President Buhari’s meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke volumes about his intentions for Nigeria. Not only is the Archbishop the head of Britain’s Anglican Church, he’s also the clerical voice of the British Empire, which, though formally ceased to exist as such in the famous “winds of change” era but now being reinvented as Empire 2. It is therefore fitting that Nigeria’s President will use his audience with the Archbishop to make a serious and fundamental pronouncement on existential issues affecting the Peoples of Nigeria, more so when the President, being a Fulani hegemon, represents a Nationality mandated by the Empire to make Nigeria subservient to its dictates.
When the President says “The problem is even older than us. It has always been there but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions”, it only shows an attempt at befuddling the issues.
By admitting the problem is “older than us”, the President is merely stating the obvious, since both Boko Haram and herdsmen terrorism predate his assumption of office. The issue is therefore not about the beginnings of these issues but what his Administration is doing about it, which is nothing more than lying to the Peoples of Nigeria. If his Administration had been lying to Nigerians, could he also be lying to the Archbishop?
The overthrow and killing of Gadhafi enabled a preponderance of arms and armed gangs all over the Sahel, upon which a symbiotic relationship was established between these gangs and “local” terrorist groups, to further the political agendas in each of the countries they encounter. A militia trained by the Gadhafi regime cannot, by itself, develop a political program for Nigeria, more-so when the Gadhafi regime had been disbanded thus removing the necessity for the existence of these gangs inside Libya and therefore their political deployment beyond Libya. They are therefore left to their own devices, which meant they must integrate with any local political paradigm to which they would lend their expertise while being funded by the local paradigm. Furthermore, when the President stated that “herdsmen we used to know carried only sticks and maybe cutlass…” he was merely trying to make excuses for herdsmen terrorism. The herdsmen carried daggers and guns and had been violently attacking farms and villages along their paths over a long period of time, with the police criminalizing the victims while absolving the herdsmen of any crime. The State had always conspired with the herdsmen to terrorize non-Fulani territories and Peoples. It can therefore be stated that, with the Archbishop, the President was economical with the truth.
In Nigeria, the President had previously stated that the herdsmen terrorists are our neighbors and so we should be able to accommodate them; his Vice President said the herdsmen grazing was a consequence of an ECOWAS protocol which allowed free movement across borders; the police said herdsmen terrorism were communal clashes; the Minister of Agriculture proposed setting up cattle colonies for the herdsmen; northern intellectuals stated that the herdsmen pastoralism was a fall-out of climate change as well as a cultural economic system; the patrons of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, with prominent Emirs as members, said the herdsmen were opposed to anti-Grazing Laws in some states hence the terrorism they visited upon the hapless victims—all of which show that either the President is lying or the generality of his Administration are liars or both of them are lying. More importantly, all of these speak to a narrative justifying a violent change to geo-political realities in favor of Fulani hegemony.
When the President presents himself as a person of integrity and his attitude to the Peoples of Nigeria tends towards presenting himself as a moral opposite of the years of the locusts, the aim is to confront all of us with a fait accompli, to wit, there will be no option than to flow with him as the next President of Nigeria in 2019 since there is no credible opposition to his APC.
The South-West/Yorubaland has been rightly deemed the 2019 “battleground”. This will not be the first time Yorubaland/Yoruba Nation will be the “battleground”; from the motion for Independence by the Action Group, championed by the Yoruba, to the 1951 Western Regional Elections which established Federalism as the pathway towards Nigeria’s future, to the resistance to the massive rigging of the 1964/1965 Federal and Regional elections by the NPC/NCNC Alliance, to “June 12”, to Obasanjo’s “do or die” elections to Jonathan’s assumption of office as Acting President and to his defeat in 2015; all of which combined to create an ideological battle within Yorubaland, as to whether the Yoruba should be part of the mainstream, that is, the center which had always been controlled by proponents of a homogenized Nigeria.
President Buhari and therefore APC’s victory in 2015 changed the paradigm since the Yoruba are now part of the center which supposedly is in tune with her aspirations. But his actions since coming to power had negated all that the Yoruba had championed and he had used his Presidential powers to ensure that political forces within Yorubaland ready to collaborate with his homogenizing mission holds sway, as had been witnessed in Ondo and now being touted by a Governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, former governor Kayode Fayemi while being endorsed by the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun. A second term for Muhammadu Buhari will therefore be the death-knell for the Yoruba Nation.
The “battleground” must now shift its focus. This is not about shopping around for a “better” candidate no matter what promises are offered. There has been no shortage of promises since 1999, even before then, especially when the military held sway with none of the promises able to lift the country from the morass of underdevelopment. If any of the promises had worked, Nigeria will not now be in a situation looking for a Mr. Integrity as President when such integrity has also been discovered to be a smokescreen.
The narrative must change from pursuing the Presidency as an electoral goal and center on creating a Constitutional Conundrum by ensuring that none of the aspirants meet the Constitutional requirements for the Presidency which will force a Constitutional re-negotiation of Nigeria. Meaning, the South-West APC has its work cut out for it, and should it fail to rise to the challenge, history will fill the vacuum; for there will indeed be a vacuum regardless of any electoral victories ascribed to the Party or any individual in the South-West.
But what if the South-South and South East do not cooperate? The Igbo are propagating the notion that they want to vote Buhari for second term, so they can be assured of Igbo Presidency in 2023. Good luck to them. The Niger Delta is saying 2019 will be a Referendum on Restructuring. They should walk the talk. While others walk in the name of their 2019 expectations, the Yoruba Nation will walk in the name of restoration of our Nationhood.