A Priestess performs some rites at the Jukun Day celebrations in Abinsi Sunday, December 26, 2021
BY HRH DR SABO AJIDOKU EMMANUEL
For those who know it, shall bear witness to this claim. The truth is that, what is likely tagged, Jukun day, in Abinsi, was not the name.
The emergence of this socio-cultural get-together started, way back in the ‘70s’. The name of this all-pull-together campaign of crowds of people for integration was initially known as Dinner.
It used to take place at the tentative coronation square, opposite the Abiseku palace.
It was a Christian-Christmas feast (December 26) by extension. Activities that featured at the time were the Christian sermons, acting of drama for the season and other themes.
There were mock-governmental positions and appointments such as: Head of State, Secretary to the Government, other government functionaries as: Governors, Commissioners, Ministers etc used to be acted.
It was quite entertaining and quite thrilling.
Later in the years, the nomenclature changed from Dinner to (First January) New Year day.
Already, the experiences were the merriments that used to go with the Dinner ceremony found entries into the newly invented New year Day. This day used to pull crowds of people.
Distinguished sons and daughters in the Diaspora planned greatly for the New year day. Abinsi used to be filled to the brim with the creams of the society, men and women of value.
The days of ‘namu ya zo’ – ours have come, a carried over slogan to further strengthen the bond of unity. The New year day was heard beyond the threshold of Awanu territory.
It was a time of reunion, cultural revival and rejuvenation. The day of awareness and integration.
This programme was promoted with great enthusiasms and extended hands of friendship to other Jukun families from some towns and villages.
Later in the years, precisely towards the end of ‘80’s; this chameleonic-name changing formular which shifted from Dinner to New year day and now; the celebrated Jukun day.
Today the name Jukun day has come to stay. Every 26th of December which used to be the date for Dinner, has since been fixed and accepted.
Just like it used to be in the days of the dinner, in the New year day; no any function, ceremony or activity will be honoured on the day.
All attention and interest will be focused mainly on the happening Jukun day celebration.
The Jukun Day of today in some aspects, resembles the old Dinner and New year day celebrations of the years gone.
The day is, typically characterized with choked up activities such as: Jukun cultural dance procession, the display of cultural procession in single-file,
the display of cultural art of metamorphosis and invisibility, the parade of Jukun traditional attires, lectures and paper presentations on topical issues; some ceremonial Jukun Wanu masquerades, songs, jests etc.
If one considers the array of activities that went with the day, in Abinsi on a Jukun Day was an occassion worth attending, in the years past.
One would not like to leave the arena or the scene, completely trapped in the hilarious mood of jubilation.
Every Jukun man and woman, children alike, gorgeously dressed in pomp and pageantry embellished in the traditional wears of multi-coloures of ‘akya’,’ akwashe’, ‘adire’ of all sizes, being ushered in the usual stylish cacophony of drums, to grace the occasion.
Catch the ecstasy, the joy, the discoveries, the patriotism and the nationalism of the truly Jukun Wanu person or people.
But regrettably, this is not the case today. Politics, personal aggrandizement, sectionalism, clannish clashes of interest or complex, the lust for power and usurpation, etc have blocked the initial dreams and the essence of the forum.
The Jukun Day does not attract crowds of people it used be, as the occasion is now being handled epileptically.
Most Jukun Awanu towns and villages now fix their own occasion on the same day, i.e every December 26 across.
These reasons as enumerated above have weaken every aspect of Jukun Day in Abinsi.
Today one hears of Jukun day in Abinsi, then Agyogo, North Bank, New Garage, Wadata, all in Makurdi, then the Banjimba, the Ibi, the Numan, the Jimeta- Yola etc, all celebrating Jukun day.
But there is one question that has been bordering me. Is it Jukun Wanu day or the Jukun Day globally?
Why this question is fundamental is that the so called Jukun Day is only heard of, circulated and celebrated within and around Jukun Wanu domains only.
Please I stand to be corrected as to whether other segments of the Jukunoid are also honouring, in the same spirit the December 26 date.
If the answer is in the affirmative, case close, but if it is negative, the name should change from the universality of the name, Jukun Day to read Jukun Wanu Day.
I hope I have made myself clear. I am not at the opposition of the occasion, but something be done about the name or caption.
That is, if other Jukun brothers and sisters that are not of Jukun Wanu family such as the Wapan, the Ichen, the Kona, etc infact so many of them you can name, who are in their various domains and are not honouring the December 26 date by way of celebration.
That apart, if truly we are all Jukun Wanu who are determined to move, to make progress and development, wont it be better to have a centrally located place for the celebration.
If we can borrow a leaf from other tribes, for instance, the Idoma Day is always held in Otukpo, the Tiv Day in Gboko, the Mada Day in Andaha, The Eggon Day in Nasarawa Eggon etc.
These ethnic tribes saw the need to centralize their rendez-vous in such areas for the purpose of unity in divserity.
Why can’t Jukun Wanu fix a particular town; this grand rendez-vous. It is the best for the interest of progress, development, peaceful co-existence and purposeful leadership in all spheres of life.
I am mainly selling an idea- my own personal opinion.
This is devoid of any sentiment or ulterior motive. It is just an appeal to conscience, seeking for peoples understanding.
So get me right and correct, my dear Awanu brothers and sisters.
Today, we have come to another moment of celebration, the much anticipated Jukun (Wanu) Day. As you go out for the occasion may the peace of the season be with you all.
Awanu ni sa sasa wa dini.Ni mgbagye wa soh,wa zyiziyi.Ada shido u bakwa wa i shido u fa i ri, ba zyii ndambe.