Eggon nation should be grateful to him and we should pray that he would even do more of such projects.
“I wish to also call other Eggon sons and daughters to take a cue and do theirs for the good of Eggon land. There are several other developmental projects that can and should be done for the overall development of Eggon nation. Take for instance the famous Eggon Community Secondary School is in dire need of attention. Some individuals can identify and take certain projects or structures to rehabilitate to redeem the image and standard of that school. We should not leave such projects to an individual. Looking at our population size and the fact that God has blessed us with people who can do it, I think we should expect more.
For this individual, history will never forget him.”
Alhaji Kasimu Ibrahim – Atse Lega Eggon opined thus:
“I am truly happy about this project. If only other sons and daughters can emulate him and pick other areas to focus on, we shall be the better of it. Others can look at other areas and put in their resources for the good of the generality of the people, not just for their individual selves and their immediate families.
“I wish to appreciate this person doing the work and to further encourage him to sustain this spirit. I pray that God will grant him the heart to finish this work. The new palace building will certainly give the Eggon nation and people positive world view.
Let this work be a challenge to others to also contribute their quota to the development of our land.”
Mr Timothy Jatau is the Sarkin Yaki Yamma Eggon who, in response to enquiry, said:
“Well, the new building, for some of us, when we saw it, we tried to enquire the hands behind the project and the motive and we were told that there is no motive whatsoever. It was said that this person behind the project did same to other tribes and palaces and he felt what can’t he do the same thing for his people.
“To that extent, it is a good development, more so that he did it elsewhere and now he wants to do it at home. On the surface, it is an excellent work. We do not know if there is any underlying motive for doing it. We pray that one day he will not beat his chest to say if it were not him.
“I commend him and urge him to do more if time and resources permit.
“I call others who also have the means to give their resources for the good of all. I don’t want to believe that he is the richest man around or the only one with resources. It is the will that is the driving factor. Others should allow their resources positively affect others. Every Eggon son and daughter whom God has blessed should think of what he or she can do, no matter how small or big. It is possible there are some people who may have even more than him but they do not have the will to sacrifice for the good of others. For such people, they are self-centred.
“If this person is doing it with clean heart, without any motive, we celebrate him and pray that God will continue to bless the works of his hands.!
Alhaji Umaru A. Yakubu, the Magayakin Eggon also bared his opinion thus:
“Truly, truly, truly, this project is one that calls for the appreciation of every well-meaning Eggon son and daughter because this project has uplifted the image of the Eggon people before the outside world in no small measure.
“For me the holder of the traditional title of Magayakin Eggon, this project being carried on by this individual is a most befitting one. This has redeemed our image. People must have been mocking at us as far as the old building was concerned. But with this, the story must change. The credit may go to him but the glory is to all the Eggon people. I can assure you if the Queen of England should come to Nassarawa Eggon, she will commend this palace.
“May I hasten to passionately call on other Eggon sons and daughters who have the means and will to please pick other projects and work on them. There are several other projects that can be executed in Eggon land. You can take the palaces of District Heads in our respective areas and build them. Check our schools and hospitals. They are yearning for attention. Those with resources can take them up and make them work for the people.
“I support the Danburam Eggon one hundred per cent for this marvellous work on the Palace and may God bless him.”
Barr Z Z Allumaga is the holder of the revered traditional title of Ubangari Eggon. He spoke with Eggonnews saying:
“It is an excellent development. No one in Eggon land including or beginning from myself will not appreciate or celebrate whoever brought or mooted the idea and even started the work, in which case is Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza
“It is an excellent project because this one has touched the main essence of the existence of the Eggon man. We are in a modern world now and you are identified with what you have, where you are, what you do, what you can make. With the greatest respect, the Egon nation will be identified at least from where their ancestors are. Indeed, what we used to call a palace, what used to be called palace in the developing world i.e., the Eggon nation has metamorphosed into what we have now, which is the civilised world. It used to be called the Azhili which is the umbilical cord of the Eggon nation. Everything about that revolves around the Eggon man is about the palace, because indeed it is the Ashim, that is the Andak’po Ashim sits in the palace. This Andak’po Ashim has fused into him into several things. He was both spiritual, political and other structures of leadership. All those powers were fused into that one person who is the occupant of the Azhili Eggon or the Ashim.
