Former Nigerian president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was chair of a lavish coronation ceremony in Mambilla Plateau on August 24, 2013. The occasion? Dr Shehu Audu Baju II was being crowned new Chief of Mambilla, after an 11-year-old protracted battle for the position. The Chief makers of the area selected the former president to chair the occasion, to give it the importance it deserved.
The event drew a huge crowd from far and wide, including traditional rulers from various parts of Cameroon.
Former president Babangida told guests that the coronation was historic because it ended almost a dozen years of a “senseless and wasteful tussle,” while describing the resolution of the long-drawn out chieftaincy battle as “testimony of the spirit of brotherliness existing among the people of this area and Nigeria.”
He hoped the reconciliation would usher in a spirit of harmony and understanding among the people of the Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State and the entire country. Babangida also urged the chief, who is known for his humility, transparency and honesty, to rule with wisdom, and called on the people to give their new chief their undying support and loyalty.
Taraba State Chief Judge, Justice Josephine Tukhtur performed the oath of office during the coronation ceremony.
Later, Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar presented the new chief with the staff of office. Umar said he hoped the enthronement of Dr Shehu Audu Baju would put an end to the perennial chieftaincy tussle in the area once and for all.
Following the death of Chief Muhammadu Mansur in 2002, the Baju family that was the original ruling family on the Mambilla insisted they were the rightful heirs to the throne and resisted attempts to install another Mansur as successor. Apparently. the first Baju Chief handed the thrown wrongly to a Mansur family member who at the time was not a member of the ruling clan. The battle lasted for 11 years and was only resolved when Taraba State Governor, Mr Danbaba Danfulani Suntai intervened and negotiated that the chieftaincy title will henceforth be rotated between the Mansur and Baju families.
The Man Dr Shehu Audu Baju II
Born on August 1, 1960, the new Chief Dr Shehu Baju attended primary school between 1968 and 1974 after which he proceeded to secondary school and graduated with a West African Schools Certificate (WASC).
He later studied Veterinary Medicine at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and graduated as a Dr of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 1985. He has worked in various capacities in both the defunct Gongola State and the current Taraba State.
Before his appointment as chief on December 5, 2012 and enthronement on August 24, 2013, he was head of the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Jalingo, headquarters of Taraba State.
His Majesty Dr Shehu Audu Baju II enjoys reading and fishing and is married, with two wives and five children.
The occasion was graced by colourful traditional dances, a ballet display and entertainment by horse riders.