By Nura Bako Zango
mcouple of days ago, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Uba Sani was spotted meeting with the members of Kaduna State Elders Forum at the Council Chamber of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House.
What surprised many people, including myself, was the presence of the mastermind of Zangon Kataf crises of 1992, Zamani Lekwot, at the venue despite the governor’s full knowledge of his murderous crime against humanity.
It was in the aftermath of that meeting that the news of his (Zamani Lekwot) appointment as the co-chairman of Kaduna State Elders Forum went viral.
I am hereby writing to express my deep concern regarding that appointment owing to the obvious fact of his present and past antecedence as the ex-convict, murderer and a notorious hater of Muslim and Islam.
Zamani LEKWOT as the co-chairman of the Elders Forum in our dear state is a mockery to peaceful coexistence and highly insensitive to the plight of Muslim Umma of Southern Kaduna, especially the good people of Zango Urban who are directly affected by his crimes against humanity.
While I understand the importance of giving individuals a second chance and promoting inclusivity in governance, I strongly believe there are several compelling reasons why this appointment should be reconsidered, reviewed and subsequently rejected by His Excellency, Malam Uba Sani, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State.
First and foremost, the role of the co-chairman of the elders forum is one that requires the highest level of trust, integrity, credibility and the track record of peace building among diverse communities. It is crucial that the person appointed to this position be seen as a peacemaker, role model, and an upstanding citizen in the eyes of the community. The appointment of an ex-convict like Zamani Lekwot, whose singular act of terrorism led to the brutal killing of hundreds of innocent Muslims in Zangon Kataf in 1992, may undermine the public’s trust in the forum’s and government’s ability to effectively promote peace and reconciliation in Kaduna state. Zamani Lekwot, is internationally recognized as an atrocious being, a monster, highly malicious person and a threat to peaceful coexistence for a number of decades.
As the mastermind of the one of the most ugliest atrocities in human history, I doubt if there is anything that could be done to cleanse him off the grevious sins that he had committed. His heart is hardened and face darkened, little wonder that his blatant inability to be remorseful of his atrocities is obvious to all and sundry.
How would I explain to the younger generations that Zamani had once headed the coveted and highly revered elders forum of my dear Kaduna state? How can a renown religious and ethnic bigot like him who hates the north and its peace loving people be imposed as the chairman of a forum of elders that the youth would every now and then look up to for advice, direction and moral and spiritual guidance?
Secondly, the chairman of the elders forum should have a track record of commitment to the values of peace, justice, and community harmony. While rehabilitation is a vital aspect of our justice system, it does not automatically qualify an individual like Zamani Lekwot to lead in such a sensitive and significant capacity. There may be other individuals within the community, even in Southern Kaduna where he comes from, with untarnished and unblemished records who are better suited for this role.
It should be recalled that when His Excellency Malam Nasir Elrufai’s name was included among President Tinubu’s ministerial nominees, he was rejected on the ground of the petitions the likes of Zamani Lekwot wrote against him which bordered on security and national cohesiveness.
The only offence of Malam Nasir Elrufai was not giving them the freehand to kill innocent people with impunity and go away with it. In the recent interview that Zamani Lekwot granted, he called Elrufai a bad leader and I am pretty sure his utterance was not unconnected with the way and manner he was disgracefully sent out of the government house when he attended security meeting with traditional rulers and the governor.
One will then wonder why Elrufai, who was neither a murderer nor an ex-convict was not confirmed as a minister but the ex-convict and murderer like Zamani Lekwot is even wining and dining with the governor as the co-chairman of the state’s elders forum.
Imagine! Is this government serious at all? Perhaps, the government thinks that one, especially the victims of his murderous insurgency, cannot easily lay their hands on the records of his crimes or the government is now trying to present him as a born again.
No matter how they try to exonerate him from his crimes, the records are there written in black and white and preserved for generations to come.
Furthermore, the appointment of an ex-convict like Zamani Lekwot could potentially polarize the state and continue to create unnecessary divisions. As the Muslims of Southern Kaduna, we perceived this as an attempt to condone or trivialize the seriousness of the offense which he had committed and this will consequently give room for further offences since the offenders are celebrated and decorated with titles instead of life imprisonment or death sentence.
This could hinder the forum’s ability to bring people together and achieve its peace-building objectives.
In conclusion, I urge the governor of Kaduna state, His Excellency Malam Uba Sani to reconsider the appointment of the ex-convict as the co-chairman of the Kaduna state Elders Forum if he really meant business in his government. While rehabilitation and second chances are important principles, it is equally essential to ensure that individuals appointed to positions of influence are those who can inspire trust and unity within our communities not demons.
I believe the only decision that is in the best interest of our state and citizens as far as this matter is concerned is to strip Zamani Lekwot of this appointment and tell him to go home and wait for his appointed time when he would be summoned to account for the souls of our innocent people that he had taken unjustly.