Toro politics: Rising above tribal and religious sentiments

Sani Danaudi Mohammed

According to Wikipedia, Toro, a local government area of Bauchi State, Nigeria, is distinct for being the largest local government area in Nigeria, nay West Africa. Headquartered in Toro town, Toro local government area presents certain amazing peculiarities which constitute the major thrust of our discourse in this article. But before getting down to brass tacks, I find it imperative to draw our attention to some facts about Nigeria, part of which Toro is. Such a dimension, I am positive, would be a desirable take off point for our discourse on Toro and its peculiarities. 

It is common knowledge that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation. It is culturally diverse and ethnically heterogeneous, boasting of an estimated number of over 400 spoken languages and over 350 ethnic nationalities. Given this scenario, integrating all these ethnic cleavages has been a tasking effort. Since the return of democracy in 1999, successive administrations have had issues with uniting the diverse nationalities in the country. Hence, the national slogan, ‘Unity in diversity’ appears a mirage in Nigeria, as all the ethnic constituents of the country could not describe themselves as one indivisible nation.

Both religious and tribal sentiments have made the nation more complex to govern and manage. As it stands today, conflict management has gone beyond being a course of study on which certificate could be earned in the various institutions of higher learning across the Nigerian states. Most governors, in their own capacities, have practically become conflict managers as a result of the seemingly unwieldy conflicts with which they are regularly confronted in their states.

This untoward development has been largely chalked up to the prevalent tribal politics and religious sentiments. And truth be told, this has robbed the country of many blessings. It is instructive for those who are unrepentantly responsible for these anomalies, especially the young people, to have a change of heart if the new Nigeria of our dream must emerge. 

Toro is blessed with three outstandingly illustrious traditional rulers, Alhaji Aliyu Yakubu Lame (Sarkin Yakin) Bauchi Hakimi Kasar Lame, Alhaji Umar Adamu Toro (Katukan Bauchi ) Hakimi  Kasar Toro and Alhaji Bala Suleiman Adamu (Dan Galadiman Bauchi) Hakimin Kasar Jama’a.

These rulers have lived up to expectations in keeping the Council together with the support of His Excellency, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed CON (Kauran Bauchi), Executive Governor of Bauchi State. The governor, since his assumption of office in May 2019, has consistently used his good offices to ensure that the State, particularly Toro Local Government that touches borders with both Plateau and Kaduna States, remains peaceful. Toro and its lovely folks steer clear of religious bigotry, ethnic sentiment and tribal politics. 

The late Maitama Sule (Dan Masanin Kano) it was, who asserted that power can remain only in the hands of those who lead and are leading by the principles justice, fairness and equality. Any leader that is just and fair wields power in such a way that does not discriminate against his subjects.

The absence of fairness and justice makes the power becomes an oppressive tool in the grip of its wielder. And this is where Toro Local Government appears unique, as all its diverse forms of power (socio-political, economic and traditional) have never been directed towards oppressing the people. These values must be sustained for progress to maintain its pride of place.

Toro is one of the few local government areas in Nigeria that have judiciously exploited their ethnic diversity and religious differences to superlative advantage. Its folks have lived together with no record of conflict.

The interesting narrative about Toro local government area borders on its unique capacity to keep crises at bay, in spite of its proximity to Plateau and Kaduna states which have gained notoriety for being flashpoints of ethnic violence and religious tension. Worth commending is not only the fact that Toro is the largest local government area in Nigeria but also the reality that it has set an an enviable pace for being the most peaceful in the country.

However, as 2023 general elections draw near, the progressive minds have started scouting for the best among those that are currently gunning for the House of Representatives, who can represent the good people of Toro federal vonstituency. One of such is Honourable Umar Muda Lawan, currently the member, representing the good people of Toro in the 9th House of Representatives.

Lawan is now being constructively engaged for productive dialogue with the constituents in order to assess his performance in the Green Chamber. Such concerted effort on the part of the constituents, it is believed, would make them know whether or not he is capable to remain in power beyond 2023. And as a young man that he is, Lawan truly has all it takes to weave his through should he intend to maintain his seat at the House of Representatives.

Some others have indicated their interest to run for this exalted office on the platforms of different political parties, principal among which are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and Social Democratic Party, SDP. The current Director General of Bauchi Public Procurement Bureau, Engr. Titus Sanga, is another golden fish that has no hiding place. Sanga is considered capable of providing an all-encompassing facelift to Toro Federal Constituency if elected. This consideration is being given a boost on the strength of his politics of non-partisanship and credibility for being accommodating to all and sundry beyond tribal and religious borderlines.

I submits that the time to change the face of Toro politics is now. The truth at this juncture such attempt at electing someone with the enviable capacity to revolutionize the face of Toro politics in order to secure a bright future for the good people of Toro must not influenced by religious and tribal sentiments. Support must be given by the people to whoever has all it takes to provide access for Toro local government area to good governance and dividends of democracy.

As an unrepentant advocate of good governance in Nigeria, Bauchi State and Toro in particular, the former Speaker of the Northern Youths Assembly of Nigeria and Chairman APC Youths Progressive Forum, Rt. Hon. Ukkasha Hamza Rahama, shares the perception that the reason the country remains in perpetual political doom is not unconnected with tribal politics and religious sentiment. Also, Comrade Aminu Saleh of the Toro Youths Alive has moved round the length and breadth of Nigeria, building the bridges of peace and unity as a panacea to move the nation forward. 

In sum, the views expressed in the foregoing have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Toro Local Government has a long and clear trajectory of peaceful coexistence where equality, justice and fairness have prevailed for decades.

The implication is that, in 2023, any intending contender who wishes to play on the intelligence of the Toro people should prepare for his waterloo.

To round off, I warn the intruders who, among us, are the enemies that are working towards destroying the rich ancestral heritage of love for one another and of unity in diversity among the good people of Toro local government area, to desist from following the path they have mindlessly chosen. For centuries, Toro and its folks have been the envy of outsiders. This is the truth of the matter.

Danaudi, National President of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi via [email protected]