By Muhammad Al-Ameen
Yobe south senatorial district, otherwise known as Zone ‘B’, is undoubtedly Yobe state’s political hot bed. It is also the commercial nerve of the state, accommodating people of various backgrounds and nationalities.
The diverse ethno-cultural and geo-political differences in the zone, have made political tolerance and development quite difficult and challenging. It has become a norm that every political movement is defined along ethno- cultural sentiment. The zone proudly parades seasoned politicians, administrators, retired civil servants, army generals and technocrats in the likes of Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Alhaji Adamu Fika, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, Senator Alkali Abdulkadir Jajere, Alhaji Saleh Bagare, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu, Sen. Adamu Talba, Hon. Ismaila Yerima Gudi, Gen. Abubakar Waziri (rtd), Air Cmdr Ibrahim Alkali (rtd), Brig. Gen. Bomoi (rtd), Dr. Ali Adamu, Alhaji Ibrahim Talba etc. There are also cultural and opinion leaders like Alhaji Musa Lawan, Alhaji Idrissa Madaki and Alhaji Muhammadu Guza who wield a lot of influence on their ethnic nationalities.
Unfortunately, the diversity rather than playing the role of a unifying factor, suppressed socio-political development and, created political distrust and intolerance in spite of the advantages of population and growing economy enjoyed by the zone. This also created fear and suspicion such that the best could not be explored and exploited for the good of the zone, the state and country. This distrust and intolerance became a source of concern to some of the political and opinion leaders. To others however, the differences are irreconcilable and irresolvable with no end in sight and thus, exploit the differences for personal political and economic benefits.
A new emerging group under Senator Abdulkadir Alkali Jajere, who represents the zone in the national assembly, are optimistic that there are existing windows of opportunities to build new relationships based on Confidence, tolerance and prosperity. The group had in the last four years advocated the doctrine of collectivism against individualism thereby making youth to appreciate one another irrespective of the parochial sentiments used in turning the zone into shreds.
A new initiative of open and collective participation of youth in the affairs of the zone has created transparency and, eroding the fear of marginalization and suspicion of one another. The success of this new approach to tolerance can be measured in the political activities of the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) membership registration exercise and, the ward and local government congresses which produced leaders through consensus.
Unlike what was obtained in the past, these exercises to the admiration of parents and all peace loving people of the zone were carried out without violence. This is evident of a growing tolerance and trust among youth who represent the future of the zone. The deliberate youth empowerment scheme which does not discriminate along political party loyalty, religious divide and ethnic sentiments, has brought youth of different backgrounds together and, see Jajere as a rallying point of a new hope. With the increased awareness, it is old fashioned and amounts to political suicide for any politician to contemplate using ethnicity in the 2015 elections because, the people now appreciate individual potentials and commitment to a collective cause.
Since the attack on the famous Potiskum international cattle market in 2012, in which over 50 people were killed, with hundreds of livestock and vehicles lost, the business community irrespective of political and ethnic differences rallied around senator Jajere to fight the common problem and, to seek federal intervention. It is gratifying that the agenda of unity and tolerance championed be the law maker is a landmark foundation to building a sustainable unity, tolerance and trust in the zone which should be supported, encouraged and promoted for the interest of the people.
It is a collective responsibility to build a legacy of unity, justice and equality in the zone so that it may prosper. There is yet another opportunity staring at the elites to support the Jajere initiative of trust and tolerance for you to be remembered on the good side of history. The joy of every true democrat is to see positive change in the lives of his people. It does not matter who takes the credit. There is indeed hope for change against the old order of primordial and parochial sentiments in the zone.
The new approach to breaking the jinx of political intolerance and mistrust will no doubt place the zone on a new page of political and social prosperity. It is indeed a new beginning to political, social and economic prosperity in Yobe south. We have a responsibility to empower our present to provide hope for our future.
Muhammad Al-Ameen can be reached on email@example.com