…Group Says Any Religion Can Rule Tangale
Our attention was drawn to some unguarded and misleading utterances in the social media containing unfounded, malicious and inflammatory statements that contributed to the current situation we found ourselves in Billiri Local Government Area, Gombe State over the appointment of the Chief (Mai) of Tangale.
For the avoidance of doubt and in order to set the records straight, the selection and appointment of the last three chiefs (Mai’s) were peacefully conducted in accordance with due-process and the law. It is on record that the 12th Mai Tangle (Maiyamba), (traditionalist who later converted to Islam) ruled for 37 years (1914-1951). The 13TH Mai Tangle, Mallam Ilyasu Maiyamba (a Muslim) ruled for 35 years (1951-1986.) and The 14th Mai Tangle, Muhammadu Tafida Maiyamba (also a Muslim) ruled for 11 years (1986-1997). They all ruled peacefully. Equally during the appointment and the reign of the Late Abdu Buba Maisheru II, (2001-2021) who was a Christian no single person was killed during the selection and appointment processes and throughout his reign.
It is most unfortunate that with the demise of Mai Tangle, Abdu Buba Maisheru II, and in the process of appointing a successor, hell was let loose in Billiri due to the action of some unpatriotic, misguided, selfish, irresponsible and ignorant persons who refused to let the members of the public know the correct position of the law on this matter. It should be noted that up to the point of the violent protest, no official pronouncement was made by the State Government regarding the successor to the throne to have warranted any response. Yet the senseless sniffing out the lives of 15 innocent Muslims, maiming of several others and destruction of property worth millions of Naira belonging to Muslims, with nearly 5,000 people displaced (IDPs), as a result, was beyond the comprehension of any right-thinking and rational mind.
We must at this point make it clear that the law on the selection and appointment of the chief of Tangale stipulates that the council of king-makers, made up of eight district heads and the grand vizier (Waziri) as chairman, would recommend three names to the Governor who is empowered by the same law to pick any of the three. Unfortunately the Christian community were apparently insisting that the law should be discarded and their preferred candidate should automatically be picked by the Governor and appointed as the Mai.
This Law is replication of the same Law promulgated and applied since the days of the Northern Protectorate to the Northern Region, North Eastern State, Bauchi State to Gombe State. In part three of the Law, section 9 (a) stipulates that the functions of the Council of Traditional Kingmakers includes: “Upon the death, resignation, removal or deposition of an Emir or a Chief, to screen and decide on persons suitably qualified to be appointed as Emir or Chief in accordance with custom or tradition of the Emirate or Chiefdom.”
But the succeeding section 9 (b) makes it even clearer, that this function shall only be “to recommend to the Governor the names of three suitably qualified persons to be recommended as the Emir or Chief” from which the Governor shall appoint the one he finds most suitable.
Consequent upon receiving the three recommended nominees from the Traditional Kingmakers, the Law provides that “The Governor MAY consult the State Council of Chiefs on the appointment of an Emir or a Chief”.
Meanwhile, the three nominees submitted to the Government were all Princess from the same Royal Family lineages. They are all descendants of Maiyamba Dynasty.
On the receipt of the names of the three nominees, it becomes most appropriate for the Governor to make wide consultations as to which of the three candidates should be appointed. This consultation cuts across security, religious, traditional rulers and other stakeholders so that at the end the Governor would be satisfied that he has made the right choice. Unfortunately in this case, immediately after the nomination process by the Kingmakers, these mischief makers and blackmailers, acting on speculation, fuelled by unscrupulous politicians via Social Media Platforms and some Mainstream Media outfits, to the effect that the Governor was going to appoint a different candidate other than their ‘preferred candidate’, decided to take the law into their hands. They mobilized youths, women and children and blocked the Gombe-Yola Highway, leading to kilometres of hold-up on both sides, while making sure that all shops were locked and the citizens were left to look for alternative means of survival and movement.
We must at this point make it clear that the law on the selection and appointment of the chief of Tangale stipulates that the council of king-makers would recommend three names to the Governor who is empowered by the same law to pick any of the three.
As if this was not enough on mere speculation that the Governor was going to appoint a candidate not of their preferred candidate, they first stopped Muslims from attending Friday mosque, destroyed and burnt down about 31 mosques; burnt down 34 houses of Muslims; burnt down 150 shops belonging to Muslims, Yorubas, Igbos and all other non-indigineous minority ethnic groups in Billiri, damaging 33 vehicles and 52 motorcycles.
Some of the houses torched included the palace of the Galadima of Tangale and the residence of Amb. Saidu Mohammed who has been a benefactor of the Tangale people. They publicly brought out all the Qurans inside the mosques in front of the chief’s and Galadima’s palaces, tore them to pieces, urinated on them and set them ablaze. As at the time of this report both the Galadima and Madaki of Tangale and over five thousand other innocent citizens have become Internally Displaced Persons in various locations in the immediate vicinities of Billiri Local Government and across several Local Government Areas of the State.
These violent protesters thought that the Governor would be intimidated and frightened and as a result yield to their bidding by appointing a candidate of their bidding.
Amidst this apparent atmosphere of senseless mayhem, chaos and disorder being perpetrated by these criminal groups, on innocent law-abiding citizens, threatening national security, was the main trigger that compelled the Government into imposing the 24hr Curfew to stop the carnage until normalcy returned to the Chiefdom.
The question here is, can anyone imagine what will happen, if a person of this character who engineers, condones, supports and engages in this violent conduct is entrusted with the responsibility and appointed as the next Mai Tangle. What will be the fate of the Chiefdom in the hands of such a character?
We lament the breakdown of law and order resulting in the loss of lives and properties which cannot be explained. We equally condemn in totality the loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties, particularly the desecration of Mosques and the Holy Qur’an. It is gratifying to note that 15 people were arrested and taken to court. We are therefore calling on the State Government to fish out all others involved in this dastardly act and bring the culprits to justice in order to serve as a deterrent.
Lastly we commend the role played by the Governor throughout the period of this ordeal particularly on ensuring that peace is restored. We are aware of the problems he faced in trying to make sure that the process of the selection and appointment would end peacefully like in similar cases in the past. It is our hope that the Governor would be resolute in taking final decision on the issue that would be in the best interest of the people of Tangale, Gombe State and Nigeria at large.
This unfortunate and ugly incident has dented the image of Tangale people in the eyes of all right-thinking people at home and abroad. We pray to Almighty God to restore our lost glory and prevent future occurrence.
Alhassan Mohammed Fawu
For and on behalf of concerned Tangale citizens