By Rèmí Oyèyemí
I have just gone through the harrowing experience of reading the comments of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu on what he called “Herders Crisis.” That the title of the statement itself amounts to calcification of the serious issue(s) at stake underscores what an Historian at the former University of Ife, Dr. Segun Osoba, described as “bankruptcy of character.”
In the first place, the extant situation speaks to more than what Tinubu describes as “Herders Crisis.” The situation which has seen the invasion of ancestral lands of several others by an ethnic nationality coming in loads of trailers without “cows” could not qualify as “herders crisis.” The incessant kidnappings and murders of innocent autochthonous populations could not qualify as “herders crisis.” The refusal of the Nigeria Police to arrest criminals and their collaborations with crooks could not qualify as “herders crisis.” Yes, we have Herders with their cows plundering the farm of innocent famers, but the issue at stake has metastasized beyond what Tinubu isolated in his prevaricating statement as just “herders crisis.”
He had written inter alia:
“Despite the efforts of some of those in position of high responsibility and public trust, the crisis has not significantly abated.”
Obviously, Tinubu is probably still in Equitorial-Guinea when he released the statement for him not to know that the Mohammadu Buhari junta has not taken any specific step to address the security situation in the country, except the chasing of Yahoo Boys up and down. If he had samples of the step taken by the junta, he should have used that as the basis to launch his “critique” which ended up being not so constructively critical.
“Sadly, others who should know better have incited matters by tossing about hate-tainted statements…”
This quote by Tinubu encapsulates his unfeeling and unsympathetic disposition to the victims of kidnapping, murder, rape, arson and dispossession. Rather than recognize the reactions of these victims as stemming from their traumatic experiences, he was blaming them for expressing their frustrations in his attempt to be “politically correct.” He called for “sobriety” which could not be said to be out of place, but what about being candid about the collaboration of Federal Government agencies continuously encouraged by the Aso Rock not to enforce the law against the criminals?
Another paragraph in the statement reads this:
“Yes, as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, we must realize security measures alone will not suffice. Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step.”
Thank goodness that Tinubu recognizes that security is “vital to the resolution of this matter.” I agree with him that “security measures alone will not suffice.” But rather than coming up with what would suffice aside from security measures, he dove headlong into the putrid pool of pulverizing those he accused of “reckless chauvinism.”
In exercising his inalienable constitutional right, he then opined, “This matter is not ethnic in factual origin or actual causation although in the minds and hearts of too many it has become ethnic in recrimination and impulsive action.”
As pointed out, Tinubu has every right to his opinion. But the fallacy embedded in that opinion have to be highlighted, because he arrogates to himself the role of a leader. The question then arises : what is the “factual origin or actual causation” of the extant crisis?
From Birom land to Igala land, Tiv land to Mumuye land, Ibo land to Edo land, Nupe land to Yorùbá land and so on, everyone recognises a recurring decimal of Fulani invasion and criminalities aided and abetted by Aso Rock against these autochthonous peoples.
Even, the Sultan of Sokoto came out to admit that almost eight of ten kidnappers were Fulani. But there is no record of any other ethnic nationality invading the lands of others other than the Fulani.
Tinubu could not have been oblivious to these occurrences. For him to claim that the matter “is not ethnic in factual origin” is fantastically fatuous. It is the height of inexactitude bothering on irresponsibilty, especially coming from someone like him.
He mentioned the dislocation of the Herders as being responsible for their aggression. But he failed to acknowledge that no herder has any right to graze on another man’s land without his consent. Yes, he pointed out that herders are “fighting a losing battle,” but according to him, only against “modernity and climate change.” What about the owners of the land? What about those whose lands are being invaded? Are they not to be reckoned with in this situation? Tinubu avoided that like a plague, thus once again justifying the position of his critics that he has no compassion for the Yorùbá people beyond using them as cannon fodders in his chess game of ambition.
He pretended to chip in for the farmer, saying “to help the herder and leave the farmer unattended is unfair and will only trigger a resentment that tracks already heated ethnic fault lines.” He once again avoided the issue of land grabbing and invasion. Or is the farmer expected to farm in the sky? Is the fertilizers and machines going to be deployed in the sky?
With this kind of rigmarole statement, one could understand the reason for our Dr. Lasisi Olagunju, asking, “What is the message there?”
The statement is an exasperating exercise in inexactitude and an impudent platitude played as positive message to an agonizing people.
The statement showcased the challenges of a bankrupt leadership with a cluttered vision and muddled mission. For some of us to follow, there is need for more candor and clarity.