Baraden: Lukman Mustapha, Okuta Emirate and Recognition of Unique Exceptionalities

The title of Baraden is one of the highly revered traditional titles in the Northern part of Nigeria. The title, which originated from the Sokoto caliphate, is often bestowed on valiant soldiers who exhibited high level bravery during wars.

The Sokoto caliphate, which was established in 1804 by Shehu Usman Dan Fodio, a famous Islamic scholar and propagator, who preached the message of religious reform and social justice.

The Sokoto caliphate, which is a pre-colonial powerful empire that extended across much of what is now known as northern Nigeria, was marked by a strong centralized government, a complex administrative system, and a rich cultural heritage.

The Baraden traditional title was one of the many titles that were used in the Sokoto caliphate to designate important officials, administrators, and religious leaders.

The title holds immense weight and respect, making it a symbol of honour and leadership.

The title is usually held by high-ranking personalities with proven records of achievements and societal impact. The appointment is often based on a number of factors, including the person’s qualifications, achievements, experience, and loyalty to the caliphate.

In the days of yore, the Baraden was expected to play a pivotal role in maintaining law and order, mobilising troops for military campaigns, and promoting Islamic education and scholarship.

Today, the Baraden traditional title is still highly revered in almost all Northern Nigerian towns, although it is now primarily a ceremonial title, unlike in the pre-colonial era.

Over the years, several notable personalities have been awarded the title. Among them are prominent politicians, military officers, and business moguls who have contributed significantly to the economic and social development of their respective communities. Some of the notable individuals who have held the title include:

1. Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki – Baraden Sokoto (early 1970s).
2. Alhaji Umaru Abdulmutallab – Baraden Dutse (1975).
3. Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II – Baraden Kano (1990).
4. Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi III – Baraden Bichi (2019).
5.Gov. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahya (Governor, Gombe State) Baraden Yamaltu, 2020.
6) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazzau (Former Army Chief, Ex-Interior Minister) Baraden Kano, 2018.
7) Gov. Mai mala Buni (Yobe State Governor) Baraden Fika, 2019 among others.

These individuals have made significant contributions to their respective communities and have been recognised for their leadership qualities, wisdom, and dedication to the welfare of their people. Their appointments as Baraden further emphasise the weight and respect associated with the title.

Today, an illustrious son of Ilorin Emirate in Kwara State, Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha, the Executive Director, Loans & Mortgage Services (L&MS), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Sobi 101.9FM, has been added to the intimidating list of holders of this coveted and respected title. The newly installed Baraden Okuta is undoubtedly a philanthropist, politician, financial expert, and veteran commercial and investment banker with an excellent track record of achievements.

Since his birth to the illustrious family of Alhaji Shehu Usman (Wali Ilorin) and Late Hajia Khadijat Mustapha both indigenes of Ilorin Emirate, in Ilorin over five decades ago, Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha has been an exceptional individual who has always excelled in academic, business, and community service and several other endeavours. He has earned for himself different accolades and awards at the local, national and international levels with his name becoming synonymous with exceptional wit, integrity, and hard work. He has worked tirelessly at impacting positively on the lives of those around him and thereby contributing to the overall development of his community.

In addition to his academic and professional achievements, Mallam Mustapha has also been an ardent philanthropist with a strong passion for helping the less privileged. He has invested heavily in the education of young people, providing scholarship opportunities to many who would have otherwise been denied the opportunity of attending school. He has also supported several community development initiatives, providing funds for the provision of essential social amenities like healthcare facilities, water, and electricity.

As a politician,the new Baraden,who is popularly known as LOM, has carved a niche for himself as a grassroot mobiliser and an advocate for good governance. He has held several leadership positions both at the local and national level, using his experience and network to drive positive changes in his community. He is highly respected by his fellow politicians and community members for his honesty, integrity, and team spirit.

Furthermore, as a financial expert and veteran commercial banker, Mallam Mustapha has provided support to many businesses, both small and large, helping them to overcome financial challenges through the provision of affordable credit facilities. He has also worked with several international financial institutions, helping to improve their operational structures and expand their reach.

It is no wonder that the Okuta Emirate Council in the Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State under the indefatigable leadership of Alh. Dr. Idris Sero Abubakar (Kperogi-Afon Serobetete III) has made a perfect choice in Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha, as the First Baraden Okuta.

His numerous achievements and contributions to the overall development of his community have been widely acknowledged and celebrated by many, making him an inspiration to the younger generation.

The installation of Mallam Mustapha as the Baraden Okuta is a significant milestone not only for him but also for the entire Okuta Emirate, as this is the first traditional title out of more than 20 that has been on his table for almost a decade.

This honour is a testament to his exceptional leadership qualities, selflessness, and resilience, as well as his unwavering commitment to the social and economic development of his community. It is a call to duty, a challenge, and a responsibility to continue to lead his people towards greater heights of achievement and prosperity.

The installation of Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha as the Baraden Okuta is a well-deserved honour that is long overdue. It is an acknowledgment of his unwavering commitment to his community and a recognition of his exceptional achievements in different spheres of life.

It is a moment of celebration, and as we look forward to many more years of his exceptional leadership, it is our hope that his legacy will serve as inspiration for many others who will follow in his footsteps.

Abdulrasheed Akogun, is a journalist, public affairs analyst and a good governance advocate, who can be reached via shoboiakogun@gmail.com_

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