Fayose, Fayemi, brain-cracking and the depressing spectre
Last week, Nigeria’s killing fields expanded North Westwards. Indeed the entire North seems to have been partitioned by three non-state actors into three fiefdoms. On the North East, we have the Boko Haram insurgents bombing and snuffing out lives and occasionally making territorial forays into the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa areas. In the North Central, including parts of Southern Kaduna and Taraba, the militant herdsmen hold sway killing the innocent, destroying farms and property and in the Northwest a band of marauders are freely raining terror.
For a while, it seemed they were only interested in Zamfara State. But last week, they expanded their theatre of influence to parts of Kebbi and Sokoto states and when they were finished on this first assault, 32 citizens of Nigeria were dead, compounding the increasing statistics of the violently dead in these times.
Naturally, the President was distraught with this new development and was actually short of words. He was thoroughly exasperated or so it seemed. You could hear his exasperation but he struggled to give hope and then he said “I wish to assure all Nigerians that their security is receiving the greatest attention from this administration and there is no compromise in this commitment. I appeal for your patience while my security teams crack their brains to put an end to this horrendous violence.” And I was lost. My hope dimmed and my emotions ran riot.
After three years of going through this chronic insecurity, our security chiefs are just now cracking their brains, perhaps wondering what to do. I thought we had a plan! Well, since the President is satisfied with their performance, how can anybody help? My only note of advice to the President is that he must realise that those Nigerians who are unhappy with the situation are transferring their unhappiness to him. If therefore I were him, I would rather that these cracked brains are broken and discarded. Naturally, the President is not obliged to accept this advice or any other. He is the President and takes full responsibility for the actions or inactions of his appointees- with or without cracked brains!
This distressing spectre became depressing last week, when I watched Governor Ayo Fayose with collar on his neck and his hand in a sling, weeping like a baby on national television. I am naturally a sympathetic person and easily identify with the underdog or mistreated. I felt sad and sorry for Fayose. I also felt sorry for Nigeria’s democracy. How could a governor that enjoys immunity be so treated and humiliated in the public? Some people said he was acting. May be Fayose is theatrical but he is also macho. He gives the impression of a tough guy and does not sound like a guy who would show weakness by crying or indeed wailing in the public. But even if anyone would give the benefit of doubt to such absurd acts of theatre, when you listened to the testimony of his deputy governor and PDP governorship candidate for the elections held over the weekend you would dismiss such thoughts. Also when I listened to the rambling explanation of the Police Commissioner I was sad. How could the Police be talking of unlawful assembly of people or talking of obtaining permission for political campaigns in the last week before an election. It was clear that the Police was on an assignment to assault the PDP politicians and their supporters. They were on a kind of revenge assignment to punish Fayose for what he did a day before.
I always had the feeling that trouble was brewing in Ekiti. Four years ago, Fayose who was a returning governor defeated Kayode Fayemi, then of ACN. After that, ACN and latter APC tried everything legal and extralegal to stop him from governing. He was chased around and harassed by EFCC and other security agencies. That Fayose survived to complete his term is a testimony to Fayose’s ability to fight and the extraordinary grace of God. Now the time has come to stop Fayose by all means. Though he is actually not running for another term, but it is as if he is running. His loyal Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola whom he personally selected to replace him is running. Ordinarily, APC will do everything to replace a PDP governor as they did in Ondo last time, but more so Fayose (the enfant terrible) or his chosen successor. I was sure the desperation of Fayemi and APC to replace Fayose and his PDP would lead to some form of violence and that’s what is playing out. Certainly I was not alone in this prediction.
The situation that unfolded last week was aided by previous and present events. In 2014, when Fayose was campaigning to displace Fayemi as governor, his party PDP was in power in Abuja and we know what help the government gave him. We know the effort made to stop the APC politicians from attending the closing campaign in Ado Ekiti. We heard of the closing of the Akure Airport to prevent APC bigwigs from flying easily to Ekiti. There was also a large contingent of security forces sent to Ekiti. So, as is the way of the world, and more so of Nigerian politics, the principle of tit for tat must apply. But as it always happens, vengeance often goes beyond the level of the original injury and creates a cycle of vengeance and reprisals.
Secondly, the day before this debacle when Fayose was prevented from moving freely and got gassed and rough handled by security officers, he was alleged to have motivated Transporters in Ado-Ekiti to park their vehicles so that the supporters of APC would either trek to the stadium or stay at home. To me this was an unnecessary affront to the APC which controls the Federal Government, more so when the President was at the campaign rally. I knew there was going to be a reprisal and it came speedily the very next day. My people say that one should not touch the tail of the lion whether it is living or dead! Ayo decidedly stirred the bees and got stung!
Now we are running a nation of tit for tat. The Beron youth are alleged to steal 300 cows belonging to the Fulani and the Fulani kill 200 Beron men, women, youth and children. The Benue State government enacts an anti-open grazing bill and the cattle herdsmen open attack on everybody in the community, including Reverend fathers. An Igbo drug dealer cheats another, and he sends assassins to go into the church and kill all in sight. Can a nation survive this kind of primitive inter-relationships? And then the Beron cow thieves, the Fulani herdsmen and the Igbo drug dealers, those who caused the problem and those who retaliated are all walking around free, planning their next moves, while many innocent people have been despatched to untimely and violent death.
What really is the purpose of government in our country? This is actually a depressing reality in Today’s Nigeria. Can anything be done? Let me recommend to Olusola and Fayemi to make a decision to break this cycle in Ekiti and let us pray that whoever becomes the President of Nigeria in 2019 will change this debasing and depressing spectre. And one sure way to proceed is to agree to drastically restructure the country in all ramifications and make the resultant governments take full responsibility for protecting the lives of their citizens in word and deed, and without favour or ill will.
Mazi Ohuabunwa, OFR.
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