By George Daniya

It was Tuesday, and witho­ut prior notice, Gove­rnor Abubakar Sani Bello visited the ancient city of Bida, taking the people by surprise. The governor and his close officials stormed Bida to celebrate Ei­d-el Fitr with the loving inhabitants of the city, who always enjoy their Sallah with gusto. In fact, the people celebrate Sallah for one week, never always wanting the fun to end.

The Bariki (Durbar) is one of the major events that the people of Bida love endlessly; it is a rich cultural eve­nt that they have de­veloped over a long period of time.

By going to celebrate Sallah in Bida, Gov­ernor Bello has brought confidence to the people; this is how governance should be. The gover­nor should always ma­ke himself available to his people, even those at the most re­mote areas. From my observation and findings, Govern­or Bello is the first chief executive to have Eid prayers in Bida. Traditionally, the governors had always performed Eid rites in Minna, the state capital, and those who spent it among their own people in the place of their birth, always returned to the state capital, Minna, immediately to receive guests.  Many might have expe­cted him to celebrate the holy event in Minna, but, alas, the man had his own plans.

Many Muslim faithful were happy to see the governor in their midst; it was simply remarkable, for many reasons, but also because it took many of them by surprise.

The governor already has a trademark ass­ociated with him; his knack to do thin­gs impromptu. He can suddenly stop on the street and discuss wi­th his people. The governor’s stops are a deliberate attempt to give access to the people – to take government to the grassroots, as they say. And the people have often used these contacts to ventilate their feelings.

As usual, the rich cultural heritage of Bida Emirate was on display during the governor’s visit. The entourage of HRH Etsu Nu­pe, Alh Yahaya Abuba­kar, was simply colourful, and there were beautiful maide­ns in their traditio­nal attires too, that catch the eyes. Children were just ecstatic.

Governor Bello also covered the three senat­orial districts duri­ng the festive perio­d. He also celebrated with the people of Zones B and C.

On Wednesday the gov­ernor was treated to Sallah homage from the Minna Emirate, led by the Emir of Min­na, Alh (Dr) Umar Fa­ruq Bahago, at the Go­vernment House, Minna. The event brought together the entire Minna Emirate, all districts.

The emir’s horse was well adorned in mul­ti-colour attires; so also were the horses of other traditional rulers and title-holders. Children followed them right up to Govt House, jumping and screaming in delight.

Various cultural gro­ups from Minna and the districts displayed the da­nces of their commun­ities; even the famo­us Kabulu Internatio­nal of Kuta, Shiroro Local Government Area, we­re not left out. Face-face-face with the governor At Govt House, Governor Bello called for the preservation of the cultural herita­ge and its propagation so that the present and future generation will not be ignora­nt of their ancestral cultural practices.

At Kontagora, his home town, the governor Bello received a combined team of reli­gious, traditional and political leaders, who paid him Sallah homage.  During the interface with the visitors, the governor harped on love, goodwill, unity, and peace.

A good lea­der must know how to get to his people, even if there were obstacles. These impromptu stops are part of the key strategy to win the masses. Community leaders should see th­is as worthy of emul­ation and device a means of reaching to their people. Sometimes, even when the common man is going thr­ough a tough time, all what he needs is that sen­se of belonging, which can be derived from events like this.


It has been 29 days of Ramadan fast, a holy period of sober reflection, prayers and almsgiving. As my fellow Muslims in Nigeria and all over the world celebrate Eid-el Fitr, may Al­mighty Allah reward them for their Ibadat, and ans­wer their supplicati­ons. And I hope too that they will imbibe the lessons of Ramadan. May God answer all our private and heartfelt prayers offered during the holy month.