Obasanjo Writes Another Open Letter To Buhari, Warns About Imminent War That Could Break Nigeria |The Republican News

Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari

Dear President and General Buhari,


I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria.

Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem.

The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.
One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news.

A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and view-points. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria.

This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove. The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.

Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself.

Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks.

How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?
Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country.

The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship.

Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country.

The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stich in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet.

Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.
To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

  1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
  2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
  3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
  4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone.

In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed.

The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:
“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus.

Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society.

It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together.

Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.
For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour.

May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing.

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Fulani Herdsmen Will Not Accept Injustice From South West’s Amotekun —Miyetti Allah |The Republican News

South West’s Amotekun vehicles unveiled during launch in Ibadan, Oyo state

Herdsmen under the umbrella of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have expressed scepticism over the inauguration of Operation Amotekun.

Miyetti Allah, however, warned that it would not condone acts of injustice meted out to any of its members by the officials of the outfit or any other vigilance group.

The National Secretary of the group, Alhassan Saleh, said this on Friday during an interview with Saturday PUNCH.

Saleh said, “We have no problem with them as long as they will not target our herders. We have our own defence mechanisms. We fight injustice anywhere, not only in Nigeria. So, if they end up meting out injustice to us, we will fight back. That is the truth but we are law-abiding.

“And as herders, we must herd our cows until there is an alternative provided for us. If they give us alternative, we will go there and if they say they don’t want us, those that want to leave, will leave but what we will not sanction is anybody taking the law into their own hands because we have a history of fighting injustice anywhere there is oppression.”

He stated that Miyetti Allah was not in support of cows straying into people’s farms but movement, as guaranteed by the constitution, must be respected.

Saleh recalled that herdsmen suffered acts of injustice when the Benue State Government set up the livestock guard which ended up extorting money from innocent herders.

The secretary said Operation Amotekun could be used by politicians to perpetuate themselves in power by election rigging.

Saleh argued that South-West governors should have remained true to their call for state police rather than opt for the Operation Amotekun option.

He stated, “When you empower groups and give them arms, the possibility is that others will follow suit and the central government will begin losing its power. Definitely, our politicians will begin to abuse these outfits.

“When it is election time, sitting governors will use the outfits to their advantage. The first casualties of such malfeasance will be the people of that state, because when they want to impose themselves, they use these people because they are already trained and armed just like in Benue State.

“At the end, the livestock guards ended up killing people. It is on record because people have been tried and jailed. So, it is not the way forward. If they cannot push the debate for state police, they should not do such half measures.” (Punch)

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Insecurity: Miyetti Allah To Meet Yoruba Governors |The Republican News

Miyetti Allah Leaders

Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure 

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the South West geo-political zone of the country has concluded arrangements to meet with all the six governors of the region with a view to ensuring security in the region. 

The chairman, Ondo State chapter of the association, Alhaji Bello Garba who disclosed this in Akure said the association would soon meet on how to work with governments in the South West to tackle the issue of kidnapping and other crimes in the region.

Garba said the association had been working with security agencies in the region on the issue of security.

He said the organisation discovered that some herdsmen who were not their members were coming from Edo, Ogun and other neighbouring states to operate in Ondo State, especially along the Shagamu-Ore expressway.

According to him, the National Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mohammadu Kirwa, had directed that the Ondo State chapter should cooperate with the state governors, police commissioners and other security agencies in the South West to deal with the issue of kidnapping

This development followed the spate of kidnapping and killing on highways in the South West, especially along the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Benin, Ondo-Ore, Akure-Owo-Akoko and Ibadan-Gbongan-Akure expressways.

In one of such attacks on July 12, 2019, suspected kidnappers shot dead Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of an Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Garba asserted that the Ondo chapter of MACBAN and the national body had resolved to deal decisively with the scourge of kidnapping and killings in the South West region.

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Police Arrest Murderers Of Enugu Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Offu, After Protest By Catholic Priests

Rev. Fr. Paul Offu

The police in Enugu state has on Saturday arrested suspected killers of Enugu State Catholic priest, Rev Fr Paul Offu

The state Commissioner of Police, Sulieman Balarabe, disclosed this on Saturday, but refusing to disclose the number of suspects arrested.

Offu was killed along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night.

His killing came barely five months after Rev Fr Clement Ugwu, the parish priest of St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state was killed.

The recent Offu’s killing on Friday sparked a protest by Enugu Dioceses priests, who marched to the office of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, demanding justice.

Before his death, Offu was serving at St. James Greater Parish Catholic Church, Ugbawka, Enugu State. (Journalist101)

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Insecurity: Oba Of Osun Writes Open Letter To Buhari, Warns Against War |The Republican News

Oba of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi

***Wants legislation against parents who refuse to give their children formal education.

Clement Adeyi, Osogbo 

Responding to a rise in insecurity across the country ranging from Fulani herdsmen killings to hostage-taking and banditry, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and warned against an impending war.

The traditional  ruler said that the country risked war if nothing was urgently done to proffer solutions to the insecurity challenges.

He called on the President to caution opinion leaders against comments capable of inciting further violence.

The Oluwo also urged accelerated hearing of abduction cases with death penalty as punishment for the culprits.

“Let two, three to four culpable kidnappers taste death. Then, we will breathe air of peace,” he said.

The Oluwo expressed worry that a lot of Fulani teens, rather than enrolling in formal education, are engaged in cattle rearing, a situation that risks setting their generation backwards in terms of national leadership.

He called on the president to assent to a legislation to sanction parents who deny their children the right to a formal education.

“I want to appeal to your excellency to assent a legislation that will compel education for children and enact strict punishment for parents refusing to educate their children. Priority can be placed on the Fulanis with preferential monitoring of nomadic settlements.”

The ethnarch said that as a part of his contributions to finding solutions to Nigeria’s security crisis, he had suggested both long and short term policies for wide consideration.

He said that one of the suggestions had been adopted by some state Houses of Assembly.

The letter read in part:

“I’m compelled to write at this fragile moment because our togetherness is under threat. I rarely write, not because of what or how but as a proactive father, I love actions. But for the purpose of Nigerians, my race and my promising subjects, I chose to communicate this solution based epistle for two things – to avert journey of no return (war) and kill negative ambitions with alternative means.”

He noted that many stakeholders’ meetings which he had been a part of had been held on the way out of the problem which had significantly spread to the South West Region.

“The recent security threat emanating from incessant kidnapping by bad elements or alleged Fulani herdsmen most especially in the south western Nigeria is not without general knowledge. Many brainstorming sessions have been conducted by stakeholders. Just three days ago, I was with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Osun State Government House, Osogbo, Osun State addressing the same burning issue,” he stressed.

“I met Nigeria as Nigeria. There were hurdles but our fathers managed themselves despite diverse ethnic backgrounds. As a pragmatic leader, I’m hopeful you are on the toe to run peacefully,” the letter said.

