Saturday 2 October 2021: -Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has said the disagreement between the northern and southern governors over the issue of presidential zoning is unfortunate and should never have happened.
The governor said the issue of power shift is purely a political parties’ affair and not the business of state governors.
He also reiterated that ranching remains the only solution to the herders/farmers clashes in the country.
Ganduje spoke his mind on Friday in his address to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary held at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano. He also spoke to reporters in Government House, Kano, after the Independence parade.
The governor, who said he was not happy with some of his counterparts for abusing one another over the issue of power shift as regards 2023 general election, advised that the unity of the country was paramount to all Nigerians.
He said: “I will like to use this opportunity to call on the governors, the elite, religious and traditional leaders and all Nigerians to come together and be united, and ensure our unity grows from strength to strength.
“The current disagreement between the northern and southern governors is unfortunate and it is not necessary.
“The governors were elected not to divide Nigeria but to keep Nigeria one for progress and development. It is unfortunate that the two divides are exchanging uncomplimentary languages to each other; this is not civilised and is most unfortunate.”
He called on the chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s’ Forum (NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, to convene a meeting where all the governors will apologise to one another and reconcile for the peace of the country.
Ganduje said: “The other issue causing dichotomy is the issue of power shift.
“The constitution did not mention that power shall shift from north to south, but it has been a tradition by political parties in Nigeria to zone the presidency. And the zoning is a strategy by political parties to win election.
“If you think power shift will bring you votes to win elections, you have not offended the constitution. If you think you can retain leadership of this country forever and win election, the constitution is not offended. So I think this issue should be left to political parties to resolve. Not we governors to have two opposing groups.”
Governor Ganduje also kicked against open grazing, describing it as a crime. He pointed out that apart from the crisis brought by open grazing which often result in killings, the worst crime is that the herders are deprived the opportunity of acquiring western education or at least Islamic education.
Ganduje said: “Another issue that has brought dichotomy is the issue of open grazing. Each state has the power to make laws and there is diversity in each of these states.
“What is a problem to one state may not be a problem to another state. So, states have the powers with their state assemblies to make laws.
“I have been saying it, it is unfortunate that this issue of open grazing has brought a lot of controversies.
“Like I earlier said, trekking from the northern part of this country to the middle belt down to the south, to me is not acceptable, because the children will not be able to have education.
“To me, it is criminal. Will the education system follow them along the routes from north to central to southern parts of this country? Can any educational system agree with that?
“The other issue is that some of these herdsmen are from other West African countries. And because of climatic change, they move down to northern parts of this country to the Middle Belt and to the South with thousands of cattle and with arms.
“Should that be acceptable to Nigeria? Can’t we take it to the ECOWAS, since it is creating problems?
“So I think it is better to develop the ranching system where the herdsmen are confined to a place where they can have animal husbandry in the modern system.
“That is why at the Dansoshiya Forest here in Kano we are creating the Ruga system where we provide water, housing units, markets, veterinary clinic, educational system and schools for the children so that they can also enjoy social developments like any other person in Nigeria.
“I think that is the answer because now the issue is that as I have been saying herdsmen have not succeeded in killing poverty and poverty has not succeeded in killing herdsmen, because a man with thousands of cattle cannot be called a poor man; he moves with a mobile bank.
“But there is no doubt somebody who treks from the north to the south cannot be called a rich man, looking at his shoes and his body you will understand.”