By Ozodinukwe Okenwa
For quite sometime now the national discourse in Nigeria has been dominated by the Fulanis (natives and non-natives) among us, their ‘sacred’ cows and their armed and dangerous herders. And how they go about across the federation with manifest impunity attacking farmers in their ancestral lands, kidnapping some for ransom, killing others outright and generally terrorizing anyone who dared raise any voice of opposition or resistance to these criminalities.
Since the embattled President, Muhammadu Buhari, is himself a Fulani (and an executive herder at that) it stands to reason to declare that the Fulani marauding elements had been emboldened to commit all manner of crime against Nigerians in the name of cattle-herding business.
Pray, why must foreigners left their native hamlets or enclaves in West African neighbouring countries for Nigeria and be allowed to torment the indigenes of a sovereign country with the leadership at the centre directly or indirectly aiding and abetting them? Who controls or polices the borders? Or they enterred clandestinely without the authorities noticing?
Who armed them with AK 47 guns? Why are they being pampered and given amnesty and even cash and cars to lay down their weapons of war? Why would a Federal Government led by an executive herder from Daura and some states’ Governors in the north be openly supporting foreign jihadists, nay bandits, against Nigerians under the guise of ‘tolerating our neighbours’?
Yet, the problem with Nigeria goes beyond the Fulani cattle invasion. We could insinuate an official covert policy aimed towards Islamisation or Fulanization here. President Buhari remains, in our reckoning, an executive enabler of the Fulani cattle exploits!
How can a President of a great country with hundreds of ethnic groups be favouring criminally his tribe and faith to the detriment of our collective peace and happiness? Now, given this perceived connivance or complicity of the federal authority and forces the average Fulani herdsman has suddenly become one big hell of a problem for the rest of law-abiding hardworking citizens.
How do we tame a barely-educated bunch of bloodthirsty land-grabbing idiots hell-bent on prospering on the suffering and terrorism of others? How do we rein in their audacity and brazenness in the face of failure of the governing elite to secure lives and properties?
I could vividly remember when I was growing up in Ihiala, Anambra State, more than four decades ago. Then Nigeria was very good a country to live in. We could see on our way to the local stream some Fulani cattle rearers wielding big sticks and speaking virtually in ‘tongues’, the strange language the cows understood easily. It was the same all over the country: Fulani cattle herders going about their business of cow shepherding in all security and tranquility.
Today, things have fallen apart; Nigeria has fallen apart. The federal house of commotion the late Lord Lugard mischievously built had collapsed. What is left is a nation at ‘war’ with herself with the Sunday Igbohos, Nnamdi Kanus, Abubakar Shekaus and others playing destroyers or saviours, depending on the side of the divide one belongs.
If Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo or Nnamdi Azikiwe could rise from their graves they would be asking which country they found themselves in. They could barely recognise Nigeria as they inherited it from the British in 1960! While infrastructural developments have occured here and there with millions of youths graduating from the universities year in year out jobs are nowhere to be found.
The flag, the national currency remain the same as the national anthem but we have bastardized everything. Nothing is left anymore to be proud of. The Naira has been battered beyond redemption by the Dollar, Euro or Pounds. Leadership has been transformed into a criminal enterprise rewarding graft and atrocities by the law enforcement agents and agencies.
What everyone is patiently waiting for, in every imaginable sense, is for implosion to occur somehow, somewhere leading to forced or negotiated dismemberment. And when that happens very few would shed any tears for a country loved or cherished!
The way things are going it might be very difficult for Nigeria to survive as a whole in the next ten or twenty years. Unless we pull back from the brink by restructuring the dysfunctional federalism we currently practise. And allowing merit to govern our collective quest for power and primitive acquisition of wealth then survival is in the hands of tenebrous forces.
Unfortunately, President Buhari does not give us the impression of fully grasping the dangers, present and furture, inherent in his divisive sectional tendencies. Whatever happens, under his watch or after his exit from Aso Rock, we would forever remember him as a leader who cared less about our collective well-being. His body language constantly demonstrates his executive recklessness and mismanagement of power.
We cannot but welcome everyone, Nigerians and non-Nigerians, to the (new) Fulani Republic of cows! Welcome everyone!!