Speech by Alhaji (Dr) Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria)
Opening Ceremony of the 4th Forum for Cities in Transition Conference
Murtala Mohammed Square
4 November 2013
I am very pleased and honoured to be part of this very important occasion which is the 4th International Conference for Cities in Transition. God in his infinite mercy has brought us here and to him we must render our gratitude. We are but instruments in the hands of God. May He continue to use us as the Instrument of peace and progress in Nigeria and the world over.
Let me specially welcome our distinguished dignitaries, Their Excellencies, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, FNIA, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar GCON, Former Military Head of State and Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your presence here today and the presence of other notable personalities which include former Governors of the State, Distinguished Senators, Members of the National and State Houses of Assemblies, as well as our revered Traditional and Religious Leaders, is a demonstration of our firm resolve to sustain peaceful and harmonious relationships between and amongst the diverse people of Kaduna State in particular, and the country in general. My warm welcome also goes to the participants of the conference particularly the foreign participants for keeping faith with the conference by travelling from their respective countries to Nigeria. I welcome you all on behalf of the Government and the good people of Kaduna State. We indeed felt honoured by the choice of Kaduna as the venue to host this very important event of international importance.
As you are aware, Kaduna State is a rainbow of vibrant diversity, a mini Nigeria with diverse ethnic groups with predominantly Muslim and Christian population. It should also be noted that Kaduna, due to its strategic position, as the capital of the old Northern Region, has always played host to a variety of interest from both the North and even beyond, who rightly or wrongly, believe that Kaduna is the place from which messages of whatever hue and cry could be effectively conveyed to the entire country.
I believe that plurality of ethnic and religious groups, ideally, should not be a problem. Diversity and pluralism are known to be the basis of cosmopolitan and complex societies such as ours. It is only where ethnicity and religion are made means of narrowing people’s participation in political, economic, and social spheres that problems manifest in various forms. However, Kaduna State geographical area has for sometimes occupied a position of volatility in the history of ethno-religious tensions in Nigeria with great consequences which includes ethno-religious divide of the city. This unfortunate development has far reaching consequences to even the generation unborn.
It is against this background that we in Kaduna State whole heartedly embraced the hosting of this conference, aimed at promoting peaceful and harmonious co-existence through exchanging ideas and promoting understanding, with the ultimate aim of encouraging resolution of conflicts through non-violent methods in order to unify polarized cities in the world, Kaduna inclusive, therefore, the activities of this conference is consistent with our primary and fundamental responsibility which is the provision of security and welfare of the people. Hence, our focus has remained in the promotion of peace, unity and progress in Kaduna and the country in general.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, you would agree with me that many concerned individuals, societies and associations and various Fora have discussed the insecurity, bombings, murders and mayhem that have visited our towns and States, which have been questioning our corporate existence as a nation. Many have proffered solutions. I therefore, charge this Conference to synthesis our peculiar circumstances with a view to proffering actionable proposals for tackling these challenges at the family, ward, Local Government, State and national level.
On this note, I wish to seize this opportunity to strongly appeal to all the people in the State and even beyond to allow peace to reign, as we must not allow emotions and sentiments to override us. There is need to tolerate one another in the interest of national peace and integration. This call is very crucial because the interest of the nation is above any personal or sectional interest.
Finally, I thank you all for finding time to grace this occasion. It is my hope, that our interest and objective for hosting this Conference would be realized in order to make our world a better place. I wish our participants a fruitful deliberation and happy stay in Kaduna. May God Almighty guide and grant us journey mercies back to our respective destinations.
Thank you and God bless.