“Unfortunately for us, even as development was going ahead and there is this changing arc of now making sure that palaces reflect the existence of it elsewhere will be lackadaisical about it. And so, when other people promoted their palaces and promoted their cultures by cultural festivals and the rest of them, we seem to be pretending that we don’t have any, and I used the word pretending again, we seem to be pretending that we don’t have any, but all of us know that we do have. Quite unfortunately, nobody was prepared to start talking about how would we proceed?
“Again, Alhaji Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza has broken a particular jinx. Even in the Eggon nation, we have to come out clearly and it is better for us to discuss it and nip it in the bud and allow it not to injure us.
“One, we have been sharply divided right from history, that there is Anzo, Eholo before Egon Erroh came on board. I remember that when I was appointed the Secretary of NBS, among the Eggon groups that came to greet me, was the Wana community in, and I made this point, that, I think we are developing in the right direction, and that we are going to go out of this circle of the bad nature of the Eggon man where if something happens to one, instead of celebrating him; this pull-him-down syndrome was existing everywhere. The act of the Wana man coming to congratulate an Anzo for being appointed into a position in government, I think you have cleared the coast for unity.
“I have for instance personally witnessed a repeat of the episode, when the occupant of the Azhili Eggon is an Anzo and then a Wana is renovating his house. You can imagine what my joy will be like, and by extension, what I foresee Eggon nation becoming tomorrow.
“I am so happy about the development. And for those of us who are now traditionalists, or holding traditional titles are watching and I also know that the Azhili Eggon is also watching and will also reward Danladi Halilu.
“I am therefore calling on Danladi Halilu not to look back at all. He is now a pace-setter. Like other tribes in the State, we are also growing with more Chiefdoms that exist in individual houses that will necessarily need palaces.
Therefore, he should not look back at all. If there is something to do additionally, let him please do it, we will be very grateful.
“At the same time, I will want him to diversify. We have the Eggon Community Secondary School, Nassarawa Eggon that has almost gone into oblivion. There is no single block there that is really good for use. If he decides to focus on that, we shall be very grateful. I am not unaware that he is handling some other projects within Nassarawa Eggon.
“To the other Eggon sons and daughters, this is a clarion call for them to join. Even if we cannot do it individually, we can do it collectively. We should be able to promote and share ideas.”
Umaru Gwamna is one of the community leaders in Nassarawa Eggon who responded this way:
“As far as I am concerned, it is said that the world is dynamic, and not static. Each tribe or nation wants to move with the current reality. As for me, there is nothing wrong for the palace wearing a new face in terms of the building. At the same time, as Eggon nation, we have come of age where there is no part of this country or the world that you cannot find an Eggon man.
“Against that backdrop therefore, if there is an innovation in the palace, it is a welcome development. There are other tribes who lay claim that they have already established dynasties, they also are moving with the present trends, thereby changing the faces of their places.
“It is the case with many tribes where a few individuals uplift the image of their tribe through such ventures. Hence, we are lucky to have Danladi Halilu who is single-handedly doing this great work on the palace.
“I see nothing wrong with what he is doing, he is not bribing anybody. He is first projecting his image as an Eggon man, he is projecting the image of Eggon nation, which is very important.
“My call on all of us is to cooperate with Danladi to accomplish the project.”
Chief Mrs Mary E. Enwongulu – Ombili Moa Ashe Eggon also shared her thoughts thus:
“I am very happy about that project. Since I saw that building springing up, I have been full of joy. That project, when completed, will boost he image of the average Eggon son and daughter. In fact, having such a magnificent palace has long been over due for the Eggon nation. This is the house of the Eggon worldwide, and the paramount chief should have nothing less than what we are witnessing being done.
