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Blind leading the blind

By Denrele Animasaun

Great leaders create more leaders, not followers.-Roy T .Bennett

After a week’s break, it is disheartening that there is no change; regarding Benue /Fulani impact. Predictably, the usual politico suspects are fanning the tribal and religious embers. It is so tragic in every sense that the default button for many Nigerians, is always to react and overreact and then throw away the proverbial baby with bath water as they always remind us that the problem is always the other. Surprisingly, the very same camp now are demanding that PMB has no right to throw his hat in the 2019 electoral ring; even if he wants to, which I hope he does not, it is up to the people, not some scheming collectives. Incredibly, after  hundreds of people have lost their lives and is the 2019 election is what really matters in the full scheme of things? It is about time to retire the whole lot of them, across the political spectrum.

Are they not putting the cart before the horse? Why are these people from both sides of the political divide obsessed about the next election when, they have all made a monumental national  disaster  of our governance?  Like conjurers that they are, with their sleight of hand, they are used to redirecting people’s attention to what has(or not) been going on and what has gone on and the real issue remains; high unemployment rates, grinding poverty, rising maternal and child mortality rates, erosion of all institutions and lack of morals. Nigerians have too much on their plates except food. So pardon me, if I have no appetite for gas lighting, fake news, decoys and distraction techniques while our politico elites are feeding the people crumbs and empty promises.

So Obasanjo has written a letter, it’s not the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. I refer you to my column; Old soldiers never die (Nov, 2017).

We have had talks of  agitation, referendum, separations, restructuring and now there is a talk of the third force, seriously?  It is all mouth and no action. Whatever next!  Let us deal with the matter at hand and it’s not about giving these despicable politicos more opportunity to drain the national coffers while Nigerians are fighting one another over the hatred that they have created. What people need right now is an effective government that listens, cares, and indeed working to lift people out of poverty, affordable food, regular power, alternative source of energy and less reliance on petroleum, and to date and competitive establishments and institutions. The country needs structures to enable cattle and farming to co-exist; build underground water reservoir and irrigation and invest in long term programme all under the Ministry. Agriculture and pasturing should not be jostling for position because as far as I know, Nigerians are not vegetarians. All desertification can become green areas for food and cattle with targeted and sustainable investment from the government and international investors.

Finally, it is important that we are honest with ourselves and just maybe, we should not leave our future in the hands of selfish and greedy collectives.   We are a republic and a democracy. So, it is high time we behaved as such.

I  maintain that the hatred, tribal, religious prejudice and discrimination has been breeding historically and has been stoked heavily by those with ulterior motives. Contrary to what the hater may say, there is more than meets the eye and we may never know where the faulting lies but we can definitely see the escalating loss of lives.

I have always said in my column, that I do not support any political party nor would I want to.  I  have written about the Fulani herdsmen  in 2012, 2014 and 2018. I have to write my truth and if I step on anyone’s toes, then I have succeeded in pricking their conscience, if they have any, then I have done my job.

I am hopeful that the young people will make a better job of Nigeria than my generation or the one before that. History will be the judge of that.

In the words of the late elder Maitama Sule at a meeting addressing PMB ,’if you do justice to all and sundry –   and I say all and sundry – because Allah says if you are going to judge between people, do justice, irrespective of their tribe, religion or even political inclination; justice must be done to whosoever deserves it. Power can remain in the hands of an infidel if he is just and fair. But power will not remain in the hands of a believer if he is unfair and unjust. Behind every crisis anywhere in the world is injustice and the solution to that crisis is justice. The world itself can never be governed by force, never by fear.

Below is reader’s response to my column on the 14/01/18:

Dear Denrele, I’m responding to your above titled article published today 14/01/2018 in your column in Sunday Vanguard.

I think it’s too loosely put to say you put the blame of the latest bloodbath in Benue on the doorstep of the state government. You also alleged that there weren’t enough consultations before the passage of the law.

I want to believe that you said these either out of the lack of enough information on the subject matter or you were carried away by sheer emotion and your inordinate support for the president and the current federal government.

Firstly, it’s common knowledge that the bill took more than six months before passing it with the so-called Mayetti Allah refusing to give their contributions and openly threatened to disobey the law.

Secondly, the governor has said it in the open that several letters were written to all the security agencies intimating them of the impending attacks without a response, including the presidency, and none of them have denied this claim.

May I ask you the following questions, (1) when a law that is not favourable to some people is passed do citizens take the law into their hand or go to court? (2) When Sharia and other laws were passed against the wishes and interest of some people did you blame the governors of such states? (3) Can you state precisely the steps the federal government has taken better than that of the state government to mitigate this crisis, and why the governor must be the one to blame?

My advice on this matter is that we should encourage true federalism by learning how to obey laws made by state government and stop giving bias support to the federal government when they shy away from their duties. We should emphase it that herding is a private business and should not be made to have the face of public enterprise. My people have been planting yams and tapping palm wine for centuries without any government support. Let the herders find out in other parts of the world how that business is done in modern days (and let us be). Cheers, STEVE

From my archive

“Here is a man, who had his grubby hands in the trough, has consistently evaded paying taxes, been bankrupt many times over, a menace to women, a prickly personality with an enormous ego to boot.

If it seems that I do not like this man, you are right. This man has stoked the race, religious and divisive fire and lit the hate that will take a long time to dissipate and heal the division. This man said that climate change is a hoax and when he is not very happy with anyone or a group that disagrees with him, he is quick to anger like a petulant child. There is a great disbelief and fear that this man could have his twitchy finger on the nuclear button.


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