During a return visit to Ganye1 (capital of the chiefdom of the same name in Adamawa, Nigeria's easternmost middle-belt state on its border with Cameroon), one of the main topics of daily conversation among Chamba, the majority population, was the precise date their reigning traditional chief (the Gangwari of Ganye) would formally receive his First Class Staff of Office from the Lamido of Adamawa, a Fulani.2 Along with two other non-Fulani3 chiefs, the Bachama Hama of Numan, and the Bata Hama of Demsa, the Gangwari of Ganye had seen his chiefdom elevated from second-class to first-class status by the Governor of Adamawa State in December 2004. His would be the last of the three ratification ceremonies to be held.
An installation ceremony is a complex and expensive undertaking: invitations must be sent in ample time to be certain the most important dignitaries, Cameroonian as well as Nigerian, may be present; accommodation and food has to be prepared, ceremonial spaces upgraded, and a variety of what the programme calls 'cultural dances' arranged for the entertainment of the distinguished visitors. All this demanded an organising committee well in excess of a hundred people. The dignitaries must be seated according to fine gradations of precedence — the most important at the front — in rows under an awning sheltered from the sun, on one side of a large plaza (Gangwari Square in Ganye), the other three sides of which would be lined by the throng of standing spectators. Before and after the big day, a variety of publications need to be put in hand: a full-colour programme, with a history of the kingdom, biography of the Gangwari, order of events and portraits of the main protagonists; and a souvenir brochure and calendar, with more portraits of the main actors, sponsored pages from well-wishers that also emphasise their own contributions to the chiefdom as elected representatives or officials, as well as a photographic record of the events on the day of the 'Official Presentation of First Class Staff of Office'.