By Hassan Zaggi
Emotions were high, tears rolling down the cheeks of many. The strong hearted had their eyes cloudy with tears while some cried uncontrollably.
This was a clear description of the atmosphere when the Arak Family resident in Abuja celebrated its end of year.
The high point of the celebration was the donation of food items, clothings and other materials to widows and the less privileged in Abuja.
The Arak Family is one of the major clans in the Numana ethnic group. The Numana ethnic group are predominantly in Kaduna and Nasarawa state.
The end of year celebration is an annual ritual highly revered by the Arak clan where prominent sons and daughters resident in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other neigbouring states come together to thank God for a successful year.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Mr. Peter Danjuma Averik, advised Nigerians to continue to live in peace irrespective of their tribal, religious, political and other differences.
Mr. Averik insisted that it is only through peaceful coexistence with one another that Nigerians at all levels can enjoy the dividends of democracy.
He charged the Arak Family in particular and the Numana ethnic group in general, to remain peaceful wherever they find themselves in any part of the world because, according to him, “our grandparents left a legacy of peaceful coexistence which we cannot afford to destroy.
“I am encouraging our people to keep being the peace-loving people they are known for. With peace you will be able to achieve a lot and enjoy the dividends of democracy.”
He charged the Arak family to remain loyal and support governments at all levels so as to achieve speedy development.
While lamenting that the Arak family and indeed, the entire Numana ethnic group are still far behind politically, he, however, noted that, “by the grace of God, efforts are being made to for them to get involve and seek political relevance.”
Responding to questions about the Numana cultural dance, Mr. Averik said: “The Numana cultural dance is a unique one. We are the only tribe that does such dance well all over the world. I grew in the village and very conversant with our cultural dances. I am in love and still in love with our cultural dances.
“I will never deny my people anywhere in the world. God chose that I come to this world through this tribe and through the Arak family. I am very proud of them.
“I will always identify myself with them wherever they are. That is the more reason why when I heard that the Arak family is having this end of year gathering, I saw the need to be here and encourage my people.
“We encourage that such activities be documented and be carried out periodically so that our children will grow to see it.”
Earlier, the National Chairman of the Arak Family, Mr. Andy Vekummonjah, disclosed that the ceremony was an annual event where different ethnic groups are invited to join the Arak family in thanking God for a successful year.
The donations to the widows and the less privilege, he said, is done yearly aimed at cushioning their sufferings to enable them to celebrate the yuletide without feeling neglected.
“You know their husbands are no longer with them and as Christmas draws near, we use the avenue to donate to them so they will not feel much over the absence of their husbands.
“We come together to celebrate, to relate and show love to one another.
“The annual get together is another way of promoting our cultural heritage. We also bring our prominent sons and daughters including politicians to encourage them. We also caution them on the need to avoid things that will bring disrepute to the Arak family,” Vekummonjah added.
He applauded the Chairman of Jema’a Local Government, Mr. Peter Danjuma Averik, who is also from the Arak family, for the development he has brought to his people.
“In his tenure, he has recorded so much development within a short period by providing electricity for villages, construction of roads and helping the widows.
“So, we use this avenue to appreciate him for what he has been doing. After his tenure as chairman, by God’s grace come 2023, we will persuade him to seek for a higher position.
“We are confident that if he gets high responsibility he will do more considering that he has been able to bring lasting peace in Jema’a local government area that has hitherto been characterized with skirmishes at intervals.
On his part, speaking after receiving an award for his immense contribution to the growth of the Arak Family, a prominent son of the clan, Mr. Augustine Begwa, said that the award will ginger him to do more for the development of the clan.
“I am highly honoured by this award. It is a machinery that will ginger me to do more than what I have done to my people in the past.
“I want to advice our people to love each other. When we come together as one, the Arak clan will go far. I encourage our people to live together in peace,” he reiterated.
The end of year celebration was well attended by prominent sons of the clan and representatives of other ethnic groups resident in the FCT.