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How we tackled incessant sectarian crisis in Kaduna, by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former Kaduna State Governor

You were the governor of Kaduna state from 1999 to 2007. Before and during your time, the state witnessed a number of sectarian crises but…

You were the governor of Kaduna state from 1999 to 2007. Before and during your time, the state witnessed a number of sectarian crises but you were able to overcome it before the end of your tenure and today Kaduna is a peaceful state. How were you able to achieve it?

I have spoken severally on this and honestly, I don’t think I should be repetitive over it. Be that as it may, it is the responsibility of leadership to find solutions to all problems and maintain peace and see to it that lives and property are protected. Different environments have different issues.  It is for leaders to analyse those issues and to be up and about in addressing them. All that happened in Kaduna is that we faced up to our responsibilities. People supported us and we had their confidence. It wasn’t easy from the beginning, but we worked to earn their confidence and our actions did not betray the trust they had in us. We worked together to bring Kaduna to the place about which people are making commendations now. It was a whole chain of actions that I have discussed severally.

Will you now say that the incessant crisis in Jos is as a result of failure of leadership to live up to its responsibilities?

Wherever you have crisis, in Jos or any part of the country, or any part of the world, there will be some failure, whether it is at communal, family, local or state, or whatever level. I don’t want to make references to any particular situation, but wherever you find conflicts there must be failure of one kind or the other. You have to analyze all of these issues based on happenings made known to you through information and data. I am not in a position to have all those information and data to start saying that probably this is who has failed or who has not failed, but in general, you can say that there has to be some elements of failure of leadership at different levels but it is not time for buck passing. It is not time to start pointing accusing fingers. When you begin pointing accusing fingers you will hardly be able to hit the nail on the head. I think it is time for all hands to be on deck even if there is leadership failure. How do you rise up to responsibilities and address the issues if continue to say you have failed, you have fails? Of course, we should not shy away from telling anybody who failed that he has failed, but there is a way and pattern of telling people how and where they have failed, whether it is at the local, state or national level. Be more receptive about this particular issue. They will see that you are trying to help and not that you are trying to do something else and then the necessary cooperation and collaboration will be possible and we will be better off for it.

Leaders in Nigeria concentrate on physical security. Don’t you think it is time to begin to reconcile people once and for all bearing in mind that the north has been experiencing these so called religious and ethnic crises?

That is when you classify these conflicts. Generally, people hide behind religion but, you see, I don’t want us to draw conclusions. You have to be sure what the problems are. Are the problems political, economic, or cultural? You have to look at all these since it is usually a combination of issues. To draw conclusions about one particular issue or a number of issues will lead you to diagnosing the situation wrongly and you will end up prescribing the wrong medication which will not solve the problem. So, there has to be a proper diagnosis of the problems and when you do that, you apply the relevant medications so that there will not be overdose. Whatever measures you are going to take has to be in tandem with what you have analyzed, both the remote and immediate causes of conflicts wherever they occur.

The late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto and other leaders who led the north to independence were able to bring everybody together  and today, people are talking about Sardauna over 40 years after their deaths. This  is where we have found ourselves. Don’t you think that leaders in the North have failed Sardauna and what he stood for considering what is happening now?

Everyday we celebrate him from one lecture to another or memorial but by our daily behaviours, we don’t show that we have learnt or copied anything from him. That is deceptive. Annual lectures, symposia, Gamji this or that is not it. How do we or how do our attitudes to leadership in general show that we have learnt something not just from Sardauna. He wasn’t alone. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was there, the Ribadus were there. Sir Kashim Ibrahim too. They were all leaders, you understand? Some of them lived up to recently, like Malam Yahaya Gusau.  So, there are many of them and some of them are still alive, like Dan Masanin Kano, Maitama Sule, who were with them not at the level of Sarduana, but at least, they served at that particular time. You can draw a difference of those who may be up to the end of their lives lived in accordance with what Sardauna and others did.  But it is time we stopped celebrating Sardauna by annual lectures, symposia  or whatever. It is our attitudes that celebrate him and show that we have learnt from what we have either read or what we knew of his attitude to public service.

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