While guiding against violence, he added:

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. Education is a tool to peace, though does not guarantee peace. Understanding is the primary key to peace. Had Yugoslavia, Liberia, Sierra Leone known this, maybe, they would have avoided blood bath. I was caught up in the Liberia war and even fought along Charles Taylor as a Rebel on the NPFL. The havoc wrecked all. War knows no status, age, influence, identity. Mano and Gio tirelessly committed atrocities against the Kru tribe, the whole nation was torn a day to Christmas celebration (December 24th, 1989) led by National Patriotic Front of Nigeria under the watch of Charles Taylor. It consumed over 250,000 souls including leaders despite plea for dare lives. Majority paid the debt they didn’t owe. ” War is an enemy of identity. War turns the rich to beggars and something to nothing. I’ve seen many survivors of war including Professors, Doctors, Ministers, and even kings lining up with plates begging for food. Human eating human during war. Nothing except your cloth is yours in a war zone, provided not naked at the point of attack. Is this what some are drumming? Who will pray to line up begging for food? Do this people know about war in 21st century?

“As a responsible father, I will never go with bloodshed. No father will pray to lose his children. No father will want to be childless and turn barren at menopause. No one will prefer turning a beggar in the land of hope. There is an understandable way of killing a rat without shedding blood. We shouldn’t forget in haste that events have overtaken voodoos and traditional war instruments. A fighter jet can destroy thousands in a jiffy.

“Mr President, I say no to war. War is older than us all. “Òkun ki o ruru, kawa ruru” meaning you don’t fuel a burning fire”. Mr. President, I want to urge you, call every opinion leaders to order to stage a caution of their utterances at this moment.

“In my own assessment your excellency, the solutions to the trauma are two – Short term and long term. My domain is the highest host of the Fulanis in Osun State. Before the escalation of the kidnapping menace, I had visited the Fulanis in my domain mandating formal education and threatened to arrest parents of teens’ children rearing cattle during school hours. They obliged although not completely. Recently, Seriki Fulani brought one of their children who graduated from university to my palace. Understanding is key while education is the door to peace.

“I want to appeal to your excellency to assent a legislation that will compel education for children and enact strict punishment for parents refusing to educate their children. Priority can be placed on the Fulanis with preferential monitoring of nomadic settlements. This option will secure their future to become engineers, pilots, doctors, professors, kings, bankers, ambassadors etc and not kidnappers.

“Additionally, growth is gradual. Our security should go digital. If not now, who else is our Messiah? Nigeria security should be strengthened. The boost can optionally be assured through mandatory and timely provision of electronic national identity card for everyone on Nigeria soil such that the security force can accost and demand for identification anywhere anytime. With digital ID card, the security can track suspicious members of the society.

“Your excellency, as a short term mechanism, kidnapping cases should be given accelerated hearing with death as penalty for culpable kidnappers.

“The famous Ralph Waldo Emerson was remembered quoting that “there are five enemies to peace: ambition, avarice, anger, pride and envy.” Enacting such severe law will dissociate perpetrators from the five enemies of peace. We can’t continue cold handling and expect cold retort. Kidnappers are killers. If caught, they should have a taste of their intention.

“Your excellency, I want to appeal for quick response to enact a law in collaboration with the national assembly for quick trial and execution of culpable kidnappers.

“Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous,” he quoted George Bernard Shaw as saying.

“Additionally, there should a special federal government sponsored enlightenment program for herdsmen to halt farm attacks. I have done it in the past. I tutored Fulanis in my area on ranch and provision of hay. You walk your cattle miles to feed them. Acquired nutrients almost used while covering miles walking them back home. Even in the course of covering miles of journey in the bush, there are many dangers. The federal government should legislate advanced training on cattle raising as obtainable in developed nations. Construct ranch in your personal land, and feed them with hay. Hay is the best food for the cattle. There is little nutrient in silage. Formal learning should be made compulsory for herdsmen while government can as well sponsor them overseas for training on ranching.

“On a final note, let me state unequivocally that Nigeria is indivisible. The only voodoo to war is peace not traditional concoctions in digital age. We are on the path of greatness. We must not for once be drunk with deception of war. Mr. President, my words are given for your attention. Nigeria is yours and mine. While I pray for wisdom greater than that of Solomon to constructively pilot Nigeria, do accept the assurances of traditional rulers’ support at effecting solutions mentioned and conduct Nigeria’s affairs.”

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Anambra State Vigilante Head Warned Killer Fulani Herdsmen To Stay Away From South-East |RN

Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

The Chairman of Anambra North vigilante services, a subsidiary of Anambra state Vigilante Group, (AVG) Chief Chinenye Ihenko (Okpompi) has warned the armed killer herdsmen operating in any guise to steer clear of Anambra state and entire Southeast geopolitical zone.

He warned that any further killings in the South-East state by either the herdsmen, gunmen or suicide bombers would be reciprocated to with immediate effect.

Ihenko who sounded the note of warning while reacting to speculations making the round in various parts of Anambra state that Fulani herdsmen have taken over forests in the zone declared: “let them strike again we are ready for them”.

“Nigeria is our country and we all must defend the peace, unity and stability of Nigerian at all costs. We are ready to pay the supreme sacrifice now because Enough is Enough”.

Ihenko spoke to newsmen in his office at Onitsha Main market assured customers coming to buy or sell goods in Onitsha of their safety, adding that they should have no course to fear of any attack.

He also assured the Federal government of their readiness to give support if called upon, even as he called on President Mohammed Buhari to rise to the challenges of insecurity in the country.

“Ndigbo has no other place to go and we have learnt our lessons during and after the civil war “We will rather die together than to allow our people to be slaughtered like a goat on daily basis”.

He, therefore, called on all the stakeholders, traditional rulers town union leaders, members of the National Assembly, civil society groups and Nigerian women to join hands in the crusade to return Nigeria to its formal glory.

According to him, “I wish to align myself with the former president of Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo’s call for dialogue by all the sectors of Nigerian society to put a stop to the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians.

“All hands should be on deck to tackle this insecurity headlong now or else it will consume all of us. As it stands now, nobody or place is safe in Nigeria of today and if the ugly trend is allowed to continue, it will degenerate to a catastrophic situation” Ihenko stated. (The Sun)

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Insecurity: Stop Labelling Fulani Criminals, Says Bodejo, Miyetti Allah President

Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo


The President of Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, has said that allegations of Fulani being behind some violent criminal activities in the country were not true.

Bodejo said, rather most crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery and farmers-herders’ clashes among others were instigated by some politicians and enemies of Fulani to blackmail the ethnic group and to cause unnecessary confusion and disaffection.

He said this in Bauchi over the weekend  while interacting with reporters, saying  acts of kidnapping and armed robbery shown in videos via social media were all drama to portray Fulani in bad light.

