By Yakubu Abdullahi Yakubu
Muhammadu Barkindo has come a long way in the bloodline of the Modibbo Adama Dynasty that started in 1809. He is the 12th Lamido of Adamawa and has patrilineal connection to the fifth Lamido, Bobbo Ahmadu, last of the eleven sons of Modibbo Adama, his great great-grandfather. Bobbo Ahmadu’s eldest son, Muhammadu Abba, was the seventh Lamido, while his own eldest son, Muhammadu Musdafa, was the ninth Lamido. Musdafa gave birth to Aliyu, his first son, who bore Muhammadu Barkindo before he, himself, became the 11th Lamido of Adamawa in 1953. After more than 56 years, Muhammadu Barkindo made history in 2010 as the only Lamido to have succeeded the throne (from father to son), since 1848, when Lamido Lauwal took over the reign from his father, Modibbo Adama.
On 14 February 1944, the reigning Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Musdafa, was blessed with the birth of a grandson from his first son, Aliyu, the Chief of Police and Wali Adamawa. The people came in their number to the palace to join the monarch in prayer and share in his joy. On the day of the naming, family members and well-wishers came with various gifts to welcome the youngest prince in the land. Most spectacular was the presentation of a huge quantity of coins. The currency in circulation was mainly coins and notes were scarce. Due to the huge donations, a bowl was used to measure and collect the coins.
The father, Aliyu Musdafa, pronounced the boy’s name as Muhammadu with the nickname – Barkindo or Blessed One in Fulfulde. His elated paternal grandmother, Da, added a pet name and called the boy-child – Gorko Chede, ‘wealthy husband. ‘In Fulbe culture, a woman calls her male grandchild her husband as part of the joking relationship between the old and the young generations in the family. The naming ceremony was attended by some senior British colonial officials who had a sobriquet for the baby, this time in Latin. They called him ex-ante. His father, grandfather, grandmother – all appreciated his coming. His birth was regarded as a blessing to the family, it was seen as something great coming.
Lamido Muhammadu Barkindo regards his enthronement as the ultimate thing to happen in his life. “My becoming the Lamido of Adamawa is greater than anything to me. When you get that fulfillment, you obviously must forget the past and continue with the changes and what is going to happen in the future.”
Sitting on the throne, a king is always confronted with the Sword of Damocles situation. The job may be full of challenges, but the Lamido regards it as second nature. “It is always there. Challenge is expected, but I am known for my vigour and determination to succeed in whatever I do. I hope and pray that God will give me the wisdom and ability to try to emulate my father, the late Lamido. To do what Lamido Aliyu did is almost impossible. Nevertheless, with Allah’s support and guidance, it is possible. People say ‘Gadon jarumi babban wahala ne kowa ya sani, (meaning it is a difficult task to fit in a giant’s shoes).
After seven decades and half on earth, Lamido Muhammadu Barkindo looks back at life and gives gratitude to his Creator and three individuals that have influenced his journey through life. “These persons were Modibbo Gijaro, Lamdo Mubi, Ahmadu Waziri; and the Emir of Katsina, Usman Nagogo. These people, I consider, were my mentors in my life.”
The king is dead, long live the king
On 13 March 2010, Muhammadu Barkindo faced the greatest loss of his life, the passing of his father, who was indeed a father to all. The country mourned the death of Lamido Aliyu Musdafa for three days, but as they say ‘the King is dead, long live the King. Barkindo became the choice of the Kingmakers on 18 March 2010. His ascendancy was heralded at home and abroad. His installation was attended by the high and low, the powerful and the commoner.
Today, the decade-long reign of Lamido Muhammadu Barkindo has witnessed progress, peace and unity. His style, personality, education, Islamic orientation, exposure, connections, industry and acumen brought a fresh re-awakening in palace affairs and emirate administration.
Muhammadu Barkindo’s trait in upholding fairness, justice and integrity in his dealings becomes a yardstick for his public and private interactions. As a royal father, he plays the role of judge, arbiter, ombudsman, and spiritual leader. He is a custodian of the people’s culture and heritage, and at the same time a symbol of change and modernity. Most importantly, he holds the legacy of the Fombina Dynasty, and upholds its esteem and prestige. He is the twelfth Lamido Fombina.
Yakubu Abdullahi Yakubu is a veteran journalist and author