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Lalong’s Social Inclusion Model: A Sure Cure For Nigeria’s Prevailing Unrest

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Written by: Sanni Inuwa Baba

Social inclusion has continued to remain topical in Nigeria from one era to another. Authors with good historic memories have referred to lack of social inclusion as the major endemic that caused the first ever coup d’état in Nigeria. If this is true, could it be the same reason for the second coup and several other social dissatisfaction? 

To set the tone for our discuss, social inclusion can be viewed as the provision of certain rights to all or MOST individuals and groups in society (particularly citizens of a country) such as employment, political positions, health care, education and empowerment, etc 

There is no perfect society with full social inclusion; I agree, there is a global recession; I agree, government does not have enough resources to carter for all at the same time. It is debatable. When all of the above become a daily answer for social inclusion by the government, the society

naturally plunges into a destructive ravine. Of course this may lead to dissatisfaction, political apathy, and eventually explosion of the gunpowder according to the Marxist theory. 

For a long time, different ethnic groups in the country have been feeling marginalized and let to the questioning of the Nigeria’s constitution whether it was dubious or strategically designed to satisfy or please a particular group or a certain region and easily created the concept of power shift rather than performance or policy. Elections have become more about sentimental issues rather than scrutinizing on an individual’s agenda. 

I do not in any way intend to remind us of the things we may already know, but in every society, there is always a model that can help solve certain perceived ills. Consider Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau state, barely a year after his assumption to office, with months of meetings and talks between the warring communities, he brought 56 ethnic groups together and they all signed a declaration for peace and harmonious relationship, signaling an end to many years of crises and a beginning of exonerating one another. 

On that day, he explained that peace building will be the cardinal objective of his administration and described peace as the only condition for meaningful development in the state. The state was indeed a fact, looking at how Plateau State was before the crisis and how it is today. The same applies to everywhere in the absence of peace for instance, Tripoli, Sanaa and Damascus. “Imagine Gov. Lalong’s line of thought”

Lalong created the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA), which has just been passed to law by the House of Assembly, whose main purpose is to create a common ground for a peaceful resolution of conflict and most importantly being proactive in preventing violence. According to the Director-General of the new Agency, “Our idea is to develop a five-year strategic plan through q benchmarking exercise that identifies good practices, highlight key lessons learned including a calendar to specify key intervention areas, outline activities, indicators and responsibilities at different levels.

We need a clear strategy that leverages our capacity to foster collaborative partnerships with other agencies of government, private sector, civil society, development partners and grass roots communities.

Another strategy taken by Lalong-led government is the inclusive governance. He makes sure that everyone is having a self-belonging in his government unminding the tribal differences, religious affiliations and/or political parties involved. There was representation from literally all the ethnicities. The aim was to ensure equal opportunities which gave members of the community feel self-importance in the participation of the decision making processes. The unselfish attitude created a social cohesion in the environment. Can you imagine Lalong’s line of thought?

Cultural diversity has been showcased on regular basis around plateau state focusing on unity, such as the famous Nzem Berom Festival of 2016 and 2017 which were themed “A Cultural Brand for Unity, Peace and Progress” and “culture and education as tools for unity and progress

“Also in Wase, the Wase Fulani Consultative Forum on Western Education (WAFUCOFUWE), whose aim was to strengthen mutual coexistence with the ethnic groups in those areas showcased their beauty and culture. This is realization of the fact that no society grows in an environment of rancor. 

What about Lalong’s appointment strategy? When Gov. Lalong came to power, apart from some people feeling neglected in the state’s affair, others were motivated by poverty. The amazing thing he did was making sure that everyone felt part of the government by giving various appointments across the state. Then he made sure that salary was being paid on time and schools that were shut for very long time were opened. He then gave massive employment to many youths from every part of the state and empowerment through the Plateau Small Enterprises Development Agency, which drastically reduced many devilish activities. If this could work for Gov. Lalong in the former social unrest- stricken plateau, what makes us then think it cannot work for Nigeria?

Nigerians would continue to agitate for True Federalism as long as they are hungry and jobless. It is very easy a task to govern Nigeria, should you be able to listen to the fact that when they say restructure the country, what they really mean is include all of us socially. Although many Nigerians have decided to keep mute on such a sensitive matter for the fear of creating enemies within or outside their communities, especially those who have contrary perspectives, truth is that silence isn’t golden. 

