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Mandela and the parable of the fulani

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Mandela and the parable of the Fulani : By Hassan Gimba

 In his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, first published in 1994, the revered Nelson Mandela wrote: “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw”. Even though not an absolute truism, this saying of the Madiba just about sums up the life of the renegade Fulani herdsmen and that of Southern Nigerian demagogues. But many times, a man has to be dissuaded from the life he believes in and is deliberately directed to the life he should live. This is what keeps the world improving, developing. And it is also the bedrock of education, hence civilisation.

 Come to think of it, where would you be if your grandfather or father was not persuaded to embrace western education? Since no man is an island unto himself, and he must live in a society, certain things he believes in must be sacrificed for those that are universal. After all, the freedom to swing one’s arms while walking is guaranteed but those arms must stop right where the nose of the next person begins. Co-habitation is a community entails give-and-take, accepting all into the brotherhood of humanity.

Any group of people that refuses to learn to cooperate with other groups and live peacefully is primitive in outlook. One can comfortably say it is a group that has allowed the animal in them to take precedence over their humanity. For men are created the same. Parents, environment and societal influence are the factors that give us either our nobleness or negative inhibitions.

I was on my occasional morning walks when I met three kids, probably from the same house, out on an errand. The oldest, a girl, was probably seven or eight. She greeted me, “Good morning, sir” and instinctively I answered back, “Morning, my daughter”. Her younger siblings followed suit. They are Igbo kids but from their physiognomy, I could deduce they viewed me as their father’s mate who could be their father. And I started thinking. Probably if their parents told them they are relocating back to Nnewi, Enugu, Nsukka, or wherever they see as their origin, these kids may be saddened by the news.

You see, to them where they are – probably they were born there – is home. The girl may be named Nkechi but her friends are Fatima, Amina, Maryam or Bosede and Toyin. Her classmates are Musa, Abayomi or Nandev. These innocent minds see themselves as one, with little or no difference. But that is the nature of all kids until external forces start brainwashing them against one another.

 Get newborn babies of different tribes and religions and nurture them in an enclosure away from external contacts and influence. Perhaps they may evolve their language and religion by the time they reach adulthood. But what is certain is that they will all have one tongue and the same value system. It is societal forces that separate us into tribes, tongues and creed.

Had my friend Amaechi been born by my parents, perhaps he would be Musa and a practising Muslim. Same with many Muslim Hausa who could be named Uche or Olu were their parents from the South. Then why fight and kill over which part of the divide God decided to place you. Did God consult you first before putting you there? And even insist it is your life and you cannot change?

The cries over Fulani and their atrocities are getting louder by the day and it will be dangerous for us as a nation not to take it seriously. One of the reasons is that, down South, every, well, almost every northerner is Hausa/Fulani, whatever that means. That notion could be deliberately but covertly instigated by ambitious politicians. Hate the Fulani, seen, albeit erroneously, as the symbol of the North, and the North will lose. Everywhere in the South, there is a deliberate plan to demonise the Fulani.

While there are the renegades among the tribe that rejoice in brutality, that do not hesitate to shed blood, the majority are law-abiding. But the way it is being portrayed in the South – and some parts of the middle belt – now is as if there never have been criminals among their tribes until the advent of the Fulani. They behave as if they have always been saintly people with no violence of whatever shade, and now the Fulani have come to destroy their Eldorado.

And this is the reason behind the setting up of Amotekun and the Eastern Security Network: hatred for, and to specifically deal with, the Fulani. As time goes on, atrocities by these pseudo security outfits against northerners will just increase. The game plan is to tempt the North into retaliating and the dream for secession would be realised. And this is why the security networks are peopled by criminals and hate mongers who can only survive through that means. All the more reason why a thug like Sunday Igboho can turn into a regional hero – even daring the government by claiming that arresting him would break the country. It is a sad narrative that charlatans like Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu, Gani Adams and people like Femi Fani Kayode are setting the agenda for Nigeria of the great Zik, Awo and Ahmadu Bello.

But I have always maintained that even if Nigeria would balkanise, now is the wrong time, for all our sakes. The best time could have been 1966 and, perhaps by now, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now, none of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. We would all be overwhelmed by bandits, insurgents, militants and all. Even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left alone to the arrogance and demagoguery of its anointed secessionist leader.

But there is also something fundamentally wrong with the North. It lacks a leader. It lacks focus. It lacks vision. Most of the Fulani terrorising Nigeria now could have long been engineers, medical doctors, professors, etc. The regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida started what it christened nomadic education. Under it, there were many things involved that could change the way the Fulani live. But because most of our leaders are short-sighted and prioritise lining their pockets, they never took that programme seriously. Now, with all the money they have sliced for themselves, those who should have been professionals today will not allow them to enjoy it.

