And Why Do They Make Us Cry A Second Time? – Southern Kaduna Indigenes Progressive Forum

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SKIPFo/PC/07/14                            11th March, 2014

The title of this press release is a borrowed expression of the heart-wrenching pain experienced by a true son of Southern Kaduna over the shamefulactions of our elders on the painful demise of a national political icon and one of our own that we looked up to as an instrument of emancipation from the shackles of centuries of slavery, our own Late Senator Isaiah Chawai Balat.

Southern Kaduna Indigenes Progressive Forum (SKIPFo) have observed that since the inception of the current political dispensation, Southern Kaduna people have sadly watched the passing away of their sons, one after the other in painful succession.  We still mourn the passing away of Stephen Rijau Shekari, Col Yohanna Madaki ( rtd ), Charles Garba Ali Madaki and of course, Gov Sir Ibrahim  Patrick Yakowa  just to mention a few.  While we mourned their passing away, we wondered loudly who would fittingly step into their big political shoes left empty, to lead the struggle for the emancipation of our people. These big political shoes were left vacant for lack of mentoring of the younger ones by all the above deceased political bigwigs of Southern Kaduna without exception. In our moments of deep sorrow and pain, we sat in the ashes of despair wondering where our help will spring from. These moments are always times of sombre reflection for us, but are moments of selfish opportunities to a segment of our populace in Southern Kaduna.

A couple of years back, we were still struggling to recover from the sad demise of Charles Garba Ali Madaki when a text message went round sons and daughters of Southern Kaduna extraction to converge at Government House Kaduna on Monday to commiserate with the then Executive Governor of Kaduna State Arc Namadi Sambo (now the Vice-President of Nigeria) .Surely some of us refused to attend but our Elders went …..what they said, what was said in return,we don’t know till date but it did take place. Again, when the late Gov Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa died, we watched with great trepidation his successor Gov Mukhtar Ramalan Yero instead of visiting the Kpop Gwom in Fadan Kagoma and his people to condole them over such a monumental loss, he rather chose to go and condole the Emir of Zazzau Alhaji Shehu Idris CFR. Our Elders kept mute without a protest. Just a few weeks back, precisely on the Wednesday 26th February 2014, the great Isaiah Balat was laid to rest and surprisingly it happened again right there at the burial ceremony. The SOKAPU President, Mr Ephraim Goje against all known traditional and customary norms and practices, had Letters of Condolence for the President, Vice President and the Governor of Kaduna State (even though, it should have been the other way round since we in Southern Kaduna were the bereaved). There and then, those that have made themselves our Elders in Southern Kaduna even without popular acclaim or recognition, led by Gen Zamani Lekwot (rtd), probably felt short changed and therefore prepared their babbanrigas and quickly re-enacted (again????) their own condolence visit to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State.Alhaji (Dr) Muhktar Ramalan Yero on Monday 2nd March, 2014 at Govt House Kaduna. This was quickly followed again by paying a condolence visit to Vice President Arc Namadi Sambo on 6th March, 2014 where we are reliably informed the sum of N5m was given to the by the VP as a token to upset their transport expenses ( what a disgrace not only to the memory of the late Isaiah Balat but to the pride and human worth of Southern Kaduna people? ), and we ask again why do they always make us cry a second time? The first cry is lamenting the bitter loss of a loved one; the second cry is the loss of decorum, integrity, value and self-worth. Who is the bereaved? When did tradition suddenly change to the extent that your son dies and you gather yourselves to the king’s palace and condole the king? Shouldn’t our elders have been the chief mourners to be condoled by others, including the Governor, Vice President and President? We see and hear condolence messages by the President and Governors on the pages of newspapers and over the radio and TV stations sent to groups and communities over the loss of any of their prominent sons or daughters and not the other way round!!! Gen Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and his band of Angels should come out and explain where they got this practice from? Is it possible that the long sojourn of these people in the city and their complete detachment from the realities of the average Southern Kaduna man / woman way back home and their craving for the Gubernatorial or Vice – Presidential handshake has eaten up their sense of worth and value to the extent that they must seize every opportunity to go to Government House even when everything decent shouts against such action? By paying this condolence visit to the Governor, do our Elders think the Governor would weep more than the owner of the corpse? Tell me who is the bereaved? Why didn’t they take the two widows of Isaiah Balat along for the condolence visit? Since they identified Gov  Yero  and Vice President Sambo to be the bereaved, the least we expected them to have done is take the remains of Isaiah Balat together with his two widows to Government House for the burial. Gen Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and his co-travellers have over and over again and again reduced us as a People to nothing but scavengers and a rudderless people. The most annoying part of this visit was for Gen Zamani  Lekwot ( rtd ) to be seen shaking hands with Gov Yero wearing the Hausa turban as Agwabyin Atyap, the very symbol of those who unjustly jailed him over two decades ago and for which our people almost grieved to death. We now understand why late Col Elias Nyan (rtd) of blessed memory never respected these self acclaimed Elders; we now see reason with the late Col Yohanna Madaki (rtd) when he would refuse to attend some meetings convened by Gen Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and co.( even now some respectable Southern Kaduna Elders have kept away from the Elders Consultative Forum and only attend when it becomes necessary and demands their positive input for the god of our people ), Haba!

