By Yinka Quadiri
NIGERIA IS NOT SMILING
Please, permit me to skip the usual courtesies, pleasantries and niceties in view of the dire, desperate and extraordinary state of emergency that this country, Nigeria has found itself in recent times. It is beyond any pretense whatsoever that all is not well with the Nigerian state. To an average Nigerian at whatever corner of the country, life has become one hell of an experience as things continue to deteriorate and oscillate between the unthinkable and the unimaginable.
Sadness and sorrow have completely taken over the land as life and living have become sordid, scorched and desolate, and the singular ambition of the majority of the Nigerian people both young and old is to flee the country so as to escape the encircling catastrophe.
Your Excellency sir, while you may not be held solely responsible for this threatening state failure, you may be considered responsible for intensifying the mess that has become the lot of this country. Before your second coming as a democratic leader of the Nigerian nation in 2015, everything that could possibly go wrong with any nation had gone wrong with Nigeria including a deadly civil war that left everybody vanquished and the country terribly diminished. These were the challenges that the majority of those who believed in you thought you were coming to fix.
Unfortunately, up until this very day, the leadership of the country both past and present never learnt any lesson from those internal or external experiences as bitter and gory as they were hence the sustained naked dance at the market place.
All the leaders that the country has produced in the last six decades have performed well below average to the dismay and disappointment of the expectant Nigerian people. They have all contributed their own quota to this overwhelming social degeneration and general dehumanization.
While we recognize the pivotal responsibility of the president in fixing the problems confronting the country, we cannot discountenance the complicity of state governors and Local Government Chairpersons across the country for worsening the fates and fortunes of their people particularly since the advent of democracy in the last two decades.
Today, nothing is working across the entire length and breadth of the country, with things getting worse by the day. How the people have been able to adjust to these unimaginable maladies remains a mystery to global observers who expected more from the people of Nigeria if not from their leaders. The Nigerian people, unlike most other peoples of the world have demonstrated extreme tolerance and long-suffering with regards to the ruthless and self-consumed leadership that has cannibalized them through the passage of time.
For about sixty years, Nigeria has been a country on a gruesome hold with the entire commonwealth obscenely appropriated by acquisitive leaders while generations of the people abashedly and unfairly wallow in abject poverty and squalor deliberately designed by the governments.
THE CURRENT DANGER
The calamity foisted on the country by questionable leadership that has lorded over the Nigerian people since independence is today compounded and complicated by a new threat that portends the kind of tragedy that would devastate humanity, stretch human imagination and scathe the sensibility of the whole world. The dimension of this current threat to the peace of the Nigerian nation is grievously ominous and it is like such that only happens once in a global era. Nigeria is currently threading carelessly on very dangerous grounds and the Federal Government under your leadership is perceived to be the sponsor and facilitator of this imminent tragedy.
While delivering your first public address on August 21, 2017, two days after returning from a three-month medical leave between May 7 and August 19, 2017, you emphasized that the unity of Nigeria was ‘settled and not negotiable’ without making any reference to your journey, your absence and without offering any update. This needless statement to say the least was pathetic and it largely represented everything that is wrong with Nigeria as a country. That comment was not only largely unfair, it was also grossly insensitive.
Unfair and insensitive because having gone for a whole of three months to access the kind of medical treatment that an average Nigerian cannot get either at home or abroad, what Nigerians deserved was a bit of understanding and consideration from the person who was under the obligation to make life better for them.
A similar experience repeated itself after your son had a ghastly motorbike accident on December 26, 2017 in Abuja. After taking initial treatment, he was subsequently flown abroad for appropriate treatment because such was not available in Nigeria.
How many Nigerians can afford even the inadequate treatment in Nigeria not to mention foreign medical services? Today, after four years of your presidency, the health delivery system of the country has not improved in any significant way only for you to assault our sensibilities with your non-negotiable unity of Nigeria because you and your family are enjoying the best of life in all areas of life.
It seems your professed love for Nigeria is only limited to the name and not about the people that make up the space. These are some of the evident irreconcilable challenges that you face as a leader. If you love Nigeria, you must love the people that constitute the country.
