By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed in the quiet Billiri town and adjoining villages in Gombe Local Government Area of Gombe State may be disrupted if the demand of the people over the selection process and appointment of their paramount ruler is not acceded to by the state government.
The community made up of elders, youth and women are challenging the state government to abide by its own enabling law on the selection and appointment of traditional rulers in the state.
Specifically, protesting women and youth are accusing Governor Inuwa Yahaya of deliberate delay in the announcement of a new Mai Tangle three days after the Kingmakers concluded their election process and submitted the report in accordance with laid down rules.
A peaceful protest to drum home their demand was embarked upon on Wednesday and Thursday by women and youth, wearing black attires blocking the only major road connecting Adamawa and Taraba states.
It was gathered that the protesting women and youth are working on information of suspected foul play by Governor Inuwa Yahaya by his refusal to announce the new Mai Tangle whose election was concluded on Monday in the presence of the State Deputy Governor and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Disturbed over the governor’s moves, the Middle Belt Forum as well as Tangale Community Overseas, in separate press statements called on Governor Yahaya to immediately announce Dr. Musa Idris Mai Yamba, who won the election process having polled five out of nine votes of the Kingmakers thereby defeating the two other contestants that recorded two votes each.
The statement of the Tangale Community Oversees which was signed by its General Secretary, Lamela Umaru Lakorok, urged the State Government to comply with the Gombe State Chieftaincy Act 2021 which was signed into law by Governor Yahaya himself, stressing that the law must not be misunderstood or misappropriated.
In the words of Lakorok; “The law in part VI number 20(1) says, upon the death, resignation, removal or deposition 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”.
“The Governor may consult the State Council of Emirs and Chiefs on the appointment of an Emir or Chief”.
The Tangale Community Oversees noted that the event of Monday’s election of the new Mai Tangle, clearly showed that Dr. Musa Idris Mai Yamba received more votes than the other two candidates combined, stressing that the idea that a governor can decide for a tribe, who should be their leader, ignoring their traditions and customs is laughable and absurd.
The statement further states; “Twisting the Law is an assault on the sovereignty of the Tangale people. We therefore call on the Gombe State legislators and the judiciary to uphold and interpret the written law and allow its full implementation in the current setting”.
The group equally called on the two other contestants for the stool to do the honourable thing and follow the traditional norms by congratulating the winner of the election.
“It would be against custom and etiquette for either of them to accept an appointment to the throne of Tangale by anyone other than the one chosen by the Tangale people. That will be tantamount to betrayal of confidence and respect of the people they purport to love”.
The group said they are patiently waiting for the announcement by Governor Yahaya of the overwhelming and acceptable choice of the people and would therefore not encourage any behavior or actions that will be counterproductive to the cause of peace in Tangale land.
Similarly, the Tangale Intelligentsia Movement in an open letter to Governor Yahaya, said that while it appreciated the governor for respecting their tradition and culture as shown in the just concluded election of the new Mai Tangle during which the people spoke through their Kingmakers, they are however wondering if the calculation has become so difficult for the inner circle, thus volunteer to assist with the arithmetical analysis.
“Sir, there were nine (9) kingmakers in total that voted. 5/9 (55.55%) voted for Dr. Musa Idris Maiyamba, 2/9 (22.22%) went for Mr. Ahmed Magaji and another 2/9 (22.22%) went for Mr. Danladi M.
“Sir, the above results are clear indication of the people’s position, and since the King is not going to be administering over a territory other than the Tangale Kingdom, then the handwriting is legible enough as to who they desire to have as their ruler,” the Tangale Intelligentsia Movement insisted.
The group cautioned that the youth are agitated and enraged already, adding that they don’t seem to be asking for too much but ‘GIVE US OUR CHOICE’.
It counseled that a lot can be averted by doing the right thing in good time just as it quoted Mark Twain warned; “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”.
The Tangale people prayed the governor to consider the exception in the said law, about places with already established customs and tradition, stressing that since the process of election is democratic, let the announcement be the true reflection of the people’s choice, and let it be done expediently.
On the 11th of January 2021, the 15th Mai Tangle, HRH Abdu Buba Maisheru II passed on to the great beyond and was buried which led to permutations for who would succeeds him.
Members of the ruling houses indicated interest and at the end of the day, 18 contestants emerged but the State government postponed the election process ostensibly to enable the Governor sign the Chieftaincy Law of Gombe State into law which was passed a long time ago but was not assented to until the death of Mai Abdu.
On February 15, 2021, the Tangle Kingmakers made up of nine people met and a selection was conducted on the 18 candidates that indicated interest out of which three people recorded votes.
The votes of the Kingmakers showed that Dr. Musa Idris Maiyamba secured 5 votes, Danladi 2 votes and Ahmed 2 votes. The Kingmakers accordingly handed over the result of the selection to The Deputy Governor who witnessed the process in company of the Commissioner for Local Government and chieftaincy Affairs.
The Tangale people warned that they will not sit idle while and watch the desecration of their valued tradition and culture and therefore, called on all peace loving members of the society to lend their voices to this struggle.