By John Shiklam
The Chairman of the Southern Kaduna Elders Forum (SKEF), Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), has alleged plot by the major tribes in Kaduna State to distort history in order to colonise the people of Southern Kaduna.
Speaking yesterday in Kaduna, at the inauguration of members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Empowerment Foundation (SKPEF), Lekwot said the distortion of the history of the area was a deliberate attempt to colonise Southern Kaduna.
The foundation was established by the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), the umbrella body of ethnic nationalities in Southern Kaduna to empower the people and bring development to communities.
Lekwot who lamented lack of development in Southern Kaduna, said the establishment of the foundation was a welcome development at this critical time.
He recalled that when he was the chairman of BoT of SOKAPU over 10 years ago, he thought about the idea of such a foundation.
“This is an idea whose time has come and nobody can stop it; this foundation is to beam a powerful torchlight on the plight of our people and bring development in our community” he said.
According to him, the time has come for the southern Kaduna people to rescue their people from obscurity, stressing that the foundation should make transparency and accountability its watchword.
“This is because our detractors will be looking for loopholes against us.
“I think God has woken us up from our sleep and I pray that you remain focused.
“There are some people somewhere who don’t want SOKAPU to succeed” he said.
Lekwot, a former military governor of Rivers State, decried the manner in which the native names given to southern Kaduna communities were replaced with names of the major tribes, saying it is a veiled attempt to distort history.
He said: “My father told me the original names of our communities which have been changed today.
“There are people who want to colonise us and they want to change history. They change the names of our chiefdoms and imposed other names.
“We have to protect our land and history. They have changed the names of our lands and want to impose a history, but God has helped us today.
“The time has come to effect an effective change and defend our land and our people”,Lekwot said.
In his remarks the President of SOKAPU, Hon. Jonathan Asake the foundation was set up to empower the people and bring development to communities in Southern Kaduna.
He lamented the plight of people who were rendered homeless during recent attacks on communities in southern Kaduna , saying that the foundation will also help in sourcing for funding to address the humanitarian crisis being faced.
“This NGO can approach donor agencies, individuals and groups for humanitarian assistance for our people who are victims of armed Fulani herdsmen” Asake said.
Members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the foundation include Apostle Emmanuel Kure, Chairman;
Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya, former deputy governor of Central Bank (CBN); Mr. Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Mrs. Hauwa Shekarau; Mr. Solomon Musa, former SOKAPU president and the the current SOKAPU president.