WHAT MANNER OF LOVE?
If you love Nigeria Mr. President, you will love the entire people of Nigeria without a singular exception and you must be ready to sacrifice everything for their welfare. If you love Nigeria, you must love the Ijaw people, the Ibibio people, the Anang people, the Idoma people, the Tiv people, the Igbo people, the Birom people, the Nupe people, the Kanuri people, the Hausa people, the Igede people, the Bachama people, the Ogoni people, the Edo people, the Bassa people, the Koma people and the Yoruba people including all other unmentioned ethnic groups in Nigeria. Indeed, if you truly love Nigeria, you must love every soul that belongs in this country.
It is based on this foundation of love that we expected you to have declared a state of emergency on the critical areas of security, food, health, education, economy, employment, energy and infrastructure. With the promises and expectations of your campaigns and the presidency after handover, we did not reckon you will be like other leaders across the country spanning different eras in all tiers and sectors of the society who are happy to send their families abroad for the best things of life while the majority of our people wallow in poverty, penury and pains.
If you truly love the country Mr. President, you will love every child as you love your sons and daughters; you will love every woman as you love your wife and sisters; you will love every man as you love yourself and your brothers.
Up until now, Nigerians have had to live with all sorts of harsh and unpleasant lives including injustices, wickedness, shenanigans and treacheries from their leaders who do not care about anything or anyone but themselves and their families. Nigerians are longsuffering and they have demonstrated a limitlessly elastic spirit of endurance and tolerance to the hostilities and brutalities that the leadership class of which you are a prominent member has ruthlessly visited upon them from independence till date.
For about six decades, nothing has worked in a sustainable way in Nigeria to the delight of all the people. It has always been different regimes of self-serving opportunists and their cronies with Nigeria moving steadily from bad to worse.
THE NEW FRIGHTENING CHALLENGE
Today however, Nigeria has entered a new frightening season and Nigerians are faced with a new challenge altogether which makes past grisly experiences look like a child’s play. It is the Era of Death, an ugly epoch of unprecedented bloodletting, inhuman brutality and horrendous barbarity against the Nigerian people both at home and in the Diaspora.
It is a terrifying era of suspected villainous and beastly agenda of conquest and colonization of the majority of Nigerian peoples from the north to the south by the Fulani Nomadic Oligarchy. It is an era that is promising to substantially put our humanity to the utmost test as partakers of the human fellowship. We must decide here and now to either pass or fail this historical test. There is no third option.
We will pass this test if this dreadful supposition is false, and we would woefully fail the test if this apparent impression is not immediately corrected and the fears of Nigerian peoples put to a final rest by reversing the hostile and aggressive tendencies of the marauding assailants who seem to be invincible to our security system and have significantly invaded every part of the country.
This unsettling threat to human civilization was brought to a head by the warning given to some state governments along with a 30-day ultimatum given to the federal government by some miscreants who addressed a press conference on July 4, 2019 under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Groups which was led by one Abdul-Azeez Suleiman claiming to represent the north while speaking specifically in the interest of the Fulani nation.
One wonders which north the clowns were referring to, the northwest that is being ravaged by rampaging bandits either foreign or local; the northeast that is being vanquished by the invading evil Boko Haram; or the middle belt that has been wickedly decimated by marauding herdsmen?
In all of these scourges and killings perpetrated against the majority of the people of the north by people from the north or even aliens, what did the Fulani leadership do to sympathize and assuage the sufferings and suspicions of their compatriots? Nothing! It is the same people of the south that have been sympathizing and rallying round the besieged and terrorized majority people of the north.
Apart from the Fulani people, particularly of the nomadic stock who seem to be having fun, the rest of the northern people from all the nineteen states are living in extreme and unrelieved misery. Across the entire Nigerian nation and also beyond, it seems to be the Fulani people that are at war with every other group.
HISTORICAL REVIEW OF EVIDENT DISCRIMINATION
Looking back at history, it is evident that this agenda has been subtly pursued through many of the policies implemented by different governments often led by Fulani people and seeming Fulani apologists. It is now that a lot of government actions hitherto thought insignificant are making sense. For instance, on what ground should Arabic be written on Nigeria’s paper currencies and what logic can possibly support such extreme impunity? Why should the legend on the Nigerian Army emblem be in Arabic?
