Opinion: Regarding the recent outburst of anger penned down in Leadership Newspaper by Gov. M.I Yahaya’s Media Consultant, we the Tangale Community Overseas make the following reply on behalf of the Tangale Nation and its people.
We appreciate the fact the governor has started paying attention to the numerous press releases and articles written since the start of the Mai Tangle election and the ensuing protests. Although from the contents of his writing, it appears that neither Mato Adamu nor the governor has had the opportunity to read our writings. We, therefore, humbly refer him to the first press release on 17 February, titled, “The Election Crisis in Tangale and the Way Forward” in which we called the attention of the Governor to the aspects of the Chieftaincy Law he was disregarding. Also, see, “A Response to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya, on His Public Address Regarding the Violence in Billiri on 19 February 2021” published on 20 February 2021. That press release was followed by several others in which specific issues affecting the Tangale people because of the election debacle were addressed. These include the very points Mr. Mato Adamu raised in his rant against the Tangale people. However, for the benefit of the doubt, we will answer his accusations point by point.
1 – 4). Are the writers fully aware that the crisis in Billiri started before the governor announced the new Mai Tangle? Are they conversant with the extant Chieftaincy law of Gombe state? We differentiate between “crisis” and “protests,” and yes, we are aware that our women and youths started a protest two days after the non-announcement of the results of the election of Mai Tangle in which HRH, Musa Idris Mai Yamba won the election by 5 votes to 2 each for the other two candidates. We had let the governor know that he needed to announce the results as it was not his place to “decide” the winner according to the Gombe Chieftaincy law, which we cited the specific relevant portion (Part IV, section 1 [p.20]), which covers the Appointment & Discipline of Traditional rulers thus, “Upon the death, resignation, removal or disposition of an Emir or a Chief, the Governor shall approve the appointment of an Emir or a Chief on the recommendation of the Council of Traditional Kingmakers of the Emirate or Chiefdom.” What is the recommendation of the Tangale Kingmakers? Mr. Adamu, do you understand the statement? It is a quotation directly from the law you reference in your questions 2, 3 & 4. It seems to us that you did not read the complete law to realize the difference between an emirate or chieftaincy created by the state and the existing emirates and chieftaincies that preexisted the state. The law says the election of the emir or chief is to be according to the customs and traditions of the people. The customs and traditions of the Tangale people are that the one with the majority votes is the winner. Sir, if you have difficulties understanding the written Gombe State Chieftaincy Law, we will be glad to help you understand it. We have all the time needed to help you and the Gov. understand our customs and traditions because, after all, this is our identity and our life. It is evident from your confusion of Billiri town with the Tangale people, that you do not know the people you claim to care about. Your reference to “power” and “right” of the Gov. also indicate a lack of leadership acumen. No good leader parades “power” or “right” as a tool of leadership. A power that is devoid of morality is dangerous. A leader knows the people he/she leads and works with them to achieve common goals. In turn, the people attribute greatness to the leader. Gov. Yahaya has demonstrated time and again, that he is self-obsessed and power-drunk per your words.
5 – 8. The question about the loss of lives and properties is ironic coming from the mouth of the governor. First, they are Tangale people, therefore, our brothers in the flesh. You are a Fulani man who has shown no interest in our well-being. You are implying it was religious violence that took place, but we know it was started by a member of the Galadima of Bare family who hit a woman with a stone and cracked her head open. No, the casualties were not of the Muslim faith only. Two of the four Tangale people that died were Christians. Sir, did you receive the report? We will gladly furnish you with the details upon request. The properties destroyed belong to both Christians and Muslims. The fact that you emphasize our religious differences says a lot about your government. You seek to divide families into religious lines because it has benefited you politically. You do not seem to understand how deep the pain is for us. Just because we happen to be outside Nigeria currently does not mean we ignore or forget our roots and identity. On the contrary, it is more reason why we fight to safeguard our identity. Mr. Adamu, you sound a little frustrated that you could not use the “powerful arm” of the law to simply arrest and silence us. Be that as it may, we have not kept silent when the protest turned violent because of some misguided fellows that infiltrated our ranks. We not only shared public condolences to the bereaved families (Christian and Muslim), but we also wrote letters to all our District heads assuring them of our love, loyalty, and support. Once again, we refer you to the numerous press releases in which we called for calm and peace. We are not a violent people; we have never had any crisis in Tangale land until Gov. Yahaya’s misguided self-absorbed concoction of a crisis.
9-11. Immediate and long-term consequences of the genocide and interfaith relations, et al: It is interesting to us that the term “genocide” is used here by the Governor’s mouthpiece, but we thank him for bringing it up. Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large number of people from an ethnic group. Although we are careful not to label the governor as promoting ethnic cleansing or genocide in Tangale, the fact that Mr. Adamu insinuated it is itself disturbing. What we have observed so far is the meticulous design to subjugate the minority tribes of Northern Nigeria under the Fulani rulership. Many organizations in the Middle Belt have made similar observations and remarks about the behavior and actions of people like Gov. Yahaya who have systematically sought to suppress minority tribes. Need we mention the current oppression of Justice Beatrice Iliya, the senior and most qualified justice in Gombe state? Well, she hails from Tangale, and Gov. Yahaya has denied her the right to lead in her profession. Hence, when the same governor held up announcing the result of the election of Dr. Musa I. Mai Yamba as the Mai Tangle, we knew he was up to no good. No leader who has the welfare of his people in mind would do what Gov. Yahaya did in Tangale land. So, please, save us the hypocritical concern for peace in our land. Yes, we will always hold Gov. Yahaya responsible and accountable for the mayhem perpetrated on our people and land. Since you mentioned interfaith relations, do you think the action of the governor is sidelining the elected Mai Tangle and pushing on the Tangale people a fanatical Muslim from Gombe speaks for good interfaith relations? Tangale is overwhelmingly a Christian nation. They elected Muslim Mais by their own choice, not because some Fulani man imposed a stooge on them. Spare us the crocodile tears about interfaith relations.
Finally, we advise Mr. Adamu, please carefully review the material we have posted on social and legacy media about the ongoing crisis in Tangale. He will see that we have done everything he accuses us of not doing. This will save him and the government he represents from further embarrassment. We are sons and daughters of Tangale, and we have Christians and Muslims in our families. What we reject is the Fulanization of our land. Please, know that we are available and willing to discuss any of these topics with the Gombe State government anytime. Our desire is for a peaceful and prosperous Gombe State. We are ready to give our voice to the Governor’s economic development plans for the state once he acquiesces to peace and justice for all in Gombe State.
Long Live Dr. Musa Idris Mai Yamba, Long Live Tangale, Long Live Gombe South, Long Live Gombe state.
Lamela Umaru Lakorok
General Secretary TCO,
For Liwin Tangle
For Tangale Community Overseas