Adamawa State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Ahmed Sajoh, in this interview with JOEL DUKU,  speaks on the Bindow administration, the Northeast peace initiatives and other issues. Could you explain what government is doing to ensure peace in the Adamawa State? We need to look at  issues that are related to  equity, justice fairness. These […]
The post ‘We‘re committed to Northeast peace initiatives’ appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

Adamawa State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Ahmed Sajoh, in this interview with JOEL DUKU,  speaks on the Bindow administration, the Northeast peace initiatives and other issues.

Could you explain what government is doing to ensure peace in the Adamawa State?

We need to look at  issues that are related to  equity, justice fairness. These are the building blocks of an enduring society. That means we need to have true faith in the concept of the fear of God. People who fear God are supposed to be fair and just to one another. We are advocating for fairness and justice as a manifestation of the fear of God if we are truly religious. Only that can guarantee genuine peace and that will reduce the high level of poverty in our region, the very glaring social inequalities which are the building blocks of conflicts that are creating  a ready reservoir of extremely poor hopeless and despondent young people who would easily be indoctrinated to take up arms against the people. We need begin to have a paradigms shift so as to have a more egalitarian society that would not have so many despondent people that will be recruited by people who want to make some mischiefs.

The second point is that often time, the unity of the Muslim Umma is impeded by inter-sect rivalry. Toady, you here, Izala, tijaniya, derecca, etc. As long as you have these rivalries based on sect, we will not have a unified voice.  We have to be united to condemn those that intordue doctrines that  preach elements of extremism or violence, miscreant who will interpret Islam   the way they like to promote some anti-Islamic ideology. As  long as we Muslims continue to speak like the tower of Babel where everybody says what he likes it will create and opportunity for other people to say things that are not Islamic. So we are calling for a unity of the Muslim Umma.

The third is how much of us as Muslims contribute to knowledge. Knowledge in the sense of the modern world. It’s not enough to say we have memorized Quran and you can write it off head. We must cash in on the knowledge that is both secular and religious. Knowledge that provides spiritual guidance for you to practice your religion and knowledge that will provides you’re a skill that will help you earn a living because.  Its only when you live that you worship. It’s not enough to sit down and say that you have the knowledge of the quran. Of course that prepares you to meet your creator but that is not enough because you need some secular knowledge that will enable you compete in the modern world. We need to expand our thinking of knowledge in Islam. Like all the private universities in the north east don’t even offer some Islamic courses. We want to ask what we are doing in the improvement of Islamic education at the highest levels and answers to this questions are fundamental to this kind of gathering becauase at a time the Kanem Borno and Sokoto caliphate were at their prime, they were able to advance scholarship at the level it was useful to the socity if you read Shehu Othman Dan fodios work, you will discover that 90% of it is what we study today as sociology, political science etc. we must go back to the basic. That is the reason why Adamawa state decided that we must participate in this summit.

How commited is Adamawa State to the peace project?

Yes, we are hundred per cent committed. That is why as a government, we have taken steps to organise leadership at different levels in the state to make it responsible and responsive to make it work in the state. We already know that the political leadership from the president, governors, senators, house of representative, assemblies, and commissioners are already on record. We have realised we also have another tear of government that is important but has not been mobilized and conscintised or sensitized to play a role. That is traditional leadership.  We have documented traditional leadership at all levels. We have 8 graded first class emirs and chiefs, 178 district head, 718 village heads, 7, 813 mai- angwas or or ward heads all documented across Adamawa state. In addition, we have 21 local government Chairmen, 21 Vice Chairmen, 21  local government secretaries 226 elected councilor, we will document the supervisory councilors when they are appointed.

We are going to document prominent religious leaders, Imams and pastors. If we have all these strata of leadership put together, we will sensitized them that peace begin with individual, families community, society, groups  etc. We noticed that when we wanted to roll back Boko Haram after they have captured communities, we mobilized hunters, vigilante and people in the communities.  We studied the system and learnt lesson from collective action between the leadership and the ordinary people.

Where are  you getting money to execute the project in this period  of recession?

If you remember, the Federal Government gave governors some bailouts for salaries and capital projects. We collected those loans because they were of very favorable terms. We got ourselves in some little trouble because the president insisted that each state should provide exactly how much they own their staff and when the governor demanded for the list of staff what they owe their staff, some of the ministries felt the governor wanted to probe the activities of the past government so they hid the truth and when the money arrived, we had some shortfalls. But with respect to capital grant, we planned ourselves and we don’t have problem with that. Like the problem of destruction by Boko Haram, the annual flooding from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. In addition, the prudence of the administration as I told has also helped us in executing our projects. We hired a consultant that helped us to raise our IGR from N600 million in a month to over N1 billion. We decided to use the BPP to ensure that costs were not inflated. That again reduces expenditure.

Is Governor Bindow planing to probe his predecessors?

I think we are trying to avoid creating further confusion. From 1999 to date, eight or nine people are governors and it’s a hell lot of confusion no state can develop under this kind of confusion. So what we are trying to do is to refocus sectors. For instance, we have seen road construction as a challenge and we have addressed it. We have seen agriculture  as a challenge and we a addressed that and we are just waiting for it to mature. We have started encouraging dry season farming and have also identified crops that the state have comparative advantage in which is rice and maize. We have bought new tractors to lunch this massive production. We have declared a state of emergency in education. We are refocusing education entirely. We realised that primary and  junior secondary education which are the basic foundation for students have no teachers so we have taken the board step to re-introduce teachers’ education in Adamawa state so that we can have teachers. We realised that people take up teaching jobs today without basic teaching requirements. People take up teaching jobs  because they  have  no jobs. We are changing this concept.

Does that mean that you are not vetting the financial books of the state?

We are no interested in that. We are interested in moving Adamawa to the next level. That’s our slogan. We have looked at all the areas and we have seen the flaws and we are trying to correct them. We believe that opening up probes will divert our attention and give us very negative publicity; put us up into bad light and that may even scare development away from our state.

How is Governor Bidow managing the ethnic tension in Adamawa?

We are fortunate. We have 87 ethnic groups, probably one of the highest in the country and we have a Christian Muslim population that is nearly balanced. That is our source of strength. But some people see it as a problem. It is strength for us because no single ethnic group in Adamawa state can lord it  over another. And no single religion can go it alone without the support from the  another. That is how God has made us in Adamawa state. Gov. Bidow is shifting his focus from encouraging antagonism to harnessing this source of strength. We need to work together to succeed. Our ethnic groups are not like the ones in other parts of the state where you have difference of dialect. Ours are actually differences of language. Everybody is different from Fulani, Chamba, Kilba, Gbachama, Izenyi etc. the difference is too wide.   Because that is how God has configured us, so we decided that the only way we can develop and move forward is to harness and build platforms that give everybody an opportunity.

What is the governor’s biggest challenge?

Our biggest headache is the mindset of the people who believe that good things cannot happen in Adamawa state. Unless we change that mindset then we cannot move forward as a state and a people.

Our concern is that the entire Adamawa community joins the train so that we can take Adamawa to the next level. So anybody that is outside is our worry. We are all brothers and sisters and people with a common destiny so we want to carry everybody along. But I think resources is one of our biggest problems. If we had one tenth of what went to some other governments in the past. We would have achieved wonders.

The post ‘We‘re committed to Northeast peace initiatives’ appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

Source:The Nation Nigeria