WHO WILL BE THE NEXT AREN EGGON?

  • Eggon List Out The Qualities And Attributes Of The Next Are Eggon
  • The Aren Eggon That We Need Now

By Matthew Kuju, Hassan Lega & Eric Kuju

All ears are itching to hear the answer to that question: who will be the next Aren Eggon.

History of the Aren Eggon institution shows that Allumbugu Otsawhe was on the throne from 1927 to 1941 (26 years) of Third-Class status, Abdullahi Idde reigned from 1953 to 1981 (28 years) and Bala Abaine Angbazo was on the throne from1981 to 2022 (41 years) during which the stool was upgraded to First Class status.

It should be reported that prior to the institutionalisation of the Aren Eggon, the Eggon people had always had the various heads otherwise referred to as moa-Andak’po Ashim. That was the situation until then.

But with time, the leadership structure took a different turn, especially so, when the colonial government stepped in. (See stories in this regard elsewhere in this newspaper)

The Aren Eggon stool was democratised in 1981 following the death of Alhaji Abdullahi Idde. The gazetted pattern and modalities for the selection and election of the Aren Eggon stool reflected on the Plateau State Chieftaincy gazette of 31st June, 1981, Supplement – E, which states, inter alia:

“The Eggon stool being a colonial creation for administrative conveniences; eligibility to the throne is open to all adult male indigenes of Eggon tribe.”

Following the death of Abdullahi Idde on 6th May, 1981, an election was conducted on the 11th July, 1981 supervised by Mr Otaki Oyigbenu, who was then Secretary in the Plateau State Ministry of Local Government, and the acceptance and approval of the result was on the 31st July, 1981 by the Solomon Lar’s administration.

In June 1982, Governor Solomon Lar uplifted and gave recognition to the Eggon Chieftaincy stool from Second Class to First Class status. The presentation of Letters of Appointment and staff of office to His Royal Highness, the Aren Eggon, Dr Bala Abaine Angbazo took place on the 12th February, 1983 in Nassarawa Eggon.

For 41 years, precisely from 11th July 1981 to 13th July, 2022, Dr Bala Abaine Angbazo was on the throne of the Aren Eggon.

As that era has ended, efforts are on to get someone to occupy the stool.

Speculations have been rife in various quarters on some persons who are either interested or are being encouraged to join the race for the coveted throne of the Aren Eggon.

While efforts are apparently on top gears to select the next Aren Eggon, Eggonnews went to town to sample the opinions of Eggon people about the attributes and qualities that the next Aren Eggon should possess.

Whereas every adult male of Eggon is eligible to aspire or contest for the seat of the Aren Eggon now that it is vacant following the passage of Dr Bala Abaine Angbazo who reigned from 1981 to 2022, only one person can sit on the throne at a time.

Ever since the emergence of the traditional stool, the occupiers of the stool played their parts which contributed in no small measures to the overall development of Eggon land.

Whereas it is the prerogative of the traditional kingmakers to select who the next Aren Eggon would be, and whereas the kingmakers may have their criteria upon which to assess who eventually emerges as the next Aren Eggon, and considering the very pivotal position of the Aren Eggon in the socio-cultural development of the people, Eggonnews went to town to gauge or feel the pulse of the people as to the attributes they wish their next paramount traditional ruler should possess.

Mr Chris Mamman, former President, Eggon Cultural and Development Association said: We give glory to God for the opportunity to interact with our people about the leadership in the land.

“The new Aren Eggon must be somebody who has the leadership qualities to work towards bringing the multi talents that abound in Eggon nation together. As the custodian of all norms and cultures of the people, we will definitely need an intelligent person, somebody who has the charisma and the capacity to influence the people – the low, medium and high. We are not necessarily interested in somebody who will come in to showcase his own prowess in the lives of our own people. I believe strongly that, yes, in the 21st century and at this particular point, in the lives of Eggon people, where we seem to have been boxed into a corner in the State where the divergence of our own strength is becoming inimical to own progress, then we must have a person who is willing to take off from where our father left off.

He had great influence in the area of education and he would always keep emphasising education, education, education. But unfortunately for own people, they went to school but did not come back to the various communities to interact with the people, to mentor the people as to their various experiences with the outside world. And everybody that went, because there was no fall-back system, the people developed themselves into islands, and everyone is now beating his own chest that he is that or he is this. And this is not what it is supposed to be. In other words, I am saying, that, yes, encouraging our people to read, yes, we have read, we have so many Professors, so many this and so many that, but what are the effects of these?

“And so, at this particular point in this journey of Eggon nation, we want a leader who has integrity. When you have integrity, it means you have the capacity to be trusted by the people, and for you to have the support of people means a whole lot. It means you must have something to give; it means you are willing to give selfless service.

