By Bolanle Bolawole
firstname.lastname@example.org 0705 263 1058
The Igangan massacre of hapless and harmless Yoruba citizens by suspected Fulani herdsmen and terrorists armed to the teeth has come but the vibrations may not go away for a long time to come. Although casualty figures vary from one report to another, I have it on good authority that life was lost on both sides. As usual with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC administration; mum’s the word! Not a word of condolence to the victims! Not a syllable of condemnation for the criminals, murderers, and instigators of this unprovoked assault! But had the narrative been the opposite, the Presidency would have jumped into the fray; governors and other top government officials of Fulani extraction would have brought the roof down over our heads. Arrests would have been made. To Buhari and his government, the Fulani blood is precious. No other life is worth anything. While Wakil, the Fulani warlord who tormented Igangan for decades, is not just as free as a bird, he is also treated as a VIP invited to the Presidential Villa; whereas the OPC members who flushed him out of Igangan cool their heels in detention, That has been the narrative since the disaster called the Buhari administration befell this country in 2015. Or, better still, since we brought this disaster upon ourselves, first in 2015 and again in 2019, the Fulani get away with blue murder. They ride roughshod over the polity. They are treated as sacred cows – together with their cows! State power and all of its apparatuses are massed behind them. Their word is law. The fear of the Fulani has become the beginning of wisdom. All of this because they have the back of Buhari whose body language – as well as spoken words – leaves no one in doubt that the Fulani are his anointed people. “Touch not my anointed and do my people no harm”!
When Buhari said: I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody; Nigerians were too hasty to think they knew what he meant. But how wrong! The story is told of the Tortoise as he and other animals prepared for a journey to another world in search of food and sustenance. There had been a first-of-its-kind hunger, famine, and hardship in the land (as we witness today in Nigeria) and Tortoise suggested he knew where food could be gotten. He would lead the other animals but on one condition – they must obey the rules as specified by him (Tortoise). And what is the rule? Tortoise shall be addressed as “All of you” and whatever is presented to “All of you” by the guests would belong to Tortoise and Tortoise only. All the other animals would receive gifts specifically presented to them in their respective name. Those that could fly helped those who could not to get to the other world. The people of the other world happily received their august visitors and lavished them with gifts. But each time such gifts were presented, Tortoise would ask, for whom are these gifts, and their guests would respond, “All of you” and Tortoise would remind the other animals to take note that he was the one known and called “All of you” by the people of the other world. So did it become that Tortoise got all the gifts and the other animals got nothing. In his so-called magnanimity, Tortoise gave peanuts to the other animals while he retained the lion’s share of everything (the same way Buhari has given the lion share of everything to the Fulani and peanuts to the other ethnic groups). Time to return to the earth and the aggrieved animals decided to teach Tortoise a lesson. You should think that would teach Tortoise a lesson and that he would make up with the other animals but greed and obstinacy would not let him (Does that say something about Buhari/Fulani obduracy on restructuring?). Instead, Tortoise packed all his gifts, tied them together on his back and decided to tumble down from the other world unto the earth. The result: He lost everything! In addition, his shell scattered in a million places. It took the surgeon time and effort before Tortoise could be nursed back to good health. That is why Tortoise’s shell is disjointed to this day!
Folklores of mischief, duplicity, greed, and deceit have Tortoise as the chief culprit; the same way the Fulani herdsmen and terrorists have become the lead characters of unspeakable bestiality and horrendous criminality in today’s Nigeria. When Buhari said he belonged to “everybody”, he must have meant “everybody” to refer to the Fulani. And when he said he belonged to “nobody”, he must have meant that to refer to ethnic groups other than the Fulani and their collaborators. So, Nigerians were the ones who did not shine their eyes, as they say. We assumed we knew when we knew nothing. We did not properly read the lips of Buhari. From Day One, Buhari meant to be president for the Fulani and not for Nigeria. He came as the Moses of the Fulani and not of Nigeria. He is their Messiah, not ours! He came to carry forward and fulfil the mission and vision of the Sokoto Jihad of Uthman dan Fodio. He follows in the footsteps of Ahmadu Bello. He is not Nigerian but Fulani. He is no patriot but a Fulani bigot.
Specifically on the Igangan massacre, who is to blame? Is it the Igangan people who appeared to have gone to sleep after the victory they recorded over Wakil? RCCG’s Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye posits that the time a Christian should be more careful and be on his guard the most is after recording a victory over the enemy because the enemy will surely fight back. If corruption fights back, then, Igangan people ought to have known that terrorists also fight back. It is called a reprisal attack and we have seen that happen again and again in the Middle Belt area. Scripture says “while men slept…” Igangan and others in their shoes must not “sleep” the sleep of death.
Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho did marvellously well in liberating his Igangan people from the vice-like grip of Wakil but after achieving that, he shifted his attention and focus elsewhere, leaving his home base unprotected, as it were. History records this as a defensive error that has proven costly again and again. When you liberate a ground, you must ensure you hold it. Igboho rushed to Igangan after the deed had been done and wanted to comb the forests for the fleeing terrorists but was reportedly prevented from doing so by security operatives already drafted to the scene. When I asked why, a highly-placed personality in the state said matter-of-factly: Buhari doesn’t want the Fulanis arrested and the police look the other way whenever there is a crisis. That is what is happening and Amotekun is still young (and) lacks similar fire-power as the enemies” The narrative of security operatives treating Fulani criminal elements with kid gloves or even siding with them is widespread. Another highly-placed official added that with security agents already on ground before Igboho’s arrival, it would be fool-hardy for them to yield ground. The street sensitization that Igboho and other Yoruba self-determination advocates have embarked upon in the South-west must be commended and applauded. It is a much-needed barometer – or referendum – to gauge the pulse of the people whether they are for or against the actualization of Oodua nation. From what we have seen, the Yoruba streets are in support. And from my own little corner as an opinion moulder, the Yoruba elite and intelligentsia are also in support. The Yoruba nation, it bears repeating, is an idea whose time has come.
When the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, invited his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, to commission the 65klm Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road, did he think the decision through? That event was on June 3rd and Igangan took place days after. Did Makinde think that strongly identifying with Ortom, who is seen by the Fulani as Buhari and the Fulani’s tormentor-in-chief, will not come with consequences? Hobnobbing with an Ortom that the Fulani admitted publicly they narrowly missed assassinating and whom they had pledged to still go after – did the Oyo governor think such an action will go unnoticed in critical places? As they say, a friend of my friend is my friend; a friend of my enemy is my enemy; the enemy of my friend is my enemy; and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Not that I disapprove of Makinde’s invitation or extension of a hand of fellowship to Ortom; if anything, I approve of it. They belong to the same party. Besides, Ortom has suffered so much in the hands of the Fulani and deserves all the support he can get, especially from like-minded people. But in Nigeria of today – specifically in Buhari’s Nigeria – you don’t take the kind of decision taken by Makinde and go to bed with two eyes closed.
We must also ask the question whether Makinde got a hint about an impending Igangan massacre and did nothing. Did he get security reports to that effect but fail to act appropriately? That is the inference some are drawing after reading an interview granted to an online publication on June 3,, 2021 by Gen. Tunde Togun, former Director of the DSS, who, incidentally, is the Chairman of the Oyo State Security Network (code-named Amotekun). If Togun knew all he said in that interview, how come his Amotekun was not proactive on Igangan? Or did he not get the required support? Another view, however, is that Togun spoke generally about the country’s dire security situation, which everyone is aware of, and specifically about the Oke-Ogun area, which has had a chequered history of conflict between herders and farmers. He did not pin-point an impending invasion of Igangan by Fulani herdsmen/terrorists.
Activist and human rights lawyer, Comrade Femi Falana (SAN), however, insisted in his own interview with another online publication that security operatives were hinted of the impending massacre at Igangan but did nothing. Such damning narrative is also commonplace. Falana added that when the terrorists struck, the vigilantes and Amotekun operatives armed with inferior weapons could not match the fire-power of the invaders. Falana has advocated ad nauseam that South-west governors, rather than look up to or rush to Abuja at the slimmest of excuses, should take the bull of insecurity in the South-west by the horns – and I agree! South-west governors and other political leaders must outgrow their timidity, shrug off their fear of Buhari, and apply for licence to arm Amotekun and the Vigilante groups with effective weapons that can confront the terrorists. It is also time we began to demand to know the security votes of governors in the South-west and how the votes are spent. Some South-west governors reportedly draw between N600million and N1.4 billion monthly as security votes; yet, the zone is far from being secured. Let each South-west governor declare how much they collect monthly as security vote and on what they spend these humongous sums! As the Jamaican reggae king, Jimmy Cliff, crooned: I want to know/Everybody wants to know…!
Makinde has assured that Igangan will not happen again! Good talk! But how will he walk the talk? He must put his security vote to good use, apply modern technology (e.g drones), and refrain from behaving like Buhari who, after promising that the Zamfara abduction would be the last, went to sleep! I have lost count of how many abductions we have witnessed after Zamfara while Buhari appears lame duck!
Bolawole is a respected columnist and public affairs analyst