The Fulani herdsman’s question in Nigeria has assumed a conundrum, an hydra-headed monstrosity that has become a real threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence. The ubiquitous herdsman has become synonymous with despicable activities – mindless killing, wanton destruction of farms, raping of women, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, plundering, pillaging and whatnots apparel his personae making him inevitably the scourge of the earth. What makes him irritatingly abhorrent is the evident support he wrenches from the northern oligarchy on whose whims and caprices the nation is ruled. The Fulani herdsman with his herd of cattle struts all over the nation: bushes, forests, grasslands and even city centres bearing down unscrupulously and without qualms on decency and civility. His arrogance knows no bounds, he has the inviolable backing of the powers-that-be and so, his atrocities escalate by the day. Criminality is truly not ethnic-biased, criminals abound in all cultures and ethnic groups but what appalls about the Fulani herdsman is his penchant for going scot-free when he glaringly commits an infraction no matter how heinous; he is so protected that all Nigeria’s security apparatuses refrain from bringing him to justice. The theory of an agenda by the oligarchy to own the whole of Nigeria seems plausible against the backdrop of his repulsive immunity in the face of justice. The Fulani criminal often circumvents the arm of the law. The audacity and the effrontery of the Fulani herdsman under the present administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) pierce the heaven. Several policies have been birthed – RUGA, water bill, cattle colony and so on – which all give vim to the theory of subjugation and domination leveled against the oligarchy. Indeed oftentimes, Buhari’s government plays the role of media propagandist of the Fulani herdsman, justifying his every action irrespective of the depth of infringement against legality.
Confronted with the rapacity of the herdsman in his bid to wangle others’ inheritance other tribes who are at the receiving end of their atrocious activities have continued to exercise great restraint “for peace to reign” and not to be tarred with the label of intolerance. But the Fulani herdsman is unrelenting, he is insatiable; he proceeds unremittingly in his reign of terror. The herdsman certainly became a menace and dreadful threat to the survival of his host, and appeals to reason and persuasive prompting to morality have inspired no remorse, he appears to have crossed the Rubicon and so retreat is out of the question. It became a devil’s alternative, death from the Fulani herdsman like weaklings or death fighting his criminality and injustice. State governors though fancy being referred to as Chief Security Officers of their states in the mould of Commander-in-Chief of the nation but in actuality they are hamstrung as the heads of security agencies down the rank and file have one loyalty – and that is to the president and not to the state governors! It is part of the reason patriots have been calling for restructuring of the country so that power will devolve to the states and the centre less powerful. This is counterproductive to the northern cabal of course hence its vehement and repugnant opposition to the call. In the face of tyranny however especially when it is assiduous, grumbling of the victims spirals into open resistance and among the victims the brave ones will step forward to challenge the tyranny and heroes will be born. Such is the case with Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a. Sunday Igboho, who has emerged to lead in throwing off the yoke of oppression against the Yoruba people. A no-nonsense man in the true mould of warlords of old, he dared to beard the lion in its den when he appeared before the Seriki Fulani of Oyo state, Alhaji Soliu Abdulkadir in Igangan in Ibarapa zone of Oyo state, a hotbed of the herdsman’s tyranny. He went to challenge the Seriki on the myriads of allegations against him that he is the godfather of the crimes being perpetrated by the Fulani herdsman. He went a step further after what he met on ground were evident of the allegations against the Seriki – allegedly, over 1,000 private security guards composed of young Fulani men, three checkpoints mounted by his weapon-wielding boys, exotic cars worth about N20m and so on, and so, Igboho ordered that the Seriki leaves the town within seven days. Sunday Igboho’s action resonated with not only the Yoruba people but with millions of people across the nation, who suffer unjustly in the hands of the criminal Fulani.
But in the wake of this development, the Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, mounted the soap box for a statewide broadcast in which he flagrantly condemned Sunday Igboho citing some constitutional provisions to criminalize the action of Akoni Oodua. There was outrage against him with people wondering this is a governor that never bothered to visit the flashpoints of herdsmen’s atrocities or made any broadcast to assure the people of his government’s determination to curb the menace. How come he is finding his voice suddenly? Is he a sell-out? Many theories were propounded to situate the governor’s action. To put salt on injury, after Sunday Igboho went to address the people of Igangan on the day his quit notice to the criminals expired and the youths of the town later visited vengeance on the suspects the governor ordered that Igboho be arrested. There is no doubt that this show of bravado by the governor did a great damage to his reputation and caused to be plummeted a great deal of the goodwill he enjoys among his people. He might have his reasons beyond some constitutionality which we would not be able to fathom now but if it is all about constitutionality he has failed to gauge correctly the mood and pause of the people this time around and it is confounding. But he should have realized that in the face of survivalism, constitutionality takes the backseat especially when the proponents of constitutionalism have failed to uphold the right to survival of others when bearded down by some criminals no matter their colour. We enjoin Governor Makinde not to be overzealous in a matter that concerns survivalism of a people or else he will be seen to be kowtowing to the oppressor and the consequence might be ugly. Dialogue and stern actions against the purveyors of criminality in the first instance should be the way to go. Why is it that the Oyo state police establishment and the government only deemed it fit to visit Ibarapa after the efforts of Igboho? There is more to it than meets the eye!