BENUE MASSACRE AND TRAGEDY OF BUHARI’S SILENCE - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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1/14/2018

BENUE MASSACRE AND TRAGEDY OF BUHARI’S SILENCE

BENUE MASSACRE AND TRAGEDY OF BUHARI’S SILENCE
The incessant Fulani herdsmen’s attacks got messier during the week that just ended. Victims of the most recent
horrendous attacks in Nigeria, numbering 73, who died during the attack on villagers and farmers at Guma and Logo local government area of Benue state, were given mass burial in Makurdi with a tear-provoking public display of their caskets. At their burial on Thursday in Makurdi, the state governor, Samuel Ortom, had wept profusely. “For several years, these attackers have turned our beautiful and endowed land into their killing fields…The dead bore the characteristics of Fulani militia brutality – slit throats, deep cuts from machetes on the head, chest, back and neck with some of their private parts removed. It was well planned and clinically executed with specific targets,” he had lamented at the funeral for the massacred. Ortom had earlier held a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock presidential villa.
During the week as well, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose did a symbolic demonstration of the state’s lack of trust in the Federal Government’s ability to protect its citizens. He had rallied local hunters against possible invasion by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The governor claimed that intelligence report available to him revealed that “Bororo herdsmen” had surreptitiously meandered into the state, even as he urged the hunters that when they returned to their various homes, they should be poised to “defend their people.”
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka too, during the week, gave intellectual imprimatur to the anguish and anger of the people of Nigeria. In a piece he entitled “Impunity Rides Again” he eviscerated the clash by berating Buhari for his loud silence in condemning the serial killings of the herdsmen. He drew similarity between this eerie silence and the initial disbelief of his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, to the kidnap of Chibok girls by Boko Haram militia. He asked why they have “been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us?”
In the midst of this national outcry, idiocy in high places also took over the stratosphere, seeking to elbow commonsense out of the sphere. Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, in a long epistle on why the menace of Fulani herdsmen persists, had said that in Europe, every farmed cow gets government subsidy of Six Euros per day and said that the failure of successive Nigerian governments to do same to cow farmers must have been responsible for their visceral anger and menace. He also revealed that government was planning what he called “cattle colonies”.
The penchant of people at the top not to put a sieve on their thoughts too did not abate. Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris add his idiocy to the number. After a closed-door meeting with Buhari last Friday, he had said that communal crisis was responsible for the gruesome massacre by the heartless Fulani cattle rearers. “Obviously it is communal crisis. Herdsmen are part of the community. They are Nigerians and are part of the community, are they not?” he had said. But upon a demand for his apology for such misguided statement by leader of the grieving Benue mothers, Rebecca Apezan, Idris was forced to apologise for this obtuse cant.



