Present challenges in Southern Kaduna will surely pass away – Tagwai Sambo
Tagwai Sambo (OFR), the Chief of Maro’a was born on December 24th 1936. He clocked 80 years yesterday. In 1966, he was appointed Chief of Maro’a and Member of the Jema’a Local Authority Council. That same year, he became member, Northern House of Chiefs, which later became Kaduna State Council of Chiefs. For 50 years now, he has managed the affairs of his people in Southern Kaduna with integrity and wisdom. In appreciation of this long and honourable service to the people, the Maro’a Community at home and abroad, a body made up of Maro’a sons and daughters, decided to honour Chief Sambo on Sunday 25th December 2016. When The Palace Watch placed a call through to him in Manchok, the 80 year-old monarch surprisingly, spoke with a rapid urban fluency for a man of his age, every word he spoke was laced with wisdom, even though this was not unexpected of a man of his age.
How has it been, being the Chief of Maro’a for the past 50 years?
IT’S been ok, we have had our happy and challenging moments, but we thank God. We will always have seasons of struggles and testing. There are times when everything we attempt to do will seem to go wrong; regardless of our prayers and consecration, adversity will come. The Lord has a purpose in not allowing us to be fruitful all the time. When God sends the chilly winds of winter to blow on our circumstance, we must still trust Him. In spite of our dislike for the blinding winds and the icy grip of winter seasons, there is a purpose for these temporary inconveniences.
The apostle Paul called such times “…light affliction, which is but for a moment…” (2 Cor. 4:17). I say, “This too shall pass!” Some things you are not meant to change, but to survive. So, if you can’t alter it, then outlive it! Be like a tree. In the frosty arms of winter the forest silently refurbishes its strength, preparing for its next season of fruitfulness. Its branches rocking in the winds, the sap and substance of the tree go underground. It is not good-bye, though; in the spring, it will push its way up into the budding of a new experience. Temporary setbacks create opportunities for fresh commitments and renewal. If you were to record your accomplishments, you would notice that they were seasonal. There are seasons of sunshine as well as rain. Pleasure comes, then the pain, and vice versa. Each stage has its own purpose.
One of the greatest struggles I have encountered is the temptation to make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. Someone once said, “Patience is a tree whose root is bitter, but its fruits are sweet”. The reward of patience is reflected in gradually not having to amend your amendments. Temporary circumstances do not always require action. I have long found out in life that prayer brings us into patience. Patience results from trust. We cannot trust a God we don’t talk with. We are therefore praying here, whatever challenges we might have will surely pass away.
Southern Kaduna area of the state used to be a very peaceful place, what would you say is responsible for the upsurge in violence in these areas. And what are your people doing to bring about a lasting peace?
The security breach you are referring to is not peculiar to our areas alone; it is all over the places. If you must know, we are talking to people to keep peace, to respect each other and to honour each other. It is my firm belief, that if government decides today to take a decisive stand in this matter, just like they did in Zamfara State and Birni Gwari, these violent clashes that result in unnecessary destruction of lives and properties will stop. On our part, we are talking to our people to maintain peace at all times no matter the provocation.
What are you doing about complaints of cattle rustling in your domain?
People in my domain are honourable and hardworking people, who will never be involved in cattle rustling. They are farmers, who believe in hard work, they do not need anybody’s cattle or cattles to survive. We do not know the people who are involved in the act here. Whoever is behind this act that brings about violence in our communities, we are doing all within our powers to get to the bottom of it, so as to make sure that such ugly incidents do not happen again in my domain.
As a leader, let me seize this opportunity to appeal to all sides in these conflicts to exercise utmost restraint in whatsoever they do, as we can only make meaningful progress in a peaceful environment. And to ensure that peace is maintained in these areas of Kaduna State, we have security meetings where the security challenges in this part of the state are discussed. We just held one security meeting on Friday in Kagoro, but sadly, that same night, one of our villages Atakarifi, a village that is part of Kagoro was again attacked. These are part of the problems we are facing here. Except government intervenes in this matter, it might not stop. Government honestly needs to come to our aid, as we are daily being decimated. These groups of people are not done yet; they have again threatened to attack Kagoro between now and Christmas.
How do we get these matters resolve?
Well, the way things are now, I will honestly expect His Excellency, the Governor of Kaduna State to make a state broadcast appealing for calm and calling for dialogue, if that will bring about the much-required peace. I am personally appealing to his Excellency, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state to do something urgent to help us down here. We, on our part, are ready to do all within our powers to assist the state government in bringing peace. But, we all need to be honest about this peace initiative; this is the only way to go and everything should be done to put a stop to the act of cattle rustling the Fulani people are complaining about. Quoting from Jean Paul Getty More, “ You cannot further the Brotherhood of Man by encouraging class hatred.”
Were your people involved in the peace committee that the state governor sent to appeal to the Fulani leaders in Cameroon, Niger and other neighbouring countries, which your governor said he has had cause to settle?
I am not aware of such a move. I am just hearing it from you for the very first time. I do not think any person from my domain is involved in such a peace committee. Well, I am not in a position to question whatsoever move the governor in his wisdom decided to do in order to bring about lasting peace in the state. That is why he is the elected Governor and Chief Security Officer of Kaduna State. On my part, I will galvanize and do anything and everything to support Governor El-Rufai’s peace initiative, I believe strongly, that he has the capability to do a good job out of it. My reasons for supporting any peace initiative of His Excellency is not far to seek; in 2014, one hundred and Forty-Eight people were killed here in Maro’a kingdom alone. Any move therefore, that will prevent a reoccurrence of such an ugly act will be most welcomed by me.
During the Government of Abba Kyari, in the old Kaduna State, you were a Commissioner of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Works. Could you compare what governance was then from what it is now?
Government officials took their jobs much more seriously than what it is now. People were not sectional. They were committed to service and hard work. Of course, the level of fraudulent practices we now hear of were quite strange to us.
What is happening to the 37.5 billion Naira Potato Company Governor El-Rufai said was going to be established in your domain?
Construction works have begun in the site and work is in progress in the area. Once the structure and machineries are in place, my people as expected, will begin farming activities to supply whatever raw materials that are required for the company to run effectively. This is the state we are now.
His Royal Highness, you have been on the throne for the past 50 years. How has it been managing people and materials for the success of your communities’?
It has not been easy. What is, however, required to be successful is to be honest at all times and hard working, making sure as a traditional ruler, I cooperate with people and they will in turn, cooperate with me whenever the need arises. That is it.
What advice do you have for the younger generation?
I will simply ask the younger generation to be peaceful, hard working and honest.
What is your rating about the government in power in Kaduna State?
They are doing very well; they need time, patience and peaceful environment are required for the government to succeed.
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