What is the sense of Federal Character policy that subordinates better qualifications to inferior ones because of place of origin instead of building the capacity of all Nigerians from everywhere to meet global standards?
Is it not a collective indictment on all leaders in Nigeria that there is such a retrogressive policy that gives priority to a candidate who scores 20% over another that scores 80% because the candidate with the lower score is from a so-called educationally disadvantaged state instead of strengthening the education of the disadvantaged states? How did Nigeria get this low by putting mediocrity over meritocracy and why did all our leaders across all the geopolitical zones allow this aberration to be considered in the first place and perpetuated eventually?
Why should the Fulani herdsmen be allowed to bear military grade weapons like AK 47 while the generality of the Nigerian people are forbidden from doing same? Are we not all entitled to equal access to security? These policies and practices are not only short of justice and merit; they are also bereft of common sense and must therefore be discontinued forthwith.
When the Niger Delta agitation was pacified and the Biafra restlessness was ruthlessly confronted, it beats any human imagination that massive and extensive killings across the country can go on without any major intervention by the government in the form of stern reprimands, arrests and prosecutions where necessary despite the open confessions and identities of some of the culprits.
It is unfortunate that until now, the rampaging killers across the country have not been dissuaded from their dastardly criminalities in any way. Rather, there are concerted efforts that seemingly urge them on.
On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, some groups from the North addressed a press conference at the Arewa House in Kaduna. The simple and direct message of the press conference was the decision to give all the Igbo and other southeastern people that are living in the Northern part of Nigeria an ultimatum to quit every part of the North by the 1st of October of that year.
This mandate was according to the coalition informed by the persistent agitation by some Igbo for the breakaway of their ethnic group from the rest of Nigeria to form an independent and sovereign country of their own to be known as the Republic of Biafra. Despite the known identities of these rabble rousers nothing was done to discourage the continuing instigation of chaos and the breaching of the sovereignty of Nigeria through explosive and inciting statements.
In similar manner, another group called Arewa Youths Forum came out boldly on August 15, of same year to warn the political leaders from the South-West against plotting to take over power from the North in 2019. The group led by one Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu vowed that the North will resist attempts to remove President Buhari from power in the 2019 elections implying that they will not accept the democratic decision of the Nigerian people if not in their favour. Again, these people are known and they were not cautioned, they were not reprimanded and they were not prosecuted.
In a more brazen dimension after the January 1, 2018 attack on five communities in the Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the state in which over 20 persons were murdered, Garos Gololo, the Chairman of the Benue State Chapter of another group calling itself Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in an interview with BBC reiterated the herders’ position.
He insinuated that the killings were in retaliation for the death of 207 cows and theft of another 1,000 by some people in the state. This fellow is not a spirit, and he was not known to have been reprimanded for this effrontery.
The instances are endless where some recalcitrant Fulani youths and elders supported by some Fulani leaders and tolerated by governments go about threatening fellow Nigerians simply because the rest of the country have been accommodating. In a seeming effort to hide the identity of these attackers, the government insisted that the marauding herdsmen were not Nigerians as if identity or origin is a defense or justification for the destruction of lives and properties.
In an extremely abnormal case that defies all logic, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai claimed to have paid and compensated the assailants that were killing the people of his state on the pretext that the payment would discourage further attacks on the people. Should any compassionate leader be compensating such horrid barbarity and for how long would he continue to pay ransom for the lives of his people?
Similarly in an unbelievable manner, the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari on Thursday, August 29, 2019 held talks with representatives of bandits terrorizing the state supposedly with a view to finding a permanent solution.
As if this state surrender which is forcing governments in Nigeria to recognize, respect and compensate criminality was not bad enough, the spokesman of the President, Mr. Femi Adesina appeared on national television to warn Nigerian people to surrender their lands to the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle rather than get killed.
