From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh
Last week, almost all the the people that matter within the political and traditional circles in Kano state relocated to Abia state in solidarity with Kano state Governor, High Chief Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who was conferred with the prestigious title of Agu Na Eche Mba 1 of Igbo Land (the Prime Lion that ensures peace, unity and security), by the chairman, Abia state Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness, Eze Eberechi Dick.
To many, the title which has now inducted High Chief Ganduje into the inner caucus of the Igbo traditional circle did not come as a surprise, considering his positive posture towards the promotion of peace, unity, love and harmonious relationship, among, not only the Igbos, but other ethnic groups across the country. Like High Chief Ganduje pointed out, shortly after receiving the tittle, the honour also came as a reward for his outstanding relationship with Ndigbo and other ethnic groups resident in Kano.
Ganduje who was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Hafsat, the Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammad Sanusi 11, top members of the Kano state House of Assembly, members of his cabinet, the chairman of Kano chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Prince Abdullahi Abbas, other party chieftains and stalwarts, members of the Kano business class, among others noted that, “let me state that the decision by Eze Eberechi Dick to confer on me a chieftaincy title has no political undertone whatsoever. I am not aspiring to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My willingness to accept this title is merely based on the long outstanding relationship between the people of Kano, Ndigbo and other ethnic groups residing in Kano state. Events like these bring us together and strengthen our unity despite our diverse rich culture. It is my profound belief that diversity should not be used as an instrument of dividing people. We cannot subscribe to the Machiavellian principle which subscribes that difference in language, customs and laws divide people making them difficult to hold together. On the contrary, diversity brings richness in our culture and heritage which brings everyone together as long as there is understanding and mutual respect. I have turned down offers of traditional titles from traditional institutions. But I can’t reject this when considering the years of excellent working relationship with Eze Ndigbo in Kano, Dr. Boniface Ibekwe and other Igbo people residing in Kano while promoting peaceful coexistence, not only with Ndigbo but with other ethnic groups living in Kano.” High Chief Ganduje further reiterated his commitment to, “support efforts to ensure the continued unity of Nigeria,” adding that, “I appointed senior aides from major ethnic groups residing in Kano. There is no discrimination between indigenes and non-indigenes in the state.”
In his remarks while conferring the chieftaincy title on the Governor Ganduje, Eze Eberechi Dick, said after painstaking considerations and examinations of the antecedents of Ganduje as the Governor of Kano state, the entire members of Abia state Council of Traditional Rulers unanimously agreed to honour him for protecting lives and properties of Ndigbo residing in Kano state.
This latest honour to High Chief Ganduje is a fulfilment to the fact that he (the Khademul Islam), remains a truly detribalized leader and a man of peace, carrying along men of all faith and cultural backgrounds as he is ever committed to continue to sustain peace in Kano.
However, yet another history was made in Kano on January 13 this year, when in Government House, the peoples’ Governor assembled all stakeholders within the religious groups, diferent ethnic and traditional groups, and declared that: “peace must reign in Kano.” Going further, Ganduje advocated for the purge of indigeneship-saga in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He insisted that any Nigerian can stay anywhere in the country and make it his own home. It was the Second Kano Interfaith and Community Relations Conference For Peace and Sustainable Development.Ganduje, said the State Government is advocating that during the constitutional review, the issue of indigeneship should be removed from the constitution. According to him, “here in Kano, everybody is an indigene of Kano, with primordial claim elsewhere,” pointing out that, “once you pay your tax, pay tax for your house, as well as what you consume and whatever you buy, government is collecting tax from you, you pay tax for your vehicle, then one is automatically a citizen of that place, because you contribute to the socio-economic development of that place, you contribute to the peace of that place. So, according to our own memo to the National Assembly, the issue of indigeneship should be removed from the constitution so that those, who are staying in various places and contributing to the socio-economic development of those areas should be regarded as indigenes of those areas.”
He further noted that the purpose of the conference was to strengthen and improve greatly the relationship between Muslims and Christians, which he stressed must be a very honest and sincere relationship, a relationship in love, a relationship in appreciation and a relationship for peaceful co-existence, inistsing that, ”not only that, even to the communities in Kano, various ethnic nationalities in Kano, whether Muslims or Christians, we want to live in peace. We appreciate you all because you contribute to the socio-economic development of Kano State.
”We are all creatures of God, we are all created by God, if Allah wanted all of us to be Muslims in the degree of faith, all of us would be Muslims, if God wanted all of us to be Christians, all of us would be Christians. So, God created all of us, different tribes, different races, different nationalities, men and women and in some creatures, the male and the female are put together. And that is the work of God. Some are tall, some are short, some are fat and some are slim, some are healthy, some are ill, that is the work of God. So, if that is the case, It is God, the Almighty, who said we must stay together, we must co-exist. So, why are we deviating from the word of God?”
Speaking earlier during that Inter-Faith event, the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kano state chapter, Reverend Adeyemu Samuel said, Christians are living peacefully in the state. Samuel noted that the existing peace between people with diverse shades of religious belief in the state, is a product of hard work on the part of the state governor, Dr. Ganduje. He said, the governor has consistently worked with the Christian leadership in the state, “we have his ears and he makes himself accessible to us , this is responsible for the peace, we are enjoying, today in the state. Ganduje, if God is for you, who shall be against you.”
CAN also used the January occasion to reward Ganduje with the Award of Excellence for his immense contribution to the sustenance of peace in Nigeria in the wake of rising ethno-religious distrust.
However, speaking to The AUTHORITY on th latest title conferred on his boss by the chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Eberechi Dick, the state Commissioner for Information, Youths and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, described it as an hnour of sustaining peace and unity in Kano. Garba said the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, in their sincere assessment, recognized Ganduje’s untiring effort in resolving the dispute between the northern youths and their Igbo counterpart as as a result of the quit notice the Arewa Youth issued to Igbos living in the northern part of the country sometime last year.
He added that the title, among other values, was imbedded on the role Ganduje played to dissuade the Arewa youths ultimatum which they termed “Kaduna declaration” to Igbos living in the north to leave before October 1, 2017.
“This prestigious title, among other things, is in recognition of the singular role His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, played in averting the calamity that would have befallen our dear country. The Igbo kings havr also recognized the conducive environment the Igbos are enjoying in carrying out their businesses in Kano State,” Garba stated, adding that, “indeed, His Excellency is elated by the recognition, and he has promised to do more in cementing the relationship between the north and the South. The Governor is happy with this recognition, this title which is in recognition of His Excellency’s exemplary leadership style came at the right time and we appreciate it. I assure it will definitely enhance national integration.”