From Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has stressed the need for communities in the country to embrace peace and peaceful coexistence among themselves in order to achieve the desired development.
Dogara made the plea while speaking at the 2018 Lepm Zaar, a cultural festival of the Sayawa people held at the playing field of Tafawa Balewa Central Primary School, stressing that without peace and peaceful coexistence among the people of any community, no meaningful development could be achieved.
The Speaker also lamented that the North-East sub-region of the nation has remained backward and underdeveloped due to lack of peace caused by insurgency and other forms of violence that have engulfed the area over the years.
He, however, expressed happiness that peace was gradually returning to the area which could be noticed in the organisation and holding of this year’s edition of the Lepm Zaar cultural festival, pointing out that without the return of peace to the area, it would have been difficult to have the festival.
While describing Tafawa Balewa town as an example of how peace and peaceful coexistence can be achieved in a multi cultural and multi religious setup, the Speaker urged the people to remain peaceful and committed to peaceful coexistence in order to attract more people and development to the area.
He said: “This is the centre of my message: that even though we have been divided by crisis, even though the crisis has forced us to suspect one another, but time has come. As the scripture says there is a season for everything under the Heaven.”
“There was the season of violence, but we have passed the season of violence. Now is the season of healing, now is the season for unity, now is the season for reconciliation and rebuilding. So many of us who are preaching division among us is not a true son or true daughter of Bauchi State,” he further said.
Dogara reminded the people that violence and crises retarded development, reiterating the need to shun the acts, saying: “And I want to talk to you that if there is anything that fights development, it is violence.”
“If you go to our region of North East, Borno for example and Yobe – areas where we have the insurgency, you can’t trace any evidence of development there. The development we are witnessing here is the account of peace, it’s an account of the unity that we have,” he said.
He also urged the people to open their communities to other nationalities for development, adding that no nation develops as an Island just, commending the people of the constituency for burying the past and deciding to live in peace among other ethnic groups.
The Speaker stated that other people in constituencies or states could learn from the constituency’s resolve to live in peace, without blaming any group.
“I tell you the peace just didn’t come; the peace came because we have people among us who said it is enough whether they are Zaar people, whether they are Fulani people, whether they are Hausas, whatever tribe they are, we have our sons and daughters who rise up and say enough to this violence,” he stated.
He then commended the Zaar nationalities for sustaining their culture, saying that the younger generations would definitely grow to remember and appreciate it, commended the years of unbroken peace currently prevailing in the constituency.
While speaking at the occasion, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal stressed that harmony was a key to the promotion of diversity among the people of the nation, declaring that Nigerians must, therefore, tolerate one another and appreciate each other’s cultural values.
Tambuwal, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Bashir Garba leading other cabinet members, opined that the Sayawa people are peace loving and industrious which could be seen in the great Nigerian leaders they have produced over the years.
The governor, who eulogized the leadership qualities of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, pointed out that his political dexterity has contributed to the political peace witnessed in the country particularly in the manner he is piloting affairs at the National Assembly.
He then urged politicians in the country to emulate the good qualities of Yakubu Dogara in order for democracy to continue to thrive in the country, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure a hitch-free and peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections.
In his address, the National President of Zaar Development Association (ZDA), Isuwa Galla appealed to the Bauchi State Government that with the approval and gazzeting of the Sayawa Chiefdom, it should necessitate action to handover the staff of office to the Guun Zaar elect at Tafawa Balewa which is the ancestral home of the Sayawa people.
He also appealed that the headquarters of the local government area relocated to Bununu by the immediate past administration due to violent crisis and instability be reversed now that normalcy and peace have returned to Tafawa Balewa town.
He observed that the call for the return of the headquarters back to Tafawa Balewa town became imperative considering the fact that the relocation to Bununu had been widely criticised and described as unconstitutional.
Galla then called for unity and peaceful coexistence among the people of the area, stressing that: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. The story of our land has been that of unity and we must not make costly mistakes at this time in our history.”
The Lepm Zaar festival is an annual event that brings home all Sayawa sons and daughters to Tafawa Balewa town to display and celebrate the rich culture of the people as well map out strategies for the socio-political development of the area.
The event also witnessed a fundraising where over N11 million and pledges of over 6,000 bags of cement were realised for the completion of the Zaar Development Association’s national secretariat cited in Tafawa Balewa town.