“And so, if you have integrity, it will be easy for you to now network people. It means you have acquired some knowledge, you have had exposure, you’ve had experiences with other communities and persons, and you are now willing to tap into those experiences to network with other organisations and individuals from within and outside the shores of this country for the progress of your own people. So, your capacity to network with your own people within and outside is a required aspect of it. That is one of the major things that will be needed of our own leader.

“And the people must have faith in you. For people to have faith in you, it means you are being selfless, you are not doing it to accumulate wealth for yourself. Whatever position you take at any given point, it means you are willing to give your life, you are willing to give your resources for the progress of your own people.

“Eggon nation is in dire need of that at this point.

“The next leader must have a listening ear. You must be willing to listen to the cries of your own people. What is it that they want? If you don’t listen to people and you say you want to lead them, it is not going to work. You must, after listening to them, you must understand their own plight, that, yes, today, the population of Eggon nation is increasing, and we have been traditionally farmers. The land is not increasing, but rather decreasing because increase in the number of houses and other environmental impact. Therefore, what are you willing to do? How do we articulate a position so that our people can make progress and make adjustment to the time?

“So, if you are able to listen to your people, you must also have to have a heart to understand. It means also that you must be emotionally intelligent. Being emotionally intelligent means that you do not only know what happens outside your own community, you have the emotional stability to assess the concerns and cries of your own people, so that you can work with them.

“Eggon nation needs somebody like that at this point, because we are crying out, people are crying, there is so much despondence. And so, we need somebody who has such quality.

“If you have such qualities, you must then be able to sit down with your own people and ask how do we navigate ourselves out of this problem? Yes, our immediate community lands are no longer fertile, what do we do about that? The society, we have grown, every group is clinging their clans. How do you as a leader navigate to bring the various groups together so that they can live together in harmony so that they can actually chart a course for unity of purpose?

“But most importantly, the Aren Eggon that we need now must have the ability to communicate with our own people. How do we communicate in a language that the people understand? If you are able to listen to them, if you are able to emotionally understand their own pains, it means you will be in a position to communicate to them that in the 21st Century, we can no longer go on like this. But how do we accommodate your own thinking. You must be in a position or have the capacity or the charisma to bring all of these different norms together. How do you articulate this and chart a course that will be mutually beneficial to all?

“You as a leader foremostly must live an exemplary life. If you are telling people to share ideas, if you are telling people to live together in peace, you must live an exemplary life. How is your relationship with other clan members? How is your relationship with the poor in the society? Do you listen to only those who have money or bring bags of rice and the like? Or you are willing to listen and pay attention to the rural person who has suffered from flood or attack from herdsmen. If they are losing out in the new dispensation because of the technology that is coming in, those who are learned, those who are not schooled, how do you relate with them?

“You must have such qualities if you want to be an effective Aren Eggon in this 21st Century.

“I feel strongly that anybody with these qualities, if he is willing to serve, will succeed in changing the fortunes or changing the narrative of the Eggon nation in such a little while, because we have so much to offer Nasarawa State and Nigeria as a whole.

“I only will pray and hope that whichever groups of people are saddled with the responsibility of electing the new Aren Eggon will do justice to our own people, and God will be happy with them, and Eggon nation will be happy, and Nasarawa State will be happy.

“We need someone who will be able to relate with the government, because if your community is peaceful, then the State will be peaceful, development can come to your community.”

Pastor Wilberforce Alaku is the immediate past ECDA President and also gave his suggestions on the qualities that the next Aren Eggon should have.

“Eggon is a unique nation that needs to be carefully guided. Now that our paramount ruler is gone, we are looking for a new leadership, and for this leadership to come on board, for the person to be chosen by the grace of God through the people, and by the way leadership is bestowed by God to whomsoever He wishes, if he does not possess the right and appropriate qualities, he must endeavour to possess them.

“First, the person must be God-fearing.

“Second, he must understand Eggon nation very well, because, like I said, Eggon nation is very unique. The three religions – Islam, Christianity and Traditional religions – are practised side by side. The leader must embrace these people all.

“The Aren Eggon must be honest in his dealings; he must be proactive; he must be loving and open-minded. He must be firm in taking decision. He must extend hands of friendship and fellowship to other neighbouring tribes and people. He must be a unifying leader, as his predecessors have done.

“He must possess these qualities. And for anyone on whom the mantle may fall on him and he lacks these qualities, I charge such a person to, by all lawful ways, acquire them. He should enlist the support of the elders in the land to be his advisers from all the interest groups and stakeholders.

“He must never take sides, he must be a father of and to all, a lover of all and a listener of all problems. He must not be quick-tempered; he must be tender-hearted. He should love all no matter the status or standing in the society and be loved by all.