He said:  “You as journalists, have you ever investigated those they arraign in court after the drama; if any, did the court convict them? Did I challenge you the press to tell me any ethnic group that does not have people with questionable character?  Were they not being arrested by security agencies, did you ever hear security agencies describing their ethnic group? Why are they doing this to Fulani? Even in the drama, do you see the picture of the actor asking them questions? It’s only blackmail.”

He said even the farmers and herders fracas had been politicised, recalling that the misunderstandings between the two groups was age-longed, and have traditional ways of resolving them.

Bodejo said: “But unlike before, when these feuds happened, they and were resolved immediately. But politicians now use them as ways of causing disaffection between Fulani and other tribes.”

He said as part of the blackmail, on many occasions, “you will see someone taking pictures from accident scenes and before you know, they post it on social media claiming Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the killings; it’s unfortunate.”

Bodejo said that his kinsmen herders do not bear arms of any form except the traditional sticks they are known for.

On the controversial plan by Federal  government to establish ranches across the country known as RUGA, the Miyetti leader faulted northern governments at all levels for being insensitive to the plights of Fulani herdsmen in the country.

He said: “The Nigerian government has been insensitive to the plights of Fulani herdsmen across the country even when they are contributing immensely to the nation’s economy through their herd business.

“Let the Federal government bring back the grazing reserves across the country. We have national and international cattle routes across the country; they have been taken over by modern roads, These are the rights of Fulani as citizens. I agreed that cattle-rearing is a personal business, but governments must look for ways of easing business for these herders. If the government can disburse billions of Naira as loans to petty traders across the country which are personal business, then they (governments) should also look at what they can do to ease Fulani herders in their cattle-rearing business, it is a business that governments at all levels must support them to do at ease.”

 Bodejo said Fulani are educated and are leaders in Nigeria, saying the majority of the northern governors, ministers and emirs are sons and daughters of Fulani and they need to protect the group and provide them with  the essential social services in their settlements and that will help to ease their sufferings and make them live happily.

He commended the Jigawa State government for doing more to assist the Fulani and challenged all northern states governors to implement the grazing reserve policy in their states.

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Nigerian, Kurtis Adigba Replies To Obasanjo’s Latest Letter To Buhari |The Republican News

Former military head of state and two-term democratic president of Nigeria, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo

There have been cacophonous responses to the latest letter from the two-time president, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo to the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari. This has been the third letter he has written to Buhari tittled ‘The State of Nation”. He wrote him two letters prior to the last general election campaigns in what many thought to be an ambush before the general election.

Depending on who you are talking to and on whose side you are, the repsonses from analyses from political analysts on televisions channels to pages of newspapers both papers and online version of these media outlets, are overwhelming. Above all, one thing stands out, there is serious problem in the land irrespective of how the citizens see it or on whose side they are.

Here, Mr Kurtis Adigba, who is a contrary voice to that of president Olusegun Obasanjo, seems to exonerate the current president, Muhammadu Buhari on the issues raised by the writer of the letter.


Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,
Obasanjo presidential Library,
Ogun State.

Dear sir,

I’m Kurtis Adigba, a lawyer, political consultant, and a citizen of Nigeria. I’m an Idoma from Benue State. My father; Samuel Ochola Adigba, was a classroom teacher, and retired as a Headmaster. My father, was some years ago, the Benue State Secretary of the National Party of Nigeria( NPN). That was the highest he attained. My mother, was a school teacher who later joined the civil service, and retired as a Head of Department of Adult Education Department of Apa Local Government Area, of Benue State. She died in 2015.

I chose to introduce myself to you upfront so you know I have no pedigree to match yours, and because I know your supporters and attack dogs will come after me, and raised questions about my pedigree. They will ask: “who is his father….who is he to dare write a letter to a former Head of State and President..”. Now you know. And hopefully, they know too!

The only pedigree that I stand on to write you today sir, is my citizenship of Nigeria, a privilege and right I share and enjoy with you. The Constitution of Nigeria, confers on us ( you and me and others)the right to free speech. You have constantly and frequently exercised that right in writing letters to our fellow citizens who happened by good fortunes to be former and present leaders of the country. Only yesterday, you penned and published a letter to President Buhari on the state of our nation. I’m writing you this letter in the exercise of the same right- free speech.

In your open letter to President Buhari, the last in the series, you raised so many critical issues: Boko Haram, Insecurity, Poor Management of our diversity, Unity or Disunity, Economy, Poverty, and of course, the violent death of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Fasoronti, an elder statesman and leader of Afenifere, in the hands of some yet to be determined people. Some people have jumped to conclusions and prejudged the investigation into the despicable act, I have chosen to wait until investigators complete their work and inform Nigerians about their findings.

Sir, apart from the death of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, which is the trigger for the letter, there is nothing new in your new letter. Even her death, is not new in the sense that many Nigerians have been dying on that road and others, unmentioned. The only reason her death attracted your attention and that of others, is because she was the daughter of a powerful figure. After her unfortunate death sir, some Nigerians have died in similar circumstances unmentioned and unannounced, because they are ordinary citizens. As I write sir, many are suffering from the same fate.

Let me talk about the specific issues in your letter:

  1. Boko Haram. The seed that germinated into Boko Haram, was planted under your Administration. It grew and became a big tree under your handpicked successors due to outright denial, mischaracterization, poor management,and corruption. It was under your government that full Sharia regime was introduced in Zamfara state. You chose to ignore it because you said it will fizzle out because of internal contradictions. It did at some point; but before then, it spread to other states with deadly consequences. One of the groups that emerged from the Sharia revolution that started in Zamfara, metamorphosed into the deadly terror group known today as Boko Haram. It is true that under your administration, Boko Haram, was an unknown group nationally, but it was under the administration of your handpicked successors, Yar’Adua and Jonathan, that Boko Haram exploded into the deadly terror group that it is today.

President Yar’Adua tried to deal with Boko Haram, but his poor health stood on his way. He died and was succeeded by president Goodluck Jonathan. It was under Jonathan that Boko Haram became the most deadly terror group in the world. They abducted over 200 girls from Chibok, killed over 100 children in Buni Yadi, carried out regular deadly attacks at Abuja and different parts of the country. President Jonathan from the onset denied and disputed the Chibok girls abduction. He said it was an orchestrated smear campaign against his person and government. It took a global outrage before he sprang into taking some tepid actions- he set up a panel to determine if the girls were indeed abducted. Sir, you wrote about the same issue in your epistle to President Jonathan. It was one of the issues you used to canvass support for the candidacy of president Buhari in 2015.

