Sunday, November 20, 2011

King of Sukur, Nigeria's first UNESCO Heritage Site is dead

Hidi Gizik Kinakakaw: King of Sukur, is dead
...Burial on 26 Nov.
The Hidi (paramount ruler) of Sukur Kingdom is dead. Chief Gizik Kinakakaw of Sukur Kingdom died on October 29. He was over 90 years old.

His burial will take place on November 26, after royal funerary observances, according to Mr. Wilson Myenguron, proprietor of Sukur Guest Chalets, who broke the news to us via text messages.

Sukur Kingdom lies in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State and is Nigeria’s first World Heritage Site (WHS). A World Heritage Site is also interchangeably called UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Heritage Site.

Nigeria boasts only two UNESCO Heritage Sites: The Osun-Osogbo Grove in Osun State; enlisted in 2005, is the country’s only other WHS. Enlisted in 1999, Sukur Kingdom is not only the country’s first WHS, but also Africa’s first such site in the Cultural Landscape category.

The late Hidi was crowned in 1981, following the demise of then immediate-past monarch, Hidi Zire Dan Kwandu; who also reigned for roughly 30 years, according to Mr. Markus Makama, who confirmed the king’s passage.

The Sakun, aborigines of this community settled on Sukur Kingdom at least 500 years ago; curiously, however, their monarch’s stool is not even among the lowly Third Class, not to talk of Second Class, let alone First Class in spite of the fact that Sukur boasts one of the most popular landscapes in the country, following its emergence as Nigeria’s first WHS.

The kingdom stands roughly 3,040 feet above sea level and the only way to access the community is to climb, since there is no motorway linking the rocky terrain to the outside world.

“The whole community is mobilized for the burial. We are set for a befitting farewell to our king”, declared Mr. Markus Makama, teacher and son of District Head of Sukur, who added: “He (Hidi Gizik Kinakakaw) was an African Pillar; may the gods of Sukur and God in Heaven bless his soul”.

Cheeringly, Adamawa State Government and its Agency for Museums and Monuments (AdSAMM) as well as the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) et cetera are all involved in the unfolding funeral arrangements. However, no word has come in yet from Professors Judy Sterner and Nicholas David, two Canadian academics, whose works were instrumental in launching Sukur Kingdom to the enviable pedestal it occupies today.

There is no doubt that the status of Sukur Kingdom’s throne as regards Adamawa Government’s recognition is ostensibly at odds with the reverence this over 500-year-old community nowadays enjoys in the international cultural arena. To dispel speculation that Adamawa Government’s snub of Sukur Kingdom’s stool for decades is another manifestation of unfair social and political machinations, the Governor Murtala Nyako-led administration should find befitting space for this throne, which deserves nothing but the best in the light of the honour this ancient civilization has brought for Nigeria.

As the late Hidi Gizik Kinakakaw joins his ancestors after over 30 years of peaceful reign, nothing could be too much to do in honour of his legacy. Adieu, great African soul: May Almighty God bless your soul with eternal peace.

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