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Fasoranti and rise of Nigeria’s un-Nigerian President | By Festus Adedayo

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The killing on Friday of the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, 94-year old leader of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba group, may yet be throwing up two apparent equations in a post-Fulani herdsmen-sympathetic Nigerian leadership which may begin in 2023.

The first is that, President Muhammadu Buhari may be the last Nigerian president. We will get so riled as a people by this daily bloodshed inflicted on us by an evading army of bloodthirsty Fulani nomads, sauced by Buhari’s obvious unpretentious Fulani leader leadership of Nigeria, that the hurt regions will demand, with a baffling stubbornness, their right to go their different ways. This equation is still mutating in the womb of time. Second, and the most apparent, which is also related to the former, is that Buhari is certainly unfolding as an un-Nigerian Nigerian president. We do not need a diviner to look into the Ouija-board for us to know the apparentness of these obvious permutations. I will explain presently.

Mrs. Funke Olakunrin was said to have been killed by yet unidentified but suspected Fulani herdsmen along the Ondo-Ore road. The killers, according to a modus operandi that is a profile of their brutality in the South West of Nigeria, were said to have suddenly emerged from their bush domicile, taken over the highway and began sporadic and indiscriminate shooting at oncoming vehicles. In the process, Mrs. Olakunrin was hit.

As I write this, the omnibus reactions from Buhari’s regimented information machinery is yet to be unleashed on the information highway. They will, assuredly. Buhari will express his regrets at this nefarious activity – a la his information night soil men; he will talk tough; he may even order the Inspector General of Police to vacate his “slimming, hard-working session” (excuse me while I laugh!) to make Ondo State his temporary office. His Man Friday, Yemi Osinbajo, may even be hurriedly suborned to visit Pa Fasoranti to advertise a governmental contrite face, talk tough in the process and get photo-ops suggestive of government’s decision to rout the banditry. Mark my words: You will never hear Buhari, the Nigerian President, personally verbalizing these alleged regrets.

Second, there will never be, as there has never been, any arrest to be made. Third, the Buhari online cyber leopards will be unleashed on the stratosphere to bay our blood. They will straddle the information highway with justifications, rationalizations and permutations to explain off this unfortunate killing. Their recruits, many of whom hail from Fasoranti’s ethnic stock, will tell us how even in America, such killings are no big deal. Anyone like us who volunteers an opinion contrary to legitimizing Buhari’s Fulani ascendancy, they will argue with certainty of algebra, yesterday held a meeting with Atiku Abubakar, bribed with huge sacks of dollars to say what they are saying. All Progressives Congress (APC) governors in the South West will convoke on Fasoranti’s house like mourning Salamanders to shed crocodile tears; they may even call an emergency meeting “to address the menacing insecurity” in the region. They are all a familiar route of the tragedy of the dead burying their dead that has become our lot as Nigerians under Buhari.

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The killers of Nigerians, said to be Fulani by their victims, have literally strewn themselves round many parts of the country. Why South West is the core place of harbor they chose to moor their deadly ship is yet inexplicable. Hardly does a week pass without this apparent alien force, deadly and without any iota of humanity, unleashing weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth on their victims. It will appear that their banditry and blood-thirstiness are gaining notoriety by the day, encouraged by a government that is ostensibly not bothered by the incessant blood spillage and is thus flinging its hands up in surrender.

Things have gone really very bad in Nigeria under Buhari. The most bothersome is that neither he nor any member of his government is bothered about the calamity that this portends. The division and ethnic fissures in the country have become hugely pronounced in the last four years. Issues that separate us are the most dominant of the things that link us together today.  There has never been a moment – perhaps, except during the civil war – when divisions of ethnicity, religion and political party affiliations have been this pronounced. Buhari is apparently not bothered. In his silence, his pronouncements, body language, appointments and other indices of governance, he does not pretend that he is not an Un-Nigerian Nigerian President. He is Fulani, Hausa and then probably Nigerian, in that order. The last, for him, is secondary.