For God’s sake, what will it take to create ranches or whatever to settle the Fulani herders and provide every facility that would add value to their lives and livelihood? This is being just to them because the way they want to live their lives is no longer tenable in a world where the majority are struggling to survive. How can someone move cattle from Mali to Osogbo or Obudu and, worse of all, leave cries of woes behind him? Apart from being fair to them as human beings, the cattle will have more quality when bred in one place than subjecting them to the stress of trekking hundreds of kilometres and feeding on just anything. And there is the assurance of minimising crime.

More importantly, what will it take to separate the genuine herder from the criminal Fulani, especially when the president himself has said they are foreigners coming to make trouble for us?

Again, the North is just reactive. The typical northerner not only continues his life the way he has been living it but casts an eye on others as if he is their guardian angel. When they say Fulani must pack out, he comes out bristling with fury and gives southerners an ultimatum to leave his land also. When they form Amotekun he becomes agitated, red-eyed and prances about akin to a cow on heat and forms Shege Ka Fasa. When some riff-raff from the South says we will ban eating of cow meat, the northern rabble-rouser, like someone on a short fuse shrieks that “we will not take cows to the South”. And he uses all these gimmicks to line his pockets because after a few days you hear nothing from him again until the next move from the South. But the plight of the Fulani, North or Nigeria does not concern him.

Such persons fail to realise that being proactive is the only way to help the Fulani. Through proper management of cattle colonies, a cow can bring three to four times its value than when transported live to the South. A well-managed ranch can produce and process hide and skin, milk, butter, gum, fertiliser, animal feed, etc. And this will give them greater bargaining power and more money.

But beyond all these, the federal government needs to up its game. Many of our problems are as a result of bad government policies. A lot of Nigerians feel either neglected or short-changed by their government. There is a belief in many quarters that they have been neglected while a certain breed of citizens is being favoured. Such perceptions by people have to be changed. And it is only the government that can do that through deliberate policies meant to restore the people’s confidence in it.

Perhaps we will witness a turn with the change of service chiefs, slashing of import duty on some commodities and withdrawal of VAT on others. These are good and positive responses that would go a long way in ameliorating hardship. The value of the naira in the pocket will also increase.

Probably what caused a lot of problems for the President Muhammadu Buhari government were the lack of patriotic minders and the stability of his party that should be the driving force behind his policies. Because of the peace and stability that has enveloped his party for the past few months, people are now beginning to see a more humane and responsive government. The hope is that such new vista will continue for the betterment of the country.

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Opinion

Mai Mala Buni: Independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder

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Mai Mala Buni: independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder

By Sadiya Shelleng Hussaini

Change presents humanity with a confounding paradox. Whereas change is constant and inevitable it forebodes a vague sense of unease. Fear of the unknown taunts the nerves of even the valorous of men. Men of destiny however prepare for change, meeting it at the doorstep with secure pace .June 25,2020 was Nigeria’s governing party –APC’s date with fate, a day of a dramatic change of baton and democratic transition of powers from the ruling Oshiomole led national working committee to Mai Mala Buni caretaker/convention planning committee.The date may have caught some clay footed but quite a handful had no illusion as their mandate was terminated through “doctrine of necessity ” to curtail the crisis that bedeviled the party.

The hype and political intrigues that have characterised the tenure of Adam Oshiomole led National Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would not come as a surprise to political pundits. Being the governing party and one which prides itself as the largest growing political party in Africa, the successful transition of the party to a new leadership portends a lot for the polity and the 2023 permutations.

Following the leadership tussle, that consumed the immediate past leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, leading to the constitution of a caretaker/convention planning committee under the leadership of Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni, as part of move ahead the party requires everyone amongst its members and supporters to reflects on what should be the best for the future of the party.

Taking cognizance of the renewed support for our great party from the ordinary citizens of Nigeria as evidenced in the recently conducted elections , massive membership registrations across the country and ward congresses with leaders of the party largely emerging through consensus. It has shown clearly that even Nigerians believe that our party, APC remains the only party that can restore the country to the path of sustainable peace, progress, national unity and economic prosperity.

Therefore, the party now more than any other time, requires a courageous, fearless, thoroughbred politician, committed party man and patriotic personality who understand the political history of the country as well as dynamics of the APC, its antecedents since its creation.

Yobe State governor ,Mai Mala Buni has put the party on sound foundation as demonstrated by his political pedigree and diplomatic approach in managing the party affairs. The history of Buni’s political struggle has proved his extraordinary tenacity in Nigerian politics.

Based on the foregoing, Mai Mala Buni standout based on his 14 months score card as the Caretaker Commitee Chairman of the party. Opinions across the country among party leaders and stakeholders indicate a thunderous applause on the APC CECPC for resetting the party back to glory days.

