Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Monday presented the staff of office to Agwam Zikpak II, Dr Kantiyok Josiah Tagwai, in Takau, near Kafanchan, just as he hailed peace process in Southern Kaduna.
El Rufai said that Dr Tagwai was appointed Agwam Zikpak II due to his unblemished pedigree, education, experience, exposure, non-partisanship and record of integrity.
The Governor observed current challenges require traditional rulers to demonstrate greater dynamism in promoting peaceful relations in communities.
‘Addressing the security challenges and threats to the rural economy that menace some of our communities requires a strong partnership between the government and traditional institutions,’ the Governor stated.
The Governor, who spoke in Takau, near Kafanchan, after presenting the staff of office to the new Agwam Zikpak, commended the ongoing peace processes in the area and wished him success in leading a new era of cooperation and concord in his chiefdom.
‘Following recent tragic events in Zangon Kataf, Jema’a and Kaura Local Government Areas, there have been remarkable attempts at community level peace-building.
‘We wish to commend all the personalities and institutions involved in and supporting the efforts to chart a new path of peaceful relations in our communities,’ El-Rufai added.
The Governor further noted ‘with delight that there is also a peace process in this chiefdom, following the courageous and exemplary peace process initiated by His Highness Dominic Gambo Yahaya in neighbouring Zangon Kataf Local Government.’
Governor El-Rufai told Dr Tagwai that he has been appointed because of his intellect, managerial experience and leadership potentials, explaining that his government will never approve the nomination of people who are not above board as traditional rulers in Kaduna State.
According to the Governor, traditional rulers should not only be princes who have integrity but they should also have vast experience and be well educated.
‘The traditional leaders of this day and age in Kaduna State must not only be born in royal lineage but be soundly educated and possess solid experience in the public or private sectors.
‘They must have built a distinguished track record that is honest and free of corruption perceptions, demonstrated commitment to promoting community values, unity in diversity and peaceful coexistence in our state and nation at large,’ he added.
Governor El-Rufai pointed out that his government has been observing these guiding principles in all its decisions and choices in the appointment of graded chiefs and emirs since 2015, promising to sustain and entrench them by legislation and regulations.
The Governor argued that these reforms are imperative because ‘traditional rulers are also instrumental in providing community-level intelligence and security information, keeping records of births and deaths, increasing school enrolment and mobilising citizens for preventive health care initiatives like immunisation.
‘You are head and shoulders above your fellow aspirants to this stool in terms of intellect, a track record of managerial experience and leadership potentials,’ he added.
The Governor recalled that the new traditional ruler spent nearly five years of his service years working for Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that has reportedly developed a successful COVID-19 vaccine which is awaiting approval.
‘As soon as we receive the COVID-19 vaccines, our traditional rulers and community leaders have major roles to play in ensuring that our health workers, senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities and vulnerable groups are immunised against the virus free-of-charge, as a matter of urgency,’ he promised.
He reiterated that ‘our emirs and chiefs have major roles to play in implementing the state-wide mask mandate and social distancing protocols.’
The Governor appealed ‘to the people of Kaduna State to wash their hands regularly, wear masks any time they are in the company of other people, and avoid large gatherings of people without masks as much as possible.’
Governor El-Rufai reiterated that the ‘coronavirus is very much with us, and after a drop in the rate of infections, we have noticed rising numbers across the State.
‘This is not good news particularly for those above the age of 50 or have underlying conditions like hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease.’