THE DETRIBALISED FULANI MAN:
THE FIRST MAYOR OF ENUGU, MALLAM UMARU ALTINE.
Prior to 1960 before the independence, Nigeria was detribalised. Our leaders were united with mainly these two goals- unity and progress. The three major ethnic groups were not enemies. They show love, they help one another unlike Nigeria of today, full of toxic society.
Now back to the story of the famous Fulani man. In the year 1956 a man emerged as the first Mayor of Enugu Municipal Council. Mallam Umaru Altine who was an ethnic Fulani cattle dealer from the Old Sokoto Province of the defunct Northern Nigeria.
He grew up under the reign of Sultan Siddiq Abubakar III who was the Sultan for 50 years (1938-1988).
As a normadic Fulani man, Mallam Umaru Altine later migrated southwards where he came under the heavy influence of the late nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was his mentor. Azikiwe gave Altine immense support and played a very significant role in his emergence as the Mayor.
Before he was elected the Mayor by fellow councillors, he was President of the Enugu Branch of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) Youth Association, a post to which he was elected in May 1953 with the support of the Igbo middle class.
In 1954, the Udi-Nsukka-Agwu United Front (UNAUF), a body of indigenes nominated their candidates to stand for elections during the Enugu Urban District Council Elections against Altine’s branch of the NCNC. The party leaders’ candidates won and they elected Altine.
On the 10th of November, 1956, at a meeting of the NCNC, Umaru Altine was elected as President of the party branch without any opposition. His vice was Dr. G.C Mbanugo, a well-known non-Udi medical doctor who was also the Chairman of the Eastern Region Finance Company.
By the April of 1957, Altine’s support had dropped and the leadership of the Enugu Municipal Council had to be taken over by Mr. LBC Eze
Altine was reported to be a diligent, loyal and high spirited individual. And most importantly detribalised.
I hope the good citizen of Nigeria will learn from this story and fight for good governance and unity. We deserve better.