“We pray, because whether we like it or not, God will give us a leader, and we pray that God will give a leader who will possess all these attributes.

“I know that many people will indicate interest in this seat. Whatever is good will be desired by all. There can only be one person sitting on that throne at a time. The moment God picks someone, we should know that it is God who chooses. Therefore, once God chooses one out of the many aspirants to the throne, we should all rally round him and give him all the support and cooperation so that he will rule over the land well. We must accord him respect.”

Yahaya Usman, Judge Upper Area Court Masaka said: “May the soul of our great Aren Eggon rest in eternity, Amen.

“The new Aren Eggon should not be the person we like due to his position or money or political affinity, educational qualification. HE should be a person who is patient, capable, competent, connecting with his people, knows the feelings of the people, addresses issues not on clannish/religious sentiments, sees Eggon nation uniting as an umbrella of one EGGON KYEKYEN, has a blameless life, has experience and exposure in life, treats other ethnic/religious groups as neighbours and above all, can liaise with the government at all levels to bring peace and harmony to Nasarawa State and Nigeria at large. In addition, he is apolitical.

As for Chief Patriot Adoji Aku Aliku, the Wakilin Eggon Karu, “The new Aren Eggon I am expecting to emerge should be an Eggon Man with impeccable character, an administrator with wealth of experience and knowledge on Eggon culture and tradition, whose style of leadership will bring sanity, respect, harmony, oneness, co-operation, peace and unity in Eggon nation in order to uphold her cultural values and heritage. He should be humble, kind, gentle, patient, has self-control, self-esteem and should possess at least one of the following: OND, NCE, Nurse, CHEW, HND, Degree (MA, MSc, PhD) or a professor. He should be able to decentralize power by creating more chiefdoms. Since Eggon has three sons of which Eggon Erroh has their chiefdom, it is remaining Anzo and Eholo. Likewise, there should be three ruling houses of the three clans of Eggon: Anzo, Eholo and Eggon Erroh, who will produce Aren Eggon and the stool should be rotational. The issue of Electoral College of selecting Aren Eggon also should be reviewed so that each sub-clan be represented in his clan so that they will select Aren Eggon when it’s their turn or the current gazette of selecting Aren should also be reviewed to include the 26 sub-clan, that’s 26 Eggon dialects and their Aren be installed, not Wakilin.”

Dr. Anza Usman, FCT, Abuja also bared his mind thus: “My humble opinion on the attributes of the next Aren Eggon is that the person should be one who is:- 1. Open minded and objective; 2. Passionate about education in the Eggon nation; 3. Having the interest of the Eggon nation closely at heart; 4. Between the age group of 45 – 55 years of age; 5. Loyal to the Eggon nation/sacrifice his personal interest; 6. a strategist, and 7. God fearing.”

Mr. Titus Malam Sule, former ECDA Chairman FCT Abuja opined that: “In my opinion, a new Aren Eggon should be someone that has the fear of God in his heart, also someone who has listening ears to his people that he is leading, and should be friendly to all people not only Eggon people, but also other tribes.

“I expect that the new Aren Eggon can be from any of the religious faiths, a Christian, Muslim or a Traditionalist, provided he is an Eggon man, if can do justice to all.

“On the part of our late Aren Eggon, HRH Dr. Bala Abaine Angbazo, he tried his best to see the unity of Eggon nation. He was a man of integrity that stood and defended his people when he was alive and carried his people along without any clannish segregation among the Eggon.

“The only weak point from the late Aren Eggon is that, if any village head or district head died, he did not allow the selection of new village head or district head. Rather, he appointed an acting or Wakili, which is not the right thing to do. He should have allowed selection new village heads immediately without wasting time. These village heads are the Kingmakers to elect the new Aren Eggon but most of them are Wakili which they are not authorised to elect Aren Eggon because most them died.

“Now to get a new Aren, to me, it is going to be a problem because we have no king makers on ground, most are Wakili. This is where I saw his weak aspect when he was alive.

“My expectation of the new Aren Eggon, in the area of academic qualification, to me, the new Aren should have a minimum qualification of a degree, because we are in a global village. An experienced civil servant, an administrator who has been with different people of the world. He should be a person who is trustworthy, a man of integrity, and person that will carry his people along. He should be one who can stand anywhere in the world and will speak English fluently without fear.”

Engr. Tanko Kigbu, former EYM President, Abuja also said: “My opinion is, that, the kind of new Aren Eggon I am expecting to emerge is someone who is exposed, rich, commands respect, well-disciplined, is God-fearing and is well respected by his people.”