Those who can lend their voice on the side of right and righteousness have shut their mouths, lest they be tar-brushed with ink of tribe or party. You must be a PDP lickspittle to ask Buhari to respect the contours of our nationhood pretentions. Those of us who volunteer opinion, do so at the huge risk of being demonized. Yet, it will be criminal conspiracy to allow this sorry pass under the Buhari government become a model without a voice of dissent.

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The way things are playing out in Nigeria, Buhari’s silence on killings in the country, which are becoming really alarming, will continue, probably till 2023. I remember Ilorin, Kwara State-born Ddadakwada music exponent, Late Odolaye Aremu, warning us that with the rain that is yet to subside, no one can claim to be immune from the drench of its merciless downpour. So those who are abetting Buhari in this drive should continue in their follies. I have, countless times, psycho-analyzed Buhari as seeing himself as a Fulani President and not what we thought he should be – the Nigerian President. To reinforce this psychosis, he looks away from the bad of his ethnicity and shovels goods in its way. The RUGA policy is an attempt to do the latter and the killings by herdsmen example the former. In the last 20 years of Nigeria’s democratic experiment, the closest to Buhari as an un-Nigerian Nigerian president is Goodluck Jonathan. But even Jonathan is far way out of the class of Buhari in ethnic irredentism. It took Olusegun Obasanjo a straight ethnic jab out of power to realize what Obafemi Awolowo saw decades ago about him merely queuing up at the bus-stop of people whose orientation is basically provincial. If Obasanjo is accosted in the private today, he will express his regrets.

Umaru Yar’Adua was very nationalistic in his thought process. You will recall that he was the one who began granting Niger Delta militants amnesty. The major blight on Jonathan’s national apparel was when he denied that his kinsmen, the MEND militants were blowing up installations. He also ensconced his government with his native South-South people. It also manifested when this same Niger Delta ascendancy aspiration and Northern Nigeria machination theory of his blinded him from believing security reports on the kidnap of over 200 girls from their dormitory. Jonathan’s variant of Buhari’s irredentism was reinforced further by his wife’s brusque and infelicitous we no dey born pikin trowey thesis.

In the case of Buhari, the rest of Nigeria, except his Fulani/North, were like the farmer who cultivated a groundnut plantation beside a squirrel-infested forest who, after the squirrels mowed down his plantation, now laments his loss. We should have known from the outset that he was irredentist in cognition. We were blindfolded by the quantum of hate provoked against Jonathan by leg-men of Buhari’s party. When Buhari harangued Jonathan for attacking our Boko Haram, upbraided late Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina for “your people attacking my people” on this selfsame Fulani attacks in the North of Oyo State, Buhari was acting the unshakeable script of a permanent mind construct. No matter how many people are killed by these thirsty hound kinsmen of his, the C-in-C will not budge.

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What that tells me is that, if and when Buhari eventually leaves office in 2023, whoever takes over from him cannot act out the script of a Nigerian Presidency any longer. If he is Igbo, his people will prevail on him to remember that their own time too had come; if he is Yoruba, his people will tell him to learn from the pitfalls of Obasanjo who believed, to his eternal regret, that he represented a non-existent nation called Nigeria.

I extend my condolences to Pa Fasoranti on this huge loss. The inexplicable way of providence manifested in this avoidable murder. How good would it have been if the child of the person murdered was that of those who tell us daily that there is no Fulani onslaught in the South West or even in Nigeria; that kidnappings and killings by nefarious Fulani herdsmen – of course with the connivance of accursed Yoruba accomplices – are only the rheum off the nostrils of those overblowing it for political advantage?

 

 

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Opinion

Cameroon: Let My People Go | By Sissiku Julius Ayuktabe

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I write to you today from Kondengui Principal Prison, where I am unjustly detained with a sizeable part of my cabinet and with thousands of other Southern Cameroonian prisoners who have run afoul of the repressive regime of Paul Biya, the long-ruling despot of Cameroon.

