The way things are now I am of the opinion that only Almighty God can save Nigeria from being attacked by foreign Fulani and Libyan invaders and their mercenaries. It is also the Lord who can prevent the country from engaging in a second civil war that may lead into its breaking up in view of militants in the South – West, South – East and South – South talking or threatening to pull their regions out of Nigeria.
Reports in some newspapers on Sunday, four days ago, had it that the United States had warned Nigeria of plans by Al – Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS) to invade and overrun the states in the three southern zones. And that Al – Qaeda had already penetrated parts of the North – West. The issues are does Nigeria have the appropriate weapons and in sufficient quantities as well as the the number of soldiers that can keep the foreigners away or defeat them if they come?
What the situation calls for is for State Governors in the southern states as their colleague in North – Central State of Niger, Mr. Abubakar Sani Bello, said he would do last month to start buying AK – 47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons and arm their security outfits and vigilantes.
Another thing the governors should do is to recruit more young men into their security and vigilante groups. While security votes should be used for this, the state governments should also appeal to the companies and wealthy ones in their areas of jurisdiction to donate money for security.
Apart from foreign Fulani invasion, also worrisome is that Nigeria may go into another civil war with militants and activists in the South – West, South – East and South – South threatening secession. Two weeks ago, Rivers State – born Alhaji Asari Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force, though from the South – South region, announced the setting up of Biafra Customary Government headed by him and named his Deputy and some members of his cabinet for the South – East and South – South. True, he said they would not pursue their struggle violently, this cannot be ruled out if developments make it necessary or inevitable.
Although some have dismissed Asari Dokubo’s announcement as nothing to worry about, but the fact is that he may team up with the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and start operating in the South – East and South – South attacking oil installations and other vital sectors or places.
Also seriously troubling was last Wednesday’s declaration of the South – West as Oodu’a Republic by Mr. Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Sunday Igboho and calling on all the Yoruba in the 19 northern states to return home. By the weekend news was out that Oodu’a Reserve Bank had been established and had printed a currency known as FADAKA (silver) while flags of Oodu’a Republic were also reported to have been hoisted in parts of Lagos and Ibadan.
If herdsmen, most of who are Fulani, continue to cause trouble in the South – West it may be inevitable that the resistance of the Yoruba may lead to armed rebellion and possibly the beginning of secession. This will be dangerous for the country because as I had stated in this column a number of times 60 – 70 per cent of the industries and big businesses or major companies in the country are in the South – West. As a result, the economy of the country will be devastatingly affected. Ditto if Niger Delta militants are forced into action again.
The way to stop chaos from continuing and prevent civil war from breaking out in the country is for President Muhammadu Buhari to act patriotically. Many are skeptical of the orders he gave two weeks ago that any unauthorized person carrying AK – 47 rifles in public should be shot – at – sight. Such people believe that the order will only be applied against southerners and that no Fulani would be killed for carrying AK – 47 rifles. Since the order was given there have been reports of bandits kidnapping people including students in secondary schools in the North. But has any of them been arrested or shot to death?
If President Buhari is sincere and wants people in the southern states and North – Central to believe him, he should make a statement that his government is now for restructuring and that he would soon present a bill to the National Assembly to begin the process of restructuring the country.
If he does not act on this the tension in the country will continue and one day violence may occur that would lead to secessionist struggle. But southerners, especially the Yoruba and Niger Delta militants, are the ones to blame for allowing Buhari to continue to bluff them for six years on restructuring.
To be continued next Wednesday
Senator Obanikoro’s ancestors were from Esie in Kwara State, not Benin
As stated in this column a fortnight ago, Ekiti people claiming that the ancestors of Lawyer Raji Fasola were from Ado – Ekiti made me do the write – up that they were from Ilesa. While Dr. Alaba Ajiye’s assertion that Chief Olabode George’s forebear were from Ute in the Owo area of Ondo State made me do the piece on the matter last week.
But the fact of the matter is that where the ancestors of non – aboriginal Lagosians came from was started by Chief Femi Okunu, the Commissioner (Minister) for Works in the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon (Friday, July 29, 1966 – Monday, July 28, 1975). This was when in May 2017 he made the statement reported in the press that the ancestors of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Ghana and Minister of State for Defence in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration (Thursday, May 6, 2010 – Thursday, May 28, 2015), were from Benin in Edo State.
Obanikoro countered that his family is Awori and that they are indigenous Lagosians. He said it was his paternal great – grandmother who belonged to the Eletu Odibo family that was from Benin. I took up the matter in this column in a piece I titled: Obanikoro’s disputed ancestry in which I wrote that his forebear were from Esie in the Igbomina area of Kwara State. But unlike he did to Chief Okunu’s allegation, Obanikoro did not react to my article.
I got my information from my friend and colleague at the University of Ibadan, late Colonel Afolabi Henry David (Saturday, October 7, 1944 – Saturday, March 18, 2017). I was in the 1965 – 68 set and he in the 1966 – 69 class. His ancestors were from Igbaja in Kwara State but he was born and brought up in Lagos where he lived and died. His dad who had a number of properties on Lagos Island, Ikorodu Road and Apapa lived with his family in his house at Oko Awo Street in the Idumagbo Street area of Lagos Island.
It was in 2010 that I raised the issue of if Senator Obanikoro was an indigenous Lagosian or one whose ancestors came from somewhere in the South – West to settle in the city. This was after we left a get – together at the Ikoyi, Lagos residence of General Taju Olanrewaju, a former General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos in the early 90s and Minister of Communications (1993 – 95). Obanikoro too was at the function.
Colonel David told me like his ancestors that the forebear of Obanikoro too were from Kwara State, in a place called Esie in Igbomina land. He said their family’s name is Ajai Bembe and that the Senator’s father was the only one in the clan who bore Obanikoro. A name he said he acquired when working for a King of Lagos at Iga Iduganran.
I believe the story of Colonel David that the Obanikoros were from Kwara State because the issue was not for debate at the time and as a result he would not have said so, if the Senator’s ancestors were not from Esie.
In his reply to Alhaji Femi Okunu in 2017, Senator Obanikoro claimed that Ajai Bembe, Ogunlana Aremo, Abisuwo Otun, Osadeko, Aregbe and Oyeronke families descended from the Obanikoro clan. I took him up in my column of May 24 that year that if the Obanikoros were the main or parent family then it is the Obanikoros that would have had a street named after them in Isale Eko, not Ajai Bembe.