In your your previous letter to President Buhari, where you asked him to dismount from the horse of Nigeria leadership, you gave President Buhari some credits for dealing with Boko Haram and fighting corruption. You also called for more efforts in combating Boko Haram and corruption. As you know, President Buhari on assumption of office took the fight to Boko Haram. He relocated soldiers to the epicenter of the terror group’s operations. He recovered territories occupied by them, destroyed their key infrastructures, and forced them into negotiations leading to the release of some of the abducted Chibok girls. Many people hitherto unheard of, but in captivity of Boko Haram, were also set free. The government discovered massive corruption in the management of funds earmarked for procurement of equipment to prosecute the war on Boko Haram. The funds are still being recovered.

You mentioned that the government hastily declared victory against a group that is strengthening, I agree to some extent with you sir. I agree that the government oversubscribed itself when it declared that it has defeated Boko Haram. Boko Haram, is not defeated. It has been weakened, but it is still capable of Carrying out deadly attacks given the time, resources, and opportunity. We saw them abduct over 100 hundred girls from Dapchi after their “ defeat”. All but one of the girls, have been released. Leah Sharibu, is still being held by Boko Haram because she refused to denounce her faith in Jesus Christ. She is today the highest value target because of the religious factors made worst by people playing politics with her. God in whom Leah Sharibu trust as her Saviour and protector, will keep her. She will be freed from her captors. Amen. The government made a mistake in declaring victory over Boko Haram because, Boko Haram is fighting an ideological war. Ideology cannot be defeated, it can only be overcome by superior reasoning.

But on the whole, the current government has done much more to fight Boko Haram and contain their terrorist activities than any other government. It can do more, and it will do more.

  1. Insecurity in the country. I believe that in the real world, cause has effect, and actions have consequences. The insecurity of today, is the consequence of the failures of the past. I’m talking about the huge and unprecedented corruption in the management of public resources that left us with poor infrastructures, created inequality with some few very rich and many so poor, that they cannot afford the basic things of life. I’m talking about the failure to manage the crisis that arose all over the country sir. When the agitation for better allocation of resources started in the Niger Delta areas under your watch, you responded with maximum force. You sent soldiers to invade Odi under the pretext of looking for the people who killed some soldiers. Many were killed, women and girls were allegedly raped, and the community destroyed. The people regrouped and armed themselves better. They started kidnapping expatriates and local oil workers for ransom. It became a huge business for some governors who claimed to have paid millions as ransom to free the victims. Your government did nothing to stop or prevent kidnapping, and it quickly spread round the country. what about Zaki Biam, where the invasion by the Army helped to militarized the people with deadly consequences for security in the area?

Your immediate successor, President Yar’Adua, tried to end the siege by proposing an Amnesty that was successful to some extent, but kidnapping has become a business. President Jonathan who succeeded Yar’Adua, didn’t do much in tackling kidnapping. President Buhari has made modest efforts in tackling it, but it is not enough because the governors are not playing complimentary roles. Peter Obi, former governor of Ananmbra state, fought kidnappers in the state to a standstill. Governor Obiano is doing the same thing. Lagos State, is also leading in the fight against kidnapping. Kaduna State has just enacted a law against kidnapping that prescribed death as punishment for the offense. Edo State too. Majority of the states, are not doing much sir.

Sir, you mentioned the killing of Mrs Olakunrin in your letter and described it as one death too many. In the statement you issued before then, you said her death has diminished Nigeria. I share in your sentiments and beyond sir. Her death, like the death of any Nigerian in the same or similar circumstances, is regrettable and diminishes the rest of us and the country in more than one way. But as painful and regrettable as her death is, it is not the first in the country. Under your watch as President sir, Chief Bola Ige, our nation’s Attorney General, was murdered in his home at Ibadan. The home, is supposed to be the safest place, but Ige was killed. Up and until now, no one has been brought to justice for his killing. What about Chiefs Harry Marshall and Sekibo? Funsho Williams and others? Of the people listed here sir, only Sekibo was murdered on the road. The rest were killed in their homes. No one has been found guilty for their murders. Do you then have the moral right to pontificate on insecurity sir?

You may not know this sir, but I want to tell you that bad roads and darkness, are also accelerators of insecurity and poverty. Bad roads ensure that motorists cannot move fast,and therefore, become vulnerable to the murderous activities of criminals. Under your watch as President, Billions of Naira were budgeted for roads, the roads were never built, but the funds disappeared. The Lagos-Benin Expressway featured in some many budgets but the funds were never utilized on the road. President Jonathan did a portion of it, and President Buhari, is working on some other parts. Your government did nothing about it. What about power? You claimed to have spent $16B on power, where is the Fower? Apologies to President Buhari. You generated megawatts of darkness with the humongous amount of money. And you don’t want us to talk about it! We can only imagine what that money would have done for the economy sir. Many of the people terrorizing the country today, may have been profitably engaged in other activities,and poverty, would have been significantly reduced. But you failed and betrayed our trust.

  1. Corruption. Where do I start here? Is it financial or political corruption? Do you know know who started corrupting our political system sir? It is you. Under your watch, we conducted the worst election in Nigeria. Figures were randomly awarded to parties and candidates. You promised it was going to be a do or die Affairs and you delivered on your promise. The major beneficiary of that election, president Yar’Adua agreed with the verdict that it was indeed a horrible event, but you went round western capitals praising the same election. Who introduced garrison command politics in Nigeria? It is you sir. You subjected Governor Rasheed Ladoja to the whims and caprices of your garrison commander, Adedibu, the late Alafin of Molete. You supported and facilitated his impeachment by a minority group in the house of assembly. And when his impeachment was overturned by the Supreme Court, you dithered in enforcing the judgment until the NBA protested against your illegality.

What about the impeachment of Peter Obi In Ananmbra state, and Dariye of Plateau State? In both cases, less than two-thirds of members of the Houses of Assembly, carried out the impeachment under your watch. Maybe we didn’t have a Constitution then sir! Under your watch, Ngige, former governor of Ananmbra state was abducted by the private of Chris Uba, Eselu of Uga, and your man Friday. You did nothing sir.

Former Speaker Ghali Na’Abba, displayed bundles and wads of Naira running into millions of Naira that you bribed law makers with to remove him. You had no convincing deniability. What about the N50M given to law makers as bribe to get them to amend the Constitution and grant you life presidency? You denied it, but your daughter has confirmed it. You were behind it. It is true that you made efforts to fight corruption by setting up the EFCC, but you undermined the fight against corruption by your own actions. Let me remind you about the mismanagement of PTDF funds by you and your new friend, Atiku. The facts were made public during your roforofo fight. In 1999, when you were freed from jail, you had barely N100k. Today, you are said to be worth Billions. How did it happen and what did you do to become so rich? But you keep pontificating on corruption and pointing at others. Your like a sign post- pointing the directions, but never going there.

