The thematic discourse of the 2020 end-of-year issue of Chongai Chronicles Magazine premises on Southern Kaduna pogrom that has led to the destruction of lives and properties in recent times. At press time, Gora Gan a community in Zango Kataf Local Government Area is under attacks – at least 7 people have been killed, one person injured and 13 houses set ablaze.
Opinion factored therein goes beyond lamentation to proffer headways. Before this time accounts of killings in Southern Kaduna have value bias that focuses on elitist positions which may not represent the actual parties and their bargaining chip.
The vintage duo of Philip Hayab and Benjamin Mainagwa poked the hornet’s nest with their contributions to the discourse. Hayab posits that any reconciliation initiative between dissenting factions in Southern Kaduna should redress the injustice of the past from land grabbing to distortion of traditional institutions. Hayab advances his argument with M.G. Smith’s thesis, Government in Zazzau: 1800-1950.
While Maiangwa’s narrative about the good old days in Kaduna before the Northern versus Southern Kaduna dichotomy culminated in ugly sectarian riots – the worst ones were the Kafanchan riot of 1987, two rounds of Zangon Kataf riots in 1992, two Shari’a riots of 2000 AD as well as the post-election riots of 2011 and 2012.
Maiangwa uses the power of storytelling to punctuate ideals from his Ph.D dissertation which explores the concept of belonging to a “place” to account for nuances in the ways that groups construct their identities about others and the environments in which they live. He offers an insightful and critical intervention to debates on indigeneity, autochthony, and nomadism as forms of belonging and ideas upon which the notions and practices of peace and conflicts could be rendered relevant in the context of southern Kaduna, and broadly in other postcolonial societies.
What is noteworthy are posers from a feature story on a post mortem of Atyap peace accord. To paraphrase Dike Chukwuemerije, should the Hausa and Fulani who will successfully arbitrate in Southern Kaduna hold the grudge in Zangon Kataf crises too close to heart? Or should the indigenous man from Samaru Kataf hold the memories of 19th-century jihads and slave raids too close to heart? No! For there is not enough blood here to atone for the atrocities of the whole of yesteryears. We will all be dead before the long throat of historical justice is sated. The above reality is why we must look forward, ready to deal with the descendants of the past, not as continuations of their ancestors, but as individuals – just like us – born into heritages they did not choose for themselves and gifted with what we all have as human beings – the free will to choose where we go from here.
The point must be stressed that people are being murdered in Southern Kaduna for the same fundamental reason they are being murdered in Sokoto, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Niger, and elsewhere – and that is, for the Government’s inability to effectively carry out its duty to protect citizens. The institutionalization of tribalism, the mainstreaming of nepotism, the widespread acceptance of corruption and ineptitude in public office, and the routine practice of blaming our sordid reality, not on bad governance, but ethno-religious diversity.
Hence the government has refused to rise to the occasion and confront the challenges headlong –the government is throwing tantrums, making baseless accusations, defaming real and perceived enemies– and rubbing insults into bleeding wounds.