Sayaya Community and the Mahatma Ghandi Approach By Mustapha Saddiq
As I went through the national dailies as usual one faithful Saturday morning, precisely on the 7th of September, 2013, a news item in Weekly Trust caught my attention. The said news has the headline ‘No road, No Vaccination, Sayaya Community Vows’ www.weeklytrust.com.ng/index.php/new-news/13902-no-road-no-polio-vaccination-sayaya-community-vows. It interested me more especially that it happened to be in my state. Sayaya community is a remote village in Matazu Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The people of Sayaya community vowed to stop participating in all government programs unless the only access road and collapsed bridge linking them to the outside world are repaired. The people of the community seem determined to take their destinies in their hands. They described it as a sustained government neglect of the area for the fast 14 years since the return of democracy!
The community listed so many economic and social hardship the ‘sustained government neglect’ is costing them including loss of lives. They also said they forwarded their complaint to the state government so many times including during the 2011 election campaigns directly to the oga at the top but have fallen into the deaf ears, they said.
A native of the community was quoted to have said “until government comes to our aid by rehabilitating both the road and the bridge, it is going to be; no road no polio vaccination, no road no election campaigns and voting in the area come 2015, no road no participation in government programs”.
Now this idea remind me of Mahatma Gandhi of India who is well known for his non-violence civil disobedience and I think this is exactly what all of us should embrace since the government of the day is such a mess that they know only themselves and their immediate families.
Katsina State is a state where her governor hardly spends a week. He is always flying to Abuja busy with how they could resolve their party issues and remain in power till eternity in the process, leaving the governmental issues in the state unattended. The State is a state where the government of the day is busy constructing a multi-billion naira sport stadium even though it is not what we need at this time, especially at the expense of Sayaya and other communities in the state. We are living in a state where there are still no any local government elected chairman since 2007! We are in a state with government of misplaced priorities. This is the bitter truth that we must all tell ourselves and I hope Gov. Ibrahim Shehu Shema will read this.
How I wish we will all emulate the Sayaya community, how I wish each and every community will copy from them. There’s no need for violence, there’s no need for loss of lives and or properties. Let’s just em brass the Gandhi’s non-violence civil disobedience and let our demands be passed across and heard to the top. Let it just be; no steady electricity, no elections come 2015; no good motorable roads, no campaign rallies hence forth; no security, no further participation in any of the government activities. etc etc.
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