BrandArena: Meet the Sarkin Yorubawa Funtua - Alhaji Murtala Sani Adeleke

Thursday 8 October 2020

Meet the Sarkin Yorubawa Funtua - Alhaji Murtala Sani Adeleke

In Katsina State, the history of Yoruba migrants and settlers can be traced to the pre-colonial era. Today, we still have a Yoruba Community in Funtua that unites and connects all the Yoruba resident, headed by Alhaji Murtala Sani Adeleke who was born in Funtua, Katsina State to the family of the then Sarkin Yorubawa Funtua Alhaji Sani Adeleke and mother, Hajia Fatima Aisha Adeleke. His dad, a very religious Muslim, who raised all his Children the Islamic way and ensured they all have the mandatory Islamic education which he also benefited from, before his enrolment into the conventional primary school. 

Alhaji Adeleke grew up with his siblings in a house that also served as a second home to the Yoruba Community, both new and old and other tribes around.

After his secondary and university education, he moved to Lagos, where he started business as a contractor with the Federal Government of Nigeria. He is into haulage, travels and tours and bureau de change business at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja. 

Here are some things Alhaji Murtala Sani Adeleke have to share with us on the Yoruba kingship in Funtua and his reign as the Sarkin Yorubawa Funtua. 

Life growing up in the 60s was a very interesting and adventurous one in Funtua. The environment was a peaceful place to live, everyone was his or her brother's keeper, there were lots of bonding activities amongst peer group which made us develop a strong bond.

Funtua started having a Yoruba head in the 40s and after the demise of the first Yoruba head, my dad was appointed by the Sarkin Maska of Funtua as first Sarkin Yorubawa of Funtua. He held this position until his demise, after which a new Sarki, Alhaji Abdulazeez was appointed. He also held this position until his demise in 2017. I was appointed the new Sarkin Yorubawa Funtua in March 2019, based on the recommendation of the Yoruba people in Funtua, through the Sarkin Maska, who in turn sent the request to the Emir of Katsina for the Emirates approval. This makes me the 3rd Sarkin Yorubawa of Funtua.

The chiefs are appointed on the prerogative of the Sarki. When a new Sarki is appointed existing chiefs are maintained since they are also part of the Yoruba in Funtua and when a seat is vacant, a replacement is appointed by the Sarki. 

The socio-economic life in Funtua is good and our hosts are very accommodating. They gave us the privilege to associate freely without any form of discrimination, which has led to inter-ethnic marriages and the growth of private businesses by non-natives. The major occupations in Funtua are trading and farming. The soil is fertile for all forms of agriculture and farming is done on large scale, mostly by the Hausa. We Yoruba in Funtua are mostly traders and artisans. Aside from bringing in commodities from other States to sell in Funtua, we also buy agricultural produce from Funtua to sell within and outside Katsina State. 

The  Yoruba in Funtua are not different from the Yoruba in the west, we are fun lovers. We come together to celebrate our achievements and other events, we are well known for our social life which contributes to the fun in Funtua. An average Funtuan is his brother and sister's keeper, we support each other morally and financially. We don't condone any act of indiscipline and over time, this has made our bond grow stronger. 

Youth empowerment is top on my administration agenda, this informed our decision to divide Funtua into 5 districts with 5 Baale's to govern each district. One of their responsibilities is to sensitise people in their districts of the plans of this administration in regards to their welfare. Recently we gave out forms for interested candidates to apply for an apprenticeship, with a committee in place to screen applicants and select 10 from each district, to be sponsored by this administration, in order to reduce social vices and improve self-reliance. 

We know the present situation of the country in terms of unemployment and poverty, so we are leveraging on the artisans amongst us, to empower our youths in their trade of interest, and as time goes by, we intend to expand this programme to accommodate more youths. For the unemployed graduates among them, we encourage them to acquire some employable skills or search for opportunities outside the State, for them to be able to cater for their parents and siblings, still living in Funtua. Recently, we applied to the state government for 150 hectares of land for agriculture to further engage our youths and improve the economy in Funtua. With time, I believe things will get better and I hope more individuals will stand up to support this empowerment cause. 

The proposed University of Agriculture to be established in Funtua will also boost the social and economic life in Funtua when it becomes functional. We are also open to more innovative ideas to drive the socio-economic growth of Funtua and Katsina State at large. 

Plans are on the way to establish a nail making factory to boost the socio-economic life in Funtua. Recently, we established an endowment fund for traders and youth to borrow money in order to boost their business or start a trade without any form of collateral but we require recommendations from any chief amongst us, to ensure the loans are returned accordingly. The money given as loan is generated from contributions made by myself and some chiefs, we also solicit support from other individuals within and outside Funtua. We also wrote to the local government chairman in Funtua to give us the share of the Yoruba community from the recently promised Federal Government COVID 19 palliative, which will also be used for the benefit of all. 

These socio-economic plans are not restricted to the Yoruba community alone, other stakeholders in Funtua including government are making plans on how to further develop Funtua. Recently I was appointed to be part of a committee, alongside the Emir and other professionals to develop plans on how to improve the economy and general development of Funtua. 

Aside from the economic and social life in Funtua, we also pay special attention to the health of our people and have visited the General hospital to make a donation of wheelchairs, gave out hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and made donations to the displaced people in Faskari. We also facilitated the installation of solar street lights in Funtua and got the support of CBN agricultural department to give loans to farmers in Funtua aside the ones meant for Katsina State. 

So far, there have not been any form of support from government or NGO, although we are still looking forward to the Federal Government palliative and the approval of our agricultural land request from the State government. We will appreciate the intervention of NGO's to empower youths to further reduce the level of unemployment. The Governor has been a good listener and we look forward to all he has promised us including the 150 hectares of land for agriculture. Very soon we will be meeting with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to discuss the proposed University of Agriculture which we all know will contribute a lot to the socio-economic life of Funtua. 

I am using this opportunity to call on Yoruba with Funtua origin, to look back and support the development of Funtua. We can't do it alone, this is the time to give back to the community. Let’s come together to support the development of Funtua. 

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