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Why crises persist in Nigeria, by Prince of Zauzzau

By Bashir ADEFAKA
The incessant ethnic and religious crises in Jos and other parts of the country is now threatening the unity of the country, what do you think should be done to stem the tide?

Well, what the government must do is to try and implement all those reports on the various crises in the past.  Because there is no point to have judicial commissions of enquiry, panels of enquiry and at the end of the day their reports will not see the light of the day.

Government must be able to punish  culprits who transgresses, irrespective of any religion because, none of the two religions – Christianity or Islam – condones violence and transgression.  And as a people we must be able to live to accommodate one another.  God in His wisdom decided to create us as Muslims and Christians, not by error, it was because He wanted us to learn how to live together as brothers and sisters.

Again, government must be able to create enabling environment for our youths to be gainfully employed.  First of all, you will find out that the youths are used in these religious crises.  Most of them who are Muslims, I can assure you, do not know what Islam is all about and most of them who are Christians don’t know what Christianity is.  And they don’t have anything to lose, they have no employment; like a lot of these al-majiris and so on.

As long as something is not done to keep the youths in gainful employment, they will remain vulnerable and the society will suffer for it through these incessant crises under the guise of religious intolerance and so on.

arima Jaafar...They prepare for the future of their children to the detriment of others!

People should be able to have the fear of God and utilize their God-given resources for the betterment of each and everyone.  A situation, where people who are councilors, who are Local Government chairmen, who are governors, who are ministers and even President do not live by the dictates of their oaths of office, is also one of the reasons for these causes crises.

Kaduna used to be hot spot for religious crises in the past but today it’s peaceful.  How did it happen?

You see, like I said, all those crises were caused by a lot of external and internal influences.  So when it happened about ten years ago, the Emir of Zauzzau with his Districts’ heads went round the various places preaching and enjoining people to live in peace and harmony and to accept anybody who comes to live with them as part of them.  That he is your guest while you are his host and you must defend and protect his life, his property, his honour.  It is a natural duty that you must be able to do these things.

We have a system here in Kaduna State: We have lower heads who we call the Angwas; the village heads we call Dekeci;  and we have also the Emirate which is headed by the Emir.  So, under this system the lower heads will report to the village head, the village head reports to the District head and the District head reports to the Emir.  Anything that is happening in your domain, any stranger that comes to your area, you must be able to introduce him to us.  And if that person has bad character, you immediately report to village head and the village head, like I said, will report to the District head, who will report to the Emir.

Quarterly, the Emir meets with all the religious leaders and Districts’heads, the Imams, Pastors and so on, we discuss the state of the nation, we discuss the state of Kaduna, we discuss the state of the Emirate and anybody who has any information regarding anything that can lead to breach of the peace will say it, we know and actions are taken immediately.  The Emir takes the issue to the State Security Council, which is headed by the governor and appropriate actions are taken there to forestall any crisis.

What is your take on the present state of the nation?

I am not satisfied and I am not happy because of the current situation in which we find ourselves.  We have to do a lot of things to make things work for Nigeria and for the good of Nigerians.  And  our politicians, too, need to caution themselves: They need to bring decorum and honesty into how they go about their activities and see that it is not a matter of do-or-die or must-maintain-lead by whatever means.

The last time the National Assembly passed a resolution for the Vice President to assume the position of Acting President, a lot of people faulted it.  But I believe that under the doctrine of necessity, what they did was right.  We all know what happened in 1966 when a group of rebels killed the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa; Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Ladoke Akintola; Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sardauna Ahmadu Bello and some ministers.  The then President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was not in the country and, because of the situation on ground, the President of the Senate took charge as Acting President and invited Aguiyi Ironsi, who was a General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army to take over the mantle of leadership.  Ironsi came up and thereafter became the Head of State after the Acting President had handed over to him.

You know, that was also not contemplated in the Constitution but when we were experiencing danger, it became a necessity that such measure should be taken based on the discretion of the man in charge

So what happened at the National Assembly regarding the passed resolution that installed the Vice President as Acting President, as far as I am concerned, is okay and it is constitutional.  It was done in order to avert an imminent danger.  But I hope that our politicians will not seize it to do things capable of truncating this democracy.

Nigeria, in spite of the abundant human and natural resources and almost 50 years after independence, we’ve not gotten it right, what is responsible?

I think we are backward because some of our leaders are dishonest and they do not live according to the dictates of decency.   I mean, what will somebody do with all the billions he has amassed at the expense of others?  You don’t need to build a castle; you don’t need to have houses in every part of the world.  If all our resources are used judiciously, I am sure Nigeria would have been a better place to live in by now.

We have leaders who do not care about the welfare of the people; they steal our money and go to different parts of the world to spend it without caring about the adverse effect such attitude will have on the general masses!  I mean the talakawas.  These people don’t have their children in schools here, they have them in schools abroad.  They prepare for the future of their children but fail to prepare for the future of the children of the common men!  If we have leaders who are honest and God-fearing,  I can assure you that things like these will not happen because, they would use the resources of the country for the betterment of the people.

If you were the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, what steps would you take to fast track development ?

The step expected of him now is that, he must be able to look at the power sector immediately and improve on it.  The Acting President unfortunately started with a wrong step: What is the rationale behind stopping the dredging of the River Niger?  It is wrong!  Our people will misconstrue it. This project was started by President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.  Immediately this man took over now he decided to stop the dredging of the River Niger.  It is not good, it is not right and he must immediately reverse that decision.

How did you start out in life, what does life mean to you?

I was born in March 1956 in Zaria and lost my father, who was the Emir of Zauzzau, in 1959.  After his death, I went to live with my uncle in Lagos.  I started my primary school in 1962 and finished in 1968.  I went for my secondary school between 1969 and 1973 and from there to  Ahmadu Bello University where I studied Law between 1976 and 1979.

I attended the Nigerian Law School from 1979 to 1980; I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1980 and thereafter went for my National Youth Service Corps.  After the NYSC, I took up an appointment as an Assistant Lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University from 1981 to 1983 during which I finished my masters of Law degree and from there I was appointed Company Secretary/Legal Adviser of the defunct Kaduna Cooperative Bank from 1983 to 1987.  In 1987 I became Commissioner for Local Governments and Community Development in Kaduna State.

I was later moved to the Ministry of Information and Culture and subsequently served as Commissioner for Agriculture and Forest Resources.

I resigned my appointment as commissioner in 1990 and took up an appointment as Secretary/Legal Adviser with Nigerian Railway Corporation in Lagos .  In 1991 I went for the Senior course number 13 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Study (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos in Plateau State from February to October 1991.  After I came back and served for six months, I left and became the Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Maritime  Authority from 1992 to 1996.

After the completion of my tenure at the National Maritime Authority, I went into business and became chairman of various companies in insurance, banking, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industries and Agriculture.  And I am now the District Head of Hanwa, which is in Zaria and Zauzzau Emirate.  I am as well the Yariman Zauzzau, that is the Crown Prince of Zauzzau (Zaria).


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