How COVID-19 Stopped My 20-year Anniversary Celebration – Gangwari Ganye, Umaru Adamu Sanda II

I have also ordered the temporary closure of all markets in our borders with Cameroon, to prevent the community transmission of the disease from Cameroon into the state.

Gangwari Ganye, Umaru Adamu Sanda II
Gangwari Ganye, Umaru Adamu Sanda II

This May 13, was exactly 20 years when his royal highness, the Gangwari Ganye, Dr. Umaru Adamu Sanda II, was installed traditional ruler of the Ganye chiefdom, comprising Ganye, Jada and Toungo. The chiefdom is located in the southern part of Adamawa State, with 18 districts, inhabited by many ethnic groups which include, Chamba, Fulani, Mummuye, Hausa, Kanuri, Kutin, Verre, with Chamba being dominant group. In this interview, Adamu Sanda speaks about how COVID-19 marred the 20th anniversary of his inauguration, and revisits the kingdom’s heritage and promising future:

Congratulations your highness. How has the journey been for the last 20 years?

Alhamdulillahi! May 13, is a special and memorable day in my life, even though this year, that date has been beclouded by the Coronavirus pandemic.

But 20 years ago on this day, I remember the unprecedented crowd that thronged my coronation as the monarch of this chiefdom.

Since my installation as the monarch of the Ganye Chiefdom, this community has been the most peaceful compared to other parts of the country.

We have not witnessed any religious, ethnic or geographical conflicts. Even when it happens, it is usually settled within the local community.

I am happy and fulfilled.

What measures have been taken to contain the spread of the disease in your domain?

We have ensured compliance with the Executive Order by the governor of Adamawa State closing all cattle markets.

I have also ordered the temporary closure of all markets in our borders with Cameroon, to prevent the community transmission of the disease from Cameroon into the state.

Ganye market is attractive to people, especially, those from places worse hit by the virus like Kano.

Equity and justice are the key words in resolving all crises!

Your community is an important food basket in the state. How did you tackle the perennial herder-farmer clashes?

You are right about our strategic importance as a food, agricultural and livestock hub. Also, the Gashaka/Gumti National Park in Gashaka Local Government Area, is the largest in Nigeria.

It is the largest and most diverse conservation enclave in the country and it is also a major tourist attraction.

Ganye is very rich in solid mineral deposits, the most common of which are beryl, gypsum, kaolin, magnesite, gold, gemstones, iron ore, coal, and clay found in the rocky and mountainous parts of the community.

We’ve had a few clashes between herders and farmers, but they were amicably settled.

Equity and justice are the key words in resolving all crises!

How can people enjoy greater peace and security in the state and the country as a whole?

Well, the reasons could be lack of fear of God, derailing from our norms, values and culture, and above all, unemployment.

So we have to go back to the drawing board and change.

People need to have the fear of God and remember that there shall be day of reckoning.

Parents have roles to play in this regards. They should strive to give their children proper moral upbringing, while the government should provide jobs and stipends for graduates to reduce crime and criminality in society.

Can you share some of your achievements and trials on the throne?

The chiefdom is now one of the centres of learning in Adamawa, with public and private institutions which trained many prominent personalities occupying positions of authority in the public and private sectors across the globe.

Under my reign, the community produced Nigeria’s vice president Atiku Abubakar; former PDP National Chairman Alh. Bamanga Tukur; a deputy governor; senators; 15 professors, and other technocrats, business moguls, prominent politicians, activists and other personalities.

Apart from pockets of problems and challenges that we have experienced as community, I am happy and fulfilled that I have reached twenty years in office and this kingdom has achieved much and contributed its quota to the development of this country.

This kingdom is blessed with vast agricultural and natural resources with land stretching to the borders of the Cameroon republic.

We grow crops like cocoa, Irish potatoes, but there are no markets for these produce.

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