By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara has lamented that violent attacks in some parts of Nigeria have been a major hindrance to the development of the country.
Dogara, who was the guest of honour at the 2018 Zaar Sayawa cultural festival known as Lepm Zaar held at Tafawa Balewa town Saturday, stressed the need for warring communities in the country to immediately devise ways of attaining peace for development to thrive.
The speaker also emphasised that insurgency and other violent attacks in some states in the country have been the bane of development, saying peace, tolerance and security remained the major impediments to socio-economic and political development of any society.
He called on communities affected by protracted violence to learn from the peace that has been achieved in Tafawa Balewa communities in Bauchi State for sometime now and sued for peace for development and progress to be achieved.
According to him, “The most important thing that we are celebrating in Tafawa Balewa today is the peace because the different ethnic groups and people of different religious groups in the communities accepted responsibility to change their destiny. Through the collaboration and prayers, we have not had any violence in Tafawa Balewa for many years.
“But in the past, there was violence, killings and shedding of blood in Tafawa Balewa until some people among us decided that enough is enough. We must stop killing one another.”
Dogara said that Tafawa Balewa has become a model that peace can be achieved in every community in Nigeria if citizens from diverse background are willing to open up.
He said: “The time has come for us to stop blaming each other for every kind of violence. We must accept the fact that we are all reasonable and if violence must stop we must take responsibility.
“That is what the people of Tafawa Balewa did. Today, we are a model of how a multi religious, multi ethnic communities can co exist peacefully. So many communities in Nigeria should learn from Tafawa Balewa and get rid of crisis and live in peace.”
He said that the absence of violence in Tafawa Balewa has led to development in the area, while Boko Haram has wiped out development in the North-east subregion.
“The development in Tafawa Balewa is because there is peace. What brings progress is not number but peace. This is a challenge we must accept that no nation can developed without peace
“We have been divided by crisis but the time has come for healing, unity and reconciliation and rebuilding. Anyone who is preaching divisions is not a true son or daughter of Bauchi,” he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal said that harmony is key to the promotion of diversity among the people of Nigeria, declaring that Nigerians must therefore tolerate one another and appreciate each other’s cultural values.
Tambuwal, who was represented by the Secretary to the Sokoto State Government, Prof. Bashir Garba, opined that the Sayawa people are peace loving and industrious which can be seen in the great Nigerian leaders they have produced over the years.
The Sokoto State governor, who eulogized the leadership qualities of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara, pointed out that his political dexterity has contributed to the political peace witnessed in the country particularly in the manner he is piloting affairs at the National Assembly.
He then urged politicians in the country to emulate the good qualities of Dogara in order for democracy to continue to thrive in the country, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure a hitch free and peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.
Earlier in his remarks, the Guest Speaker, Hon Terwase Orbunde, the Chief of Staff to Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom, said that the Seyawa nation and other minority communities in the country must consciously develop collaborations with other ethnic groups in the country to be counted.
In his address, the National President of Zaar Development Association (ZDA), Isuwa Galla, appealed to the Bauchi State Government that with the approval and gazetting of the Sayawa chiefdom, it should necessitate the handover of the staff of office to the Guun Zaar elect at Tafawa Balewa which is the ancestral home of the Sayawa people.