Kaduna State was today filled with dignitaries on Saturday 31st October as Arewa House, the pioneer Center for Historical Documentation and Research in Northern Nigeria marked its 50th-anniversary, #ArewaHouseAt50.
The center was founded 50 years ago in 1970 with the mandate of telling the history of Northern Nigeria, focusing particularly on the Civil War. The center has been going strong ever since.
The event, tagged #ArewaHouseAt50 was an elaborate ceremony attended by many dignitaries, including former Vice President Namadi Sambo, His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto, Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Professor Kabir Bala, Governors of Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, and many others. The anniversary lecture titled; Unfinished Greatness: Towards a More Perfect Union was delivered by the Governor of Ekiti State and the Chairman of Nigerian Governor’s Forum Dr. John Kayode Fayemi.
The former Vice President, Namadi Sambo was the chair of the occasion. According to him, 50 years in the life of this institution calls for sober reflection on the journey so far. He also thanked the management of Arewa House and the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Zaria.
In his welcome address, Professor Kabir Bala summarised the history of Arewa House and highlighted the key role the institution plays in aiding research and development.
According to him: “Society requires lessons from history to understand the immediate and remote causes of today’s events. Arewa House has been a center of national harmony and cohesion.” He also commended the management and staff of Arewa Hausa. “Arewa House has preserved our memories over the course of 5 decades. I urge us all to continue to support the Centre in order to enable it to continue to fulfill this noble goal. I wish to specifically commend the management and staff of Arewa House”, He added.
The Royal Father of the Day, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar in his address said Arewa House is a historical institution. According to him; “the program could not have come at a better time than now, and we could not have picked a better speaker than the one we have this morning, the governor of Ekiti state, the chairman of the NGF and my dear brother whom I call JKF.”
The sultan also spoke of unity when he urged all to work together as Nigerians, and unite Arewa. ” I’ve always said that if Arewa is developed, then Nigeria will develop. We challenge our governors to do much more in areas like education and health.. We should not allow poverty to make us wicked, and what happened in the last couple of weeks was wickedness by some disgruntled hoodlums”, he concluded.
The Chief Host, Governor of Kaduna Malam Nasir Elrufai in his speech, paid tribute to the six northern governors in 1970, who decided to establish this center which is now a research institute of international repute. Gov Elrufai says that the urgency of our challenges dictates that we should move fast to remove the bottlenecks which hold our country back.
President Muhammad Buhari was also not left behind as he was represented by the Honorable Minister for Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu Kazaure. According to the President, the center has been able to document the history of our people, and our cultural heritage and values.
Governor of Ekiti and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, in his anniversary lecture titled Unfinished Greatness: Towards a More Perfect Union in Nigeria paid tribute to the Sardauna and pioneer founders of the institution.
According to him: “I salute the memory of the great Sir Ahmadu Bello, whose central political philosophy was that every Nigerian, and indeed all human beings, are created equal and that they are endowed by God with rights among which are life, liberty, equal opportunity, blessings and the legitimate pursuit of happiness. Throughout his life and career, the late Sarduana of Sokoto espoused high morality and intellectual virtues in the public sphere – virtues that we would all do well to revisit and pay more attention to these days.”
The Governor spoke of the need for national unity. “Before we can think of development, the first task that we have is that of nation-building. You cannot develop what you do not have,” he said.
I leave you with another famous quotation from Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo, “A kingdom can endure with unbelief, but it cannot endure with injustice.”Kayode Fayemi
Awards were then presented by the Chief Host, Mallam Nasiru Elrufai to Professor Whittaker and Dr Mahmud Tukur.
The event was rounded up by speeches from the Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Ahaji Tanko Yakasai, an elder statesman who presented a goodwill message on behalf of the older generation.
The Vote of thanks was given by popular musician Aminu Ala for volunteering to sing a song for #ArewaHouseAt50.
Meanwhile, Sardauna’s driver was recognized and honored at the event.