By Joy Odor
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that the security challenges across most Northern states will be addressed if there is a defined constitutional role given to traditional rulers.
Engineer Sule stated this when he hosted officials of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, led by its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, former governor of Niger State, at the Government House, on Monday.
The BoT Chairman was accompanied on the visit by Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Rear Admiral Murtala Nyako, former governors of Kano and Adamawa states respectively.
According to the Governor, the security situation in the North can be improved if their is a defined constitutional role for traditional rulers and government is able necessary resources to support them discharged their given responsibilities.
He pointed out that the reason Nasarawa State is enjoying relative peace is because the traditional institution has remained key to the security architecture of the state.
Engineer Sule said as a result of that synergy he remains the chief security officer of Nasarawa State.
“I believe that Northern Nigeria can improve our collective security if we define our constitutional role and give to our traditional rulers and tell them exactly what they need to do.
“And instill this in the constitution and provide all the resources necessary for them to go ahead and do that. I think once we do that, then it’s very necessary that we continue to support our traditional rulers. And we will bring back the ideals of the Sardauna of Sokoto,” he said.
Commenting on recent security situation across the North, Engineer Sule called for synergy between governors and security agencies operating in the states, stressing that it doesn’t make sense for a governor to fight his commissioner of police.
He commended the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation for its commitment to re-awaken the values and ideals associated with the late Sardaunan Sokoto, who even after death, is being respected across the North.
The Governor recalled that during the Sardauna era, he was interested in the unity of the North, as he carried everyone along irrespective of tribe, religion or region. He was equally interested in the development of the North, establishing such institutions like the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, the Northern Nigerian Development Company (NNDC).
He noted that even though the North now has 19 governors, challenges of unity, education and relevant development still persist.
While expressing hope that the Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation is working to address these challenges and bring back hope to the region, Engineer Sule however appealed to the leadership of the foundation to address a meeting of the Northern Governors Forum, with a view to making them understand the real challenges confronting the region.
He appreciated the foundation for finding him worthy to be conferred with the Sardauna Exemplary Service Award, alongside the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
Engineer Sule particularly thanked the foundation for selecting Nasarawa State to host the next annual Sardauna Memorial Lecture, promising that the event will serve as a fulcrum for the rebirth of the North.
He used the opportunity of the event to highlight the inroads made by his administration especially in the areas of education, internal revenue generation and the steps taken so far to reposition the state in terms of all the critical indices of development.
Earlier in his address, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation and former governor of Niger State, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, decried the security situation across the North.
Aliyu therefore called on all leaders from the region to come together, adding that as the North continue to sustain the unity of the country, governors of the North must be able to unite the people, give them a sense of belonging and secure their lives and property.
The former Niger State governor warned that failure to do that by the leaders of the North, the region will end up paying the price higher han expected.
“Today, it’s so unfortunate you hear a governor giving up saying he is not the chief security officer and therefore this has to be done before he could act.Three of us where in that position. For security issues I never waited because that is fundamental, that is how the world over how governance started,” he said.
He decried the situation where even the United States is signing a gun control law, a governor in the North is calling on people to buy weapons for self defense.
“I know with our culture, we may end up not fighting the bandits but neighbors fighting neighbors. This issue should be tackled properly and I believe the FG will not even allow it to take place,” he said.
He insisted that since security is very important, it must be done methodically and in conformity with democratic ideals and principles.
The BoT Chairman called for the establishment of an independent think-tank for the North that will be able to objectively dissect the problems of the region and say the truth.
Babangida Aliyu used the opportunity of the visit to highlight on some activities of the foundation, especially scholarship given to indigent students from the region to study medicine, ICT and agriculture in Nigerian universities.
He commended Engineer Sule for turning Nasarawa State into a safe heaven for business, especially with his background as a major private sector player, stressing that as governors and leaders, once businesses are established, the people will be engaged and there will be less security challenges.
He appreciated the Governor for his meticulous planning and for thinking straight while administering Nasarawa State.