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Behold, the Yoruba are agonising and organising

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Obafemi Awolowo


Let’s begin this week with some contextual reporting of the state of the nation before the construct of underreported ‘landmine’ in Yoruba land.

The nation is waiting (for Mr. President to name his cabinet). The president is still procrastinating (about the colour of his new government). The Vice President is travelling and reporting (to the world the state of herders’ trouble) and he is denying (his involvement in RUGA settlement). The Igbo are gloating (about marginalisation). The Middle Belters are wondering (where they are even in the context of restructuring). The Niger Deltans are curiously quiet (even about current land grab stories, in the circumstances). The poor are dreaming (about the paradise, sorry Eldorado promised). Miyetti Allah chieftains are smiling (about their ancestors’ promised favour being fulfilled in their life time).

The presidency is quiet (about accusation and manifestation of Fulanisation and Islamisation). The governing party, APC is confused (about alleged Fulanisation, Kanurisation and Islamisation of the three arms of government at the moment). PDP is noisy (about the state of the nation it lost since 2015). Statesman Olusegun Obasanjo is clearing his throat (about his next letter to IBB on the implications of the annulled June 12 election result 26 years ago). Dr. Yakubu Gowon is praying (for peace for both the victor and the vanguished he declared since 1973). The CBN is planning (another consolidation) and migrating (to fiscal policy mode). The almighty NNPC is celebrating (the collapse of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill in the presidency and 8th Assembly). The President’s men are waiting and praying (for president’s (in)action on their re-appointments).

The First Lady is waiting (for ‘inauguration’ as First lady of the FRN even as she is planning her MB University). The immediate past ministers are praying (for presidential amnesia) and waiting (for re-absorption) in July. Senator Ahmed Lawan, President of the Senate is pondering (over what happened to his nominee Festus Adedayo within the context of legislative independence). Behold, Right Honourable Gbajabiamila is still celebrating in Western Nigeria (that he is Number Four Citizen, after all without considering the consequences of his office). Former CJN, Walter Onnoghen is still agonising (about why the NJC treated him thus when they came for him).

Governor Yahaya Bello is still manipulating (for a second term in Kogi state without paying 16 months salary arrears). Rotimi Akeredolu is planning (how to create about 100 local council development areas, (LCDAs) despite the NFIU’s riot act on direct allocation to the constitutional 774 Local Government Councils in the country). Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is laughing heartily in Kano (after legalising his new four Emirate Councils through the state legislature). And the Emir of Kano is still talking (economic (mis)management in Abuja, despite the trouble his restless tongue has landed him). Lest we forget, the artful Yahoo boys, bandits and kidnappers and are smiling (to the banks everywhere because their artistry is now ‘permissible’). Traditional journalists are lamenting ( that citizen journalism has taken the steam out of organic journalism). Even public relations practitioners are complaining (that spin doctors have dusted up the lost journals of propaganda Paul Joseph Goebbels’ prepared for the World Wars. What is more, orthodox doctors and pharmacists are wondering (why herbalists and oracle diviners have been receiving more attention). Who is not complaining these days?
But beware, the Yoruba are agonising…

But of all the curious and widespread complaints, as I noted here early this month (Sunday June 2 on the expediency of inclusive government), this is a time to tell Nigeria’s leader that the Yoruba people are quite angry at the moment. And they are organising as they are agonising beyond what the physical eyes can detect – about the state of the nation. I would like to advise state actors not to ignore them. It will be risky to gamble with their grouse.

The Igbo people have been complaining. They are also planning beyond commerce in a nation where they feel they are not yet free. – from the prejudices of the civil war (1967-1970). The Middle Belters and the north-central Nigerians who have been nursing their ancient grudges against all governments in power have stepped up their grouse against principalities and powers that they often allege have been marginalising them. Now they have the RUGA settlement as a bugbear. Are the organised militants in the Niger Delta area happy with the state of the nation? Have the NDDC, Niger Delta ministry and federal government’s amnesty programme addressed the agitations of the oil-rich Niger Delta region? I think their curious silence at the moment should not be taken for acquiescence and capitulation.

Now to the brass tacks: While I cannot speak for the people, I know enough to know that the Yoruba nation is quite angry at the moment about so many things including president Buhari’s carefree but curious attitude to the ‘national question’ we simplify as federalism and contextually report as restructuring (of the federation). The president’s recent pronouncements on true federalism and state police are incredible to the core Westerners.