That was a grossly shameful, insensitive and open encouragement of the onslaught against the very people that the government was established to protect. When you illegally, forcefully and aggressively take over people’s land, what life is left in them? Is Mr. Femi Adesina ignorant of the fact that in Africa, land is the foundation and sustenance of life and communal dignity?
SUSPECTED PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT
Mr. President, your government has evidently been extraordinarily gentle in dealing with all the numerous Fulani misdemeanors and criminalities that are destroying the country across all the geopolitical zones. We hear of amnesty for those who kill, maim and rape for no just reason.
We have not seen an all-out war declared against those ferociously and violently overrunning the country. And we hear of plans to disarm peaceful members of the society who are only intent on protecting themselves. Is this not the time a caring government should be arming its vulnerable citizens in the face of an insurmountable and growing wholesale anarchy?
But what we hear are stories of Billions of naira largesse payed by the government to further the interests of these suspected and self-confessed attackers. We hear of a radio station to be specifically built for Fulani herdsmen and for their exclusive language and use. We hear of plans to deliberately integrate the military into the cattle business by attaching cattle rearing to barracks with the unimaginable claim by the military to have sent officers and men abroad to learn how to manage cattle ranches.
Also not too long ago, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) through the Commandant General openly declared its plan to deploy its officers and men to protect and secure cattle and cattle colonies wherever they occur across the country. This is happening in a country where human lives are utterly unsafe and insecure.
It is equally astonishing that just less than the five years of your administration; your government has introduced five schemes to cater especially to the interest of the Fulani herdsmen alone. It all started with the Grazing Routes which was followed with the Grazing Reserve and the Nigerian people rejected these plans vehemently. This idea was further repackaged as the Cattle Colony that was also not acceptable nor accepted by the people.
The Ruga Settlement was introduced clandestinely to the angst and chagrin of Nigerians concurrently with the latest one called National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) – all these for the Fulani herders that are most likely less than 5% of the Nigerian population. This is patently unfair Mr. President.
The suspicion of the supremacist agenda of the nomadic oligarchy bordering on conquest and colonization, and championed by some crude Fulani revisionists has been reinforced by the irritating statement of Abdul-Azeez and his co-travelers. Regrettably, this inglorious journey of perdition has been left unchallenged and unchastised by the federal government and other Fulani leaders…
And this is one provocation too many. Nigerians across the entire country including the middle belt, the northeast and the northwest are tired of this offensive arrogance of some uncultured and over-pampered mischief-makers who are hell-bent on giving Mr. President a bad name and are determined to destroy our great country. Enough is enough of this impudent and provocative indiscretion. It shall no longer be tolerated or condoned.
Rather than continue to fan the embers of needless hostility, what is expected of responsible and patriotic citizens is concerted commitment to support the President to rescue Nigeria from becoming a failed state and transform Nigeria from a poorly rated third world country to at least second world if not a first world country. But today unlike any time before, the majority of Nigerians have lost hope in the viability of Nigeria and those of us who remain committed to the Nigeria Project are beginning to sound like broken records while we are understandably regarded as treacherous traitors, betrayers of our people and haters of our heritage.
It is these ethnic rabble rousers and the continuing degeneration and growing insecurity in the country that have further reinforced this unfortunate perspective of an impending revolution and not the Revolution Now campaign and its youthful proponents who are justifiably feeling largely shortchanged by the society.
SEVERAL DEATHS TOO MANY
At the height of this breakdown is the conscienceless murder of the daughter of the Yoruba leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti on July 12, 2019. The lame retractions that Mrs. Funke Olakunrin was killed by armed robbers or some other hoodlums, is neither consoling nor reassuring. At least the sad incident speaks very clearly and audibly to the despicable insecurity in the country and it is a clear message to the Yoruba people that is duly and fully understood.
Sometimes in August of 2018, there was a report that at least 30 Nigerian soldiers died in combat with Boko Haram jihadists who overran a military base in the northeast near the border with Niger Republic. And just recently, Nigerian Army also confirmed that it lost two officers and three soldiers in the attack launched against troops by Boko Haram in Yobe State on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. All these are not cheery news. Indeed, they are scary news.
