by Church Times

President Buhari belongs to somebody!

PresidentBy Gbemiga Olakunle

When President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was sworn in on May 29, 2015 for his first tenure that was christened “Change”, the President promised the nation a reign of equity, fairness and justice through his Inauguration Speech -I belong to nobody, I belong to everybody.
The majority of the populace, who were just waking up from the trauma of the People Democratic Party’s (PDP) earliest misadventure in power, were happy and hailed the President’s speech as the voice of God which the nation needed to calm down its frayed nerves and hope for better things to come in terms of good governance with the accompanying dividends of democracy.
But some of us were alert to point it out to the bewildered citizens to wake up from their dreams and let them know that the President indeed belongs to certain groups of people. Namely his family members, his ethnic group- the Fulanis, his religious groups- the Moslem Ulama, his Ruling Party (APC), among others. We pointed it out then through our article titled “ The President belongs to somebody” that the statement from the President was an idealistic one or simply put it was a political statement. The same article was widely reported by the Nigerian mainstream media both the print and electronic media.
Within two months of the then change mantra, we were proved right through the first and second rounds of appointments that the President made into his government which was viewed as being lopsided or tilted too much in favour of the President’s ethnic and religious groups. The rest is now history of the Change Era. And with the re-election and the inauguration of the President and the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for their joint second tenure, the nation has moved into the Next Level Era that the Ruling Party has promised the Nation though its Party Slogan.

President Buhari: What is this Next Level?

The Next Level can either be positive or negative depending on the operators of the system. In order to make up for the observed shortcomings of the Change Era, the President has been widely reported that he will fight corruption to a standstill wherever he may find it both within his Ruling Party (the APC) and in the Opposition. He has also reportedly promised that he will shop for more competent hands to run his Next level government. In order words, competency may have to be his watchword if he must deliver on his electoral promises during his ongoing second and final tenure in office.
The other side or face of the Next Level may be the upsurge of criminality especially among some Fulani criminals. It is a common knowledge that every geo-political zone in this country has its own fair share of criminals that the inhabitants are battling with.  But when a group of criminals from one geo-political zone decided to migrate to other zones in order to compound the insecurity of their host communities, one may need to raise an eye brow and such an ugly trend may call for serious concerns within the government circles.
About 2 years ago, the President himself in a foreign media chat, has identified a true Fulani herdsman as someone armed with his staff and cutlass to cut foliage for his herds. He explained in that widely reported interview, that a true Fulani herdsman don’t move about and armed with sophisticated weapons like AK47. And so what we have in the Southern parts of the country are invasions of armed bandits of Fulanis who may be foreigners from other countries.
We do not know whether the President’s aides do allow him to see and read the horrendous accounts of victims in the South-West and the South-South parts of the country who have fallen victims of these armed bandits that are being aided and abetted by some local collaborators. We won’t like to repeat such graphic and horrific accounts here which have made some of our highways such as Akure-Ilesha-Ibadan road, Ondo-Ore road and Auchi road to be hide outs of Fulani armed bandits/kidnappers who don’t just kidnapped their victims for huge ransoms of money in the range of millions of Naira but in addition sometimes gang-raped and brutalized them. And in extreme cases, such victims did not survive to tell their stories and gory ordeals in the hands of these criminals.
For people to experience the positive side of the Next level Era as promised by the President, the Federal Government should order our NAF Jets to extend its air-raids/campaigns  to these kidnappers dens that are located in some parts of the South-West and South-South who must have fled the North-East and the North-West when the Military heat was turned on them.
Just as Mr. president has noted in his Democracy Day speech, that some ethnic, religious and political leaders may be allegedly behind some of these insecurity issues that are trending now, the responsibility still lies on the Federal Government to see things in a more proper perspective with a view to tackle these security challenges in a holistic manner. To underscore the gravity of the level of insecurity posed by these suspected Fulani kidnappers, His Excellency Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-Governor of Ondo State had reportedly declared that only those with security convoys are safe from Kidnappers on Nigeria roads.
Contrary to some views being held by some Fulani leaders including Mr. President, the South-West region inhabitants are very accommodating and  have been hosting some old generations of true Fulani herdsmen for more than 400 years. Their co-existence was so cordial that they sometimes inter married with some of the members of their host communities. Cases of illegal grazing on the farmlands of their host communities were not rampant. And when it happened by mistake, compensation were readily offered and paid by these Fulani herdsmen usually called the “Bororos” in Yoruba land. In other words, the criminals among them that are operating kidnapping dens in the South-West are not the stock of the Fulanis that the Yorubas have been co-existing with for more than four centuries and hence the Security Agents should be giving all the political, moral and financial supports to deal with them decisively as criminals.
In our  previous articles on the security matters in this country, we strongly admonished the government to eradicate cases of abject poverty and acute hunger that are very rampart in  some parts of the country especially some parts of the northern region. The government should also reduce the ever widening gap among the haves and have-nots in this country through meaningful empowerment programmes and not just ordinary mere and occasional hand-outs. The funds that are being recovered from some suspected treasury looters should be ploughed back into the economy to reduce this widening gap between those who have corruptly enriched themselves and the poorest of the poor in this country.
Against the background of the foregoing, if Mr. President is open-minded to consider other stakeholders opinions on how to run his NEXT LEVEL Agenda, his government will surely succeed to the admiration of the Nigerian electorate including the leading Opposition figures. Otherwise most of his speeches or promises of good governance for Nigerians both at home and in the diasporas will amount to mere rhetoric or high sounding cymbals. And we hope the President will not like to be seen or judged as a leader with empty promises whose words couldn’t be trusted as a man of integrity.
It is our prayers that Mr. President and his yet to be appointed NEXT LEVEL Cabinet members will succeed in JESUS Name..
Gbemiga Olakunle, JP
General Secretary, National Prayer Movement

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