  1. Mismanagement of our diversity. You accused the president of mismanaging our diversity, a claim you said is responsible for the myriad of our problems today. You said the president has made lopsided appointments in favor of the North and his people, I don’t have the data, and you also did not provide any to substantiate your claim. You expressed outrage over the pattern of certain appointments and election of leaders of the National Assembly in terms of ethnic and religious balance, but you did the same thing happened under your government. You also believe like some Nigerians that only equitable distribution of public offices and positions, will guarantee Unity and imbue a sense of belonging in all, it is not true. Yes, it a good thing to do, but it does not promote Unity, and it will not guarantee unity. For a moment, let us assumed you managed our diversity well, and that you distributed equitably the opportunities available to you, why was Nigeria not United under you? Why do you keep talking about equity only with respect to the FG? Where is equity in the states, including Ogun where you are an influential and consequential figure sir? I’m not against fair and equitable distribution of opportunities, but it is no promoter of unity. It will only provide jobs and access to the few, and in most cases, not on merit, but on connection.
  2. Islamization and Fulanization. With fairness to you sir, the fear of Islamization has always been with some parts of the Nigeria. You played an active part in creating it. You and your party weaponized it against President Buhari. You said he is an Islamic fundamentalist seeking power to Islamize Nigeria. Many Nigerians believed you, and still believe you, even after 4 years of the man in power. Recently in Delta state, during the Anglican Synod, you upped the ante by declaring that the president had an agenda to Islamize and fulanize Nigeria. The of event, time, and audience, was telling. You tapped into the dangerous mood of the nation arising from the activities of herdsmen to ratchet up the tensions in the land, by telling Christians that Muslims and Fulani were coming after them and their lands and religion. You have created a dangerous and combustible Fulaniphobia in the country. It rings true to your reputation as a master schemer who can execute good and evil with equal efficiency.

Because of your actions sir, today, every criminal activity in Nigeria, is attributed to the Fulani. And I’m not saying that Fulani are not involved in criminal activities, they are in so many areas and cases, but it is not true that they are the only criminals in Nigeria. You singled them out to demonize President Buhari, who is also Fulani by tribe. Before Buhari became president, the Fulani were involved in different crimes and problems in all parts of Nigeria. After Buhari, the problems will continue if we don’t find solutions to them. Under your government, we had Fulani crisis. Same for Yar’Adua and Jonathan. Jonathan was at some point the grand patron of Miyetti Allah. Did he fulanize Nigeria? As a leader in this country, much more is expected from you. Stop encouraging centrifugal tendencies in Nigeria. It is funny that you are suddenly against the Fulani now. You campaigned so hard for another Fulani, Atiku to be president. The same Atiku, you accused of committing the most horrible acts of corruption against Nigeria; the man you said God will not forgive you if you support him to be president knowing what you know about him. He is still a Fulani sir.

Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my long letter. I hope and pray that you find some of my thoughts useful! Nigerians are looking up to you to join other leaders in preferring solutions to the problems of the country. They are asking you to look at Gen. Yakubu Gowan, and make him your role model. My sincere respect and regards to you sir.

God bless Nigeria.

Kurtis Adigba.

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Nigeria Is Moving In A Fast Pace Towards Anarchy – Osuntokun |The Republican News

Akin Osuntokun

A former political adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun, shares with TUNDE AJAJA his thoughts on the last presidential election and assessment of the incumbent administration

You were one of those opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election and people like you were optimistic that the opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had a chance. Were you shocked by the outcome of the election?

No, I wasn’t; it would be unrealistic of me if I was. In Africa and most of the developing countries, the assumption is that the incumbent wins the election one way or the other; the incumbent doesn’t lose election unless their tenure constitutionally expires. To that extent, it has followed the norm of assumptions. People refer to the presidency of Nigeria as the most powerful in the world and it is so loaded that it will be difficult for any occupant of that office to lose an election. Of course, you know we had the pleasant exception of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and we know he is a different person from Buhari. They have different dispositions to power and they don’t come from the same stock.

How do you mean?

Buhari is a connoisseur of power. He personifies power politics in Nigeria. If you look at his make-up, he has his origin in military politics; reinforcing his Fulani-Muslim origin; those we associate hegemony with, and of course his persona. He contested the office four times, so you could see that he was bent on being there. But, Jonathan is not someone who is caught in the kind of hegemonic power struggle that the presidency of Nigeria has become.

You also said before the election that those who vote for Buhari, if he wins, would be doubly disappointed. With what you have seen since his inauguration a month ago, how would you place your prediction?

Have I not been proven right? In what respect, for instance, would you suggest that he has fulfilled any expectation that people had of him. See the way the country is going. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo took up issues with the fact that the head of all the three organs in Nigeria (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) come from essentially the same constituency; the core North. And you have the same thing for the heads of the security agencies. That is very subversive of the idea of national integration, national unity and federal character. Not only that, on Tuesday, they came up with the Ruga Settlement idea, which somewhat started as cattle colony. You saw how the majority of public opinion repudiated it. Meanwhile, part of selling the policy was that it would be up to each state government to decide whether they want it or not, which should be the case legally and politically if they want to use it as an instrument of resolving a crisis. But what has emerged has completely deviated from that conception, according to the Benue State Governor (Samuel Ortom). They are more of imposing it on states now, regardless of their disposition towards it. It not only raises question about the practice of federalism in Nigeria, but more importantly, it is going to compound the situation that it was ostensibly intended to resolve. Also, on Wednesday morning, I read what my friend, the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammadu Sanusi II, said. The emir has enough issues on his mind at the moment and I don’t want to drag him into this, but he said the oil subsidy is a fraud. If the oil subsidy is a fraud, then the President who presides over it, in addition to being the minister of petroleum, is implicated. You pay fuel subsidy of trillions of naira when you condemned Jonathan for paying for this same subsidy. Buhari once said 22 million litres per day in Nigeria was a fraud but now we are paying for about 60 million litres per day. According to Sanusi, Nigeria is confronted with bankruptcy. Why wouldn’t you be doubly disappointed? Can you honestly fault these things some of us point out? Put those on one side. Look at the people in positions of authority and you would find that only two zones essentially are given representation at the highest level of government in a country that has six zones. As a student of Nigerian politics who wishes Nigeria well, the Vice-President (Prof Yemi Osinbajo) is from the South-West and at the same time you railroaded the speaker to come from the same zone. So, the South-West and the core North are holding the rest of the country prostrate. This is not the kind of government we should wish for ourselves because you are going to have the consequences further down the line. You cannot plant coconut and reap cassava. There is no way this kind of power politics would have a beneficial effect on the country.

Already, about three zones, including the South-West and North have also expressed interest in the presidency in 2023, do you think they are trying to take other zones for granted?

