Agatha Emeadi, Clement Adeyi
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi, has cautioned those stocking the drumbeat of war to have a rethink in the interest of the nation.
The monarch made the call against the backdrop of the sharp reaction of the Yoruba to the growing level of insecurity in the Southwest, saying his concern was informed by his unpalatable experience during the Liberian war, where he fought on the side of Charles Taylor.
Oba Akanbi’s concern followed the recent letter written by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to President Muhammadu Buhari. While acknowledging the concern expressed by the revered monarch in his letter, he said self-help would only aggravate the current security challenge facing the country rather than solving it. Instead, he stressed the need for collective action of all stakeholders to the problem of insecurity prevalent in all zones of the country.
He said: “I am not undermining the intention of the Alaafin but as a war veteran, I am in the best position to offer appropriate advice. If I keep quiet over it and something untoward happens tomorrow, I would be an irresponsible traditional ruler. I am repeating it that the cost of war is usually heavier than the cost of settlement.
“Parents would run for safety abandoning their children and property. Women and female children would be subjected to rape before their husbands and fathers with the fathers watching helplessly. I know what I passed through during Liberian War fighting on the side of Charles taylor. That is the more reason I will not subscribe to any call which encourages taking up arm to settle the insecurity problem which the entire country is currently facing.”
This is as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be more proactive in his approach to the farmer/herdsmen clashes, noting that Yoruba and Fulani had enjoyed a good relationship for over 100 years.
In an open letter written to the President, the monarch suggested that the “Federal Government should enforce compulsory free education to Fulani children to secondary school level. This, he said, was a panacea to checkmate the elements hell-bent on tarnishing the image of the Fulani among other ethnic nationalities.