President Buhari has however kept his usual silence on the massacre. As we speak, Buhari hasn’t uttered a single personal statement or addressed a world press conference to denounce this mindless onslaught on the people under his rule. The closest he has done was a terse statement from his media minders which made his silence even more palpably insulting and an order to Idris to relocate to Benue State.
Many people have sought to locate the foundation or purport of this apparently unprecedented silence. Could it be a disdain by the President for the people’s “needless” outcry on a “mere massacre” of “ordinary” 73 people? Could the silence, as one writer puts it, epitomize Buhari’s contempt for the people of Nigeria? Could it be tacit consent for the dastardly act of his Fulani herdsmen? Could it be that the President cannot be bothered about such “triviality”? Does this silence approximate the totality of Buhari’s perception of the other person?
Many empirical examples have been offered to situate this silence. Some brought back afresh his spat with late former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina over same Fulani herdsmen’s menace in the state where he denounced Adesina that “your people are killing my people” and Adesina – who was not known to suffer fools gladly, giving him the back of his tongue. Buhari’s ethnicisation of the Boko Haram insurgency during the Goodluck Jonathan era, publicly claiming that attacks on the insurgents were attacks on the North, was also offered as mirroring where the President stands; and many more.
But why would a President remain ostensibly unruffled in the midst of a broken cistern of blood spillage in his country as this? A commentator wondered how the President could live with the fact that, under 24 hours, he had paid a visit to his son, Yusuff who had an elite fancy-propelled automobile accident but hasn’t said a word on 72 people murdered by his Fulani kin. Can anyone imagine such happening in the United States of America and all Donald Trump does is ask his Press Secretary to dish out the ritualistic press release shibboleth without personally addressing Americans, either in person or through his infantile tweets? If one may ask, how difficult is it for Buhari to verbalize his so-called outrage at the killings? Can anyone claim to know the president’s disposition to killings of this hue at all? Are we sure we have not elected a president who has hematological obsession for or fascination with the blood spilled by his Fulani kinsmen?
Since his coming into national prominence in 1984 as head of a military junta, Nigerians have reckoned with Buhari’s inexplicable taciturnity. In defence of this scant talks which he often obfuscate by his heavy Fulani ascent, his minders claim this approximates the evergreen quip that a soldier speaks with his action. In the heat of his embarrassing gaffe of mis-pronouncing Angela Merkel of Germany’s name; his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which he called All, his bringing back to life an extinct Western Germany and the unpardonable infelicity of putting down the female gender right there in the presence of the most powerful woman in the world – Merkel – many have asked that Nigerians should have begun to query the content of the President’s mental composition. For all we care, these all could symptomise a budding mental defect or devious persona that is being shielded from the public’s eyes. Americans are at the moment submitting that the several inconsistencies from Trump could be as a result of a mental defect. The Buhari deafening silence on virtually everything doesn’t just add up. I hope Nigerians and Americans realize the tragedy of their choice.
Thumb up for C. A
The people who today must appreciate the essence of security are the people of Benue State. This is why, either covertly or overtly, a Chief Security Officer of a state must be or be seen to be atop the security of his state. Take Ayo Fayose’s resistance of Fulani herdsmen as an example. Renowned lawyer, Itse Sagay said this much when Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, in the wake of the herdsmen’s menace in his state, took to public lamentations rather than act. He had berated Ortom for acting like an effeminate sissy. Indeed, securing a people, security scholars have said, is perhaps the most basic of all the requirements of governance; perhaps more important than the provision of food and shelter.
For the people of Oyo State, especially those who knew the chaotic position the state was before 2011, the debate is not whether there is comparative peace now as indeed there is; the debate is, is the peace as a result of deft mental calculations, heavy underground artilleries against chaos or providence’s intervention to silence the forces of dissent? Since Nigeria is not the Pope’s Holy See where the latter thought can be allowed to gain currency, it is more likely that, as they say in philosophical arguments for the existence of God, an Uncaused Causer is at play.
We may have issues with Abiola Ajimobi’s politics but it may be hard to disagree with his intervention on security. The basic truth is that, any government that desires inflow of investment requires a maximum level of protection of its citizens. This writer went beyond the superficial and found out that, at its weekly State Security Council Meetings, information is shared on various levels of strategies on crime and the governor is passionate about daily briefings on security situation in the state with the strategy culminating in the setting up of the State Security Trust Fund.
The truth is, the Federal Government is just there in name, especially in the area of security which though is on the Exclusive List, it funds seldom. Oyo government thus assists security agencies in their fight against crime through purchase of operational vehicles and also insures every member of Operation Burst against injury or death. It was also learnt that the Fund is embarking on funding an Emergency Telephone Centre and also carrying out a Light Up Ibadan Project as pilot scheme to reduce incessant crimes in some areas. Can we have thumbs up for Mr. Constituted Authority, (C.A.) please?
Akure and Ariyomo
A very laughable dissent by some people in so-called high places is said to be spreading like the proverbial Chinua Achebe bushfire in the harmattan in the ancient city of Akure, Ondo State. Subject of this objectionable dissent is the Deji, His Majesty Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, Odundun 11. Apparently wary of the scant governmental regard for his Akure people and palace, during President Buhari’s visit to him, the Deji, like any sensible monarch should do, had asked him to consider Akure sons and daughters in his appointments. He reportedly followed this up by writing a letter to the President recommending one of his subjects, a highly cerebral engineer and current Special Adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Public Utilities, Tunji Light Ariyomo, and specifically stating areas where Ariyomo’s mental endowments can be tapped by Nigeria which will cumulatively benefit the Akure kingdom.
This writer has met this very committed youth and can attest to Ariyomo’s mental depth, patriotism and zeal to change the status-quo. Ariyomo was one of the APC gubernatorial hopeful in the state in last year’s election.
Self-touted principalities and power, chief among whom is a son of Akure, are said to be against this commendable move of the Deji and are said to have begun moves to instigate the censuring of Ariyomo by the governor and ensure that Buhari stands down his nomination. This same character, perhaps in carrying out his disdain with an age-long claim of superiority of Akure people over his own people, has done everything possible to put down the Deji and the stool, including supporting a character said to be an Akure, ostensibly without.
This writer identifies with the Kabiyesi in his quest for his people. I pray Governor Akeredolu would not be suaded by these self-serving characters.
Akintola: They don’t want us to live together

Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of the coup that ushered in the military into the Nigerian polity, the death of some icons of the Nigerian state of the First Republic. For political scientists and students of constitutionalism, it also marked the death of federalism and the ascendancy of unitarist-federalism, wherein you can locate Nigeria’s current woes. It was in that putsch that some of the brightest minds of the republic like the Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, SLA Akintola and others were mercilessly murdered.

The Nigerian state has since moved on but memories of the putsch have yet lingered. In the Western Region, the death of SLA was the culmination of a bitter struggle which pitched his Leader and friend, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Action Group against his own political rump. That fight divided Yorubaland so much that its flakes still linger till today. Both Awolowo and Akintola were the apogee of the best that any people could ever desire. If you combine Awolowo’s consummate love for his people and his developmental politics with Akintola’s highly applauded mental acumen and depth, you will agree that their bloody tiff which threw the land into political darkness was a very deep blow that hit the people which, upon hindsight, like Bob Marley said, was engineered by the Northern hegemons “to keep us fussing and fighting.”
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