The fact that the president is from a particular region is of no consequence to an average Nigerian, but the fact is that giving others a chance fosters a sense of belonging. We have very few formulas left to rekindle a sense of nationalism and nationhood among Nigerians and to convince them that this country could work. Obasanjo, a Yoruba man, was President for eight years; our current Vice-President is also a Yoruba man, if you have the consciousness to build a nation, which you should have, is it fair for that same region to show interest again? You see, this clamour by the South-West and the North are an indication of how things have gone wrong in the country. Barack Obama (a former US President) used to say that what you do when no one is watching is more important than what you do when someone is watching, which is talking about conscience. The sense of fairness, morality and nobility are all missing here and we should worry that this is not how to build a just country. The country as it is now is prone to divisiveness and so many frailties; hence this kind of politics is too dangerous to the health of the country. With all these insensitivity and cruelty, you would find that almost all Nigerians are alienated from the country one way or the other. That is why what the Chief of Army Staff (Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai) said about soldiers not being prepared to fight is happening. I tell people that the greatest problem Nigeria has is political mismanagement. The standard text is ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. If you do, will the South-West or the core North say they want to produce the president in 2023?

What then is the solution?

This is why we talk about a structured federalism. For Nigeria to succeed in the structure that we have today, whoever is president must be detribalised, nationalistic, wise and a good man but of course you are not going to get that. That is the sense in restructuring because what Nigeria is going through is systemic failure; it’s not something that institutional pieces could fix. The whole system is a rot; look at how everything has been perverted. The notion now is get your own and move on. At the level we are, if you are in a position of authority and you don’t make money, your family would almost curse you. The systemic failure is why you have an army that is not an army and it’s like that in all areas. How do you justify a situation that the best way to address the insecurity in the country is by appointing almost all the heads of the security agencies from one part of the country? You see the disequilibrium everywhere and there is no way restructuring will not be inevitable. It’s even worrying that the leadership of the country sees nothing wrong with that and that is very depressing.

But the question some people ask is if restructuring can tackle all the problems in this country?

We have gone beyond the level of fixing each problem one after other; it has to be a systemic response. If a former CBN governor tells you that Nigeria is confronted with bankruptcy, then there is a serious issue. In fact, restructuring may be too late as a panacea for the problems that we have. It’s either we do it proactively or it is forced on us by extraordinary circumstances; the country can implode or collapse on itself. Any society that would prosper must be rooted in the correlation between productivity and reward and the correlation between hard work and reward. That is not the case we have in Nigeria today, where the belief is for you to grab what you can. Can anybody say what we have is fairness or patriotism? What we have is almost an inverse. We throw money at all the crises we have, like insurgency. Why, because you cannot appeal to people’s sense of patriotism. You have to relate with them at that base level; come and get your share but how many people can you buy?

Where did Nigeria get it wrong?

The thinking of those who prescribed the model of federalism to Nigeria was far superior, in terms of their knowledge of Nigeria, their commitment and their preparedness, and I’m talking of the British colonialists, who created Nigeria, and those who are referred to as Nigeria’s founding fathers; Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, etc. Who in Nigeria before and now do you think know Nigeria more than those people or has the love of Nigeria more than those people? They all sat together for years and it wasn’t through a coup that Nigeria got its independence; there were so many constitutional conferences that led to the independence constitution. Do you think you can throw all that away and not get things wrong as we have it now? The extent of our failure as a nation is in many respects the extent to which we have deviated from that independence constitution, which gave us federalism. I tell people that both in theory and practice, that constitution has been vindicated over and over again. Nigeria up till 1966 is qualitatively different from what we have now. That was why I said the mentality of those Nigerians about our society is different from that of those of us who came after them. I don’t know whether Ahmadu Bello has houses anywhere, maybe he has a modest house. I have my own reservations about imperialism and such things, but you cannot fault his commitment and dedication to the development of the northern region. It is obvious. Of course, you can say more than that for Awolowo in the western region, likewise Azikiwe. A bunch of young guys in 1966 came together and violated that federalism and threw it away. To all extent and purposes, it was an accident, how then can you say you would choose an accident over the norm? When it was violated, we kept reinforcing the jeopardy. The development from that 1966 was that Nigeria became totally captive to power politics and from which we have proven incapable of extricating ourselves. They took Nigeria from four regions to the 36 states that we have today. The basis of the creation of some of the states was even ridiculous; some to compensate girlfriends. You see, those of us asking for restructuring are only asking for restoration. When are we going to start the important job of reclaiming the country to what it should be? Do I still need to tell anyone that the hard work has to start?

From what you said that the mentality of those founding fathers is different from that of the political elite we have today, is there a possibility that they won’t also plunge the restructured system into a dysfunctional state if the restructuring takes place eventually?

In the American war of independence, one of their battle prizes against the British colonialism was ‘no taxation without representation’. What that is telling you is that if you want to universally apply it to Nigeria, if the revenue of a state, for instance, is largely derived from the citizens of that state rather than run to a paymaster in Abuja, the people would hold that governor responsible for how he utilises their money. If a state derives like 80 per cent of its revenue from its people, the governor would not have a convoy of 15 vehicles because people would ask questions. But because it is not their money, directly, it became a double jeopardy. First, the people know that the money is not directly theirs because the governor got it from somewhere even though on their behalf; individuals didn’t make sacrifices, they may not hold the steward accountable. Second, the governor who received the money also feels he doesn’t hold the responsibility to them because he didn’t get it from them so he can spend it anyhow he wants. They may not say it but that explains the waste, profligacy and mismanagement of resources.

If we continue on this thread, where do you think it would lead this country to?

If we do, Nigeria would be lucky to still survive. You are breaking out in anarchy if you have soldiers who say they cannot fight. It was the Chief of Army Staff who said so. If it came from someone else, they would have said it was their enemy. Look at the rate of kidnapping. Just few days ago, 10 people were abducted from Akure-Ikere Road. I went to attend a meeting in Akure on Monday, many people who wanted to come from Lagos and would have driven like they used to could not get vacant seats on the flight. The flight from Lagos to Akure now is packed full because a percentage of those who used to drive, now go by air. You are in constant state of prayer. Now, if security men stop you, you don’t know who they truly are. You now hear things that make you panic, all a product of a systemic collapse. Imagine what the Vice-President said in the United States about the kidnapping problem when there are indications on a daily basis. I pray that God doesn’t bring the reality to him in a very personal way because that is cruel to the victims of those kidnappings. The fact that it doesn’t speak well of your government doesn’t mean you should minimise or distort what is happening. But this is the kind of personality type that contemporary Nigeria is bringing out. There is selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty, perfidy and all manners of bad things everywhere in government and the tragedy is that the political managers don’t even seem conscious of it.

The President promised to focus on three things – security, anti-corruption fight and the economy, are you optimistic that Buhari would do better in those areas this time round?