Amb. MWO Ayuba Akyen (Rtd), former Military Attaché to Pakistan, said: “I want to thank Eggonnews for the opportunity given to me to express my opinion on kind of person that is expected to be the next Aren Eggon. The person

  1. Should be an Eggon man by all standard, e.g. speaks Eggon fluently.
  2. Should be a man of sound mind, academically and culturally. He should have a minimum qualification of First Degree of any field.
  3. Should be a seasoned figure e.g. A retired public personality.
  4. Should be man with accurate historical background of Eggon people
  5. Should be a man who is contented that cannot be easily bought over by materialistically opinion.
  6. Should be man that believes in Eggon and Eggon only.

As for Hon. Nathaniel Agyomesa, former Member NSHA, representing Lafia North Constituency, “Dr. Angbazo has done his best. May his soul rest in peace.

“The new one is expected to be of good conduct, someone with good educational qualification, may be from BSc to Professorship, someone with good background on Eggon culture, one who will love the culture of his people and shall promote the same at all times.

“He should be a traditionalist, a person that will not discriminate against other religions. He should be a person that will identify with the youths and shall also recognize the role of women in the society.

“Above all, he should look at himself as the father of the clans that make up the Eggon Nation. He should be a symbol of peace himself and not the one that would divide Eggon alone clannish or party line.”

Nanzah Emmanuel, Masaka. To him: “That person should be one that will come and settle the clannish problems in Eggon land that have been the hinderance to the progress of Eggon Nation for years now.

“Eggon people are like Yoruba people, religion is never a problem to them at all. But clans are the major problem of the Eggon people. This person from this clan and that person from which clan. Any person that can cement this relationship will move Eggon forward.”

Pharm Dr Joel Adagadzu PhD also bared his mind and listed the following qualities or attributes. The person:

  1. Must be an Eggon son with a fair knowledge of the spoken Eggon language to ease effective communication
  2. Must be matured, not too old and not too young
  3. Should be well educated, well exposed, with lots of experience, contacts and reach
  4. Should be a respectable Traditional Title Holder
  5. Should have leadership experience in government or the private sector
  6. Should be a man of integrity, one that can be trusted
  7. Should be a man of uncommon humility but firm
  8. Should be one who can inspire the people and lead by example
  9. Should be one who can unite the entire Eggon tribe
  10. Should be one who can provide effective leadership for the Eggon people, other indigenous ethnicities and settler communities
  11. Should be someone who is non-partisan and carries everyone along, one who sees and treats all Eggon sons and daughters as a family without biases for his nuclear family
  12. Should be someone who is not ashamed to be associated with the Eggon tribe due to his religion or extraneous social standing
  13. Should be someone who can defend the interest of the Eggon Nation and can stand up to speak for them
  14. Should be someone who mixes well with the people and has demonstrated his affection and love for the Eggon tribe over the years
  15. Should be responsible, dependable and without blemish.

As for Musa Adamu Angba (also known as Malla Angba), former President of the Eggon Youth Movement and holder of several positions in ECDA national leadership was also on hand to avail Eggonnews of his position.

“We thank God Almighty, the giver and taker of life; He created life and death. We thank god for letting us witness the end of our royal father, the Aren Eggon. |may his soul rest in peace! Death is inevitable. We accept what God has done to Eggon land. We pray that our tears will not be in vain, may our tears attract favour and mercy from God. It is also our hope that having parted well with our father, for those of us alive, may God give us someone who has good thinking. Our father Dr Bala Angbazo has done his best and it’s God who called him home. The person who will come should build on the legacies of the predecessor.  May God give the person who has the strength, capacity and competence, one who will not draw the hand of clock back but move it forward.

“Why am I saying this? while our father was seriously sick, activities in Eggon land suffered set back. Fellowship among the people became cold. The ways and manners he used to lead the people in various aspects were not available; the people were virtually without a direction because there was no strong fatherly voice to speak to the people. Big personalities would come from different parts of the country and even beyond but our father was not well. Messages for the people would come but bab was not well to receive them for the people, and if he gave messages, such messages did not use to get to the people.

“Now that God has taken him away, painful as it is, we accept the will of God. This has also created an opportunity to take over from where he left.

“Our prayer is that whoever will succeed Baba should one who loves fellowship and togetherness. He should not be one who will promote one religion over others or clannishness. He must love all the three religions being practised by Eggon people. He should promote love among all the people, to share with one another. It is said that many hands make light work. He should mobilise all hands to be on deck in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities.

“It must be a do-or-die contest and no one should insist he must be the one. Allow God to choose. We must see the hand of God in this contest and accept the verdict that will be declared. Whoever is declared should be embraced by all the other aspirants. If they cooperate with the Aren Eggon, by implication, they are part and parcel of the rulership.

“I call on Eggon people to pray fervently so that we have someone who is God-fearing, charismatic and peace-loving leader. He should unite all the Eggon people and promote good neighbourliness. He must never promote whichever religion he belongs to over or against the others. It is divine responsibility thrust upon your shoulders and you account for every action taken or not taken.

