By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The successful hosting of the 36th edition of Sheik Ibrahim Nyass Maulud celebration by the Government of Zamfara State, under the leadership of Dr. Bello Muhammad, Matawallen Maradun, in March this year has continued to attract reactions from across Nigeria.
It was estimated that over three million people, from far and near, attended the event, held at the new Cargo Airport being constructed by the Zamfara government in Gusau, the Capital city.
Before the Maulud celebration, which saw followers of the Tijjaniyya sect from Niger Republic, Senegal, Ethiopia and other African countries attending, it was unthinkable to believe that a gathering of such magnitude can take place in Zamfara state because of the activities of bandits and kidnappers.
Many are of the believe that the peaceful hosting of the Maulud event is an indication that the peace initiative introduced by the governor when he took over the mantle of leadership of the state has yielded positive results.
A resident of Gusau, Mr Tajuddeen Aliyu, while expressing happiness over the new found peace, described the governor as a courageous man for daring to host such a crowd.
“This man is a different specie all together. He came, took over as governor, starts a peace process which nobody thought it will work because of the magnitude of the security problem at that time; but look at it now. Look at the number of people that came to Gusau for this Maulud celebration. Not even a fly was hurt. There was not a single attack, even on the roads leading to Gusau. It’s like magic”.
Another resident of the city, Musa Tanko said the governor needs to be praised for the wonderful feat of accepting to host the Nyass Maulud celebration.
“What if something had happened to even if it’s one individual? What would they have said? His opponents were there waiting for something to happen so that they can rubbish the whole gathering and blame it on Matawalle.
“See, let me tell you something; even the introduction of the Sharia gathering that attracted large crowd is not anything near the crowd that came to this city for the Maulud. I only pray that it will continue like this; and I’m begging all these politicians that doesn’t see anything good with anybody except themselves, to please allow this man to work. Sometimes they’re the problem.”
A regular visitor to Zamfara from Kano, Ahmadu Danliti, who also attended the Maulud celebration said “look, this road is very familiar to me, and to many other travelers; just like Gusau is our second home. But at a point, I’ve to forget about going to Gusau for fear of what may happen to me on the road.
“That was when the kidnapping thing was happening almost on a daily basis. When the governor took over and introduced the peace initiative with bandits, things started changing for the better and I started traveling to Gusau again. But after sometime, the kidnapping and the killings started happening again.
“Nobody understood what was happening. Some people are saying that it is the politicians that don’t want the man to succeed and others are saying that the bandits were not getting what they were promised and you know they are used to collecting big amount of money as ransom when they kidnap; that is why.
“But no matter how you look at it; see this celebration, nothing happened and it is an indication that the opponents of governor Bello Matawalle are misleading the general public through their social media handles to portray that there’s no peace in the state, in order to demonstrate to the world that the Governor has failed.
“But he is now vindicated. A lot of people came and went back safely and peacefully. So let’s cooperate and support him, as well, pray that it will continue like this and kidnapping will be history in Zamfara and other places”.
“Although some people are still sceptical and not too comfortable about the present situation of things in the state, it should be noted that it is not always easy to end a conflict of this magnitude within a short period.
“We therefore need to give the governor our total commitment and support in order for the government to gain more success in the fight against the armed banditry.
Another resident of Gusau, Tahir Sulaiman, while giving his opinion said “In as much as I want 100% peace for my state and all other states where this insecurity of a thing is happening, I don’t want Gov Matawalle to relax or be deceived that the kidnapping and banditry in Zamfara ystate has finished, but put more effort in the fight against the monster.
“Yes, the Maulud celebration was a success, a huge one for that matter, and there is no doubt about that, but the government should not relent in its efforts as it is not an indication that the insecurity has completely come to an end. In fact, this is even the time that the government should be more proactive about looking for other solutions to this problem of bandits because you cannot fully trust this wicked criminals.
“Again, I want to advise the governor that just like he hosted the Maulud celebration, let him organize a national prayer in Zamfara on the insecurity matter. Yes, let him invite all the people and Malams’ from even outside the state, or even outside the country. Let us all gather where the people gathered to pray to God to expose all those that are having a hand in this insecurity and killings, for God to punish them and relieve us of their devilish ways”.
Mustafa Marwana was of the view that sanctions should be placed on all those social media handlers, saboteur politicians, informants who are found supporting or helping the bandits in committing these atrocities against us.
“No matter the case, people are of the opinion that the governor has been committed to the fight against the bandits as he has achieved this feat within a short period of three years of his government, something his predecessor could not achieve in the eight years that he was in the saddle.
“He should therefore, be commended for a job well done,” he said.