Yoruba elders fault Buhari over Plateau visit

Ibadan—Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE yesterday faulted the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Plateau State where about 135 people were killed by Fulani herders, saying it was “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” This came as the council asked governors in the South West parts of the country to assure people in the zone of their safety given the influx of Hausa/Fulani into all nooks and crannies of Yorubaland. The organization also flayed the deployment of police commissioners describing it as “very tokenistic” and merely scratching the problem on the surface. The elders’ council said this through its Secretary General, Dr Kunle Olajide after it rose from a meeting at the state headquarters, Ibadan. Citing previous spate of attacks across the country, they said, “Nigerians are not impressed with condolence visits by the President or Vice President which can be described as “full of sound and fury signifying nothing. “We have been perennially treated to these visits since January 2018 yet the killing continues unabated.” What could be the antidote to nip the persistent killings in the bud, according to the apex Yoruba organisation, “the President should reconfigure the nation’s security architecture to reflect the federal character provision in the constitution. Total overhaul is imperative. “YCE urges Mr President to demonstrate real concern for lives of Nigerians by arresting the perpetrators of this ignoble act and prosecuting them. The water of the relative peace in the South West has been seriously fouled by this militia invasion, something must be done urgently to stop the invasion”, the group said. While assuring President Buhari of the organisation’s co-operation, YCE vowed, “we will not sit idly by and watch the Yorubaland invaded by these rampaging militias. We urge all Yoruba to keep calm in the face of this provocation and wait patiently to use their PVCs to patiently express their wishes in 2019 election”. “More worrisome to the YCE is the nonchalant approach of the President to the very loud demands by patriotic Nigerians for restructuring of this dysfunctional and unproductive pseudo federal essentially unitary structure of government that is not working.” They reminded the president that the “unitary system of government is responsible for the collapse of security apparatus; the lethargic economy that is not growing as expected; the destruction of educational system; the near absence of health services for the Nigerian people and for the grinding poverty”. The organization called on President Buhari “to forward the bills for devolution of powers prepared by the APC’s El-Rufai committee to the National Assembly immediately. Mr President’s comments on restructuring is to say the least provocative. To wave off the demands of well meaning Nigerians nonchalantly is anti democratic”. President Buhari or herdsman Buhari? Having not suffered any traumatic dilemma over his overweening loyalty to herdsmen who are his fellow Fulani, President Muhammadu Buhari is oblivious of his rapid erasure as a statesman. Or if he is aware, he is not bothered about the grim verdict of history – here was a president of a great nation who ended as a leader of a segment of the country, Fulani herdsmen. Yes, we must discountenance Buhari’s sense of justice that seeks to exculpate him from the tragedies being unleashed by Fulani herdsmen. He vouchsafed this notion of justice during his visit to Plateau after the Fulani herdsmen’s attacks whose death toll has been officially put at 135 while witnesses claim it is over 200. He wondered why he should be accused of being silent over the now perennial massacres. The wonder is why Buhari should be surprised that he is being blamed for the Fulani herdsmen’s terrorism. His administration would not be identified with the legacy of solving the myriad of problems with which the nation is contending. Nor with directing the people’s energies towards a collective goal that would produce greater unity for the nation. Hobbled by its inability to respond to existential challenges that pose a mortal blow to our individual and collective existence, the Buhari government demurs at the prospect of conquering the moon. Thus, unlike other nations of the world whose stellar socio-economic, political and technological strides would etch them in the memories of other countries, Nigeria gains the attention of the world because it is trapped in the comparison of the death statistics of the Buhari administration and those of his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. While it is true that Boko Haram gloated about its suzerainty over swathes of the nation’s territory under Jonathan, the rash of deaths since Buhari emerged as president has shown that insecurity was only at its inchoate stage under the Ijaw poster boy of good luck. Jonathan was evicted from Aso Rock when he had only Boko Haram insurgents to contend with. But since the emergence of Buhari, insecurity has increased. In addition to Boko Haram, there is now the Fulani scourge. Buhari was voted into office because he claimed to possess the magic wand to end the insecurity. Nigerians believed because he is not only a retired general, he has been a head of state. It was assumed that he was