Have you been expecting to see the light at the end of the tunnel over Nigeria’s nation-wide insecurity burden? If you say yes, you have been hoping against hope. Just this week Monday, the Emir of Katsina, yes, the same Katsina that is the capital of Buhari’s home state sent an SOS to the same
Have you been expecting to see the light at the end of the tunnel over Nigeria’s nation-wide insecurity burden? If you say yes, you have been hoping against hope.
Just this week Monday, the Emir of Katsina, yes, the same Katsina that is the capital of Buhari’s home state sent an SOS to the same President Mohammadu Buhari, who is actually from that same Katsina state. The message was sent through an emissary, Buhari’s Agriculture Minister, Audu Innocent Ogbe, to tell Buhari that Katsina’s farmers and herders have abandoned their agricultural chores because of fear of kidnappers and killers.
A hapless Ogbe was at the Emir’s palace to pay homage ahead of the launch of distribution of cotton seeds and other agricultural inputs ahead of the 2019 planting season. Read it differently and you would realize that Ogbe was in search of good public relations mileage for Mr. President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for doing a good job. But an exasperated Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, told him that he embarked on a fruitless exercise because though he may launch the cotton or rice or cocoa or any plant seed in the state, and distribute them even for free to farmers, it would be a waste because farming is already dead in the state; killed by insecurity. Farmers have abandoned their farms and fields for fear of kidnapping and killings.
Would anyone fault the Emir of Katsina for being that forthright? No is the answer. But, remarkably, the message was not even meant for Audu Ogbe himself. The Emir wanted him to take the message to the president.
It is actually easy to miss the import of this message through Audu to Mr. President. Why did the Emir not pick up a phone and say all he wanted to say to Mr. President directly? Exasperation must have set in; the matter must have gone beyond the hush, hush, hush, for-your-ears only whispering for Mr President to act on. The matter must have reached an unbearable stage where it appeared that the whispering of old has not borne fruit. So, the Emir was now shouting it from the roof top.
And the Emir must have a wonderful sense of humour; he chose a remarkable messenger to send on that grave errand to Mr. President. This is because Audu Ogbe is from the Middle-Belt, a geo-political zone where farmers have been attacked wantonly, almost promiscuously by suspected Fulani fighters but Ogbe has never put himself on record making a complaint about his people’s predicament. Instead, he is fixated on solving the real and imagined problems of the suspected Fulani killers; to import special grass from Argentina or Brazil for their herds of cattle, to provide or enhance cattle routes or to even build cattle colonies across the country.
It is safe to suspect or even conclude that Ogbe could never in this life think of telling Buhari that insecurity of life and property has stifled farming in his Benue home state. Instead, as a minister of the Federal Republic who wishes to retain his post, he must have told him that things were improving tremendously.
Did the Emir exaggerate? I await Buhari’s reply. Recently, some bishops sent almost the same message about insecurity in the land to Buhari, and he made an insolent reply to the clerics, almost accusing them of playing politics. I found that reply galling for that showed Buhari has forgotten that he is in office owing to an election. He has for long now stopped talking like an elected official answerable to the people. Instead, he talks like a potentate. Instead of talking like a president of a country under democracy, he talks and behaves like a feudal lord.
Yes, back to the question of whether the Emir is guilty of exaggeration. No he did not exaggerate; just last Saturday, bandits killed 30 Nigerians in a village of Zamfara state. Yes, 30 Nigerians and nobody was shocked. It was not a national tragedy. But had it happened in another country, Buhari would have sent a message of condolence. The Daily Trust newspaper of Tuesday May 7th, reported that a Zamfara State Police Command spokesman, Mohammed Shehu said that, “Normalcy had been returned to the area with improved deployment and patrol by the security operatives.” Finish!!! That was all the Police spokesman had to say. He did not promise that the bandits would be arrested. He did not say that the killers would be hunted down and arraigned. He did not say that the Police were on the trail of the insurgents. He gave no hope that the killers would be brought to justice. Nothing of that sort was said. Nothing! Yes, killing, mass killing has become routine in Nigeria. It shocks nobody any more. It is that bad.
How did it become so? That same Tuesday, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu made it plain that the Police was incapable of doing its duty of protecting lives and property. He said categorically that the Police lacked the adequate equipment, men and materials, to meet its responsibility. And the first duty of any government is to make the citizenry safe from internal and eternal aggression.
That same day, the Air Force said that its aircraft has destroyed the camp of a major bandit kingpin, identified as Alhaji Lawal. What happened to the kingpin? The Air Force didn’t say. That would tell you that the Air Force wasted all the time and resources used in that operation. It was a total waste. If that Lawal was a kingpin and his camp had been identified, why was the camp not stormed and the kingpin and his lieutenants arrested? That should have been the way to go. Now they have simply infuriated that kingpin. God save his next victim!!!
Now, I’m left with one nagging thought; have we not just recently re-elected Buhari? Why was he re-elected? He had promised in his first coming to wipe out insecurity. Now that problem has not only worsened but has multiplied and is fast blanketing the whole nation. Has he the capacity to stem the spreading tide?
Reading Will Durant’s Caesar and Christ, I met this; “Confronted by enemies on every side, the Roman state did what all nations must do in crucial wars; it accepted the dictatorship of a strong leader, taxed itself beyond tolerance, and put individual liberty aside until collective liberty was secured.” But not even this worked for Nigeria. We elected, in 2015, a strong leader and accepted his dictatorship. He taxed us beyond tolerance when he doubled petrol pump price. We have even put individual liberty aside as the president appears to have disdained the Constitution and issues presidential orders. He even spits on the principle of Federal Character.
Yet, nothing has changed!!! And it does not appear that a change will come. The little he has done, he calls the absolute.