We are in an increasingly dire state – overlooked and forgotten by the world at large, which allows our captors to inflict unspeakable violence upon us. This, in reality, is indicative of the broader struggle that my people have faced, often in silence and too often disregarded.

Over the past two years, I have the honor of serving as the president of the Southern Cameroons Interim Government. Several months ago, I was illegally abducted, together with part of my cabinet from the Nera Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, and thereafter illegally transported to Cameroon, in violation of international law. To be sure, I am merely the latest victim of a catastrophe that has been long-simmering, evident today by a growing social fissure that has resulted in countless deaths and destruction.

Historically, The Republic of Cameroon achieved its independence on January 1, 1960 and became a member of United Nations with her own territory clearly defined, sharing a recognized boundary with Southern Cameroons. British Southern Cameroons was later granted its independence on October 1, 1961 with her own territory clearly mapped out as well, sharing common boundaries with the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Cameroon.

As such, the root cause of today’s ongoing crisis is the result of a severely botched decolonization process. And this must be addressed immediately before a lasting solution can be found, one that is built on a foundation of international law and a culture of justice and respect for basic human dignity. Put simply, international law provides Southern Cameroons the right to self-determination. What is more, the violence and killings that are taking place in Southern Cameroons at this time, has left us with no alternative than to fight, to defend and to liberate ourselves from the shackles of black on black colonialization.

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The unjust treatment of Southern Cameroonians is, today, an unavoidable and tragic reality. Our people are being killed not for what they have done but for who they are. Our people have indeed been described as “rats” and “dogs” by members of the Cameroon’s government. There are calls to exterminate us, and other Ambazonians, with the justification that President Biya has the right to kill everyone on the pretext of “national unity.”

Imagine being told that you are the enemies in the house; imagine your people being told to vacate their ancestral lands and villages or be considered terrorists; imagine the scorched earth policy and military operations in our villages that have spared no one, not even elderly women and young children; just imagine being made to feel like a second class citizen in the country of your birth. These are the stone-cold and brutal facts of today and living conditions in which we are forced to somehow survive.

On the basis of these reprehensible and humiliating conditions, Southern Cameroonian leaders have sought, on multiple occasions over the years, to engage in peaceful dialogue with Cameroonian authorities. We have been consistently refused this opportunity. Over the due course of time, our people – myself included – realized that we were simply victims of another broken promise and the signs of impending disaster were manifest. Our hopes were dashed and many of our leaders, both political and civic, were thrown illegally into jail. Protests had failed. Attempts at good faith dialogue also failed. We were stymied. We were beaten. And we were humiliated in the process. We thus came to the realization that collectively we had no other alternative except that of preparing for direct confrontation, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the international community.

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Put simply, the people of Southern Cameroons have lost faith in the Cameroon experiment – it is indeed an incurable disease. Paul Biya and his regime has ruthlessly cracked down on our peaceful people – our mothers, fathers and children alike – with a ferocious barbarity. War has been declared on our people. This is all to remind onlookers and readers that we did not move irresponsibly into direct confrontation with authorities in Cameroon. We have always advocated for a peaceful resolution to the root causes of this crisis. However, Biya and his regime thought otherwise, determining that violence can be the solution.

Never again can we, the people of Southern Cameroons, afford to live with the narrow and institutionalized status of second-class citizens – certainly not in the land of our ancestors.

Today, the winds of freedom and liberty beckons to your divine conscience to tell your governments and your elected representatives worldwide: Let my people go! Support our democratic aspirations. This struggle has gone beyond that of individuals like me willing to pay the ultimate price for the freedom of our people. Join our struggle for human decency and battle for respect of our bodies, hearts and minds, our traditions and values. The struggle for the complete independence of Southern Cameroons is your struggle. Please, stand with us.

