When we want to tell our children the story of how life used to be in Jukun land, let’s not forget to tell them the whole truth.
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Tell them we had two classifications of our past as a people: the united victorious past and the divided survivors’ past.
There was a time that many Jukuns live together as a victorious independent African Kwararafa Kingdom. The Aku-Uka of Wukari, the Gara of Donga and the Ukwe of Takum lived as brothers and custodians of the culture and the protectors of the people. Outsiders could not differentiate between the Wapan, Panzon, Ichen, Kuteb, etc. including Chamba which recently migrated and got assimilated into the Jukun brotherhood. They lived together as brothers, protecting each other. Bore similar names and intermarried. We must do the same.
When People talk about Chamba people’s recent migration to Kwararafa, some make it look like they are outcast for not migrating together with the Jukun people earlier. However many historians and anthropologists have come to accept the fact that the Chamba has had long term relationship with the Jukuns especially the Kuteb for migrating to join them during the Fulani Jihad, that was why upon their arrival to Takum the Chamba were treated as brothers and granted vast land to farm and live among the Kuteb and Kpanzon as brothers. Therefore I submit that anthropology proofs show that We have more evidence that we are brothers than as enemies.
Why can’t we celebrate that instead of allowing politics and resource control to keep us divided for reasons the will not benefit any of us in the long run?
Outside our community, we embraced each other as blood relatives in Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, UK, Germany, etc. The love within the community-made many smaller tribes around to embrace the Jukun ideology of communal life of freedom and dignity. Many smaller tribes began answering themselves as Jukuns with pride hence the expansion of Kwararafa Kingdom beyond the borders of Cameroon.
The unfortunate era surfaced as a result of western education, the influx of foreign religions, politics, a quest for identity and the independence fever of nations which led to division and classification and grading of Traditional rulers for the indirect rules of the British colonial master. Gradually but surely instead of all these foreign factors uniting and enhancing the progress of our people, politics came with its division of parties, Christian divided them between CRCN, RCCN, Catholic, Pentecostal etc, Government divided them into LGAs.
The unity of our people and the principles of communal life eroded to the points that brothers kill each other over Islam and Christianity, APC and PDP, Wapan and Kpanzun, Chamba and Kuteb, over Lissam and Rufu, over Bika and Kpambo, over RCCN and CRCN. See how the mighty had fallen, the pride and envy of the middle belt became a theatre of war where brothers kill brothers. We are so blessed but became a curse to the land. The entire Jolly Nyame regime was a waste to our people due to crisis. Wukari felt it, Donga felt it, Takum and ussa felt it to an extent that some of our communities were cut off from LGAs in Nigeria.
We brought pain, shame, and loss to our people. Our people were forced to migrate to Jalingo, Lafia, Abuja, Jos etc and building these new settlements and neglecting our community. The educated among us seems to take pride in teaching and retelling our ugly immediate past instead of sharing it with the victorious united past. The only history they know how to share is that of internal strives, tribal war, disintegration of the Kwararafa, recent genocidal attempt and shame in the Jukun land. We are ashamed of our bad recent history after the independence of Nigeria but refuse to share the good ones and plan for a better one in the future.
Praise God we can change the future no matter our status in the past. We can unite again and restore justice, peace, and progress to our people. Let all Kwararafa sons and daughters dare the consequences and stand up for justice and peace for our people. Let’s all speak up for the installation of Ukwe Takum and the return of Yangtu to Takum. Let’s ensure that the political emancipation of the minority among us like Chamba is sustained. Let’s promote our unity in diversity in our rich culture by restoring the glory of our traditional festivals.
Every sociocultural organization in the land should be positioned to restore the confidence of our people in our quest to rebuild and restore our pride as a people. JDAN or Kwararafa Union, and Kuteb Yatso, for example, must prove their worth in restoring our people back to the path of justice, peace, and progress. None of us is better than all of us. Out strength is in our unity. Our dignity is in our peaceful coexistence. Our pride is in being our brother’s keeper.
May God bless our present and our future by forgiving our past.
By: Rikwense Muri