By Tunde Abatan
Since the last time we published the interview granted Arise Television by President Muhammadu Buhari, probably the first of such with a non government medium since he got to power six years ago, his answers to questions on salient national issues has left many close observers not only confounded but confused.
They are confused because the gusto,audacity and mien displayed in that interview belies the reticent and withdrawn picture his handlers and followers have painted of a man who at the end of the day confirm skeptics right about why his policy directions and actions runs contrary to the spirit of nationalism expected of a statement elected to weld together the nations diverse people.
His coming was expected to douse serious ethno- religious tensions which most of the policy trusts have conversely generated and now being sustained with vigour.
Years ago, especially during the run -off to the 2011 presidential election and as a member of the editorial team of the Independent newspapers,I have always told those who care to listen that whichever of the then two leasing candidates,former president Good luck Jonathan and then Muhammadu Buhari,of the All Nigeria Peoples Party,ANPP wins the election would not want power back to other regions or at least would not let go easily.
Thank God,President Jonathan proved me wrong and allowed a transition from him to Buhari who had then enjoyed support from the emergence of All Progressive Congress,APC,brought together by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,in a grand coalition of strange bed fellows to take power.
But with the delay in formation of cabinet six months into Buharis tenure and the policy thrusts centred on maintaining Northern domination,reason is not lost on Tinubu and others that Buhari merely used their ‘innocence and gullibility’ to rally together blue blood Fulani irredentists who have never led him to win election I. His first three attempts.
Hence, by their pronouncements, actions and running of the political party have shown the direction they are taking the country after Buharis eight years.
What is perhaps the curtain raiser is Buharis open declaration in the Arise interview on why he choose to commit Chinese loan to develop rail and road infrastructure to Niger. He leaves no one in doubt as to his double allegiance to a neigbouring country..”I can’t leave my family there.they are my extended families”.
In a normal clime,he should’ve been shown the way out but because APC elected a leader bigger than them all..mum is d word.
But then,that ethno centric statement have always been there. Few years back he spoke of a policy to allow Africans from other parts of Africa to enter Nigeria without let or hinderance.
Only the inner caucus knew he was referring to his stateless Fulani kinsmen.
Governor Bello Mohamed of Bauchi admitted recently in a video that has gone viral while speaking in a Channels interview that…Fulanis are global citizens and we want to bring them together”.
That bringing together means indigenous Nigerians like Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said,”have to choose between leaving your ancestral lands for grazing or death”.
What is more,the behaviour of non state actors like now dreaded Fulani herdsmen raping,maiming and killing with impunity from Benue to Plateau,Ondo,Ekiti and Ogun state,have proved a justification for what Adesina proudly declared.
We are indeed in interesting times when presidential spokesmen towers above parties which produced their principal.
Anyone who is in doubt of Buharis description of a whole people of South East region as “a dot in circle” should examine the gestapo abduction of IPOB leader Nnamdu Kanu from Kenya or any country for that matter,and consider the inner workings of a President who has considered only his kinsmen from up north as the only “human being” worthy of reference.
That, according to Information minister,Lai Mohammed,the federal government can expend so much resources to trail IPOB leader Kanu for two years.Thi is because his eventual abduction speaks volume of why the description of his people as ‘a dot ‘not significant, yet they are so afraid of’ .
It is neither not a coincidence that same security forces who haunted Kanu all over the world can invade Yoruba activist,Sunday Igbohos residence without search warrant,kill two occupants,arrest others for an offence yet to be stated in any charge sheet or law court,portrays vividly the emergence of brutal dictatorship in a country governed by constitution.
It all shows that his drawing reference to Yugoslavia,North Korea to justify suspension of Twitter is a fore taste of things to come on a country where second term opposition governors are falling over each other to decamp to a ruling party nineteen months to the end of it’s infamous regime.
For governors ,Ben Ayade of Cross River,Umahi of Ebonyi and Mattawale of Zamfara, the bandits killing field, it is running away from a long shadow to safety come 2023.
But then,the declaration of Governor Umahi that his peoples land are their inheritance not to be taken,in the face of a pending review of 1978 Land Use all to reintroduce Buharis Ruga for wandering Fulani cattle men, is a contradiction in terms.
Was he not thinking of the sounds in the kitchen before jumping into the fray?
If after failing to secure Ruga through open grazing outlawed by Justice Adewale Thompson since a 1969 judgement,rejection of the dreaded National Water Resources Bill and rejection of same by seventeen southern state governments, the federal government is still looking for ways and means,of disposes sing indigenous people of their land for catlle grazing,then Fulanisation as echoed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is here with us.
With judiciary in his pocket,the Southern governors needed more than mere statements but confrontatíon against the federal government determined to take their peoples ancestral lands for crazy ethno centric agenda.
If by now,the tongue- tied APC leaders from the South West are still at a loss of what to do to extricate their people from self imposed and I’ll thought handshake to the reactionary North,then they better roast in their own stew because days of political Armageddon is here with us.
When a leadership played political correctness for six years and fail to see handwriting clearly written on the wall,then that leadership is poised to self destruct.
With concentration of core investment in Gas in the North,Buhari has seen far as his policy makers have long time ago began strategically planning for a region without oil.
Come to think of it,in the recently released polling units created by the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC,45,000 new polling units were created in the North and mere 10,000 in the South.
The battle is won before the election.
By the time the Governor Buni led Caretaker committee conclude the party’s convention in October this year,the pretenders would have been separated from the real power contenders who are holding Nigeria by the jugular for clearly identifiable agenda.
The game is on.