very familiar not only with governance but strategies for countering insecurity. However, three years after, it has become clear that it was only an illusion. The people are now faced with the reality that Buhari has no magic wand. His failure to tame the Fulani herdsmen has only portrayed him as being in support of the plague of our common peace. Thus, on his watch, thousands have been killed by Fulani herdsmen. If Jonathan was considered to have lost the raison deter for his occupancy of Aso Rock to the abduction of 273 Chibok schoolgirls, can Buhari claim any legitimacy to his stay in Aso Rock after thousands have been killed by Fulani herdsmen on his watch? But what do the Fulani herdsmen really want? Why have they declared themselves implacable foes of our peace? Their implacability is seen in the fact that in less than a week after Buhari announced an iniquitous budget of N179 billion for them to have ranches, they savagely attacked residents of Plateau State. No matter how much Buhari whines that he is pained by his alleged complicity in the killings, the charge cannot easily be dismissed. For, Buhari has neglected the responsibility of curbing the lunacy of the herdsmen that inevitably results in destruction on an apocalyptic scale. While the citizens are still in confusion as regards who could have been responsible for the killings that have convulsed the nation, Fulani herdsmen often claim culpability. The Miyetti Allah is often ready with the claim that Fulani herdsmen are killing to avenge the rustling of their cattle or grazing laws that threaten their business. This has been the case in Benue and now Plateau State. In essence, the perpetrators of the killings are not hidden. So, if Buhari really wants to arrest and prosecute the killers, he could easily arrest the Miyetti Allah leaders since they can explain why the killings take place. Buhari deserves to be blamed for the Fulani herdsmen’s killings because he has refused to accept the need for him to review his security architecture. He has stuck to the nepotistic security architecture that is anchored on incompetence .If Buhari really wanted to check the killings why has he not appointed new service chiefs? Why has he not sacked the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris and Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali? Discerning Nigerian patriots think that the Fulani herdsmen’s crisis can be resolved through restructuring. It has been observed that restructuring would enable the states to work out their own security strategies to check a crisis like that of the Fulani herdsmen. The baleful consequence of the absence of a restructured polity is now seen in the predicament of Governor Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara. He has no control over the security system in his state. The security chiefs in the state receive directives from Abuja. So no matter how much he is outraged at the carnage that is claiming his citizens, he cannot take a decisive measure to intervene. Yari has underscored his frustration with this incapacitating structure of the polity, when he declared that he was resigning from the office of the chief security officer of the state. While Buhari refuses to check the killings, we must be alert to the harm they are causing the nation. They have stoked ethnic hatred. The victims who survived their attacks only feel safe in their ethnic cocoons. The erosion of Nigerianess that the killings has provoked can be seen in the light of the prayer of some of the citizens during the Super Eagles’ match against Argentina in Russia. They were opposed to Nigeria winning because such victory would make Nigerians to forget the tragedies at home. They were afraid that banters would now centre on the Super Eagles’ victory and not on the killings and the overarching need to check their recurrence. It is obvious that the nation urgently needs clear-cut measures to check all these crises. But this sense of urgency is lost on Buhari. Such sense of urgency is blurred by Buhari’s quest for another four years. But it should be clear that Buhari needs another four years not to serve the nation but to demonstrate more loyalty to his fellow herdsmen. Blinded by this loyalty, Buhari cannot grasp his derailment encapsulated in the warning of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group that he has to choose between the presidency of Nigeria and that of Miyetti Allah. Perhaps, these killings are too far from the federal seat of power and this is why Buhari and his officials are not aware of the tragedies under which the nation is currently choking. In that case, we need to appropriate the admonition of the maverick Senator Shehu Sani that the victims of the Plateau killings should be buried close to Aso Rock. May be, when Buhari and his aides are confronted daily with these sad reminders of their tragic fecklessness, they would devise effective strategies to check the Fulani herdsmen plague. But it is not likely that this would even weaken Buhari’s ambition to snatch another four years from unwilling and bloodied citizens. But if those who want his return have their way, they should be ready for another four years of death and pain as he diminishes himself further and inflicts his Fulani herdsmen on them.

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