Morning shows the day. On what basis would I say I expect things to be different? Buhari is not a magician and there are a lot of things that have accumulated to produce the drawbacks that we have, but he has aggravated them, in my own opinion, beyond any other administration. But, you see, I keep on telling people that political mismanagement is our problem. As President, you need a grand strategy to get Nigeria working, not that you would fight corruption. Let us even assume that he has good intention but it is a non-starter. What we have is a complete rot and Nigeria has become a basket case. And what Nigeria needs most now is what is disappearing, which is a sense of nationhood, national unity, belief in the country, commitment, dedication and integration over and above anything else. It’s about how you get the country going and I have not seen the evidence. If the evidence is having the leaders of all the organs of government, in a very brazen manner, from one part of the country, if you are from the South-East, for instance, how will you feel? It’s an insult. I’m a student of Nigerian politics and I study all these things, so it gets to me more than many others. If Festus Adedayo was appointed as media aide to the Senate President (Ahmed Lawan) and the Senate President was pressurised to drop him, how do you manage such mentality? It’s an indication of how deep the country has sunk. If I were to meet Buhari today, I would tell him to appoint his critics if he wants to get Nigeria going; not ass-lickers or people who are looking for something from him. Can you honestly fault what some of us say or object to?  If I’m being sycophantic towards you and I cannot tell you what is going wrong, am I not deceiving you? But it is the man who is telling them that something is not right that they would choose as an enemy.

It’s been a month since the President was sworn in and people are already saying there should be no delay in appointing ministers this time round. Do you think it’s getting late too?

Like I said, morning shows the day. Why should anybody be surprised? You see, people behave as if you can change a left-handed man at 60. I would have been pleasantly surprised if ministers have been appointed by now. Can anybody claim to be surprised? Nigeria requires an emergency solution by capable hands and you have the President acting as if everything is okay.

The absence of all former Heads of State at the June 12 Democracy Day generated reactions from people, was there anything symbolic about their absence?

Of course it was symbolic. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m the one who has unreasonable expectations. If all former Presidents from different parts of this country did not sit together to decide that they wouldn’t go and they boycotted the programme, that is a vindication of those who hold the view that everything is wrong about the way Nigeria is going. For each of them to reach that conclusion not to go, there is no resounding judgment that is more than that and you should be worried. Rather, you have a sanctimonious belief in yourself, but it’s the logic of dictatorship when you have people who fall over themselves like sycophants because of you and they tell you all you want to hear. Inevitably, you are going to end up in that alley of vindictiveness.

There are some of them who come from the North, his region. Not even that alone, it was only Yakubu Gowon that attended his inauguration. That is a sad commentary of our current reality. As I told you, I try to ask myself whether we are the ones being unreasonable in our expectations of him, because I was trained in critical thinking. It’s obvious this style of governance is not working and that is double jeopardy. You need the commitment, sacrifice and dedication of your citizens to develop the society, but the opposite is what is in Nigeria because like I said the citizens are alienated from the country. I don’t want to be seen as being critical of government, but at the same time, I have an obligation to my God and my conscience. I would have preferred to be shamed by a wonderful performance. Worse still is that his style of governance is creating division among people, creating this mentality of ‘we’ versus ‘them’. There was a video clip of Chief Olu Falae where he shared his experience in the hands of some Fulani. Would he because of anything say they are not Fulani when they are? The professor they abducted also said they were Fulani herdsmen. Nobody is saying such is typical of Fulani, but at the same time, you cannot ignore these acts, and they are being overtly and tacitly inspired and encouraged to take law into their hands with impunity. As bad as things are in the South-West today, you can imagine what people in Benue State have gone through in the past few years. You would be adding insult to their injury by imposing this Ruga settlement on them. I’m not an extremist; I’m trained to believe in political compromise as the basis of political stability, but what we are being offered is not compromise, it is what you call ‘take it or leave it’. People would be complaining about something that wasn’t done right, but by the next day they would do something worse. Look at the provocative nature the idea of the Ruga Settlement was brought up and you also have the Fulani Radio coming up. I also believe there is no smoke without fire; I’m talking about the N100bn that was allegedly given to that group. Is that a good way to do things?

Some people have said Obasanjo might become irrelevant politically if Buhari, whom he opposed, win the election. Do you have same fears?

The logic of running a government of exclusivity, division, impunity and dictatorship is that you would need to create a negative personality cult around yourself. When you govern a country in terms of who is for me and who is against me, that is inevitable. The second thing is that Nigeria is travelling in a fast pace towards anarchy. Look at how all former Presidents kept away from him, was that an act of friendship to him? If he sees that as an indication that something is wrong and he does something about it, he would learn a positive lesson. If anybody thinks Obasanjo might become irrelevant, that person is thinking in the opposite direction and what I mean is that his status would become magnified because he would be vindicated. If he’s asking questions, you cannot fault the fact that something has gone fundamentally wrong.

You worked closely with Obasanjo, why didn’t he honour Abiola?

At that time, there were a few occasions in the National Assembly that doing something for Abiola was discussed but it was shut down. You know the way our leaders aggravate tension in the country, especially with the way the issue was presented as North versus South. In the early years of Obasanjo’s Presidency, there were machinations made by people like President Buhari to portray him as being against the North. The Sharia issue was there at that time and he (Buhari) was the same man who led a delegation to Lam Adesina. During that Sharia crisis, there was a Council of State meeting and the Vice-President then, Atiku Abubakar, addressed a world press conference that the council took a decision that parties to the Sharia conflict should revert to the status quo. General Buhari went on air and said it was a lie. Of course, we know the quotes that came out from that address. They don’t like us talking about these things but this is recent history. They are documented. They told people to vote for those who can defend their faith. There was a time in which there was this active northern Muslim opposition to Obasanjo and whatever he did was viewed on that basis. You can imagine bringing up the case of Abiola at the National Assembly at that time. It came up once or twice that I can remember but of course the fate was predictable, so that was the circumstance. Such an issue was divisive in those years. (Punch)

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Insecurity: OPC Will Not Allow Yoruba Land Turns To Den Of Criminals – Osibote |The Republican News

OPC President, Aare Prince Osibote

Tunde Thomas

Kidnappers and herdsmen abducting  people  have been warned to keep away from the South West or risk incurring the wrath of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

Giving the warning in an interview is the president of OPC, Aare Prince Osibote, who said the group will resist any attempt not only to make Yoruba land unsafe but also to turn it into den of criminals. Osibote, who succeeded late Dr. Fredrick Faseun as OPC leader also spoke on other national issues.

What is your reaction to the present state of insecurity in the country, especially the South West where suspected herdsmen and bandits have been kidnapping people?

As an organisation, OPC is worried about this security challenge, and our hope is that the various security agencies will be able to quickly nip in the bud the nefarious activities of bad elements behind these vices. As the leader of OPC, I’m calling on Yoruba and other people living in the South West not to panic. OPC is up to the task and we are fully prepared to defend the Yoruba land from any external aggressors. I’m giving the people of the South West the assurance that they should not panic. We are already doing our home work. We are ready to bare our fangs if provoked.