Several killings have occurred in our communities, Gen Lekwot and co-travellers in the Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Forum where have they been, why didn’t we see them either in Attakar to condole the People who have become refugees in their own ancestral land or in Government House to raise a voice of concern? How many of these communities that have come under severe Fulani attacks with very high casualty rates have they visited? Innocent lives have been sadly lost, houses and properties worth hundreds of millions destroyed, crops ready for harvests on farmlands destroyed, harvests razed down, there is every sign that famine will be very severe in Southern Kaduna this year because our people can no longer go to the bush  to farm for fear of their lives AND WE DIDN’T HEAR THEIR VOICES NOR SAW THEIR FACES AT THE SCENES OF THESE DESTRUCTIONS!!!  Who are the elders representing? NO ONE!!! Rather they have turned the misfortune of these communities and that of Southern Kaduna for recognition and gains to themselves. We can name them: Fadiya Bakut, Kagoro, Dibyi, Azansak, Bankwa, Duhogwai, Attakar, Kukum, Amere, Manchok, Bitaro, Kpiriga etc which of these communities did they visit? Our communities are being decimated daily while our elders are grovelling in Government House Kaduna and Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja for what will fall off the table of the governor and the Vice – President. Did God forget to endow us with pride, dignity and self-worth when He was creating us?  The younger generation keep imagining that the values of self-pride, dignity, self-worth, respect and hardwork stand us out as a people! But why do our elders portray us so cheaply before others? If this trend continues it will be wise for every youth and well meaning person in Southern Kaduna at this time to act as if we do not have elders in Southern Kaduna, but take their future into their hands, a future where their children will stand tall, proud of who they are and confident of what they can contribute to their community and society, and not knocking on government doors for handouts, at every misfortune that befalls us.

With due respect to our elders who constitute Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Forum, they have not been consulting the good people of Southern Kaduna State. Rather, they have arrogated themselves the sole monopoly of determining what is good and bad for our people even if it hurts not only our present generation but generations after us. A Haida proverb has it, that we should live in such a way that future generations don’t suffer for “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. It is unfortunate that what our elders borrowed from our children they now covet into their inheritance. Let them tread with caution and responsibly too.

People of Southern Kaduna, please join us to pray …May God reverse the direction of death in such a way that none of these fellows would have the pleasure of going to Government House or the Presidential Villa again to celebrate the demise of any of their sons. Naturally the children should be burying their parents not the other way round.

Shalom!Shalom!! Shalom!!!

 

 

 

Maj George Nchok Asake (rtd)                                      Dr Clement Woje

Chairman,Secretary


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