By-Isaac Shobayo, Jos
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has declared that the political class and elites should see the traditional and religious leaders as partners in progress, saying the traditional rulers are not in any way competing with the political class.
The Sultan of Sokoto, who made the statement on the occasion of the commemoration of Plateau Day of forgiveness and reconciliation at Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos, Plateau State, on Tuesday, tasked the political class to carry out their campaign in a peaceful manner and have respect for one another.
“We have been talking to our political leaders to ensure that they carry out their campaigns in a peaceful manner and respect one another, knowing that it is Almighty Allah who gives power to whom he wants at the time he wants and takes it away from you without asking for your permission.
“If we realise this, why do we use our youths to burn houses and abuse one another, and at the end of this only one person will be in a government house?” The Nigeria Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria has all what
“It takes time to bring out lasting peace because it has people with different backgrounds as members.”
He enjoined the political leaders to partner with the council to promote peace and understanding among the political class and the electorate, but expressed disappointment that some of the political leaders don’t want anything to do with the traditional rulers.
He said, “Why don’t politicians use the council as a platform to reach out to the common man on the streets?” Some politicians don’t want to see the turbans or caps of traditional rulers, but traditional rulers will never be a problem for political leaders. “We are not competing; we just want to help the country because of the role we have played in the past. We should be used by the political leaders.”
According to him, campaigns should be issues-based, not based on sentiments or insults, adding that it is wrong to abuse one another under the guise of campaigning.
“It is wrong to abuse one another in the name of a campaign because, in the end, you will still sit down together as brothers.” Only one person will be president; it is God who knows that person, but we struggle because we don’t know tomorrow; only God knows tomorrow.
“There is hope for our country; we must never lose hope because if you lose hope then you are a dead person. We have hope, which is why we have our leaders going about their campaigns trying to convince us that they are better candidates than others.”
He further enjoined the politicians to promise what they can do, while their followers should not follow them blindly, adding that what they have promised to do should be interrogated when they are elected.
“Promise people what you can do, and the followers too should not follow them blindly.” “When they get to the office, challenge them based on their promises; don’t be a blind follower; be a good follower with your eyes open and your brain quite intact,” he advised.
He further advised that whoever comes after Governor Lalong as governor of Plateau State on May 29th this year should maintain the idea of bringing everyone together, talking to one another, and forgiving one another.
In his address, Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong said his heart is filled with joy that his administration has laid a solid foundation for peace, justice, equality, tolerance, and hospitality.
He said that with the support of traditional, religious, and community leaders, the government has worked hard to substantially reverse the damage to the collective psyche and fractured inter-group coexistence.
“Today, the deep-seated level of mutual distrust, suspicion, and hatred that once characterized social relations between people of different ethno-religious backgrounds across Plateau State has greatly reduced to the barest minimum.” “This is a result of the hours, days, months, and years of work put in by the Plateau Peace Building Agency, which we established backed by law, as well as the Inter-Religious Council that was also inaugurated with top leadership of the Christian and Muslim faiths deeply involved.”
Lalong emphasized that the focus on forgiveness and reconciliation does not in any way give room for criminality to thrive or be tolerated. Rather, crisis merchants and criminals who previously operated with impunity have been run out of business.
According to the governor, the government has continued to remove the triggers for conflicts such as those related to farming and grazing that are not peculiar to Plateau State.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said he was happy that the initiative taken many years ago has been fully implemented by the Plateau State Government under the leadership of Governor Lalong.
Gbong Gwom Jos Da Jacob Gyang Buba described the event as one that vindicates Governor Lalong, who has stood firm in persuading the citizens of the state to put their past behind them and look forward to a greater future.
Other guests, including the Emir of Askira, Alh. Abdullahi Ibn Askirama II, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, the former Military Administrator of Plateau State, Gen. Lawrence Onoja, former Governor Fidelis Tapgun, the CAN General Secretary, PIDAN President, and Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council, Prof. Pandam Yamsat, all commended the Governor for towing the path of peace and ensuring that criminals are not allowed to operate with impunity while reconciliation is going on.