By Denja Abdullahi
THE Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) @40 event which took place in Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State, on October 13, 2021 was a huge success judging from the array of participants and the areas covered within a single day. Organised by the association in collaboration with the Department of Leisure and Tourism Management of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, it had as theme ‘Literary Tourism through Creative Writing for Tourism Education in Northern Nigeria.’ It had its participants drawn from students from relevant departments in the school and staff of federal and state culture and tourism agencies in the state such as the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) and Bauchi State Tourism Board.
The workshop focus was two-pronged: the theoretical aspect involving paper presentations and the practical field tour of places of literary interests, monuments and sites in Bauchi town. Three papers were presented during the morning session after the opening ceremony. The papers were ‘Literary Tourism through Creative Writing for Tourism Education in Nigeria’ by the Head of Department, Leisure and Tourism Management, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Mallam Murtala Alamai, ‘Establishment of Visitations and Cultural Trips on Literature around Northern Nigeria’ by the Director of National Council for Arts and Culture, Bauchi, and immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mallam Denja Abdullahi, and ‘A Short Talk on the Use of Indigenous Languages in Fiction and Non-Fiction Writings’ by Dr. Furera Bagel of Bauchi State University, Gadau.
The afternoon session of the workshop featured the field trip to the Emir of Bauchi’s palace where the participants were received by the Chief Palace Historian of Bauchi and Sarki or Wakili Tarihin Bauchi, Alhaji Ado Danrimi, who regaled the guests with the unique history of the town from its formation in 1809 till date. He spoke about the kingship system, the valour of the founders of Bauchi, the nine gates of the old city, the importance of number 9 in Bauchi cosmogony, the six historical wells of Bauchi and many other things. He later took the participants on a tour of the Babban Gwani traditional architectural masterpiece of the famous builder, Mohammed Durugu, inside the palace grounds and to the first building in Bauchi which is the old jumat mosque still standing adjacent to the palace building.
The workshop participants then proceeded to the family house of the famous Hausa poet and pre-independence nationalist politician, Sa’adu Zungur, where they were warmly received by the family, now headed by Sarkin Zungur and district head of Zungur town, Alhaji Bello, a nephew of Sa’adu Zungur. The district head recounted to the awed participants the contributions of Sa’adu Zungur to the political and literary developments in Northern Nigeria. The family also noted and commended Bauchi State Government’s decision to honour the memory of the departed poet and political activist by naming Bauchi State University in Gadau after him. However, they urged the visiting writers to assist in encouraging government to take steps further to translate the decision into effect by actually renaming the university as nobly proposed since, saying the proposal had gone through the normal official procedure of proposal and legislative assent.
The visit to the Sa’adu Zungur’s family homestead ended with a reading of the poet’s famous poem in Hausa ‘Arewa, Jumhuriya Ko Mulukiya?’ by Khalid Imam, a visiting poet from Kano while one of the students read the English translation titled ‘The North- Republic or Monarchy?’
The literary tourism train finally berthed at the expansive and architecturally magnificent Mausoleum and Museum of the late Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, where they were conducted round the complex by its curator. The trail started with navigating around the building surrounding the mausoleum, leading to the inner courtyard where the actual grave of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is situated and leading out into the museum where his photographs, personal effects, documents, memorabilia and most significantly where the first copy or manuscript of his popular novella Shaihu Umar is kept in a glass cage.
The workshop was brought to a close in the shadow of the receding glow of the evening sun in front of the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Museum with the participants being charged to relive the eventful day in creative and non-creative ways to further the objective of the workshop which was the propagation of literary tourism, an underdeveloped aspect of tourism in the Nigerian society.