Depicting the sound attributes of a great leader, the two -time APC scribe a highly detribalized, humble, focused, amiable and thoroughbred personality with good sense of direction. These are the qualities he is applying now to take the APC out of the doldrums.

He is man that is naturally loved and admired by the people; a democrat and pivot of mass mobilization; a man who achieves greatness through assiduousness, self -will and sheer determination; a good listener; a man that remains unruffled even at the height of unwarranted intimidation and provocation; a man with critical thinking-skills. He is a strong advocate of unity, peace and progress of our great country, Nigeria. He believes in mega- changes in the social, economic and political sectors and theses must be driven by the current generation of Nigerians.

Within his 14 month on the saddle of the party, Hon Buni has clearly demonstrated to Nigerians that APC will certainly form the next government and entrench party supremacy, internal democracy, party cohesion and internal harmony among elected officials and the party.

There is no doubt that his legacies shall remain eternal source of inspiration for many generations to come. APC on his assumption as the Caretaker Chairman had 64 senators then now has over 70. He has also made three PDP governors throw away the umbrella and his broom. This is not the end on his yeomen duties he is working hard to bring in more serving and former governors, legislators and top party chieftains from the opposition.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been revived, energized and repositioned for its national convention and future elections, while commending the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor of Yobe State, Malam Mai Mala Buni.

Speaking at the APC CECPC meeting at the State House, the President said the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.’’

“I have listened with great interest the remarkable job you have done so far,’’ he said. “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’

One cannot but wonder from which source he drives his rare aggressive energetic zeal and tenacity, in solving party matters within a snap of a finger. To borrow the words of the classical Greek writer Homer, he is both a speaker of words and doer of deeds. Despite the monumental achievement of Hon Mai Mala some forces are bent on dragging his name twist to a supreme court judgment to rubbish the achievement,let me warn them that the Yobe State Governor Hon Mai Mala Buni who doubles as Chairman National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will have the last laugh and would hand over party affairs after a successful national convention .

Shelleng wrote in from Yola .

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Opinion

Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?

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Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?

Fatai Olagunju

For very obvious reasons, the successes recorded by the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress in repositioning the party and massive defection of prominent figures into the party mean different things to different people.

There are those who celebrated the party bouncing back to life, others didn’t like the giant strides of the committee, while others who feel threatened by the reconciliation and coming of new members also felt bad.

For the opposition party, it was its most trying moment  after loosing three serving governors to APC and still counting.  The Caretaker committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni, has remained PDP’s most terrible nightmare.

The interpretation of the Supreme Court Judgement on the Ondo state governorship election by the Hon. Minister of state for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo, generated some arguments. However, Keyamo’s postulation now in public court, has attracted a lot of arguments in support and against.

The provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution as amended which forms Keyamo’s arguments, has been defined by other learned gentlemen clearing ambiguities.

Deputy Senate President, Keyamo’s kinsman and legal colleague, Senator Omo Agege, took time to define the said section 183 of the Constitution, making it clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and in explicit terms.

According to Omo-Agege, “From the explicit provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 bars a Governor from being a Chairman or member of a Caretaker Committee set up by his or her political party. More so, the position of the Chairman of a Caretaker Committee cannot by any sense of imagination, logic or simple common sense be classified as a being a salaried Executive office.

“There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on-behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.

“In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in anyway, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses” he argued.

Chief Adeniyi Akintola, Counsel to APC in a press conference opined “let me make this clear: this isn’t the first time we would be having minority judgements. A minority judgement has no value. You can’t cite it as the authority. It has no effect”

He cited “In 2008, Abubakar Atiku versus Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, there was minority judgements given by Justice George Oguntade, Justice Walter Onoghen and one other justice while Justice Niki Tobi delivered the majority judgement. So, there has always been precedence.

“There is no value attributed to minority judgement. So, what happened yesterday isn’t strange. So we are worried that some lawyers are attaching value to it”.

It is pertinent to note that, the APC constitution is very conscious of such critical circumstances and it made a clear declaration in  article 17 (iv) which states
“No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Therefore the party couldn’t have been careless in handling this matter.

However, in a very politicised country like Nigeria, other factors came in to define section 183 of the constitution.

MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION AND REVALIDATION EXERCISE

The membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party which has accommodated new and more members seem to have threatened others who are not comfortable with the new converts and returnees. They feel their positions would be taken over by the new converts. They opposed the registration, attempted sabotaging the process and now fighting the party leadership. The membership registration and revalidation exercise opened the party to many members who were hitherto refused membership. Prominent members who claimed ownership of the party lost the acclaimed ownership of the party.

