Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje with Igbo leaders from Kano have rejected the calls from some notable Northern political leaders that all Fulani herdsmen living in the Southern part of the country should relocate to the North due to the heightened tension in the national body polity, describing it as divisive and retrogressive.
Ganduje said that “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 the Nigerian constitution is concerned, to live wherever they chose to. But they must respect the laws and cultures of those they are living with.”
Also, the Eze Ndigbo Kano, President General and Igbo Traditional Leader in Diaspora, Igwe Boniface Ibekwe challenges that, ” 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 the 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.”
A statement by Chief Secretary to the Governor, Abba Anwar on Sunday said the rejections by the governor and Ibekwe were pronounced during a Special Dinner organised by Dr 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.
The statement said those in attendance at the dinner were the representative of the former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, Hon. Kene Nzekwe, 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.
It said the 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.”
He repeated it that, the issue of Fulani roaming about from one place to another should be stopped. Herders should drop the cultural attachment to their rearing activities and make their rearing become economically beneficial.”
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, move 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.
Governor Ganduje reiterates his commitment towards making sure that RUGA project takes off in Kano, emphasising that, “It is through that, that we can be 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 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, 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.
Eze Ibekwe urged 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, he 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 an accurate explanation to our people at home. We thank you very much, Sir,” he appreciates.