The invasion of the South-West in recent years by herdsmen said to be Fulani which escalated to frightening proportions in the last four weeks in Ondo and Oyo States is particularly worrisome. This therefore comes to get President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps to make Fulani herdsmen stop using their cows to destroy peoples’ farms anywhere in the country especially in Ondo State.
As I see it, there are two types of herdsmen in Nigeria, the Fulani and Non-Fulani Nigerians. While there are also types of Fulani, the Nigerian Fulani and the Foreign Fulani who are from neighbouring West African countries and maybe a few from North Africa.
The Nigerian Fulani herdsmen have been living and grazing their cows peacefully all over the country and in some cases married to women in the South for a century or more. I believe it is the foreign Fulani herdsmen who started coming into Nigeria in the last one or two decades, especially since President Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015, six years ago that are causing the problem. What is sad is that the President has been soft in dealing with them. Some would even say he is not doing anything about the situation.
I pity the President for two reasons. The first is that from what a retired Army Colonel from Cross River State said on Arise News television two days ago, Monday, January 25, Buhari told them in 1980 or 1981 that his ancestors came from the Republic of Niger to settle in Katsina State. This was when he led troops to drive Maitasine religious fanatics from Chad out of Northern Nigeria even without seeking authority from President Shehu Shagari.
No doubt, that was an act of patriotism. But that notwithstanding, it has been evident since he assumed office in 2015 that Buhari has been favouring his Fulani people and Muslims in the appointments he has been making in the last six years. As I stated in this column last year, of the nine officers in charge of the nation’s security, seven are northerners and all of them are Muslims. Only the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakun, from Ekiti State and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, from Akwa Ibom State who are both Christians, are from the South.
The second reason why Buhari has not acted firmly against Fulani herdsmen is because he too is into cow business, a trade in which the owners have provided their herdsmen with AK-47 riffles. In other words, it is likely that the President’s herdsmen too go about with fire arms. Being a member of the Cattle Breeding Association, Buhari has therefore had to take it easy with the cow owners and herdsmen so that rustlers would not start to steal his own cattle.
Someone on a television programme recently said that the herdsmen have license to do so. Why then is President Buharu against the Amotelcum and other such security agencies carrying AK-47 riffles? The Governors should just ignore him until the herdsmen, who are mostly Fulani, are disarmed.
If the problem is to be solved, it is inevitable that President Buhari must take steps to get foreign Fulani herdsmen to stop using their cows to destroy farms in all parts of the country, North and South. He can do this by meeting with members of the Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria who are both southerners and northerners to get them to stop their herdsmen from causing damages to farmlands and kidnapping people.
Cow owners and their herdsmen cannot be making money to take care of their families and prevent farmers from doing the same. If the Federal Government does not act quickly, food shortage would set in and inter-ethnic clashes would become rampant. Creating ranches instead of open grazing is the final solution to the problem and should be done soonest.
It is essential to take steps that herdsmen do not cause problem in the South-West because 60-70 per cent of the industries in the country are in the region. It is also where 60-70 per cent economic and commercial activities are carried out.
I hope President Buhari has not forgotten that riots against the rigging of the October 1965 election in the Western Region (now known as South-West) led to the first military coup in the country on Saturday, January 15, 1966. And that violent protests to the rigging of the governorship election in Ondo State in August 1983 led to the coup of December 31, that brought him to power that year.
About two months ago, the Chief Army Staff, General Tukur Burafai, said he heard information that some people were thinking of a coup. This should make President Buhari to ensure that the people of the South-West and Ondo State in particular are not forced to take up arms.
From September 30 through October 14, last year, I did a series: Time to force restructuring. I hope President Buhari will address the issue now. As Professor Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said last week, the exercise can be carried out before the 2023 polls.
If he does not do this in time, I hope that as I suggested about two months ago, that the leaders of PANDEV Afenifere, Ohaneze, university students and the militants in the three southern zones would take steps to organize industrial actions about twice or thrice each week. I believe that by the time they do this for four to six months that President Buhari and the National Assembly would do something on restructuring.
Hereafter advice to Nigerian leaders – Babangida in focus (5)
In 1998 when I approached the Heavenly Father to allow Oba Olu Falae to win the 1999 presidential election, He declined because He said he had missed the opportunity He gave him in 1992. Consequently, I was surprised when the Lord in 2005 sent me to General Ibrahim Babangida as His candidate for the 2007 presidential poll. This was because in 2001 he had ignored the Lord’s message to contest the 2003 election. This was why in the column of December 23 I stated that Babangida is someone the Lord has a soft spot for, especially since I was not the one who took his matter to Him.
But unlike in 2001, Babangida in 2005 accepted God’s message I conveyed to him. But he did so for two reasons. The first was that I reached him through General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former General Officer Commanding the 3rdArmoured Division and later Minister of Communication in the government of General Sani Abacha.
The second reason was that Olanrewaju went with a copy of the book I published in September 2004 on the instruction of the Lord titled: Nigeria set aside by God for greatness and the untold story of June 12 annulment, which contained information on Babangida in Chapter One.
On Page 15 is the subtitle: “The Moses picked by God after Abiola,” which was on the message I conveyed to him in July 2001. On Page 21 is the subtitle: In Minna to see Babangida, the report of my trip to the city and dropping a note when I did not meet him at home.
General Babangida sent money through General Olanrewaju for the leader of the 41 – Muslim clerics to buy the two cows to be slaughtered for their 41 – day prayer exercise and to break their fast each day. But when President Olusegun Obasanjo intensified his efforts to get the country’s constitution amended to enable him have a third – term, Babangida developed cold feet and didn’t come out to contest the 2003 election.
As a result of this the Heavenly Father told me that was the end of Babangida’s matter and that he won’t be Nigeria’s Head of State again. But in 2010 a colleague of mine raised his issue with the Ancient of Days to allow Babangida to be His candidate for the 2011 presidential poll. He said the Lord consented, but I told him He must have done so because of his persistence and that from what He told me in 2005 that I don’t think Babangida, who was military Head of State (August 27, 1985 to August 26, 1993), would ever lead the country again.
My colleague knew a northern – born Senator and a Muslim who was close to Babangida and went through him. Babangida accepted the Lord’s message he conveyed to him and sent money to the leader of the 41 Muslim clerics in Ado – Ekiti to buy the two cows they would use for the spiritual exercise for 41 days for him.