If our military and security operatives are becoming easy targets of this stateless, ragtag bunch of ruffians, then something is not right because we know that our security men and women are parts of the best in the world if they were well managed, coordinated and catered for. Our officers and men are gallant indeed. It is leadership that must do the right thing for our security sector. Nigeria will never become another Afghanistan under any circumstance.
Democracy is also under unprecedented threats as of today in Nigeria and it is only God’s grace that has so far sustained the country. Everything that is undermining the survival and developmental growth of democracy, freedom, justice, equity and fairness must be done away with. This is the second greatest task that must be accomplished by the leadership of Nigeria now.
Strengthened democracy and collective prosperity are the minimum requirements for the survival and unity of Nigeria and not any verbal declaration of the indivisibility of the country. The only condition that can keep Nigeria one is for the President to visibly cater to the interest of all and not a part. These discriminatory treatments will neither work nor reinforce the declarations of Mr. President to be a father to all.
In actual fact, current global practices are not supportive of the various government cattle plans in any way which is further fueling the suspicion of a hidden agenda, a fear which the President must strive to allay if Nigeria must remain one, with peace restored to the land. It is high time the President looked into the virulent allegation of nepotism with the intention to diffusing the negative feeling. The government should also begin to look at the critical sectors of the society including power, petroleum, infrastructures and economy, and integrate every ethnic group into its holistic development plan.
Almost every area of Nigeria’s national life has completely collapsed as things are getting worse. Apart from the less than 10% of the population in Nigeria made up those who have access to public coffers, outright criminals and a very few lucky ones, the rest of the Nigerian people are pauperized and impoverished, and are living in sub-human conditions.
It is your primary duty and those of all your close personal and professional aides and allies to not only change this situation in perspective, but also in reality. There is an urgent need to commence full and unrelenting development across the entire nooks and crannies of the country to assuage the bitterness and anger of the people who feel that the Fulani people are determined to subjugate, dispossess and enslave the rest of the Nigerian people.
THE OMINOUS CLOUDS
Once again Mr. President, in the chequered life of this beleaguered country, the ominous clouds have gathered and it is threatening a hugely disastrous downpour that would cause a flood across the entire African continent that would sweep away the fragile civilization and flimsy progress that the black humanity has been able to attain. As the President and father of the nation, you have the preeminent responsibility to avert this looming catastrophe.
If you summon the courage to be a true statesman and rise up now to this thoroughly challenging and distressful situation, you may not only still be able to redeem your name and legacy, you may still also be able to save the entire country and continent from the threatening colossal but needless apocalypse the magnitude that promises to be very rare in the annals of human history.
So far Your Excellency, you have ostensibly failed with regards to this expectation and worse still, you appear to be a vigorous party in this ensuing national imbroglio. Today in the court of public opinion, you stand accused of passive complicity, if not of active collaboration in the unholy agenda of conquest and colonization driven with the gruesome ongoing genocide that is promising to tear this country asunder and undo it. It is disheartening that rather than focus on these very serious problems, it is cattle business that has taken the whole of your attention and the devotion of your government.
Thank God for the matured composure of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Yoruba nation, and of all the other ethnic groups in the country who have been pacifying the younger and hot-blooded generations who are totally outraged by the prevalent political, social and economic oppression, suppression, repression and subjugation of the vast majority of the Nigerian nation by a few oligarchs. This is no longer acceptable and it is no longer tolerable.
This is not a religious issue; it is simply more like one small group internationally inspired to enslave the rest. I am of no doubt whatsoever that the rest of the Nigerian people will not allow this to happen, whatever the cost. Any imaginary attempt by any one group or the look of it, to dominate the others shall be vehemently, unequivocally and defiantly resisted.
It is my hope and expectation that this wild but growing assumption is not the case and that it remains a figment of the imagination of its proponents. Mr. President Sir, you, the people working with you and any other person or group who might have been playing with such thought should know that this is an outrageous, unrealistic and illusory venture that would leave nothing but devastating and debilitating destruction in its wake.
