Prominent Igbo group in Kano State, given the heightened tension in the national body polity, due to some calls from some notable Northern political leaders that all Fulani herdsmen living in the Southern part of the country should relocate to the North, have condemned the move, together with the Kano state governor Umar Ganduje, calling the statement divisive and retrogressive.
Governor Ganduje while speaking on the issue in a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, said:
“Those who are calling on the Fulani to leave South, we don’t share the same feeling with them. People have a choice, as far as Nigerian constitution is concerned, to live wherever they chose to. But they must respect laws and cultures of those they are living with.”
The leader of the Igbo group Eze Ndigbo Kano, President General and Igbo Traditional Leader in Diaspora, Igwe Boniface Ibekwe who also spoke on the issue, said:
“Just look at what is happening now, some people are calling on Fulani to come back to the North. So if they come back what will happen to us here in the North?
He continued, “…Our people will tell us to go back to South. Is that what our forefathers wished to see us doing? We are therefore rejecting such call coming from some quarters. It does not mean well for the corporate existence of our dear country.”
All the rejections by Governor Ganduje and the Igbo group lead by Ibekwe were pronounced during a Special Dinner organised by Governor Ganduje in honour of Eze Ibekwe to rejoice with him, on his 10th Offalla anniversary, which took place at Africa House, Government House, Kano, Saturday night.
In attendance at the dinner were the representative of the former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who was represented by Hon. Kene Nzekwe (FNIQS), His Highness Eze P.N. Wahiwe from Niger state, President General of Igbo in Diaspora Assembly, Chief Chi-Nwogu, Chief Ebenezer Chima and many other Ezes and Chiefs from all the 19 Northern states.
Governor argues that, there was no doubt that Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with different religions and nationalities which calls for mutual respect among different people, insisting that, “As we are all creatures of Allah, it is duty bound on all of us to always respect Allah’s creatures. No two way about it.”
The Governor repeated it that, the issue of Fulani roaming about from one place to another should be stopped. Arguing that, “We must find a way of turning the table from being social and cultural engagement to become social and economic. Herders should drop the cultural attachment to their rearing activities and make their rearing become economically beneficial.” he said
It was with that singular thinking that, he called on the federal government to put a halt to the ever increasing movement of herders from one state to another.
“It is because we want to bring out economic benefit out of the whole exercise that we inaugurated a RUGA Settlement Committee for us to have it in Kano. And to most fundamentally, run away from the insecurity posture poses by the herders farmers clashes everywhere,” he explained.
While observing that, the major problem of herders is education, “…because they are not settled in one place for them to get educated. And that is the fact,” says Ganduje, he further argued that, “That is why we said this issue of migrating from one society to another should be avoided.”
Adding that it has been part of his effort and that of his government, to find a way of educating Fulani herders, “Because we want them to come to a reality and understand the meaning of development. Without education you cannot be able to understand the real meaning of the concept of development. You cannot understand how it works,” he explains.
Governor Ganduje reiterates his commitment towards making sure that RUGA project takes off in Kano, emphasising that, “It is through that, that we can able to educate our Fulani brothers and sisters. And I have been nurturing this idea long before now. That was why we sent Fulani youth, 75 of them, to Turkey to be trained on Artificial Insemination. They are back now. So we need to put them into good use for the society.”
“I was born in RUGA (hamlet). I learned how to speak Hausa when I was in Primary One. I was educated while my parents believed and understood the dire need to educate their children and the children of others. If not because of that Allah’s Blessing I wouldn’t have this opportunity to stand before you,” he argues jokingly.
On the accommodative nature of the state he explained that, though Kano is a commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria, but he still argues that, the state was not an Island of itself, “We reach this position because we receive and accommodate other people from other places. Every individual you see has his or her comparative advantage,” he reminded.
While commending all the security agencies for their efforts in making Kano a safer place, he also thanked people for their cooperation with the security agents and their continued prayers all the time, “I am happy that people have come to realise that, security is the main prerequisite for any meaningful development to take off,” Ganduje observes.
Explaining further that if there is no peace and stability nothing moves, noting that, “We work day and night with the security agencies while also banking on community policing. We use ICT-based technology to curb all menace of insecurity in the land. We don’t have crisis of tribal or religious in our state. And we are striving hard to avoid them.”
Eze Ibekwe calls his people to always be law abiding citizens, assuring them that, “We are very happy that we are safe in the hands of our governor Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Kano is the safest place in Nigeria,” he appreciates.
While giving a vote of thanks the representative of the former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Ngige, Hon. Nzekwe, thanked governor Ganduje for accommodating all Nigerians peacefully in Kano irrespective of their tribal or religious background.
“I am highly elated to see that we have good leaders like you Your Excellency, people that are highly detribalised and highly patriotic. We need more of you Sir in this country. And I will take back your good leadership style for accurate explanation to our people at home. We thank you very much Sir,” he appreciates.