“Very importantly, we need to give a word of caution. We know we have our internal problems. If the government must come into this matter, it should be with extreme caution, not to worsen the situation. We must not have a situation where a leader will be selected and he cannot enter his seat of rulership. We in Eggon land are not known with such. We should have God’s choice as Aren Eggon. It must be politically motivated or tainted choice. We must allow the fear of God rule in these affairs.

“I want to call on other tribes not to see this a war in Eggon land. Just pray for us to get through the process and get someone that will promote togetherness among all the ethnic groups in the State.”

Comrade James Manza, former President of ECDA also expressed his wish on the attributes of the next Aren Eggon.

“Let me start by joining the Eggon nation in mourning the demise of our revered monarch, the Aren Eggon, Dr Bala Abaine Angbazo.

“My wish would be that the next Aren Eggon should be a person that is learned to be able to meet the challenges of the present times.

“He should be someone who is well exposed and will be able to take the Eggon nation to every nook and cranny of the society.

“I expect that he should be one who has a large heart to accommodate and accept the Eggon people, and make Eggon his subject of priority in his life.

“Another quality I wish that the next Aren Eggon should have is the quality of discernment, one who will be able to discern the times and differentiate the different aspects of the Eggon problems to enable him meet up the challenges.

“He should be one who is adoptable or adaptable to different situations and different challenges and different needs of his people.

“He should be one who should understand the different perspectives of his people and the society, particularly bearing in mind the existence among other ethnic nationalities.

“Another quality I would like the next Aren Eggon to possess is in the area of communication. He should be one that will have soft mind while responding to issues, with soft words in approaching issues.

“He should be a person who can endure situations, bearing in mind the people that he is ruling. I said this because over the years, when the Aren Eggon became incapacitated, there was a disconnect among our people, and even between our people and other ethnic nationalities in the State. Therefore, he needs to be who can endure, will assess all situations.

“Another quality that I would want to see in the next Aren Eggon is that he should exhibit maturity by tolerating all his subjects; there should be maturity in approach to issues, maturity in liaising with other people.

“Another area, I will say this by way of advice, is that he should be one who would build bridges. The Eggon are found all over the State and neighbouring States and the FCT.

“He should see himself as one to make friends with all other traditional rulers in the State and the country for the sake of his people who are found everywhere. By so doing, he would be protecting the interests of the Eggon people.

“He should also be one who would try to access and locate the people through occasional visits, especially within Nasarawa State where Eggon people are found. For instance, I am from Kadarko. In all my life, I have never seen the Aren Eggon show any concern that his people are there.

“If the next Aren Eggon will be the one who will reach out to where his people are, I think it will go a long way in cementing the relationship. Especially those of us that are outside the Eggon domain and are facing discrimination.

“That is why I talked about establishing a cordial relationship with other traditional rulers. That way, it will help in prevailing on other people accommodating the Eggon people; it will break down the walls of discrimination built against the Eggon people who are residing outside the Egon land.

“I will also want to see and advise that the next Aren Eggon, on assumption of office, should embark on re-organising the palace. At least, by the grace of God, when I had the opportunity of being the ECDA President, I had visited almost all palaces in the State, met with the leadership of all other ethnic groups including the revered traditional rulers. I think our palace needs to be re-organised, restructured in terms of administration and co-ordination.

“There is the need to…, you find that all the title holders are absent from the palace. There are many title holders who are hardly ever seen in the palace where necessary. “Therefore, the next Aren Eggon should have the ability of attracting them to the palace in order to make the palace more relevant and active.

“I will also like to call on the kingmakers that they should see their assignment as being different and be prayerful. They should fear God as they cast their votes.

“I will also like to call on the Eggon people to be prayerful so that God will give us direction, so that those who will do the selection on our behalf, God should guide them. They should keep clannish and personal interests aside and put the interest of Eggon nation at heart.

“I call on the Eggon nation to be ready to support the next Aren Eggon so that we make our revered stool more relevant and more respectful.

“We should make ourselves available to the next Aren Eggon, particularly the elites and the rich. They should be able to make sacrifices for the interest of the Eggon.

“For those who are aspiring to the seat, since only one person can sit on that throne, and more so the beauty of our traditional institution is that it is open to all Eggon male adults, it is a democratic one. We should also appreciate the fact that, for the reason that it is open to all, it is only one stool, and therefore only one person can sit there at a time. There can only be one Aren Eggon at a given time.

“Therefore, each aspirant should have it at the back of his mind that inasmuch as we the Eggon appreciate his desire to lead us, and if it happens that he is the one chosen, he should accept the verdict in good faith and cooperate with whoever that will be chosen or elected as the case may be. They should work with him for the interest of the Eggon nation.

