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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Governor Rochas Okorocha Visits Gombe

GOVERNOR Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State would obviously not have been happy with the recent spate of violence that shook the state. It would have been even more disturbing to the Governor given his egalitarian background in the recent past when as the immediate past Accountant General of the Federation, AGF he mixed with Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religion.

However, the Governor who is still cutting his teeth in party politics has had to confront the bitter spate of insecurity that has recently engulfed the state. A number of lives were lost in the attacks reportedly claimed by the Boko Haram Islamic group. The most shaking of the attacks was undoubtedly the gruesome murder of ten persons in a Deeper Life Bible Church in Gombe on January 5, 2012. On his visit to the crime scene, the governor expressed regrets and utterly condemned the attacks.

But while everyone thought that nothing worse would come again, Boko Haram, issued an ultimatum to people of other religious inclinations outside Islam or who hail from the southern part of the country to vacate the north. As if in a race, many Ibos and others who resided in the state left rather hurriedly.

Again, the development added to the many headaches of the governor. Government House sources said the young cosmopolitan governor was not particularly happy about the situation. But then, the Igbos, a good number of them had gone as many quickly relocated.

Gov Okorocha of Imo State

However, penultimate Friday, February 3 2012 a move to stop the trend came with the visit to the state of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State. Governor Okorocha was in Gombe on a visit and confidence building visit to his counterpart in Gombe State, Dankwambo.

Coming on the heels of killings in the north, the visit turned out to be a peace mission of some sort where the stakeholders took turns to speak on the prevailing security situation in the country. Governor Dankwambo whose disappointments over the disintegration threats of the country stood obvious spoke unequivocally on the unity of the country. He said that the issues of unity and peace are non-negotiable, adding that such visits as done by Okorocha should be held periodically even when there are no crises.

“This is the kind of gesture that we should have been doing even without any problem. This interaction between all of us, between the people in the north and the people in the south, east, south, west, middle-belt and all these regions that we have decided to segregate ourselves into should be continuous for the better understanding of our people, for better appreciation of our terrain and for better appreciation of our country. Issues of unity, issues of together should not be negotiated in whatever form,” the Governor said while welcoming the Imo Governor.

Reassuring kinsmen
Governor Okorocha on his part was straight to the point saying that his mission to Gombe state was to reassure his kinsmen from the east of their safety in the state. Said Okorocha: “We are here to show peace and love to one another. We are here to sing a new song of unity. We are here to promote peace among the various ethnic groups. We are here to dramatize and shun all manner of evil and anger in our society. We should come together and fight for the unity of the country”.

He however asked the government of Gombe state to ensure that the people are adequately protected recalling that corpses that are brought home from the North to Igbo land elicit tension and anger in the people. The Chairman, Imo State Traditioanl Rulers Council, Eze Simon Ohiri who accompanied Governor Okorocha on the visit to Gombe said from the fruitful deliberations they had, he has seen that Gombe state government is committed to securing the lives of the Igbos and other non indigenes.

His counter-part, Mai Tangale, Engr. Saleh Mohammed extolled the relationship his kingdom enjoys with non-indigenes in the state. Also, the State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Abare Kallah, Director, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mr. Ado Solomon, an elder statesman, Adamu Danjarida and Shiek Admanu Abubarkar who spoke at the occasion said that although some unfortunate circumstances had occurred in the state in the time past, Gombe still ranks the most peaceful in the North East.

Similarly, the President, Igbo Community Welfare Association, Mr. Evaratus Chukwuaku and Chairman, Council of Elders of Non-Indigenes, Barristers Peter Aki said that the Government has not failed them in terms of security. Meanwhile, not a few persons expect that the somewhat peace deal between the two governors will pay real off.