Peace In Jukun-Kona After Taraba Court Invalidates Committee’s Plan To Merge Ruling Houses
There’s hope for peace in Jukun Kona land of Taraba State after the state high court invalidated the recommendation of the Fidelis Kaigama Committee set up to review the gazette of the state government on the ruling houses of the Jukun Kona Kingdom.
Calm has descended on the Kona Chiefdom after tension rose due to a recommendation for the merging of the four ruling houses into two.
The committee had in its report recommended that four ruling houses entitled to the Kona traditional institution be reduced to only two to allow easy selection of the future traditional leader of the kingdom.
But the Taraba State High Court in Jalingo presided by Justice Silas Haruna had on February 22 nullified the recommendation of the committee.
While reacting, President, Jukun Konna Developmental Association, Mr Vincent Yakubu, said the decision of the court had really addressed the problem of the kingdom.
Yakubu added that some people wanted to put the entire kingdom into serious crisis, which according to him, might cost lives and properties.
He, however, praised the court for rejecting the recommendation of the committee, which could have thrown the kingdom into crisis.
There were insinuations that the Taraba State Governor, Mr. Darius Ishaku, illegally altered gazette to remove ruling houses and replace them with the family of his friend, Fidelis Kaigama.
The altered gazette, first published in 2022, culminated in the collapse of four ruling houses into two, including the ruling house of the current monarch of Jukun-Jibu Kona Kingdom, Augustine Njenmang Vengkani II.
In the 2018 gazette, the ruling houses of the Jukun-Kona Kingdom were listed to include Panni/Noku Ayimu, Agauwan, Yim and Namen Numtai.
The altered gazette, however, had replaced the four ruling houses with only Bajibro and Badami ruling clans. The gazette was said to have been secretly altered without consulting members of the four ruling houses.
If the altered gazette is eventually allowed, the current monarch will be the last person to be the Kuru of Jukun Kona from the Namen Numtai ruling clan.
Having realised that he was tricked into endorsing a letter to the governor, the monarch, Augustine Njenmang Vengkani II, wrote a letter to the governor that he had withdrawn from his support for the alteration of ruling houses from four to two.
The letter said: “While I and members of my council still stand on all the observations raised in that letter, I however wish to strongly withdraw the last paragraph which specifically requested for the alteration of the ruling houses from 4 to 2.
“Moreso, the ruling houses contained the 2018 gazette are derived from the ancient defunct Kona chiefdom that was cancelled by the Filani cum European colonial administrators both in 1892 and 1936 respectively and they are the authentic and valid ruling houses of Kona chiefdom since time immemorial and therefore cannot be arbitrarily altered to accommodate other clans that have no connection to the throne of the chiefdom.
“Therefore, I wish to confess that I was not properly guided or well informed of the implication of the proposed alteration of the ruling house by the few people.”
Explaining the rational for the committee’s recommendation, Kaigama said: “l am the Chairman of the 11-member Advisory Council with other respected Kona personalities, including members of the families of those that are now complaining.
“When the 2018 official gazette for the Kona chiefdom was released, the advisory committee met to scrutinise it with a view to making sure that its content reflects the correct and acceptable information that was provided to the government by the Chiefdom after wide consultation and exhaustive deliberations.
“Having carefully studied and reviewed the document, the committee recommended alteration in some sections including, but not limited to the part that had to do with the ruling houses because of some noticeable errors.
“Therefore, for anybody or group to say that the gazette was secretly altered without consultation is nothing but a lie from the pit of hell since members of the families that are now raising eyebrow about the alteration were in attendance and also consented to the unanimous decision for corrections to be recommended to the council, and same was reflected in the minute of the meeting.
He said by the Kona traditional institution custom, chiefs are selected from the four ruling clans by the seven King-makers and not from families, with the original four ruling clans of Kona being Bajibro, Badoni, Bamursi and Bamurtai.
He said, “What happened was that, the Kona Traditional Council after reviewing the report of the committee, decided to merge the ruling clans into two, purposely for ease of selection process since they are one and the same people and all are entitled to vie for the throne whenever vacancy existed.
“No ruling clan is excluded from contesting for the seat of Kuru Kona. As a matter of fact, the present monarch is from one of the merged clans (Bajibro).
“Therefore, to say that he has been removed and replaced by the house of Fidelis Kaigama is not only spurious, but also mischievous, inciting, spiteful and evil, to say the least.
“The ruling houses in the altered 2018 gazette is nothing, but mere listing of names of individual families. Such is a sharp deviation from the practice as laid down by our forebears from the very foundation of Kona chieftaincy arrangement.
“In fact, three out of the four families listed in the gazette belong to the same family, which I think, was the reason for their merger.”