There is this genuine hypocrisy to suppress the truth, laced with a naked dishonesty, propagated by a genetic unruliness, and aided by lightning-speed tech– that is delivered with a technique that grounds make believe, and turns it into a relentlessly destructive reality.
To what gain? Of what purpose aside selfish and inhumane behaviour and culture? The truth of the matter is that; it would take atleast 48 hours to 72 hours, to properly ascertain the details and footprints of an event– before the details reported or portrayed can be verified as true and correct, or dismissed as fake and misconstrued. The manipulation of events and happenings in and around one’s state or country, has peaked to an unbelievable and dizzying height, so much that precautions are absolutely necessary, now more than ever– and every event or info of events, must be treated with exceptional caution.
A little over a week ago, I saw a social media post, that congratulated a young man as the new Mai Tangle, (the new Chief of Tangale kingdom) and there was a small horse parade (horse-durbar), celebrating the new chief’s ascension to the throne in Gombe state. I was elated that a young man was getting somewhere and I was happy that it would have a spiral effect on other spheres, e.g in politics and in the civil service. I had no inkling that it was a mischievous post that was meant to incite people, to take laws into their hands and unleash mayhem on the people of Billiri town. Barely 3 days after the post, we saw the coverage of the Gombe violence, as hoodlums, better defined as ‘domestic terrorists’, set the central mosque of Billiri town on fire, along with the Kantoma market place. About 4 persons were reportedly killed during the violent protests at Billiri town.
A police unit was at the location, just as the burning and killing ensued, and a viral video, that had captured what had transpired, confirmed the police presence, as they watched on, without stopping or preventing the destruction. The barbaric protest, as is the trend with Nigerian protests these days; was a cry by the hoodlums, in protest to a perceived announcement of the new Chief of Tangle (Mai Tangle). They were aggrieved that a muslim was named as a successor to late Abdu Maisheru II, afterall, all the nominees to the throne are from the same Maiyamba family. They were instigated by fake news, as there was never a pronouncement on the succession matter. The selection process was still ongoing and the Kingmakers were painstakingly working on a report to the state government. The State Governor has the sole prerogative of naming and announcing the new Mai Tangle or Chief of Tangale.
Customarily, Kingmakers are saddled with the responsibility of collating, screening and recommending of approximately 3 to 5 candidates, from the list of interested parties; who are linked by lineage, to the throne of Tangale. They pass their report to the Governor, who usually sets up a committee to handle the nomination and naming process, for a new Chief. Factors such as lineage as foremost, then other ones such as educational background, experience, and sometimes socio-political factors all play fine roles in the succession process. Sometimes the governor goes on a wide consultation drive within and outside his state, in an effort to arrive at a prudent choice for an emir. In this case, neither the kingmakers, nor the governor, had completed or finalised their roles in the process of finding a new Mai Tangle. In a very mischievous and unscrupulous move, someone or some people, inflamed a volatile society, into unleashing violence and creating carnage, in an otherwise peaceful and stable atmosphere. This they did by simple social media posts and innuendos.
The most remarkable note, from the melee, is Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s response to the crisis in his state. In a parley with traditional and religious institution leaders, he noted that, “we have been held back by very poor infrastructural development in our country and now is the time to ramp up and steady our efforts in bridging this gap. However, we need a stable environment of peaceful co-existence, where we are tolerant of our differences and choices in life. So we cannot allow wanton violence and unnecessary upheaval to destabilise us and disrupt our commitment to the development of our dear state. We cannot let that happen.”
No less than 14 persons that were involved in the arson have been arrested and will be charged in court. The policemen that stood aloof and allowed the destruction unabated have also been identified and arrested. The crimes perpetrated are nothing but crimes of tribalism, hate and religious bigotry. A perceived announcement and not even an actual proclamation, led to the destruction of lives and property for no just cause. Such events leave one in no doubt that there is a cohesive and masterfully guided war orchestra, that is titillating this country, into an orgy of war– from a thirst for power and wealth. Is there really a 2nd wave of the barbaric endsars protest? Kidnappings like in a movie, inciteful tv and print media campaigns full of flammable material, not to talk of a loose cannon social media space– where are we being teleguided to? International media is back on our case even harder, and as it is, we are at war. We perhaps can only pray that God saves Nigeria from Nigerians first, before any other factors or persons. Right now, and especially on the national stage, we need the Inuwa Yahaya kind of proactive-ness, to stem and plug the shops and canteens of violence in our polity. There must be immediate and decisive action to make scapegoats out of the flock of an unscrupulous citizenry.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.