PERSONALITY SUPREMACY 

Local politics between stakeholders of who controls the party in the state came into play. The conflict of  personalities between Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and other stakeholders had also manifested in who controls the party in the state. Unfortunately those who lost out are blaming Governor Buni for their trivial and now fighting back. They also define Section 183 to mean “Buni must go”.

 For instance, the personality clash between Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege and the Minister of state Labour Barr Festus Keyamo in Delta, Sen. Ngige and Sen. Andy Uba in Anambra, Zamfara state Governor Bello Mutawalli and former Governor Abdul Azeez Yari.

ALLIAMCE WITH PDP

Recent discoveries by the party revealed that some desperate party members seeking to contest positions are liaising with the opposition to discredit the leadership, the party structure and all other processes.

It is also worrisome if all the barrage of legal luminaries now interpretering the Supreme court judgement, could not realize any lacuna in the constitution of the Caretaker committee this all the while except now, 13 months after, then, something must be fundamentally wrong with their patriotism and commitment to serve the government rand the party, honestly and creditably.

PDP CRYING MORE THAN THE BEREAVED

PDP is crying more than the bereaved. The party seem to have developed more interest than APC members. They have temporarily forgotten their problems to fight on behalf of other members of APC. The reason for this poke nosing into the affairs of others, is not far fetched. The Buni led Caretaker committee in the last 13 months had deflated the PDP, subtracting three governors along with hundreds of thousands of their supporters from PDP. The Buni committee has no doubt made PDP very jittery and vulnerable.

 

 Who is afraid of Governor Buni?

folagunju24@gmail.com

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Opinion

Tunji Disu: The Making of a New Super Cop

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Tunji Disu: The making of a new Super Cop

By: James Bwala

Yesterday I posted a story from the Press Release issued by the Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. As I go through the story this morning, I said to myself indeed a chapter has closed never again would Abba Kyari come back to this position even if at the end of the matters that matter at this moment of his life and career defines him innocent of the allegations as indicated by the US agency – The FBI.

Kyari was a super cop who receives acculiat and praises from men who loves and hates him on the line of duty even as truth about their friendship is being exposed by the predicament he found himself whether guilty or not guilty. The Kyari saga has further plunge the unity of this country in questions with regional inclinations and expressions from the current situation butterfilling both the traditional and social media.

Nigerians massively are hypocrites. But there are still few ones who a still holding the truth as would a pastor and his Bible even if their position was a negative one. For the first time I came to agree 100 % with a senior colleague, Malam Yakubu Ahmed BK over his write up on DCP Abba Kyari. I mean without reservations – religious, regional, ethnic or when he falls on the political side. I had had reservations on most of his piece base on either of these but not this one.

Kyari has guffed. That is the right words but we are not bringing him into judgement knowing that to err is human and to forgive is devine as we said always in Nigeria. However, we do not know how the Americans defines this in their terms. Hushpuppi is caged and he is already vomiting. If he had been caged here in Nigeria, we have herbs that can stop him from vomiting but the white man has his laboratory to test, experiment and bring out result. So is the case with Kyari our one time super cop.

Whether as Nigerians we like what is happening or not the FBI has spoken. Our IGP has responded and Kyari is waiting for fate. If the gods have mercy on him, he may yet have some years to wear the uniform and redeemed himself in another capacity serving the nation, else a chapter on his career as a Police Officer is close and we salute him.

As I was going through my Facebook page, I come across a piece of writing where the writer was so exposing the sentiment of the southwest region over the suspension of Kyari and appointment of Tunji Disu. The write up reads in part:

“Patriotic Oduduwa blooded TUNJI DISU, takes over as head of IRT from Super cop Abba Kyari who was suspended for proper investigation.”

Patriotic was Abba Kyari when he was holding sway as every hand was clapping while he leads his team. These are the kind of songs Nigerians like to sing for occupants of dreaded and fearful position to do and to undo. If I were Disu, I will begin to count my enemies from this point because these same songs were sang by people like these ones to Abba Kyari and the same people are mostly behind the songs he is now hearing on his way to sit before the investigation panel.

It continuous: “Disu was respected/real national asset Jagaban’s ADC when he was Lagos state governor as such the blood that flaws from his professional veins is that of nationalism & patriotism.”

That is it! I now see the political game in play. Indeed as the writer says we shall
collectively, effectually and fervently offers prayers for Tunji Disu to succeed. But the questions is that, would Disu be Pariotic and Nationalistic in his dealings with Nigerians as head of Police Intelligence Team knowing the hand that has pushed his rising? would he be apolitical coming from the political strings? Indeed he needs much prayers but his first move will determine our prayers either to pray more lifting or cry to the Almighty to deliver Nigerians from the Pharaoh who place their moles in places as monitoring spirits over Nigeria.

  • James Bwala is a Nigerian Journalist and writes from Maiduguri

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