Dear Nigerians, I bring you good wishes from President Muhammadu…
By Kurtis Adigba
I started supporting President Buhari since 2003. In all the presidential elections between 2003-2015, I voted for him.I’m a true Buhari supporter, a consistent one for that matter. So please, don’t come here and lecture me on Buhari.
In the months leading to the 2015 presidential election, candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC, pilloried and pummeled President Jonathan and the PDP, on the twin issues of Corruption and Insecurity. Buhari, accused President Jonathan and his party of presiding over the worst corruption cases in the history of country, and promised to fight corruption to a standstill.On insecurity, Buhari blamed Jonathan for the pervasive insecurity in the nation. He said Jonathan, was weak on law and order, and promised to end the reign of terror by the Boko Haram insurgents, Fulani Herdsmen, Kidnappers, and all other criminal activities, if elected as the president. Millions of Nigerians believed him, and elected him president.
Buhari’s election brought joy and renewed hopes to millions of Nigerians. For once, they were confident that they had elected a leader who is not afraid to confront corruption and insecurity in the country. And when he said during his inaugural speech that “ I belong to everybody, and belong to nobody”, he heightened their expectations and confidence in him. For the first time, they have elected a leader who is not beholden to special interests. Buhari, is their president, not president of the elites. He will bring to justice the looters and killjoys in the country. As a retired General with combat experience, Buhari immediately moved into action against Boko Haram. He deployed forces to the North East of the country, the epicenter of the terrorist activities, and soon after, Boko Haram was weakened and denied of its territory in the Northeast. Many operatives were killed, and many more surrendered. Buhari, also took on corruption with a steel determination. Many people were arrested and huge funds were recovered. As at the last count, two former governors have been sent to jail for corruption and breach of trust.
For some strange and difficult-to-fathom reasons, President Buhari, is somewhat ambivalent and insular about the deadly activities of the Fulani herdsmen across the country, and particularly; in the North Central States of Benue, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, and Taraba. To be fair to president Buhari, these deadly attacks, did not start under his watch, but they escalated with regularity under him. Before Buhari assumed power, Agatu in Benue and several areas of Plateau states came under heavy and regular attacks by the herdsmen. In many of these attacks attacks, if not all, communities were completely destroyed, and many children and women, were violently killed. In 2012, a sitting senator, Daytong Gyang, and Fulani Gyang, Majority Leader, Plateau State House of Assembly, were killed in cold blood by Fulani Herdsmen whilst attending the funeral ceremonies of their folks killed by the same herdsmen. This was the situation you promised to come and change, or end if elected president Buhari!
Instead of the change you promised, we are seeing more deadly attacks without any consequential actions to deter, or bring the perpetrators to justice. We are seeing bolder and more reckless attacks by the group on more helpless communities across the country. These attacks, are always justified by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Hotore, as retaliatory measures for the killings of their cows. The killing, or stealing of their cows, are no doubt criminal activities that should be punished by applying the law. It cannot, and should never be a justification for the mayhem and violence in the country. The most troubling sir, is the ongoing killings by the herdsmen in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State. If the reports are anything to go by, more than 100 persons, including women and children had been killed by herdsmen as a retaliatory action for the killing and stealing of 300 cows belonging to the herdsmen by the Beroms. How does anyone rationalize this ugly situation? Human lives for cows that can easily be replaced, or compensated for?
For me and many others, (including many of your supporters), the most disheartening aspect is the response, or lack of it from your government. At one time, we were told that non-Nigerians were behind these attacks. And now, it is Members of the opposition who are responsible. While this possible, it is difficult to accept in the face of Miyetti Allah’s ownership of these acts. And even if we accept the reasons given, it is still the duty and responsibility of your government to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of these heinous acts be they foreigners, or members of the opposition.
Equally disheartening, is the comments made by the Defence Minister, Mansur Ali. Ali, speaks and acts as if he was the spokesperson of Miyetti Allah Hotore, and not the Minister of Defence of the country. There’s also the case of the ill-conceived and half-hearted military operation known as Operation Cat Race. The hope which the operation raised in the people was quickly dashed when the Chief of Army Staff declared it as a “Training Exercise “ and not an operation. It did not achieve much, and expectedly so!
My president, while you have done well in the fights against corruption and Boko Haram, you have failed in tackling the deadly menace of the herdsmen. The fight against corruption, is meaningless if the people are not alive to enjoy the benefits of it. This is also true if they are not guaranteed security of their lives and property. As you know sir, the primary purpose of government is security of life and property. You have shown unusual courage against corruption, why not the same against herdsmen?
I don’t know what you are hearing, or what your friends and aides are telling you, but trust me, the issue of Fulani herdsmen killings and attacks, will be the most consequential and definitive issue in the 2019 elections. How you deal with it will determine the outcome of your re-election bid. What we are asking you to do sir, is not easy, and it is not without risk, but that is what leadership is! History do not exist to make people happy but to make them wiser. The dividends of democracy you promised, did not include death, destruction, and hopelessness sir. You promised us prosperity, security, peace and justice. You can still do it sir. Let me end by reminding you of what Senator McCain said” we have been thought correctly that courage is not absence of fear but the capacity to act inspire of our fears”
God bless Nigeria.
Kurtis Adigba is the Principal Partner at Kurtis Adigba and Company