By Casmir Igbokwe
In Ola Rotimi’s play, ‘The gods are not to blame’, King Odewale is destined from birth to kill his father and marry his mother. To avert this tragedy, his parents, King Adetusa of Kutuje and his wife, Queen Ojuola, give Odewale (soon after his birth) to their special messenger named Gbonka, to dispose of in an evil forest. Rather than do this, Gbonka gives the child to a stranger who takes him to another village and serves as his foster father. The twists and turns in the play culminate in Odewale unknowingly killing his father, King Adetusa, and marrying his mother, Queen Ojuola, as destined. This is followed by a series of tragic events that cast a pall on the land of Kutuje.
Like Odewale, President Muhammadu Buhari is gradually turning into a tragic character in this land of Kutuje called Nigeria. He has had to contend with misfortunes, which now come in multitudes in the twilight of his administration.
His number one misfortune is insecurity. Last week, a group of terrorists dramatized this problem by threatening to kidnap him and the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai. These bandits, who were responsible for the killing of eight people and kidnapping of 68 other passengers from an Abuja-Kaduna bound train on March 28, 2022, also threatened to abduct some other prominent Nigerians and cause some calamities in the country.
Ironically, the President is Fulani. Most of these terrorists are suspected to be Fulani as well. The question is: Why then are they after one of their own who is known to have done a lot of things for them? For instance, in major appointments in the security hierarchy of the country, the Fulani hold the knife and the yam. Last year, Buhari’s government performed a ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Maradi 284km rail line to connect Kano in northern Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic, a country majorly populated by the Fulani. It is estimated that this project will cost $2bn.
So, are these criminals trying to pull the wool over our eyes by pretending to hate Buhari and then threatening to kidnap him? Or, is there a game plan, as rumoured in some quarters, that the terrorists are not happy with the President for not being decisive enough in handing over Nigeria to them? Some have even alleged that we are closer to Afghanistan than envisaged; that there is a plan to hand over power to Nigeria’s Taliban, Boko Haram, towards the tail end of Buhari’s regime. Recall that the Taliban, an insurgent group, launched a military offensive against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2021. This led to the fall of the Republic and the complete takeover of government by the insurgents.
Recall also that the late former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, granted an interview to a radio station, Nigerian Info, in 2020. In the interview, Mailafia alleged, among others, that a certain northern governor was the commander of Boko Haram and that the terror group was planning a civil war in Nigeria in 2022.
When you juxtapose Mailafia’s view with that of a former Chief of Army Staff, Theophilus Danjuma, you can’t but have some fears for Nigeria. Danjuma had, in 2018, warned Nigerians to get ready to defend themselves. “You must rise to protect yourselves from these people, if you depend on the armed forces to protect you, you will all die,” he said.
Some of these predictions appear to be playing out now. Just look at the most recent attack on the presidential guards in the Bwari Area Council of Abuja. These soldiers reportedly responded to a call from the Nigerian Law School in Abuja that some terrorists were planning to attack the school. On their way, they ran into an ambush by the terrorists who killed eight of them including two officers.
Earlier in July, these vampires had attacked an advanced team of the presidential convoy in Katsina State and Kuje Correctional Centre the same day. In Katsina, a few members of the convoy had minor injuries. In Kuje, about five people were killed and hundreds of prisoners released. Even the Kaduna International Airport was not spared as the criminals also attacked it in March 2022. The audacity with which these terrorists carry out these attacks points to one thing: there is more to this than meets the eye. How could a bunch of over 200 terrorists enter Abuja on bikes without the security agents doing something to stop them? How could they have spent over one hour attacking the Kuje Correctional Centre as reported without any reinforcement and counter attack by the nation’s security forces? Could there be fifth columnists in the nation’s security circles sabotaging the efforts of our gallant soldiers?
The answers to these questions are blowing in the wind. Knocked down by fear over the looming danger in cities like Abuja and even Lagos, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the National Assembly has given the President six weeks to address the spate of insecurity in the country or risk impeachment.
I don’t blame the lawmakers. The way things are going, they may wake up one day to discover that the National Assembly complex is no more and that some distinguished and honourable lawmakers are in kidnappers’ den. So, in their enlightened self-interest, they must act now or perish with other vulnerable citizens.
Nevertheless, threatening impeachment is one thing, carrying it out is a different ball game. Will the Northern Caucus in the National Assembly join in removing the President? Will the All Progressives Congress (APC) members truly append their signatures? Will the majority of Nigerians support that Buhari should go now considering that the man will automatically bow out in a few months time? If Buhari’s tenure is cut short now by an act of impeachment or kidnapping, will the North not claim that its tenure has not expired? Will it not translate into the same North remaining in power, at least for another four years? The region is still ruing the shortfall in its turn when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died suddenly in 2010.
My plea to the terrorists is that before they enter Aso Rock to kidnap our President, they should remember that we have a general election next year. They should please ignore the Federal Government’s statement which described their threat as laughable and a mere propaganda tool to instill fear in the citizens.
To our President, I plead that he reassures us that the alarm bells which Danjuma, Mailafia and some others triggered off at different times are a mere hogwash; and that the ‘Talibanisation’ of Aso Rock is the figment of the imagination of some alarmists. As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Buhari bears the burden of all Nigerians. He should not disappoint us. What we owe him is continuous prayer so that the type of tragedy that befell King Odewale and the land of Kutuje will neither be his portion nor that of Nigeria.
Re: Will you miss Buhari?
I never voted Buhari because I knew that his regime would be the worst in Nigeria’s history. Nigerians didn’t suffer this much even under IBB and Abacha. The day Buhari was declared the winner by Jega’s INEC in 2015 was a mournful day for me and millions of Nigerians. We can’t wait to see him complete his tenure and leave. In fact, Nigerians would be eternally grateful to God if Buhari conducts a peaceful election. No future president can divide Nigeria the way Buhari has divided this country. I will never miss him but rather feel relieved that I survived his plagued regime.
-Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri, +2348061562735
Mr. Casmir, thanks so much for speaking the mind of over 95million Nige
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