“Every Eggon person should put his or her hands on deck to move Eggon nation forward. The stool belongs to each and every one of us and the success of the throne translates to the success to everyone.”

Comrade Daniel Anyuabaga Yaro, the immediate past President of Eggon Youth Movement stated his position on the qualities of the next Aren Eggon thus:

“Let me start by recalling that he was 41 years and two days on the throne as at the time he passed away.

“But considering the people who participated in selecting or electing him, all of them are dead except one person who is now the District Head of Mada Station. And in accordance to the gazette, for the fact that all the dead have not been replaced officially, because what we have are acting Village Heads, they cannot select the Aren Eggon.

“This is a signal to us, and we are afraid, looking at the gazette, if care is not taken, we may not have a new Aren Eggon for some time to come.

“The Governor of Nasarawa State can appoint someone so that when the substantive Aren Eggon comes, he can confirm the acting Village Heads.

“And looking at the politics that is playing out, it may not be easy for government to take that decision yet. This is a very critical moment, a moment that stakeholders have to meet in Eggon land and see what will be possible for us to have a respected and unifying leader.

“Let me stress, that, Eggon is a tribe that is known the world over. In Nasarawa State it is one of the largest ethnic groups that are reckoned with in the areas of population, education, religion and politics.

“Therefore, for a person to become an Aren Eggon, you must possess so many qualities. He must be a man who is focused; a man who is courageous, agile, a good listener, emotionally and mentally stable, one who is ready to take responsibility irrespective of one’s political, religious or clannish background. He must be one who respects everybody as an Eggon man or woman no matter the population size of your clan and one’s educational standing notwithstanding.

“Our next Aren Eggon should be one who can bring the different ethnic groups together.

“He should be a leader who will go and struggle for his people in the State to have some sense of recognition in politics, government, business and other areas of human endeavour.

“The next Aren Eggon should be one who is neutral in all areas of human consideration – politics, religion, worldviews.

“We thank God, that our departed Aren Eggon, Bala Angbazo, even though he was an active member of a political party as at the time he was elected the Aren Eggon, but the moment he assumed the throne, he no longer wore the toga of the party and throughout his reign, he remained politically neutral, in fact he was apolitical.

“It is in that light that, if, for instance the person who may emerge the next Aren Eggon is presently a member of any of the political parties at whatever level, the moment he is chosen, he ceases to be sympathetic to that party or any political party for that matter.

“I will like to appeal to all the aspirants to the throne to accept the fact that only one person will mount the throne.

“Leadership comes from God. I am told that there are many people interested in that seat. It should not be a do-or-die affair. Any one so declared should be supported and accepted.

“I appeal to the entire Eggon people to be ready to accept whoever emerges as Aren Eggon whether he belongs to your interest group or not. We must never exhibit our differences.”

Hon Chief Mary Enwongulu, the Ombili Mo-Ashe Eggon averred that: “As an Eggon person, we want someone who is fluent in Eggon language, is very well familiar with Eggon culture and tradition.

“For the fact that he is going to be on a very high leadership position, such a position encompasses so many things.

“He must have a religion that he practises but he must not be a fanatic as to discriminate against the other religions some of his people practise. Every Eggon person of whatever religion is your subject and you must accord him due regard.

“The next Aren Eggon, like the predecessors, must be God-fearing.

“He must be someone who commands respect among his people and among other traditional rulers. Respect begets respect. He must be one who respects, and that will attract respect to him too.

“He should be someone who is accommodating of all people of different shades of opinion and creed.

“He should be one who has good human relations.”

Mrs Rose Aminu Attah is the current President, ECDA Women Wing who bared her mind too to the discussion on the qualities of the next Aren Eggon.

She said: “The qualities I would love to see in the next Aren Eggon whom God will choose for us – because I know we are not the ones to choose him.

“We want the next Aren Eggon to be one who is patient and enduring. He should be one that will carry people along. Not necessarily Eggon people alone but other tribes also. We want to work together with the other tribes.

“He should be one that has a deep love for Eggon. If he has that genuine love, the Eggon will go far beyond where we are today.

“He should also be one that is compassionate and willing to listen to the cries of his children whenever they come to him.

“We also want the next Aren Eggon to be a kind of person that listens to varying opinions before taking decisions.

“He should be a promoter of peaceful coexistence among his subjects. He must also be very welcoming.

“My prayer is that when the next Aren Eggon ascends the throne, the first thing he should look at in Eggon land is the issue of clans. The clans have now dominated Eggon and has diluted the love we once had for one another. There is no harmony in Eggon land because some clans want to be superior over others. We have amplified the issue of clans and there is no longer unity. For example, one can say he is Wana and he cannot work with any other if not from the same clan. We now love our clans more than the umbrella of Eggon.