Don’t forget that the primary objective of setting up the OPC as an organisation is to defend and promote Yoruba interests, and we are ready at all times to do that. Enough is enough! These criminals should keep off Yoruba land or risk incurring the wrath of OPC.

Our warning to all these criminal elements is that they should stay away from Yoruba land. OPC under my watch will not allow Yoruba land to be turned into a den of criminals. Never! It will never happen. They should not play with fire. OPC can’t only bark but can also bite. We will not trigger or provoke any crisis, but any group or individual that attempt to disrupt peace in Yoruba land will have himself to blame. Everybody know what OPC can do, but we are for peace and unity of Nigeria, we don’t want to  be provoked and this is why I’m using this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to take urgent steps to put adequate security measures in place to secure lives and properties of all Nigerians.

Why has your voice not been heard all this while on some of these burning national issues?

I have not been speaking out since I took over leadership of OPC after the death of our founder, Dr Frederick Fasheun because I have been undertaking reforms in OPC with a view of sanitising the organisation because on assuming leadership of the organisation, I discovered that some unscrupulous elements have mingled with the organisation and we needed to flush them out. Those are the bad elements that are giving OPC bad name. OPC as an organisation has good ideals and vision with the primary objective of promoting Yoruba interests, values and culture.

OPC was set up during the military era to fight injustice against the Yoruba race especially after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. At the time OPC was set up, former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo was being held in jail by the Abacha military junta. Part of the reasons OPC was set up was to fight the military junta that annulled the June 12 election, and also to ensure a return to democracy, and luckily we were able to achieve those objectives as democracy was restored to the country in 1999.

I’m determined to reform OPC because the impression some people have is that OPC is all about hooliganism and thuggery. But this is a wrong view of the group. Our objective as I said earlier is to promote Yoruba culture and practices. OPC members are not to be used as thugs or to unleash violence on people. I’m rebranding OPC, and this I’m doing quietly and this is why I have not been too loud in what I have been doing since assuming office as OPC leader. Moreover, I don’t believe in speaking too much. I believe in taking action rather than talking every time. Then, again we must try to find out, whether those talking every time have genuine intention or not, or whether they are doing so to attract attention with a view of getting something in return or not.

To tackle insecurity in the South West, some Nigerians are suggesting the idea of collaboration between the Police and OPC like it was done before. What’s your take on that?

It is a good idea, when Alhaji Musiliu Smith was the Inspector-General of Police, he initially expressed reservations about OPC activities but I later got an appointment with him, and I used the opportunity to explain to him in detail what OPC stands for. I told him that what people are telling him about OPC is not true. Then a lot of people were saying negative things about OPC. I took time to explain to Smith about the vision of OPC, and what the group stands for. My interactions with Smith led to collaboration between OPC and the Police, especially in the area of combating and tackling crime.  His successor, Alhaji Tafa Adebayo Balogun sustained that relationship and during his time there was also collaboration between the Police and OPC to enhance security of lives and properties especially in the South West.

Balogun is a man that should be appreciated. During his tenure, not only Nigeria was effectively policed and secured but the South West in particular enjoyed peace and security. Tafa Balogun had zero tolerance for crime and criminals and it was during his time that ‘Operation Fire-For-Fire’ was introduced. He is a man that should be appreciated. In the history of OPC, Tafa Balogun can’t be forgotten for how he ensured that the Police and OPC worked in harmony to protect lives and properties of Nigerians especially in the South West. It is a pity and very unfortunate that Tafa Balogun is not being appreciated the way Nigerians ought to appreciate him over his achievements in the area of security. Like it was done during Smith, and Balogun’s era, we can also do it now. OPC is ready to collaborate, and work with the Police and other security agencies to tackle the problem of insecurity in the country if we are invited.

How would you assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?

There is no individual that is 100 percent perfect. As a leader, the president I believe has been trying his best to move the nation forward. He has been trying to sanitise the country through his fight against corruption. Corruption has caused a lot of havoc in the country. It has become a hydra-headed monster that we need to tame. We should all join hands to fight corruption if we want Nigeria to attain greatness.

Some Nigerians recently canvassed death penalty as punishment for corruption, what’s your take on that?

I’m in support of it. Death penalty is okay for corruption. Through corruption and corrupt practices, looters are destroying the nation. They are also killing Nigerians. By the time a few corrupt people are hanged or executed other would-be looters will beat a retreat. I don’t see anything wrong with execution of looters. Their execution will serve as a deterrent. If looters are executed, there will be sanity. Nigeria will not be the first country to execute looters. In China, looters are executed. There are also other countries that do so.

As a way of fighting corruption some have suggested that the newly elected public office holders should be made to swear by traditional gods like Ogun, Esu etc, that doing so will help to stem or tackle corruption as many public office holders don’t respect the Bible and the Quran which are currently being used for swearing-in ceremonies. What’s your reaction?

I fully support it. It is another effective way to tackle corruption. These traditional gods are agents of the supreme deity Yoruba called Olodumare. When you swear falsely on any of these gods, you are playing with fire because if you swear on them, and when you get to public office and start stealing, you will incur the wrath of these traditional gods as calamities in various forms will start afflicting anybody that swears falsely with them and this is why our public office holders are afraid of them. But if these public office holders have genuine intention to serve and not to loot, they should not be afraid or develop cold feet if they ask them to swear by traditional gods.

What is your reaction to the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day?

It is a welcome development. OPC as an organisation was part of the June 12 struggle. OPC came into being as part of other movements that emerged to fight the injustice of June 12 annulment. President Buhari should be commended for making the declaration.

What are your expectations from President Buhari in this second term in office?

It is only in Nigeria that I see citizens abuse their leaders. Even though you may disagree with his policies and programme, you don’t need to abuse Buhari as a leader. There are polite ways to express your disagreement with him without resorting to abuse.

As for my expectations from him, he should fix the power sector. He promised to do this during his first term but up till today the problems besetting the sector are still there and we all know that power is the key to so many economic challenges facing the nation. If the power sector is fixed, there will be a boom in the economy. Then small scale enterprises will also thrive, and employment will be generated for many unemployed Nigerians.

Buhari also promised to tackle the problem of unresolved murders and assassinations. There are so many unresolved murders and assassinations. We need to unravel these, so Buhari should keep to his promise  to let Nigerians know what happened in all these cases.

During his second term, Buhari should also ensure that he put in place, people-oriented programmes that will make life meaningful for Nigerians. He should also find ways to squarely address the problem of poverty.

To the South West governors, what’s your advice to them?

My advice is not only for the South West governors but all the newly elected leaders. They should know that they were elected to serve. They should therefore not be self-serving. They should not betray the electorate. They should know that public office is an avenue to serve and not platforms to loot. (The Sun)

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