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Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum’s campaign of calumny against Governor Inuwa Yahaya

Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum’s campaign of calumny against Governor Inuwa Yahaya

By Samaila Uba

It has come to the attention of the Gombe State Government that a certain body known as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has made futile efforts through a disparaging press release to blackmail and blame the Gombe State Government, particularly the Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, over the recent meyhem that took place in Billiri town orchestrated by some unscrupulous elements as the people await a new Mai Tangle.

Although the Gombe State Government does not wish to join issues with any individual or group of individuals on the matter, it is necessary to put the records straight – without going into frivolous and laughable issues raised by the forum – else the unsuspecting public may be hoodwinked by the falsehood and calculated attempt by the above-mentioned forum to cause more harm than good in the Tangale land and Gombe state in general.

After the death of the late Mai Tangle, Dr Abdu Buba Maisharu II, on Sunday, January 10, 2021, the Gombe State Government allowed the traditional Kingmakers to select and forward the names of nominated candidates to replace the late monarch. That process has been concluded, and the Gombe State Government is in receipt of the list containing the names of three nominated persons for the stool.

At first, 23 eligible persons from the Tangale land indicated interest, and the number was later pruned to 18. In their wisdom, the Kingmakers arrived at the three names required by law, which were forwarded to the State Government for necessary action. Suffice it to say that the three names submitted by the Kingmakers are all qualified for the stool.

It is rather unfortunate that what should be an otherwise peaceful and seamless process has generated issues that should not have arisen in the first place as the Kingmakers did their work diligently and patriotically.

It is regrettable that a body such as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum would resort to blackmailing the Gombe State Governor on a matter that he has no hand in. Where the governor comes in is in the approval and announcement of the next Mai Tangle from the list of the three persons nominated by the Kingmakers according to the law.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Governor of Gombe State has assented to the Gombe State Chieftaincy Law, 2020. The relevant provision of the Law as to the appointment of an Emir or Chief is that the Council of Traditional Kingmakers of an Emirate or a Chiefdom shall nominate to the Governor three candidates for the vacant stool from among eligible members of the Royal Family. The Governor, after due deliberation, will then choose one of the candidates for appointment as an Emir or Chief. Appointment of an Emir or Chief is therefore the prerogative of the Governor.
section 9 sub section (a-b) under their functions, the traditional Kingmakers shall: (a)Upon the death, resignation, removal or deposition of an Emir or Chief, to screen and decide on persons suitably qualified to be appointed Emir or Chief in accordance with custom and tradition of the emirate or chiefdom;
(b) to recommend to the Governor the names of THREE suitably qualified persons for appointment as the Emir or the Chief”.

Based on the above law, the Gombe State Government wishes to make it abundantly clear that Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya cannot be blackmailed or arm-twisted into doing what is outside the law. Let it be known that consultations are ongoing among the relevant stakeholders on who becomes the next Mai Tangle from the three nominees. The Governor will NOT go outside the three nominated names submitted to him by the Tangale Kingmakers.

To the best of the knowledge of the Gombe State Government, the three names submitted by the Kingmakers are the choice of the Tangale people, and any one among them can ascend the throne. Thus, against the baseless allegation by the forum, there is no room for the imposition of “an unpopular candidate as the new Mai Tangle” as the Governor will not go outside the names submitted to him by the Tangale traditional Kingmakers. The Gombe State Government understands that all the three contenders are members of the same Tangale Royal Family. For emphasis, all the three nominees are equal before the law, irrespective of their number of votes.

The Gombe State Government wishes to further say that the state has enjoyed relative peace since the coming of the Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s administration, and no matter the attempts by the enemies of the state and the agents of destabilization, such as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum and their cohorts, peace shall continue to reign in Gombe state.

The forum, whose major preoccupation on the Mai Tangle matter seems to be hiding under pseudo concern to instigate another violence in the Tangale land, is urged to cut short its voyage of ignominy and desist from its campaign of calumny against the Gombe State Government and the state Governor.

It is on record that the Gombe State Government imposed a 24-hour curfew on Billiri LGA following the violence that erupted in the area, all in an attempt to arrest the situation before it degenerated into a serious unrest. If the forum is sincere to itself, it would have told the world that no security personnel was sighted or accused of attacking or killing anyone throughout the short-lived violence. Governor Yahaya, as a peace loving man, cannot and will NEVER have any business to do with thugs as alleged by the forum.

The Gombe State Government would not delve into the issue of religion or ethnicity as alleged by the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum as it is public knowledge that the Tangale Chiefdom is a mixture of the two major religions, and available records indicate that persons of different faith had in the past few decades occupied the exalted stool of Mai Tangle. The records are there for all to access.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has sworn to protect the lives and property of all the people of Gombe State, and he would NEVER do anything to undermine that oath.

The Gombe State Government wishes to call on the citizens of the state, especially the people of Tangale Chiefdom, to continue to be calm and peaceful at this moment. The state government assures all citizens of the protection of their lives and property without fear or favour.

The public are urged to disregard the personal opinion of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum on the Mai Tangle issue of which they are ignorant.

Ismaila Uba Misilli
Director-General Press Affairs Gombe,
Government House Gombe

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