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Re: Tribute to Haliru Dantoro, Emir of Borgu

Readers shared many thoughtful comments on last week’s tribute to the late Haliru Dantoro. I share a few of them below: Thanks for th...

Readers shared many thoughtful comments on last week’s tribute to the late Haliru Dantoro. I share a few of them below:

Thanks for the eulogy to this visionary leader. I am aware he was trying to put up a community university for his and other peoples. I had the opportunity of being given the privilege by a professor based in East Africa who is one of the arrowheads of that university to draft one of the several legal documents for the proposed university, which I readily did as a community service. I was impressed by the move by a traditional institution in Nigeria building a university. I have always wished that our traditional institutions engage in more community services like establishing schools and hospitals, something I have witnessed in parts of Africa I have visited. Royal institutions should not just sit idly collecting royalties from their poor and rich subjects; they should be development-oriented. That is one lesson we can learn from the late Emir of Borgu. In respect to his memory, his successor will do well to bring this university to fruition, and even name it after him. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and admit him to jannatul fridaus –aamin.
Tajudeen Sanni

You wrote a great, touching tribute to the late Alhaji Haliru Dantoro. It reminded me of a similar one you wrote for the late Dr. Olusola Saraki. There is no doubt that Dantoro was a great man who soared very high when he lived. More than anyone, he helped to popularize Borgu in Nigeria, especially after giving the “Jagaban Borgu” title to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

But while I agree with everything you wrote about the late Dantoro, I disagree that he—or anybody for that matter—deserved or deserves to be called “Emir of Borgu.” As you rightly pointed out, there can be no “Emir of Borgu” because Borgu is a complex society with multiple centres of political power. The Emir of Bussa (as you rightly called him) has influence only in Borgu and Agwara local governments in Niger State. His influence doesn’t even extend to Kaiama in Kwara State, which is just a 45-minute drive from New Bussa. To call anyone the King of Borgu” is arrogant. Not even the Sina Boko (supreme king) of Nikki, Benin Republic, calls himself king of all of Borgu.

I think you owe it to your non-Borgu readers to do another write-up on the political and ethnic complexities of Borgu and how the notion of an “emir of Borgu” is just plain ridiculous. Please understand that I am in no way trying to make light of the contributions Dantoro made to Borgu. This observation isn’t directed at him as a person. After all, his predecessors from the 1950s on also styled themselves as “emir of Borgu.” People from other parts of Borgu are offended by the arrogance of this title and have made this known to them. I hope the next emir is modest enough to simply call himself the “emir of (New) Bussa.”

Anyway, may his soul rest in peace, and may Allah forgive him his shortcoming, just like he too unconditionally forgave people who wronged and disagreed with him. Amin.
Muhammad Woru Aminu

The death of the Emir in a German hospital is another bitter reminder of our backwardness after 55yrs of independence. Even our leaders admitted that they have not done anything tangible in the provision of health care as you hear them running outside for same always. Do they not claim they have given us good hospitals? I will not list the number of past leaders or their relations who have died or are treated overseas, for this is known to everyone. So what happens to the rest of us? It’s like our leaders are saying we are on our own.
Usman Raji

In reading your tribute today, I learned one thing: that I don’t know Nigeria enough. I didn’t realize Kwara and Niger states share boundary with Benin Republic. I also didn’t know about Borgu and where it is located. Lastly, I had thought that you were Nupe because of the sound of your last name. Because of you, I now know of a proud, illustrious people called the Baatonu who not only live in northern Kwara State but are the second or third largest ethnic group in Benin Republic. Wow! Thanks for not just a beautiful tribute but for broadening my narrow knowledge of Nigeria and Africa.
Kevin Kerume

I passionately read your tribute on my beloved friend, grandfather, model and mentor in my political struggle all in the course of emancipation of our dear land Borgu kingdom. As I read through the lines, I wept inward for just the little knowledge I gained from my little stay with him. I wondered when the vacuum left by him shall be regained. I then quickly flashed back and remembered what he used to tell me any time I was with him. He used to say, "I am sitting with you to let you have an idea of my dream for Borgu, so that after me you people will have the knowledge to actualise the Borgu of our dream." I am quite sure he must have told this to so many of my kind and your humble self. Hope is not lost. All we own him in absentia is organising ourselves as a people to actualise the Borgu of our dream. How do we organise ourselves? I suggest through conferences and seminars to remind ourselves of the desired dream of Borgu. May the soul of Kitoro III rest in perfect peace. Amin.
Mohammed Danladi Garba

Allah ya jikan mai martaba da rahama. May Allah grant him aljannah firdaus without reckoning. Amin. My condolences to the family, especially Haneefa, his highly intelligent, sweet and industrious daughter.
Suad Lami Yakawu

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