Any government with a clear purpose and with a will to make a positive impact to its citizens must work towards having a peaceful environment and carry everyone along. It should be noted that when social inclusion is promoted and supported in all public affairs, cycles of exclusion and traditional blockades (structural and perceived) will begin to dismantle. In order to have inclusive governance, a government has to be sincere in putting in place policies that are transparent and just.

It must be strategically and sincerely tailored to address a diverse population. If it will succeed, members of the society will have to participate and contribute his/her societal responsibilities; however, government at all levels must ensure equal treatment. Hence, every member has equal opportunities and access, equal rights and responsibilities, and is able to participate in all aspects of their life activities.

This is my lesson from Gov. Lalong’s Model of Social Inclusion.

Thank you.

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Together, let’s make Plateau Peaceful again – Sanni Inuwa Baba

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When we were growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, the name of Plateau State alone was attractive. Tourists from far and near had no better place than Plateau. Combined with the amazing weather, the people were very accommodating and seemed to be more exposed than many from other places. There was religious tolerance and parents taught their children to be respectful.

These days its not the same. A lot of parents are not bothered about their kids getting involved in crime, avoiding the responsibility of parenting. And for the religious leaders, we have a major problem these days in our country. Anyone can become a religious leader overnight without any credentials. There are too many ignorant “pastors” and “imams” preaching errors and leading people astray” said the Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.

In a bid to promote peace in Plateau State, I explained the importance of unity and effort the state government had made in a bid to unite its citizens. All in my recent article titled “Lalong’s social inclusion Model: A sure cure for Nigeria’s prevailing unrest“.

It has been trying times in Jos in the past couple of months. With the re-emergence of thugs in our city streets. Thugs that go by the name “Sara-Suka” thugs. These young men after taking hard drugs, walk majestically on the streets with harmful objects; They attack any person including women and children they find on their way. An operation they named “Shara” (To sweep). These actions are not particular to Plateau but some neighboring states as well.

To curb this menace, the state government issued a statement that anyone seen with a harmful object would be dealt with. The thugs drastically disappeared as the military and other security agencies were seen all over the city making some arrests.

Just when we thought normalcy was returning to the once most peaceful city, came the unfortunate bloodshed that ended so many lives. Many innocent souls were lost either on the beds massacred with their loving families or on the road burned in their cars. An incidence we always prayed not to even happen to our worst enemies. Such barbaric action should be seriously condemned by any Peace loving Nigerian.

There’s hardly a political action that has effect on the Nation without the mention of Plateau. The state produced some of the best entertainers as well as footballers, whether indigenes or not. For decades, people from distance found a home on the Plateau.

In as much as it’s the government’s full responsibility to protect our lives and properties, we must equally come together and shame the devils who masquerade amongst us. We must fish them out and flush them. This is not the time for blame games. In such crisis, we need and must seek lasting solutions. We should not allow this unfortunate incidence divide us more.

Sending and posting all the videos of the killings isn’t necessary. There’s no need forcing ourselves to justify who was right and who was wrong. Taking another person’s life for whatsoever reason is inhuman. With such actions, we might unknowingly be encouraging more disasters to our lands.

We, the people on the Plateau must go back to our old ways of tolerating each other and accepting our differences. We should continue to be the role models we once were, the Peace setters.

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I will easily defeat Elrufai in 2019 says Hon. Muhd Kadade

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Hon. Muhammed Kadade Suleiman, Kaduna State Gubernatorial candidate under the platform of PDP vows to chase Mal Nasiru Elrufai from office In 2019 election.

Interviewer: Please tell us about yourself.

Hon. Kadade: I am Muhammed Kadade Sulaiman, I was born and raised in Kaduna and the first son of my parents. My father late Alhaji Kadade Sulaiman, he was the first district head of our village Nasarawan Doya and he was Chairman of Makarfi Local Government.

Interviewer: Why do you want to be the governor of Kaduna State?

Hon. Kadade: Firstly, I want the youths to realize, to wake up from their sleep. It is time to become responsible and start participating in politics and decision making. Decisions that will change our lives and that of the generation to come.

Interviewer: In what ways will you, as a younger candidate, be able to deliver what others haven’t done before?

Hon. Kadade: One thing is that, we the younger generation, the youth had been hearing this “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow”. The rate of younger generation in politics and government has decreased in large number. For instance if you look at them Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Maitama Sule and the rest, there were young people between 20 to 40 years and they did a lot to this country.