“We want to thank the person who on his own thought it wise to do this work. We are told it is Danladi Halilu Envulu-nza who is doing the work. It is his brainchild and he is financing the work. We want to thank him for the great sacrifice. May God in His infinite mercies continue to bless and guide him. He has gladdened and won the heart of every well-meaning Eggon person. For him to come out to handle the project single handed is worth commending and encouraging.
“I call on the Eggon people to see this man as one who had done much to boost the image of the Eggon people. Every Eggon person will be proud to introduce the palace of his paramount traditional ruler. He needs our support and encouragement. We should pray for him to finish this project and all other projects he is doing.”
Pastor Wilberforce Alaku, the President of Eggon Cultural and Development Association (ECDA) also spoke. His words:
“The first day I saw the structure being built, I actually did not ask who was doing the work. I just said whoever is doing this work, may God bless him. It was about three weeks later that I was told it was Danladi Halilu Envulu-Anza.
“To put it mildly, it is a highly welcome project. Every day, the magnificence of the building is emerging. This truly is the palace of a paramount traditional ruler befitting of the status of the Eggon people who are known worldwide.
“I only wish other Eggon people who God has blessed would have his kind of heart to do one thing or the other, we shall be greater still. We may not have to do big a project like this. You can identify a project within your financial capacity and do it.
“My advice to Danladi is that, as far as God is blessing and helping him, let him continue with what he is doing. If I were him, I would not enter into politics now. People will just go after him for money. Let him look out for other areas of need for the people and assist them.
“I wish to call on other people to emulate him. There are people who may even be wealthier than him. It is actually not having the resources that matters but the mind to do it. He has the heart of gold!”
When the story was published online by Eggonnews, it immediately attracted reactions, some of which went thus:
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Alaku Dennis – Beautiful edifice. God bless DHE
Cecilia Aga – Good work
Abdulgafaru Okkoh Isiaka – This Will be the best palace ever after completion.
Martins Alumbugu Akwashiki – The Lord be praised and bless the hands behind the beautiful edifice befitting of our Aren.
Asele Asele Amos – Without noise making, a befitting edifice for the number 1 in Eggon land has been erected. More blessings to DHE.
Pat Yiggon – Absolutely awesome. We thank DHE May God Almighty please him for us Amen
Peter Gladys – Impressive!
Likita Asso – Keep up the good work
Patience Portable damsel Epeh Abimiku-Egga – Wow! This man has changed one narrative of Nas. Eggon for me. Thanks, sir
Fidelis Esla John – That’s wonderful
David Zeal – Wait o! This is commendable walahi. We now have two tourist sites at Nass Eggon.
Mary Queen John – That’s wonderful
Azizi Blessing Enna – That’s wonderful, May God bless and protect you DHE.
Otti Esson – May you really be blessed DHE
Timothy Adzumema Ayuba – God bless DHE.
Abluya David – Very impressive, more grace DHE
Cyril Atome Laka – Good news
Lugard Esson – Great one.
Paul Monday Umbugadu – Keep up the good work!
Blessing David – DHE Envulu Weldone And God bless u more even ur Enemy need to tell u Weldon
Ovye Mari – The is very impressive and highly commendable. GOD bless DHE more
Hamza Mamaled – May God continue to bless DHE FOR US
Abdullahi Ebison Mohammed – Very impressive!
Akpo Eunice Aku Angbashim – Great!
Sunday G Yakubu – That’s wonderful. God bless DHE
Jonathan Asoloko – Wonderful
Donatus Dona-ville Danladi – Wow! Kudos to DHE
Anzewu Joseph Envuladu – Impressive ·
Christopher Ajegena – Keep up the good work!
Enna Mercy – Great job
Philemon Kuza – God bless DHE Envulu. I am particularly proud of your impact. Keep it up Sir
Baba Ayiwulu Angbaki – Wow, great job from heart giving person. May Allah bless DHE
Baba Emmanuel Angbaki – Sai godiya, walahi. May God continue to bless DHE!