by Chinelo Obogo
Former national vice-president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and military governor of Ondo State, Olabode George, has slammed a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, for referring to former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a religious and ethnic bigot.
Speaking at his Ikoyi office in Lagos, George accused Lamido of disrespecting the former president, whom he described as a concerned nationalist over the latter’s allegation of plans by some elements to ‘fulanise and Islamise’ Nigeria and other West African countries.
Obasanjo had recently alleged that there was a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries. While speaking at the second session of the Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh, Delta State, he said:
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for youths in Nigeria which Boko Haram began as. It is now West African fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.”
But Lamido responded to Obasanjo’s statement, saying he should not allow his displeasure with the current administration make him a religious and ethnic bigot. He said: “Please sir, don’t let your disappointment with the sitting president turn you into a bigot. You must not abandon the national stage. The cracks along the various divides in our national cohesion are already turning into huge gorges.”
However, George backed Obasanjo, saying he has the right to express his observation over the incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West.
He said: “Things have never been this bad in this country and the way that we are going about it is creating unnecessary division. What is our problem as Nigerians? When Obasanjo left office as military head of state in 1979, a lot of Yoruba people blacklisted him saying he should have handed over to Pa Awolowo instead of a Fulani man. There was no name that he was not called, but Obasanjo is a straightforward person.
“Recently, he made a comment as an observation that things are not going right in this country. The incursion of herdsmen is disturbing. He is also a farmer and a lot of farmers are complaining bitterly that their farms are being ravaged. My friend, the former governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido accused Obasanjo who has always been a nationalist of being a bigot. What Lamido said were absolute nonsense and an insult. Does he know what Obasanjo suffered? Was it not the same man who made Lamido whom he is by giving him the opportunity to become a minister? But he is now turning round to call him a bigot. Why did Lamido not find out from Obasanjo why he made that statement? Wole Soyinka made the same observation that Obasanjo made and you know that both men are not usually on the same page.
“Maybe we should reverse roles and get some Agbekoya farmers from the South West to go to Lamido’s village and start ravaging farmlands, and then we would know what he would say. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. I invite Lamido to come to the South West and I will take him around the villages so that he can see what these farmers who are losing their livelihoods are feeling. Our people are complaining about the sudden incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West; why can’t Lamido see through that prism? We should be careful about some of the reckless comments that we make. Does it mean if tomorrow an Igbo man becomes the president, Igbo traders will now carry cutlasses and chase everyone away from their villages? Buhari should use his position as the President of the Fulani herdsmen in West Africa to calm these people down. It is a challenge to him.” (The Sun)
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