“So, I pray that God will give the next Aren the wisdom to tackle the issue of clans so that we can be united once more for peace and development. It is this issue of clans that is generating problems for us in Eggon land and I will like him to look into it.

“Another thing I would love him to look into is the issue of the traditional marriage rites for our daughters. It is usually too expensive.

“If God makes him the Aren Eggon, I want him to reduce the cost of marrying an Eggon lady so that they can marry. There are so many of our daughters at home because it costs too much to marry them and the men are running away. My plea is for him to reduce it.

“The third thing is for him to appoint Village Heads who are also the kingmakers. He needs them to make his job easier because without them, so much will be happening without his knowing. The absence of the kingmakers has drawn us back a great deal. Most of them died and they were not replaced. Places where we would have had second class and third-class chiefs, we have missed out on such.

“I also want him to look into the issue of religious discrimination. We always say Eggon Kyenkyen because Eggon is one whether you are a Christian or Muslim. I want him to show no discrimination to either Christian or Muslim Eggon people. He should carry all of us along and his reign will be a very prosperous one.

“I pray that God will give us someone who will embody all these characteristics.”

Mr Samson Anzaku Musa, Bukan Sidi Lafia said: “I want to pay tribute to the late Aren Eggon who is now of blessed memory. I want to thank God for his long stay on that throne.

“Presently, we are at the verge of the selection of a new Aren Eggon. I think we need to see some key qualities in making our selection and not just to bring any person.

“This is because as everybody knows, an Eggon man can be very, very difficult especially because he sees himself as independent. Because of that, we need somebody who can really stand on his word.

“Even though there are kingmakers and other traditional titleholders and advisers who will be with the Aren, he still has to be someone who can take a strong stance and make a decision.

“Another quality is that the person must be very knowledgeable of the Eggon tradition. This knowledge must cover Anzo, Eholo and Eggon Eroh. The person must be able to foster unity among these groups of Eggon and not to be biased for any reason.

“The person must have also tested some high positions either at the national or state level. This can be an added advantage because it shows the person has experience in leadership.

“We will also need a young person, someone who is vibrant and can traverse the length and breadth of the entire State. And I mean young not just in age. Someone can attain the level of an elder but is still young by virtue of his agility.

“These are the qualities I feel we should look at in the next Aren Eggon.”

Apostle Ayuba Yusuf Envuladu, General Overseer Messiah Gospel and Prophetic Assembly, Lugbe Abuja, spoke thus: “I want to sympathize with the entire Eggon nation. We lost our father. Like me in person, I lost an in-law also. My wife is a granddaughter to the late Aren Eggon. I really miss him. Aren Eggon had been a very good friend to my late dad, Very Rev. Yusuf Envuladu.

“Actually, the late Aren Eggon was a highly responsible leader to the entire Eggon nation and we are going to really miss him. I remember some of his achievements for the Eggon nation which we can never overlook. He really did his best.

“The next Aren Eggon – if I may give my opinion – should be someone who has vision. He must be someone who has Eggon at heart.

“In the Mangu or Tarok side, there is something they usually do. Their leader, maybe at the end of every year, will summon the sons and daughters of the land to come and show their play card.

“I believe the next Aren Eggon should have such vision. Like every end of the year, he should call the sons and daughters of the Eggon nation to come and show us their play card. How many people did you employ? How many people did you help to pay their school fees? What are your plans for the Eggon nation even for the generation yet unborn?

“The next Aren Eggon must also be charismatic. He will change a lot of things in Eggon nation.

“Baba Aren Eggon though he had done his best, but there are some areas where he missed it. Like the 22 kingmakers who elected him in 1981. Unfortunately, all of them died and he couldn’t replace them. All of those in the position currently are in acting capacity. Even the selection of the next Aren Eggon is now a problem. But we believe God will bring somebody that we want.

“I heard that a lot of people are contesting. I don’t want to mention anybody’s name here. But as a clergy, my prayers every day for the Eggon nation is that God will bring somebody who will come and change a lot of the deteriorating things happening in Eggon nation. For example, the previous issue of EYM that the Eggon nation could not settle.

“So, the next leader should be somebody who has vision, somebody who has leadership skills, conflict resolution skills especially for the Eggon nation that is believed cannot fight strangers, only themselves.

“We need a leader that will come, and when he says yes, that yes will remain yes. We need somebody with a vast knowledge of the political, social and moral issues. The next Aren Eggon should be somebody who will come and unite us the more. He should establish a good relationship with the other traditional rulers and the government so that Eggon land can attract good investments from all over.

“He should be a good problem-solver. He should be a good influencer and one who is financially strong as not to be beggarly.

