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Time for the thinking cap

By Anthony Akinola
18 July 2019   |   2:42 am
I call on the Nigerian leadership to put on their thinking caps. It was predicted that our nation would collapse by 2015. Pro-Nigeria nationalists celebrated the fact that the year passed by and nothing happened.

Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu

I call on the Nigerian leadership to put on their thinking caps. It was predicted that our nation would collapse by 2015. Pro-Nigeria nationalists celebrated the fact that the year passed by and nothing happened. Students of international power politics should know that those who made that prediction expressed what they were wishing for. That prediction has not failed, but we can work towards its permanent failure.

What is happening in our nation today frightens all. There is criminality all over the place. It is as if there are no people in charge of security, even as our soldiers and policemen and women might be doing their best in very difficult circumstances. Kidnappers and bandits are having a field day, while clashes between farmers and herdsmen have pitted one group against another. Even as these are happening and distrust for one another has become the order of the day, I will want to side with the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that no ethnic group should be stigmatized for what is happening in Nigeria today.

There was a time in the life of our nation, especially in the Yoruba section, that the Hausa-Fulani were the most trusted and admired for honesty. They were the ones employed by the economic elite to secure homes. The elite believed they were safe with them. We drank their teas and ate their kulikuli and suya without any inkling that they could be poisoned. We must ponder on the history of our relationships, and what must have brought about the sudden hostilities of today

Even as the Fulani herdsmen nuisance is undeniable-something of an economic crisis between them and farmers-  we must not rule out the possibility that agents of destabilization could have infiltrated our nation. When I read a newspaper report that forests in some Yoruba states have been taken over by Fulani- herdsmen, I wondered if the cattle they rear also reside with them in those forests. Every crime committed today immediately gets attributed to that group. There is hardly a second thought that others might have been involved.

Our porous borders are something to worry about. This so-called free movement within the West Africa sub-region could have made our nation attractive to foreign hoodlums, people who have no loyalty to the present and future of Nigeria. They neither have qualifications nor means of livelihood but must survive harsh conditions. They are the ones likely to be emerging from thick forests to commit heinous crimes, not those who have tens of thousands of cattle to rear. Of course, mass unemployment could also have turned otherwise decent citizens to criminals.

Talking of the thinking cap, my mind goes to the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the blessed memory. Many have not forgotten the look of the cap he wore throughout his leadership of the defunct Western Region. Some have continued to wear similar caps in appreciation of the greatness of this man. We must not forget what Awolowo and his political party did to improve agriculture in the Western Region-the establishment of research centers in schools of Agriculture, the establishment of farm institutes and farm settlements for would-be farmers. Cattle rearing cannot be the monopoly of the Fulani, and there is nothing to say Nigerians of diverse ethnic groups cannot be involved in joint ventures.

Where some of our Governors to be equipped with the type of Awolowo thinking and determination, the issue of cattle rearing can be resolved without resorting to a civil war. There are too much politics and masquerading of personal animosities and jealousies, even in this issue of mutual interest, a majority of Nigerians benefit from animal husbandry. There is hardly a home where beef meat is not consumed on a daily basis. President Muhammadu Buhari can do more and should be seen to be doing more, to douse tension in a society that could easily be susceptible to the evil machinations of external and internal enemies. We all must put on our thinking caps.
Akinola wrote from United Kingdom

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