Specifically, the Yoruba people are quite disturbed about the strange arrival and settlements of Fulani herdsmen and bandits who have started kidnapping their people and destroying their farmlands. State actors in Abuja should note that they will unfold their strategic agenda sooner than later. I know they are organising in their agony on many fronts. This is 21st century driven by digital evidence anywhere you meet, let me state clearly that I understand the Yoruba nation to claim they have many issues with President Buhari that are not in the media.

State actors should note this intelligence that sycophants would like to dismiss at this time. This is part of the reasons I stated earlier that the leader of this country at this time should like the Issacharites, understand the times and know what Nigerians of various extractions can and ought to do.

As our pilot, our leader needs to know, alert and assure all of us that indeed ‘we have entered some areas of turbulence but there is nothing to worry about’. This is the right time for our Captain to assure us through the shape of his new government that he indeed belongs to nobody and belongs to all of us. This certainly is the time to address the details, implications, extent and timelines of the curious RUGA Project that the federal government has begun in Taraba, Adamawa and nine other states. The Vice President, who hails from the South West who is being implicated in the controversial project, has denied that he is in charge of the project. It means there is a project to grab plots of land for the Fulani nation all over the country. The federal state actors who are in charge of this project should rise up and organise some public relations package for this hot potato before it is too late. Let me repeat repeat this: the Yoruba people are organising.

As I noted early this month, in shaping his new government, the president needs to have victory over self. He should note that he needs to thank God that Nigeria is still one and united country in his stand despite the objective reality that his appointments in the last four years have threatened national security, after all. Those who don’t want to tell the truth will be talking of the elephant in the room: religion as a sensitive fault line political analysts and journalists should avoid. But no one can bury truth in a grave.

Events in recent weeks, especially the RUGA Project that the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Chief Audu Ogbe has been talking about as the only solution to herder-farmer conflict, have shown that Obasanjo’s claim about Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda cannot not be dismissed, after all. And the organised Yoruba leaders are already organising over this fearful land-grab project that is already claiming lives and property in the region where democracy died suddenly in 1966. Trouble began for democracy in that First Republic when the then federal government led by the north, declared a state of emergency in what was labelled ‘the wild, wild west’. I hope history will be a useful guide here.

Nigeria’s leader should be told point blank that he would not be doing his government and indeed the country any good if this RUGA Project takes over critical infrastructure (development) projects that people all over the country expect from their governments at this time.

Specifically, what Africa and indeed the world expect from Nigeria’s leaders at time is a comprehensive blueprint on how to deal with poor road networks all over the country, poor funding of education, reproachful energy sector and rampaging corruption in Nigeria. These are issues that should be on the front pages and prime time of the digital media, not Fulani herdsmen and their colonies.

The conclusion of the whole matter is that President Buhari should not feel comfortable with the fact he has been condoned in his parochial and lopsided appointments since 2015 and so nothing will happen if he pursues a RUGA Project for his kinsmen.

As he prepares for his second term, he should make inclusiveness, the centrepiece of his governance policy. He should celebrate an inclusive democracy now to put a lie to what the Obasanjos have alleged about Fulanisation, Islamisation and Northernisation as state policy.

In the main, the president and his kitchen cabinet should note that agonising the agonising Yoruba people and their leaders should not be taken for granted at this time just because the Vice President and the Speaker hail from the region. Here, therefore is the thing, what is needed to start trouble for this government is for the Yoruba to renew a democratic alliance with the South East, South South and Middle Belt – against the Fulani nation.

As I noted before, although as the Yoruba nation would not allow Abuja to humiliate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu being suspected as pawns and weapons of mass distortion of facts at the moment, the angry leaders would not allow their (Osinbajo and Tinubu’s) closeness to state actors and Nigeria’s leadership to prevent them from being wild again – in defence of their freedom and farm lands.

Therefore, as President Buhari seeks to search for new ways of improving living standards and sharing the benefits of growth more evenly across all groups in society, his public sector policy should not be perceived to be for his (Fulani) people alone. So, if Nigeria’s leader allows the Yoruba people to unite with the old Eastern Region and the Middle Belters against his government at this delicate time, in this fragile federation, the consequences may not be healthy for the country.


In this article:
Martins Oloja
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