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Makinde and The Jinx of Salary in Politics | By Alhazan Abiodun

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“Seyi tun ti se’yi o!” was the message on a notification on a WhatsApp group I belong on Thursday, 25th July,2019. The message was from a member who might had hitherto had a mixture of trust and doubt on the capability of the State administration, under Engr. Seyi Makinde to pay salaries, pensions and allowances every 25th of each month.
Not up to ten seconds, I got an alert from my bank, notifying me of a credit deposit which was my own salary. I was also elated, not just because I would be able to meet financial demands, but also that workers in general would again have the opportunity of having savings power through their cooperative groups and personal investments.
Civil servants in Oyo State have started getting used to this ritual of having a fully charged mobile phones handy, especially every 25th of each month and again, creditors can be rest assured that civil servants are credit-worthy.
Oyo State has a varying overhead cost of #4.5 to #5billion monthly, especially in the last eight years, which included, pensions and allowances of political office holders.
The State gets an average of #2billion and #2.5billion from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). Of course for the month of June, Oyo State got #2,105,441,605.76 (over two billion naira).
The fear of the cynics could be given some air of reality when you look at the need to take care of other areas of governance apart from salary overhead, but we have seen a governor who has shown his readiness to utilize a renewed vigour in maximizing new frontiers in foreign investments and expanded internally-generated revenue.
As at the 25th of July, 2019, some might still have the fear of a reverse of situation to the old whenever Commissioners and other appointees assume office, but like in other areas where this governor had promised to make a change, I have assurance that the jinx of late salary payment has been broken!
Governor Seyi Makinde promised to stop any form of payment by pupils and students in public primary and secondary schools. Today, that has been put to history as doable. As I am writing, a powerful monitoring team , led by the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Nureni Adeniran is moving around schools where reports were rife of the school authorities defied government order and sent pupils out for not paying fees.
That is the nature of human. Like some cynics will believe, the jinx of late salary is still strongly clamped around civil servants’ necks, some will also think free education is never going to be accomplished in Oyo State.
Let us look at the merits of prompt payment of salaries, pensions and allowances. A civil servant that is paid as at when due, especially at a predictable day of the month will be eager to put his utmost into bettering his or her job. Efficiency and optimal delivery will be his or her goal as he will always has it at the back of his mind that he will be ungrateful to an administration that has fulfilled its own side of the bargain.
Savings power and small scale investment will be on the rise and this will in turn boost local investments while crimes will reduce, as we all know that money has a phenomenon of moving like powerful flood within any society when each and everyone has something to do at work.
The governor has made a promise which he has fulfilled and we pray that God give him the intellectual power to sustain his fulfilments in all strata of governance.
Somebody asked about government’s payment of 13th month salary to its civil servants and I answered the fellow that it was a gesture of appreciation, not the salary accrued to them for services rendered throughout the month.
Only prompt salary payment will return financial power to the individual worker for him to send his wards to higher institution of learning and engage in other things that will promote his living.
Again, while I pray that God empower our governor to do more in governance and in fulfilment of his electoral promises, It is also my prayer that the evil of late salary never visit Oyo workers again.
Alhazan Abiodun Rilwan is the Head of ICT and Editor at Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

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Before Shiites Is Labelled A Terrorist Group | By Rahaman Onike

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Monday’s Police-Shiites clash in Abuja conjure up a mental image of the theatre of war barely two weeks when the sect’s protest turned violent at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

The Shiites, agitation was not unexpected. Since December 2015 that Ibraheem El-Zakzaky has been in detention for alleged murder among other accusations, his followers have not relented in their efforts to get him released.

If what Shiites described as peaceful protest will be so regarded there wouldn’t have been reports of violence that day. With the Premium Times report of the protest, it was alleged that the Shiites threw petrol bombs as part of the protest. What this implies is that the Shiite phenomenon is assuming a more dangerous dimension with relentless efforts of members of his sect to secure the release of the leader of the group.

