For an individual that aspired for a position for over 12 years, one would have expected such a person to be more prepared for the job. Unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be overwhelmed by several issues; particularly the one that one would have expected him to be an expert on: security.
His inability to be proactive and his perceived nepotism has caused untold hardship for his ethnic group, the Fulani. Over the past five years, the group has suffered demonization for the criminal actions of a few herdsmen.
Criminal elements within herders have committed a rising wave of atrocities across the North-Central and southern parts of the country. However, the incompetence or seeming indecisiveness of the Buhari administration to deal with these criminals is giving the perception that the government is giving the herdsmen some level of immunity.
Now, there is the criminal aspect, and there is the political aspect of it. Even the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde; who is neither a Fulani nor an ally of the President understands this delicate issue. In fact, Governor Makinde is risking re-election to stand with the Fulani communities in his state. For people who are familiar with the South West, the Fulani community remains an integral part of the region.
Nevertheless, the media has done a terrible job of inflaming the crisis in Ondo and Oyo States.
There are two types of herders in Nigeria; the settlers who live in ‘Igaas’ and the nomads who are called Bororo. These Fulani settlers have co-existed with their host communities for decades without records of attrition with their hosts. The Bororo on the other hand are different breeds. There is a clear distinction between the two. The Bororos have a history of criminality and violence.
Meanwhile, we must acknowledge that the use of the word “forest’ is misleading. Fulani are not living in the forest. They have settlements in the outskirts of their host communities. These communities are accessible, some with even nomadic schools. As a matter of fact, politicians go to these settlements to canvass for votes during elections.
In some communities, the Kara markets operated by the Fulani generate revenues for local government. Also, they are the main supplier of beef to local abattoirs in most communities.
The emergence of Buhari and the division in the country caused by his perceived nepotism is causing a great deal of hatred against the Fulani. Some Igaas have existed for over 30-40 years without any history of violence. Some have adopted the local languages and have called those places home.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Adviser to the President on Media/Publicity caused the latest rounds of controversy with his statement; following the eviction from forest reserves notice issued by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. Mr. Shehu issued a needless and provocative statement on behalf of the President. In the mindless statement, Shehu challenged the power of the Governor and turned the entire issue to an ethnic issue.
Before the coming of Buhari, those Fulani have been living in those states, and they have been fine. Now, they are inheriting the fruit sown by the incompetence of the President; who has been unable to unite the country with his deeds, utterances and cemetery silence.
Since the emergence of Buhari, the seven North-West states where the Fulani are predominant have not known any form of peace. Banditry and kidnapping have become the order of the day, including the home town of the President himself.
Even the narrative of appointment has no merit. The South West geopolitical zone which is tribal-homogeneous have more appointments than any other region in the country.
Indeed, Buhari has caused the Fulani nothing but pains. Thankfully, the South West governors have shown leadership in dealing with this delicate situation; by sitting down with the Fulani cattle breeder association and other stakeholders.
More accolades should go to Governor Seyi Makinde who displayed an enormous amount of courage and bravery; even in the face of provocation by Sunday Igboho.