Mu’azu Aliyu and Yobe legislators

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Former Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu

On Monday 3rd December 2012 at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Center, Abuja, Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu said that ‘governmental institutions’ in Yobe State ‘have moved’ out of the state as a result of the deteriorating security situation in the area.
The Governor was speaking at the Sardauna Memorial lecture organised by the Sardauna Memorial Foundation which he chairs. Governor Aliyu spoke well about the late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, saying “we fully share in his belief that a return to the values for which the late Sardauna lived will instantiate a socio-economic and political rebirth not just of the north but of the entire country as well.”
We also fully share his concerns about the deteriorating security situation in the north – and who can speak better on this than him as Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum? There is no question that insecurity has had – and continues to have – devastating consequences and all of us in the north and across the country must do whatever it takes to address and resolve the situation.
As one of the states most affected by a mindless insurgency and the bloodthirsty activities of criminal gangs, Yobe had seen first-hand what effects a breach of the peace and breakdown of law and order could have.
But the Yobe State Government has always risen to the challenge. Working with the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agencies and the good people of the State – who have never relented in seeking for divine intervention – the government is able to restore the peace and ensure a return to normality. Most residents who fled at the height of the crisis have returned to their homes and social and economic activities have resumed fully.
Significantly, the Gaidam administration remains faithful to its mandate, and continues undaunted to deliver on its target to transform the state.
It therefore came as a huge surprise that Governor Babangida Aliyu, relying on a speculative, unattributed report from one newspaper, would speak of ‘governmental institutions’ taking flight out of the state.
His words: “I wasn’t very happy when I read in the papers that in Yobe State, the legislators and the commissioners were moving to Jigawa. Is it true Gwamnan Jigawa? It is true! That means we are already giving up, because if the governmental institutions moved, it means those who are after us have defeated us and have taken over. What is the best way out? How do we arrest the situation because if governmental institutions in Yobe moved, then it means gradually we will begin to move…?”
First, if the Niger State Governor feels strongly about the report, we would expect that the first thing he would do was to contact his colleague in Yobe to find out if it was true that his commissioners and lawmakers in the state were moving to Jigawa.
Second, even if Governor Aliyu was unable, for whatever reason, to contact Governor Gaidam, one would expect him to show circumspection using a newspaper report to make such weighty comments. Interestingly, the newspaper in question had quoted the Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly, Adamu Dala Dogo in its attempt to balance the story, rejecting the notion that legislators had fled the state and explaining that all government officials were on ground in Yobe doing their work. Would it not be more statesmanlike that the governor also reflects on what the Yobe Assembly Speaker had said?
In Yobe State – and we know this to be true for most of the country – we don’t use newspaper reports as necessary and sufficient cause for coming to conclusions on issues that require reflection, introspection and restraint.
The Yobe State Government takes seriously the security challenges facing the state and even with the return of relative peace, no one is complacent. We know that more needs to be done. This is the reason that officials from all branches of the state government continue to adopt an all-hands-on-deck approach to deal with the situation, sometimes at their own personal risks.
We therefore state categorically that no government official has relocated to Kano or Jigawa nor has anyone ‘given up’ in Yobe State or anywhere in the country. As Muslims and Christians, we believe in the scriptural encouragement that ease will follow every hardship. This is even more so with the hard work of our security agencies and the vigilance of ordinary citizens. We are encouraged that ordinary citizens, who suffer most the devastating effects of insecurity, are at the forefront of the fight against mindless violence.
We also believe that what will ultimately make the difference in the ongoing fight to ensure peace and security are the sacrifices that we make as individuals and collectives and what we actually do (not just say) as leaders and people in positions of authority.
As Chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum and a leader who continues to make a mark on the lives of his people, we hold Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu in the highest esteem and hope that this clarification will help inform his comment about Yobe State in the future.
Abdullahi is Special Adviser on Press Affairs and Information to His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam.

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