Out of the total casualties recorded during Monday’s Shiites protest, the most devastating was the death of Precious Owolabi, the 23 years old Corps member serving with Channels TV.

The death of this promising young Journalist is a reminder of gory tales of how many brilliant Journalists had lost their lives in the course of performing their professional duties. With the circumstance of this sudden and untimely death of Precious Owolabi, public attention is once again being drawn to the reality that journalism could be hazardous and adventurous.

It is high time the federal government took decisive action to curtail the violent agitation by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise referred to as Shiites.

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Apart from the use of moderate force by the police, the government should think of Psychological measures rather than relying on the use of force alone to cause the Shiites to retreat.

By nature, character, and activities of Islamic sects, no serious government would take their threats as empty noise. I am sure that President Muhammadu Buhari with his military background understand the psychology of the militants that they would not mind sacrificing their lives in the course of the struggle. This is part of the reasons why Boko Haram survives till now.

It won’t be in our nation’s best interest for the government to allow Shiites crisis to escalate or become another deadly terrorist group like Boko Haram. If care is not taken, Shiite’s crises will become an additional headache for the country already suffering from unending ethnic conflicts, economic crisis, and insecurity challenges.

Given the number of security personnel that the nation had lost to restiveness of Shiites in the last three years, I think the government needs a more intelligent approach and proactive strategy to curtail the excesses of the sect.

One other worrisome angle to the whole scenario was the killing of DSP Usman Umar Belel in the course of onslaught between the police and Shiite during the so-called peaceful protest staged by Shiites in Abuja on Monday.

If the account by Mr. Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer is anything to go by, the claim by Shiites that their protests were peaceful would be rejected. With the death toll after Mondays’ mayhem and cost implication of NEMA equipment set ablaze and several police officers on the danger list, one may tend to believe the Force Public Relations Officer’s press statement that the protesters were fully armed and engaged in an indiscriminate attack on innocent citizens and police officers.

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Now that the call for the urgent release of Mallam El-Zakzaky is becoming a popular demand in the country, this will remain wishful thinking so far the federal government has already made a contrary pronouncement on the issue.

In a way, President Muhammed Buhari may not be wrong after all, giving the fact that there was virtually no valid and subsisting court order to effect the release of IMN leader, El-Zakzaky.

The much talked about the order of Justice Kolawole for the release of El-Zakzaky and his wife was made in 2016 before the culpable homicide charge was filed against him in the High Court of Justice by the Kaduna State Government.

Since he was held on a charge of culpable homicide, the offense of such grievous nature is ordinarily not bailable exception exceptional grounds mostly if the suspect suffers life-threatening ill-health.

Unfortunately, those clamoring for his release seem to be unaware that currently there is no subsisting order for the release of El-Zakazaky upon his arraignment for culpable homicide.

With the current reality, what El-Zakzaky’s legal team can do to assist their client is to ensure that the court expeditiously hears and dispose of the case. Notwithstanding, whether Judgement will be delivered in his favour or otherwise depends on his culpability and the decision should be left to the discretion of the court.

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One important point to make clear here is that it is not Buhari/Federal Government that is holding El-Zakzaky for homicide charge and being responsible for his bail refusal. If anybody is to be blamed at all, I think it should be El-Rufai/Kaduna State Government.

Assuming El-ZakZaky was charged for insurrection or terrorism, probably he would have been charged by the Federal Government instead of Kaduna State Government that is currently holding him on the charge of culpable homicide.

Whatever other extraneous reasons for holding him, the best strategy to ensure his release, for now, is through the Judicial Process. On a more serious note, this is likely to be more fruitful than persistent agitations and wanton killing of innocent citizens by the Shiites.

 

Rahaman Onike, Public Affairs Analyst writes from Oyo, Oyo State.

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