I believe the involvement of a lot more young people in politics in our country will bring great things to us. And I believe in most of our founding fathers ideology. Always remember that wisdom is not the prerogative of the old only. Even the younger generation might be endowed with wisdom.

I have always seen love as something that will bind us together. Love of state, love of hope, love of dream, love of life, liberty and the persuade of happiness. With these I believe we will make Kaduna State great.

Interviewer: How do you plan to reduce high rate of kidnapping and tribalism as is common in the state?

Hon. Kadade: Kidnapping comes as a result of unemployment and lack of security. If work is given to people, salaries are being paid, workers are not sacked without tangible reasons, then I see no reason why kidnapping will have room in Kaduna State.

And about tribalism, I will make unity my top priority, because I believe unity begets progress. I will try my very best to make sure that there is good interaction and communication among our people, with these all religious and tribal bigotry will be flushed out of the state.

Interviewer: Do you think you can chase Malam Nasiru el-rufai from office?

Hon. Kadade: “smiles” I will easily defeat Elrufai in 2019. I think this is the easiest task I will ever come across in my life. Because the youths have waken up, they have opened their eyes wide now, the elders too are with me as they want nothing now but development and not propaganda.

Interviewer: What can you say about the recent move made by Malam Nasiru El-rufai to borrow money from the World Bank?

Hon. Kadade: It is obvious. Is Malam Nasiru el-Rufa’i not ashamed? Was he not the one that criticized the past administration of debt? He said on June 2015 “ Kaduna State is so much indebted to the extent that each person living in the state has a debt burden of about 15000 naira including children yet unborn”.

The man who could not explain how he spent N7.721 Billion Paris club refund is now telling us how he will spend $350 million loan? It is clear that he is collecting this loan to fund his campaign not for work in developing the state.

Interviewer: In what ways do you believe you can push youth to the forefront of politics and make the needful and impactful change your state needs?

Hon. Kadade: In order to bring in the change we have been chanting for, we need to see the involvement of youth most be 100%. I want to remind the youth in Kaduna State today that we are the future leaders today. The future is now not tomorrow not next year. If we do not get involved now then we should be blamed for what ever we see.

We are the future today. Youth Participation is a must and must be taken seriously. It is only that you do not have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard.

I started participating since when I was 16 years of age, since before I started voting. Speak your mind online through social media or at meetings and gatherings. It helps you assert yourself and your interests. Also, you never know who might be listening but always think before posting anything.

Participate in youth organizations because they are places to expand your knowledge and become an active member of your society. If your community does not have an organization representing the youth, create one. Be the trendsetter and make impact.

Flow into different political parties and participate fully. You can be a politician even without contesting for any political office, you can contribute in many ways by being a member. But young people nowadays just want to jump and catch the rope. What I mean is that they want to contest without knowing their party members, excos, delegates and even party heads which is not possible. We need to participate fully and even occupy some key positions in different political parties. Secondly, giving the youth hope, will push them to a greater level in politics.

I felt if I have not put myself in the center of it then we will all continue be spectators. And thank God many young people are now gaining interest in politics. Absolute transparency and truth. I believe with absolutely transparency and truth, it will help our youths in getting into greater level. Believe in your self and follow your passion. Passionate youth will change Kaduna State InshaAllah.

We all care about something, why not stand for it?

Interviewer: What do you think it will take for you to win the upcoming 2019 elections?

Hon. Kadade: Winning an election is hard work.  It takes time and careful planning.
Anyone thinking of running against an incumbent must make a careful examination of whether it can be done. Generally, there are two things that should worry incumbents. One, is whether the electorate perceives that things are on the right track.

The other is whether the electorate thinks the incumbent cares about them. A deadly combination for any incumbent is that voters think government is off the track and nobody cares about them and that is what is happening in Kaduna State.

The incumbent governor has failed to fulfill a single campaign promise and the people are totally not in support of himself. The number of unemployment has risen and the masses are bitterly complaining. Almost 30,000 people lost their jobs under the governor’s watch which is wrong. And the people of Kaduna have decided to vote the incumbent government out of Sir Kashim Ibrahim house in 2019 election. I think it is easy for any credible candidate to win election in Kaduna State, someone who is not a propagandist.

A politician of integrity must be seen making genuine efforts to fulfill their campaign promises. But in Kaduna no effort has been made to make the state great again as mentioned during their campaign. They promised the people heaven and earth.

Thank you

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