“He should not be one who is quick to anger, and should not be politically inclined to any party or interest. Inasmuch as he has to get things done via political calculations, he must be careful as not to get immersed in politics.

“The next Aren Eggon should be academically sound, because today is not like yesterday. He should have the wisdom to hold the people well. He should deep knowledge of the Eggon cultures and traditions.

“He must a father to all, he should not discriminate for whatever reason. As we all know, our slogan is Eggon Kye-kyen which suggests unity. He should therefore champion the cause of unity in Eggon land.

“He should a leader who is always available in the palace, not the absentee traditional rulers who stay away from their palaces and are hardly available. He cannot be ruling us from afar. We don’t want that kind of traditional ruler.

“I will hasten to appeal to those who may aspire but may not emerge as the Aren Eggon. Should there be more than one person aspiring, there will be only one person.

“Therefore, all others should concede to him and give him all the support.

“The new Aren should reach out to the losers and work with them.”

Hon Chief Eunice Asheo’lege Kigbu JP is one-time President, ECDA Women Wing, former Commissioner and holder of traditional title of Zinariya Eggon also shared her position on the matter thus: “Earnestly, we are now in the 21st Century and in a computer age. Therefore, we have to move with the times.

“The next Aren Eggon, by the grace of God, the person God will use the government to give unto us in Eggon nation, the person should be a God-fearing person. A God-fearing man will ensure that there is peace in the land. If there is no peace, there will be no progress. If there is no peace there will be no unity, if there is no peace, there won’t be love. Peace is very, very important.

“We need someone who will seek God’s wisdom in piloting the affairs of Eggon nation.

“Secondly, our next Aren Eggon should be a literate person, one who can read, write and can communicate in the world language of communication. Because we should have an Aren who will easily flow among world traditional rulers should he find himself in their midst.

“He is one who is nationally and internationally connected. Connecting with people is something that attracts progress and development. That is what we direly need in Eggon land more than the stage we are presently.

“Thirdly, we ned a person who thoroughly knows the norms, culture and traditions of the Eggon people.

“He should not be one who is porous. With such a person, the administration will not go well.

“He should be a person who respects and sees elders as elders, and be a person who knows what it takes to be in the palace.

“Therefore, they should look very well and give us such a man in Eggon to take the leadership and be the next Aren Eggon.

“He should be a person who is conscious of the time we are in presently, in the area of insecurity. We need a person that will secure the Eggon nation.

“Our late royal father was very conscious of security. He did not take anything for granted; he did not take any news lightly. He safeguarded the land very well and protected his children.

“Therefore, any man who will be Aren Eggon should be conscious of the security of the land.

“Security and peace go hand in hand. Security entails peace. Where there is no security, there is no peace. The moment you able to tackle insecurity, it naturally engenders peace. The security of lives and properties is very significant. Should there be any threat to peace, he should be quick to respond.

“He should be a man will defend Eggon sons and daughters and will bring them together at all times. In times of development, he needs to call the children and sit together tpo discuss issues in order to find ways to make progress.

“The Aren Eggon that God will choose for us through the government should be accepted.

“I have said this before, that, anyone who is not married to an Eggon woman should not be given that position. You know what it means, as an Eggon man. If you are not married an Eggon woman, you won’t go the whole hug in matters of the culture. You are likely to disclose to your wife and the secrets will be let out. You will certainly discuss with your wife, and because she is not Eggon, she will not understand what it entails. A non-Eggon woman will not know the traditions of the people.

“Therefore, it will not be right for us to choose a chief or Aren who is not married to an Eggon woman. We should maintain the genealogy of the Eggon nation as our parents did, so that our secrets will be secret.

“We hope and pray that the next Aren Eggon will continue with what our late father did, when he helped so many children to go to school. He sent many of them to school.

“Therefore, we look unto God so that the government will give us a good person.

“We are praying to God to give us a man after His heart in Eggon land. The Aren should help in the area of education.

“He should assist the less-privileged ones, and especially the girl-child. Our late royal father was so concerned about the girl-child education.

“He understood the benefit of an educated woman  and he took deliberate and practical steps to address that.

“Let the next Aren Eggon also have such attitude toward the girl-child.

“We are looking unto God that may His will be done concerning the successor. May only God’s will be done. Anything to be done by man, we pray that God will not allow it take lead.

“Eggon should unite. We should fight over this, because only one person will inherit that seat, out of several hundreds of thousands.

“Therefore, the person that God has chosen, and I am trusting that God is going to choose us a man after His heart at this particular period to wipe away our tears.

“I pray that the next Aren Eggon will build on the legacies that our late father laboured to put in place. He should continue from where he stopped, not to abandon or discard the legacies left behind.”

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