By Felix Khanoba
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has lashed out at Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State over the delay in confirming the selection of Dr Musa Maiyamba as the new Mai Tangale (traditional ruler).
The newly chosen Mai Tangale, Dr Musa Maiyamba, is a strong Christian while Governor Inuwa Yahaya, a Muslim, is alleged to have preference for another candidate of same faith.
Dr Bitrus Pogu, President, MBF, urged the governor to allow the will of the people to prevail in the choice of Mai Tangale irrespective of religion.
“If the late Mai Tangale was a Christian and he worked with the governor, whether it is a Christian or Muslim the people want now, it is not the business of the governor to walk into tradition. It is the people’s tradition. If it is the population that matters, everybody knows the Tangale people are predominantly Christians but even in Kathulgo the traditional ruler is a Muslim and they are living with him and the other parts of Tangale lands have traditional rulers, who are Muslims.
“But these people decided to elect a Christian this time, what is the problem with that? It is not a political but traditional position, ” Pogu said, while addressing newsmen in Abuja at the weekend alongside Secretary General of Tangale Community Development Association, Abuja branch, Mr Simon Brief and one other.
This is just as the Tangale Community Development Association has said the Kaduna State’s governor, Ahmed El-Rufai, may have instigated his Gombe counterpart on the continued delay in announcing Maiyamba as Mai Tangale.
Secretary-General of Tangale Community Development Association, Abuja branch, Mr Simon Brief, called on the governor to do the needful by announcing Maiyamba as the new king having scored 5 out of the 9 votes cast by kingmakers.
Brief lamented that the governor’s recent actions appear to relegate Christians in the state to the background.
“Apart from the appointment of (a Muslim) Hakimi of Hudu Kwaya which is predominantly Christian, when it was time to constitute his executive, the most senior lawyer (Christian) who supposed to be the Attorney General of the state was given the commissioner for special duties. What special duties? When the head is loaded and was recently confirmed Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barrister Mela Nuge.
“Here comes again the time to appoint Chief Judge of the state because the tenure of the former one elapsed, he (governor) appointed an acting, which supposed to be the most senior (judge), Justice Beatrice Iliya, she was denied. The time for acting elapses, he kept appointing same person, NJC, NJI went into it (the issue) and as I am talking to you now she has not been confirmed as the chief judge of the state and she is Tangale person, and now this (issue of Mai Tangale).
“We heard of the news of a certain governor from a neighbouring state, which came to the state and when I asked which governor, they said he was Governor Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna State. There is an adage in Tangale which when interpreted in English means – if an elephant has medicine for purging or diarrhoea she should start treating herself first. How come your state is on fire and you have the effrontery, and you are loaded with advice to advise another state governor who is living peacefully.
“After the exit of El-Rufai from Gombe state, it is becoming tough for the governor to act on his own because his mind was now corrupted by the appearance of his friend,” Brief said.
While condemning the violence that trailed the protest over government delay in announcing new Mai Tangale, Brief said the people of the area have been living peacefully irrespective of their faiths and warned against instigation of religious crisis in the land.
He said : “This struggle is not an issue of religion because the immediate past Mai Tangale was a Christian, who got elected after a Muslim died and that Muslim inherited a Muslim seat, Dr Iliyasu Maiyamba, then came Tafida Iliyasu Maiyamba all Muslims.
“We have never had it bad. We never fought ourselves because a Muslim or Christian is the one coming and it won’t happen this time around except somebody want to instigate it, and we dare say that any effort or attempt to truncate the will of the people will be met with serious resistance.
“We are ready, we are not a fighting community but when you are pushed to the wall and you have anywhere to escape, you have to push back to get a road to escape.”