By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
While stating clearly that it is within his powers to appoint any of the three candidates jostling for the position of new Mai Tangle, Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has categorically stated that he is yet to appoint any of the candidates, whom he said are all qualified, but would not name a new Mai until normalcy is restored in Billiri.
He expressed this in a statewide broadcast on Saturday, 20th Feburary, 2021, while addressing the recent crisis that broke out in Billiri.
“Let it be clear that it is within my powers as governor to appoint any of the three recommended candidates to become the new Mai Tangle.
“Let it also be clear that no official pronouncement was made about any candidate before, during and after the eruption of violence in Billiri Local Government Area,” he emphasized.
He said that it is unfortunate that recent violent events in Billiri Local Government Area took place
“On behalf of Gombe State Government, I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives or properties in the unfortunate incident.
“I wish to assure you that in line with my oath of office, I will do everything within my powers to protect the lives and property of our innocent citizens,” he said.
The Governor said that Gombe people are known for their cherished peace and stability.
“Violence, sectarianism and extremism have no place in our culture and tradition.
“Those conflict merchants who seek to profit from this violence by setting brothers upon brothers, families upon families, and communities upon communities, will soon be made to face the full wrath of the law,” he warned.
He said that following the demise of His Royal Highness, late Abdu Buba Maisheru II, and in line with established laws and traditions, they set in motion the process for the selection of a new Mai Tangle.
“The process, which was transparent and devoid of any interference, led to the forwarding of three (3) recommended candidates by the Tangale Traditional Kingmakers, from among whom I will select the candidate to fill the vacant stool of Mai Tangle as the law provides.
“As Governor, I approached the Mai Tangale succession process with high sense of responsibility.
“Because, as part of Gombe State’s cultural tradition, any decision I take will have far reaching implication on not only the Tangale chiefdom but the entire Gombe State,” he pointed out.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya explained that he undertook widespread consultations, conducted background checks and engaged in personal reflection in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the people and the state.
He said that the violence was orchestrated by some unpatriotic individuals who thought they could blackmail the government into announcing their preferred candidate.
“Let me make it clear that our administration will never cow into any blackmail, threat, intimidation or witch-hunt from any individual or group no matter how highly placed.
“The people of Gombe State have a history of peaceful coexistence and interrelationship among our various tribes and religions.
“This relationship should not be allowed to suffer because of the selfish interest of some violent minority who seek to turn the succession process into a religious contest.
“The succession battle is a Tangale cum Gombe State affair and all the three recommended candidates are eminently qualified Tangale princes by virtue of their royal ancestry to the Mai Tangale stool.
“By history, and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, religion is not a criteria in selecting the new Mai Tangale or any public office for that matter,” he stressed.
Speaking further, he said that the eruption of violence in Billiri LGA has left them with no option than to declare a 24-hour curfew to further stem the spread of violence, loss of lives and destruction of property.
“To this end, Government is withholding any decision on the new Mai Tangale until normalcy returns to the affected communities.
“I have noted with dismay the dangerous campaign of incitement and polarization waged by some unscrupulous elements on social media.
“Government will vigorously discharge its role of protecting innocent citizens and combating criminality and violence anywhere in Gombe State.
“Government is calling on our traditional, religious and opinion leaders to prevail on their people on the need to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding.
“I am also calling on the media to refrain from promoting fake news and other divisive and inciteful narratives.
“Government in collaboration with relevant Security Agencies has put in place adequate measures to ensure the protection of lives and property of all the people living in Gombe State.
“Our cherished peace and stability in Gombe State is bigger than the selfish interest or ambition of any individual or group.
“Finally, let me use this opportunity to thank the good people of Gombe State and our friends across the world for their continued support and prayers, especially in these trying times.
“On our part, Government will continue to pursue its genuine developmental agenda for all our people across all areas of our economic and social endeavors.
“We will neither be blackmailed nor distracted from our noble path of maintaining peace, promoting friendly coexistence and delivering democratic dividends to all our people.
“The task of providing peace and development in Gombe State is a collective responsibility that all men and women of goodwill should join hands to promote,” he advised.