It is therefore not in the interest of anyone to harbor such archaic, anachronistic and monstrous intention. Indeed, the contemplation of it alone can be equally as catastrophic and disastrous as its implementation. It is therefore exceedingly important and imperative for you and your team Mr. President, to find a way to quickly douse the kindling spark of resentment before it becomes a conflagration that would consume all and sundry.
I led a group to the north for several weeks last year and the fear is real and the tension is palpable. The time to act is now. Tomorrow is definitely too late.
In good faith, my advice to you, your inner circle and all those who love you is for you all, to quickly and collectively rise up to engage in the following recommendations:
- Declare a State-of-Emergency on Development in Nigeria and begin the tedious task of building the country through active, impactful and integrated development masterplan that carries every group along.
- Correct past anomalies including skewed policies, programs, projects and appointments that tend to favor one ethnic group over and above the others.
- Initiate an extensive process of reconciliation and forgiveness among all Nigerians particularly with and between those who are feeling aggrieved including individuals and ethnic nationalities.
- Build on the principle of collective love where all will have a sense of brotherhood and togetherness.
- Become a father to all and demonstrate equal affection to all and sundry.
THE COUNTER ULTIMATUM
In concluding Mr. President, I wish to make it crystal and explicitly clear on behalf of the organizations I lead, and the entire Nigerian people that the exuberant carelessness and excessive indiscretions of some of your people led by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and his kind have become completely intolerable and it shall no longer be tolerated.
Because we are convinced that you cannot be part of their ridiculous and inglorious circus, we are hereby requesting you to use your good offices to call them to order and mandate them to tender a public apology to the Nigerian people for the effrontery of the ultimatum they gave, failure after which you should direct that legal actions should be taken against them. Nobody has the right to threaten other Nigerians; it is direct invitation of anarchy.
If either of these two suggestions mentioned above is not adopted and executed within thirty days of the release of this publication (I.e. Wednesday, November 20, 2019), we shall be forced to decisively demonstrate our resolve not necessarily against Mr. President, but definitely against the inchoate minds that issued the cheeky ultimatum in the following ways:
- The respite enjoyed by the inciters shall be construed as an endorsement and a confirmation that the supremacist fear of conquest and colonization is real and the president is not particularly averse to it
- We shall make a comprehensive representation to the National Assembly to commence serious inquiry into this combustible arrogance of these agents provocateurs who Mr. President is not seemingly willing to openly correct and reprimand for whatever reason
- We shall also initiate litigation in the appropriate court of law against these incendiary statements, hate speeches and inciting representations that are threatening the unity and stability of the country
- We shall commence immediate and aggressive local and international advocacy exposing general leadership failure in the country
- Your government shall be held responsible for every life lost and every property destroyed henceforth due to the unbridled activities of the Fulani militias and marauding bandits
- We shall initiate Free-Gun Law litigation at the judicial level, and a bill at the legislative level to augment the efforts of the security agencies who are too stretched and in need of support
- We shall propose a bill to the National Assembly for one-year compulsory full military training for all Nigerians below thirty years of age and voluntary security training for Nigerians above thirty years of age from the date of commencement of the enabling law
- Agitation and action for the consideration, adoption and implementation of the Reports of the 2014 Constitutional Conference as sine qua non to the continuous existence of Nigeria through all legal and appropriate means shall be relentlessly pursued
- All necessary democratic instruments shall be deployed by the Nigerian people, youths, professionals and other stakeholders to ensure that the negligible minority is not allowed to manipulate, intimidate, frustrate and overrun the substantial majority
- We shall inspire the activation of all available constitutional processes of enthroning and birthing the New Nigeria as visualized in the New Nigeria Dream
Mr. President, elections are over and even the election tribunal has ruled in your favour howbeit. It is therefore now time for serious work. So that your time and tenure may be remembered for good, let us pray to God to grant you the required courage and capacity to take the right decisions and work for the peace, prosperity and progress of Nigeria which some of us have been, and are still visibly and irrevocably committed to.
God bless Nigeria and God bless Nigerians.
Project Coordinator, BUILDERS OF NEW NIGERIA. ÌYÀYÍTÓ OMOLÚÀBÍ (BNN SOUTHWEST OPERATIONS). Email: email@example.com
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