Saturday, September 18, 2021

Banditry: Sheikh Gumi, Gov. Matawalle and the sands of time, by Zailani Bappa

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Zailani Bappa
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Sheikh Ahmad Mahmood Gummi is basically known to the Islamic world for his independent-mindedness. He is known to others as a fearless critic and boundary-crosser in search and in pursuit of truth, justice and fair-play. He is versed, modern, global and damning. His cleric robe gives him no discomfort to say his mind even at the risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted.

His recent round of active discourse in the social turbulence bedeviling the nation directly affects Zamfara state and, specifically, a unique policy of His Excellency, Governor Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun, Barden Hausa, Shattiman Sakkwato). This is a policy that seeks to end the decade old banditry ravaging the state and its neighbors.

By mere coincidence, Sheikh Gummi hails from Zamfara state. However, as a Kaduna state citizen, he sourced his concern in what he saw on a daily basis happening in that state – the increasing criminality traits from among the Fulani citizens which he diagnosed as having roots from stark ignorance of their religion. He began a socially expensive, risky and daring incursion into the bushes to preach to those ignorant from among the Fulani the need to retrace their steps and imbibe their once exalted position as the knowledgeable tribe and leaders of the people.

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He called his approach in an interview he had with journalists as ‘dangling the carrot’ to avoid the increasing pressure from the Military and from the society on their kinsmen who decided to go astray. This approach perfectly (and indeed clearly unintended) falls in direct line with what Governor Matawalle conceived but wickedly demonized by negative minds, mostly bitter politicians who sponsor satanic online media to demonize it and twist the rope and lubricate it with unholy lies and make-believe imaginations intended to dim the shining star of the people’s governor.

In continuation of his crusade, Sheikh Gumi had paid a surprise visit to Zamfara State and assessed some of the efforts being made by Governor Matawalle in ending this seemingly unending trouble in the land. He visited the first modern RUGGA being built by Governor Matawalle administration to settle those who accepted the ‘carrot’ among the bandits troubling the state. Sheikh Gumi commended Governor Matawalle for this laudable initiative, endorsed it and prayed for its success.

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Indeed, the peace process in Zamfara state is working. It works not because of its concept alone, but because of the sincerity, resilience and commitment to agreements reached in the process. Today, even with the many spanners thrown into the works by enemies of peace, the process is still on without blemish. The situation, however, demanded a review of the whole process which birthed the “carrot and stick approach” presently operational in the state.

As the saying goes, truth is sacred. One who stands by the truth will be vindicated by the truth. The renowned Sheikh embarked on a peace mission which he said is a “carrot” approach to peace in Kaduna state. Significantly, he said, the state Government endorsed it! Simultaneously, other states in the zone are secretly admiring it and hoping to also cash in on it. The known vocalists against Matawalle’s peace process are mute on this too – a sign of endorsement.

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The cat has been let out of the bag by Sheikh Gumi at this hour. Those who initially kicked against Matawalle’s peace process were hypocrites and motivated by ulterior reasons inimical to humanity. Sheikh Gumi has done nothing in the past one week but to further endorse and take the Matawalle initiative to a new height on the platform of religious pulpit. His recent visit to Zamfara state is a testimony from a respected quarter that Matawalle is indeed right and his antagonists are aren’t.

It should be very clear that the peace process currently working in Zamfara state is the only truth at hand and the only workable solution to ending banditry in the state and the region which, happily, its antagonists are now grudgingly and covertly seeking to imbibe.

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Mr Bappa writes from Gusau.

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