By Umoru Ibrahim & Usman Gwadabe
The menace of banditry, terrorism, ethnic violence, separatist’s agenda, inter/intra ethnic conflicts and other forms of criminalities threatening the corporate existence of the country can only be resolved through sincere dialogue.
The assertion was made by Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje while declaring open ‘Northwest Zone Citizens’ Summit for National Integration, Peace And Security’ organised by Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) at Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano, yesterday.
The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, argued that Nigeria has come a long way for any person or a group to think that they can easily break away, adding that: “We had lived, interact and inter marriage for decades that hardly any section of this country can live without another.
“Our courageous collective pursuit in uniting this nation, underscores the fact that for as long as we have a common purpose, will find no obstacle big enough to stop us from marching on,” the governor stated.
He said his penchant for national integration and cohesion which is guided by constitutional provisions, informed his desire to give right to all residents living in the state to be identified as indigenes devoid of any discrimination.
“Happenings in countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan and Rwanda are enough examples for us to embrace one another and live as one family. “No matter the magnitude of our problems, it is only wise and civil to be resolved through dialogue, respect and understanding,” Governor Ganduje advised.
He continued: “For us in Kano, we have tried to be accommodative; this can be traced from the period of Trans Saharan Trade. “You find within the city of Kano, many areas serve as settlement centres of people who originally migrated from other places outside the state.
” He explained that the accommodative nature of the people of the state, coupled with the deliberate policy of his administration to carry on board other ethnic nationalities residing in the state are some of the key reasons they continue to enjoy peace in the state. “I can confidently say Alhamdulillah, Kano State is the most peaceful and safest place to live within the seven states in the zone. “We shall continue to do more to ensure that people sleep not only with their two eyes closed but with a loudest snoring,”
said the governor. According to him, no doubt, the idea of the summit is apt and timely considering the country’s precarious situation that requires the support and contribution of all in cooling down the heightened tension arising from misunderstanding, mistrust and suspicion among various ethnic nationalities.
“This initiative, I believe, is part of your core mandates as public relations practitioners that aimed at mending fault lines across the country by building and strengthening relationships through dialogue,” he asserted.
The governor then thanked the institute for taking the event to the state, saying: “I must thank the NIPR for this initiative and for choosing Kano as the venue for the North West submit.”
“This has further established the position of our state as one of the most peaceful state in Nigeria,” he stressed. Earlier, in his welcome address, the Coordinator of the summit, Dr. Sule Ya’u Sule told the audience that the institute was disturbed by the multiple crises threatening the existing of the country, noting that without peace no meaningful project would be recorded in any society. Dr. Sule stated that: “When there is peace, people can go about their businesses. Children will go to school. Traders will go to markets and meet their customers. Workers will go to work, and citizens can access public services.”
He reaffirmed that: “Farmers need peace to grow and harvest the food we eat.” According to him, these are not possible without enduring peace, adding that: “We have lived peacefully with one another for decades.” “Nigerians are not stranger to peaceful coexistence. We have accepted one another for years, even before the colonial times.
“A Northerner won an election in the east in the 60s, and also we have councilors in Sabon Gari areas of Kano State,” he noted. Presenting a lead paper at the summit, Prof. Bawa Hassan Gusau of Bayero University, Kano stated that national integration and cohesion could be achieved, and peace realized, in an environment where citizens perceived a just government for all.
“Developing national consciousness is a conscious decision requiring deliberate efforts to flourish. “No doubt, Nigeria has made great strides towards national integration, but a recent threat made it necessary reexamine some of the grievances being champion by some sections of the country within the limit of our laws,” the Professor observed.
In her contribution, President of Jam’iyyar Matan Arewa, Hajiya Rabi Musa Saulawa urged Northern governors to wake up to the challenges of insecurity bedeviling the region, lamenting that the persisting problem is making live unbearable for the women in the zone.
Different ethnic nationalities who attended the event agreed that peaceful coexistence in the country remained the agenda every citizens must pursue.