Mai Tangale: No pronouncement until normalcy returns to Billiri ― Governor Yahaya

Hopes of the people of Tangale chiefdom in Billiri LGA of Gombe State of having a new Mai Tangale has been dashed temporarily as the state government has declared that it will not make any pronouncement on the issue until full normalcy returned to the area. 

The declaration was made by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in a statewide broadcast on Saturday evening stating that, “the eruption of violence in Billiri LGA has left us with no option than to declare a 24-hour curfew to further stem the spread of violence, loss of lives and destruction of property.” 

The governor then declared that “to this end, the government is withholding any decision on the new Mai Tangale until normalcy returns to the affected communities. I have noted with dismay the dangerous campaign of incitement and polarisation waged by some unscrupulous elements on social media. Government will vigorously discharge its role of protecting innocent citizens and combating criminality and violence anywhere in Gombe State.”

He also extended deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives or properties in the unfortunate incident stating that, “I wish to assure you that in line with my oath of office, I will do everything within my powers to protect the lives and property of our innocent citizens. We are a people known for our cherished peace and stability.

“Violence, sectarianism and extremism have no place in our culture and tradition. Those conflict merchants who seek to profit from this violence by setting brothers upon brothers, families upon families, and communities upon communities, will soon be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

A visibly sober Inuwa Yahaya stated that “you are all aware that following the demise of His Royal Highness, late Abdu Buba Maisheru II, and in line with established laws and traditions, we set in motion the process for the selection of a new Mai Tangle. The process, which was transparent and devoid of any interference, led to the forwarding of three recommended candidates by the Tangale Traditional Kingmakers, from among whom I will select the candidate to fill the vacant stool of Mai Tangle as the law provides.

“As governor, I approached the Mai Tangale succession process with a high sense of responsibility. Because, as part of Gombe State’s cultural tradition, any decision I take will have far-reaching implication on not only the Tangale chiefdom but the entire Gombe State. That’s why I undertook widespread consultations, conducted background checks and engaged in personal reflection in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the people and the state.”

The governor further declared that, “Let it be clear that it is within my powers as governor to appoint any of the three recommended candidates to become the new Mai Tangle. Let it also be clear that no official pronouncement was made about any candidate before, during and after the eruption of violence in Billiri Local Government Area.” 

He however stated that, “The violence was orchestrated by some unpatriotic individuals who thought they could blackmail the government into announcing their preferred candidate. Let me make it clear that our administration will never cow into any blackmail, threat, intimidation or witch-hunt from any individual or group no matter how highly placed.”

The governor added that the people of Gombe State have a history of peaceful coexistence and interrelationship among the various tribes and religions relationship he said should not be allowed to suffer because of the selfish interest of some violent minority who seek to turn the succession process into a religious contest. 

“The succession battle is a Tangale cum Gombe State affair and all the three recommended candidates are eminently qualified Tangale Princes by virtue of their royal ancestry to the Mai Tangale stool. By history, and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, religion is not a criteria in selecting the new Mai Tangale or any public office for that matter,” he explained.

“The government is therefore calling on traditional, religious and opinion leaders to prevail on their people on the need to remain calm, peaceful and law-abiding just as he also called on the media to refrain from promoting fake news and other divisive and inciteful narratives. 

“Government in collaboration with relevant Security Agencies has put in place adequate measures to ensure the protection of lives and property of all the people living in Gombe State. Our cherished peace and stability in Gombe State is bigger than the selfish interest or ambition of any individual or group.

“Finally, let me use this opportunity to thank the good people of Gombe State and our friends across the world for their continued support and prayers, especially in these trying times. On our part, the government will continue to pursue its genuine developmental agenda for all our people across all areas of our economic and social endeavours. 

“We will neither be blackmailed nor distracted from our noble path of maintaining peace, promoting friendly coexistence and delivering democratic dividends to all our people. The task of providing peace and development in Gombe State is a collective responsibility that all men and women of goodwill should join hands to promote,” he concluded. 

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