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HomeOpinionADVERTORIAL: How Governor Bala Mohammed ‘Sacked’ His Committee On Sayawa Chiefdom

ADVERTORIAL: How Governor Bala Mohammed ‘Sacked’ His Committee On Sayawa Chiefdom

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It is now well over thirty years since the issue of the Sayawa Chiefdom was recommended by the Justice Babalakin Commission of inquiry into the Tafawa Balewa Crisis of 22nd April, 1991.

Almost all previous State Governments in Bauchi made efforts at creating the Chiefdom. With concessions made by different stakeholders and affected institutions and communities on the matter it has kept dragging to this day because, as it were, the Sayawa people have turned out to be the first and foremost enemies of the Chiefdom with their unjustified insistence that the Headquarters of the Chiefdom must be in Tafawa Balewa Town.

All the Committees appointed by the previous State Governments however, recommended that the Headquarters of the Chiefdom be sited at Bogoro because the claims to ownership of Tafawa Balewa by them are not only unfounded but preposterous.

All documented historical accounts and evidences and trajectories of ethnic settlements established that the Town was founded by the Fulani. The enactment of the 2014 Law {as amended on the Creation of the Chiefdom was the closest the government went, but the Sayawa would not allow it because the Law, as per the recommendation of the Late General Ibrahim Sabo Committee, provided that the Headquarters be sited at Bogoro. They thwarted or rather sabotaged the creation of the Chiefdom through litigations. The matter is still before the court.

When Governor Bala Muhammad appointed and subsequently inaugurated his Committee on the Creation of the Sayawa Chiefdom we never suspected that he had any ulterior motive. We believed that, as the leader we took him to be, he was out with a sincere purpose from his speech at the Inauguration Ceremony. We thought he was going to be an impartial leader and arbiter. Our hopes were raised when the Governor indicated that he was determined to, once and for all, address the issue of the Sayawa Chief without taking sides, but would rely faithfully and wholesomely on the recommendations of the Committee. Unfortunately, and sadly too, the Governor has betrayed our trust and confidence in him as an impartial arbiter by coming out to categorically and unambiguously state, in a PDP Stakeholders’ Meeting in the Government House on Saturday 29 January 2022, that he had made up his mind to create the Sayawa Chiefdom and to site its Headquarters at Tafawa Balewa Town. He has thus pre-empted the Committee he appointed to work thoroughly and advise him. A responsible Government, after appointing a Committee of honourable people and persons of high calibre who have had untainted records of integrity and personal reputations on top of whom is an Ambassador, would ordinarily, naturally and necessarily wait for the Committee to finish its assignment and duly submit its report to it. To the best of our knowledge however, the Committee had not submitted its report before the Governor made that public pronouncement and proclamation. With this action, the Governor did not only pre-empt the Committee but also literally and expressly ‘sacked’ it. The Committee has no business continuing its assignment after the Governor had stated his position. Meaning that, after all, whatever recommendation the Committee shall make he would, with sheer disregard to history, and with flagrant disregard to the principle of justice and fairness, do what he had intended to exactly do. What is even further unfortunate is that the Governor, out of sheer obsession for taking sides with the Sayawa could not even remember that such a pronouncement on the assignment of the Committee was not only pre-emptive but would amount to embarrassing, disgracing and ridiculing the honourable Chairman and members of the Committee.  And that was exactly what he did.

Without any fear of contradiction, no Governor in the history of Bauchi State had ever demonstrated this kind of infantile and immature leadership tendency. We are, however, not surprised because the action, after all, only appeared to be an outburst of some primordial prejudices against a section of the disputing communities in Tafawa Balewa. At the end of it all, if at all what the Governor stated was what he will do, he would eventually discover that he had Identified himself with the wrong side of history. He would realise that he had taken sides with aggressors {as confirmed by the Justice Babalakin Report

of 1991 and Justice Bala Umar Report of 2001} who unregrettably incessantly killed hundreds of innocent and defenceless Nigerian citizens and indeed, Bauchi State indigenes. He would be seen to be a person who does not have empathy nor sympathy with the other side of the disputants who have had the blood of their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons spilled in the nooks and crannies of Tafawa Balewa. And it is upon that innocent blood that the Governor would want to reward the aggressors with a Chiefdom.

One very striking thing is that on the same Saturday {29/1/2022) the Governor made that public proclamation on siting the Headquarters of the Sayawa Chiefdom in Tafawa Balewa an advertorial of The Zaar Council of Elders and Traditional Rulers Forum was published on pages 28 and 29 of the Daily Trust Newspaper. In their usual belligerent tone, they threatened in the said advertorial that they would never accept any place as the Headquarters of their so-called Chiefdom other than Tafawa Balewa Town. It would be naive to think that it was a sheer coincidence, but evidence of the fact that the Governor has been hobnobbing with them even after he had appointed a Committee to work on the matter.

We cannot finish this write up without referring to one reason for siting the Headquarters of the Chiefdom in Tafawa Balewa which the Governor has been touting and also mentioned in his pronouncement.

He stated that he had intended to do that because if the displaced Muslims return to the Town they would still be killed. So, he would rather relocate them to some other place and then, ‘conveniently’ site the Headquarters of the Chiefdom in Tafawa Balewa Town. This is yet, another unfortunate statement borne out of some warped mentality and reasoning. It has very clear negative implications as follows:

(I.)That the statement is a further confirmation of the fact that the

Sayawa are recalcitrant killers, always belligerent and prone to violence and savagery. Even at that, the Governor would still go ahead to reward them with a Chiefdom in Tafawa BalewaTown (ditto Babalakin).

(II) That as the Executive Governor of Bauchi State and the Chief Security Officer of the State this pronouncement is a proclamation of failure in leadership and governance. The Governor was thus telling the World that he lacks the political will and the leadership capacity to protect the lives and property of innocent, law abiding and peace-loving citizens of his State.

The criminals, who have constituted themselves into law in Tafawa Balewa Town should, therefore, continue to have their field day in bloodletting.

(III) That within Bauchi State under his administration and stewardship Tafawa Balewa is a no-go-area and non-habitable for Muslims. And although this situation started since 2011, he is presently the Governor of Bauchi State and is thus essentially, squarely and fully responsible. He has no excuses. He was sworn in to work with and protect the Nigerian Constitution 1991(as amended) which, as per the provision of section 10.6 guarantees every Nigerian the right to live peacefully and make a living for himself at any place of his choice, not to talk of his place of origin/birth.

At the end of it all, we have every reason to state that we have lost confidence in the Committee and by extension the Bauchi State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Senator Bala AbdulKadir Muhammad {Kauran Bauchi} because of his evident bias and partiality!

Signed: Alhaji Shuaibu Sale, Chairman Tafawa Balewa Development Association TAFTODA, 08030930237 and Alhaji Korau Chairman Wait Village Development Association 08029156697

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