The recent meeting of Borno elders which had in attendance two former governors of the state Alhaji Mohammed Goni and Alhaji Asheikh Jarma among other leaders on the initiative of the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi towards resolving the seeming intractable insecurity in the state is a welcome development. The meeting is in recognition of the concern of the the people who have been expecting His Royal Highness to deploy his ability to lead skillfully and keep his people safe by becoming sensitive to what is going on in his domain.
As the traditional custodian of the Borno Empire he is relied upon (by) the common man and he is expected to guarantee the collective well being of his people. Though the anger of his subjects over his perceived silence on the injuries inflicted upon them by security personnel in the course of pursuing boko haram insurgency was not out of place but the manner in which it was expressed was nevertheless sacrilegious and it has the tendency to undermine the exalted authority of the institution that is highly reverred by all the citizens of Borno.
This view was further reinforced by Alhaji Hassan Zanna Boguma, a title holder and member of Borno Emirate Council when he said in his comment that “…the Shehu’s meeting with leaders of thought is not only timely but the most right thing to do. At least if you’ve followed the news yesterday, all grey areas of the actions of the JTF were not left untouched. Let us not become cynical but optimistic with prayers & continued discussions both on the social media & in forums until we overcome this problem.”
Similarly Alhaji Lawan Bukar Marghuba,Retired Conservator-General of the Federation/Chief Executive Officer at National Park Service of Nigeria observed that “This initiative is long over due. His Royal Highness, the Shehu is spiritually and symbolically the last hope of the people. This conflict has lasted so long that the ‘knife has reached the bone’. However, as various contributors have said, the fact that the venerable leader has called for a collective wisdom to deal with the issue is in itself a victory. Politicians could never solve this matter. We’re looking forward to this with bated breath and much hope.”
Now that His Highness has taken the initiative to assemble our elders to respond to the problem afflicting our state we must get our acts together and give our collective support to all the initiatives they have designed to get us out from the state of insecurity. Also there is the need to hold an enlarged meeting of Borno Emirate ulamas, statesmen, top government functionaries, intellectuals,and businessmen to collectively put forward proposals that would address the problems of the emirate with a view to assisting the government in solving the problems bedeviling the people. Similarly it is expected that representatives of all interest groups residing in Maiduguri would be invited to attend the enlarged meeting as stakeholders.
All that the ordinary people of Borno want is peace and normalcy to return to their fatherland. The people do not want the escalation of violence from whatever quarters and do not want to apportion blames or trade words which does not help their cause but fuels the embers of hatred and causes more destructions. The reconciliatory initiative taken by HRH is in line with the tradition of our leaders who use peaceful means to resolve conflicts. Therefore it is illogical to demonize our leaders who are trying to use available channels of communication to reach out to the citizens on how to get out of the present state of insecurity.
The most important thing that is required is getting back to normalcy and as such we must avoid things that would further cause divisions and emphasize more on what can be done to bring us back to live together without recourse to violence. We must take into account that the ordinary Borno man has no more ambitions other than to have a happy life and be free from violence.
A M Bashir Shuwa, Leeds,UK