By Yinka Odumakin
ONDO state has a rich history as the bastion of resistance and a land intolerant of opportunism. We know what Ondo people would tolerate and what they would not accept. When the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, rigging machine went into an overdrive doing landslide and moon slide in 1983,the greatest mistake it made was venturing into Ondo State.
The chilling accounts of the pushback of that misadventure is the captivating “House of War ” by Dare Babarinsa, a copy of which I have been flipping through anytime the provocative Fulani herdsmen carry out new aggression in their serial attacks on the land of freedom.
The owners of the temporary and unsustainable game presently going on in this Cowtry(Nigeria )are playing a dangerous one in Ondo state similar to what provoked the war in Ondo in 1983 and signaled the end of that Republic.
By the way, when the Buhari junta took over in 1984, a special vindictive focus was placed on Ondo state in the anti-corruption propaganda,Chief Adekunle Ajasin whose testimony was that he left office as Governor with the set of agbada he came in with and his personal car unserviceable (he was taken back to Owo in Senator Banji Akintoye’s car after the coup) was put on trial thrice and found blameless.He was kept in gaol while Shagari who headed the whole corruption was in a guest house where he sired a new baby!
Back to the current provocations of Ondo people. It started with some Fulani urchins kidnapping former Secretary to the Federal Government and President–almost, Chief Olu Falae who was kept in the bush for days with machete cuts inflicted on him.This country would have gone up in flames if some Yoruba boys living in the North were to do such against an Adamu Ciroma .
The boys who inflicted that horror against Falae were eventually sent to jail after a judicial process.
Nasir El-Rufai’s tweeted in 2012: “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.” It now appears that this code is in enforcement in Ondo state over the jailing of the criminals who kidnapped Falae. The Fulani herdsmen have returned to his farm repeatedly after until they set it ablaze recently .
They invaded a farmland in Arodoye in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State, destroying 200 acre farms, killed a female farmer, identified as Patience Salami among several during the last Yuletide.There have been other reported cases of attacks in the state.
On the 12th of February,I received images from a young friend of mine in Akure of hundreds of cows roaming the streets of Akure triumphantly. It was so provocative and I sensed something in the air. I was not surprised the following day when he told me that herdsmen have taken over the Secretariat of Akure chasing out the workers. The Vanguard report of the incident went thus:
“AKURE South local government council, the seat of power in Ondo state was sacked by over 30 herdsmen who invaded it. Workers of the council fled as the rapacious herdsmen inflicted machete cuts on the shoulder of the council’s Agriculture Officer Simon Johnson. No fewer than three about to be wedded couple fled to different directions as the herdsmen disrupted their wedding ceremonies slated for the council’s registry. Many of them came back looking for their shoes and handbags after normalcy returned to the council. Vanguard gathered that all the weddings scheduled to take place at the council area yesterday could not hold following the stampede that occurred and the threat to lives and properties.”
Days after the invasion, the workers in the council refused to return to work because it appears there is nobody to protect them even as the police whose IG has become what Governor Samuel Ortom called “spokesman for Fulani herdsmen ” denied the invasion took place .
As I began scribbling this, news filtered in that the Air Peace flight to Akure on Saturday escaped a mishap at it hovered in the air for several minutes because cows took over the runway.
Writing on his Twitter handle Governor Ayodele Fayose who witnessed the incident said: “Today, while at the Akure Airport to board Air Peace commercial flight to Lagos, I witnessed cows taking over the Airport runway and preventing Aircraft No. 5NBQQ from landing for more than 15 minutes. Thanks to Capt Inyang for saving the lives of the passengers.”
Reacting to the development, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, in a press release, “apologised to Air Peace Airlines and our esteemed passengers for a runway incursion incident that prevented an Akure airport bound flight from landing for some minutes.”
How barbaric and primitive can it get?
For the reason best known to it, the Government of Ondo state has not said a word on these incidents unlike that of Osun whose Executive Council took a strong position on the nefarious activities of the herdsmen about two weeks ago. Is Ondo state now a prototype ‘colony’?
But thanks to the traditional rulers who have not kept sinful silence. The Deji of Akure Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi has issued a stern warning “Akure people can no longer tolerate the excesses of these herdsmen who are now making live unbearable with their nefarious attitudes.”
The monarch also appealed to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to take proactive measures in curbing the herdsmen menace.
He called on the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police and all security agencies to take more decisive steps in ensuring that the arsonists are brought to justice.
“It is important to act now to avoid self-defence by our people”, he said while calling on President Buhari to take action too.
Some other traditional rulers in the State have also asked Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to break his silence on the proposed cattle colony by the Federal Government.
The traditional rulers under the auspices of 130 Krown Club asked the governor to make his position known to members of the public in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the monarchs after a meeting held at the palace, Oba Idowu Faborode, the Ogbolu of Ita-Ogbolu in Akure North Local Government, the Aladeokun of Idanre, Oba Olusegun Akinbola, Owa-Ale of Ikare-Akoko Oba Samuel Adedoyin-Adegbite and Olupe of Ipe-Akoko, Oba Francis Makanjuola Apata expressed fears about the various attacks of Fulani herdsmen in different parts of the state.
Oba Adedoyin-Adegbite who raised alarm about infiltration of Fulani herdsmen in the state said about four truck loads of herdsmen from Iseyin in Oyo State were dropped in Akoko land recently .
The traditional rulers warned the state government against ceding of the lands in their domains for the proposed cattle colony.
The monarchs said it took an emergency meeting of all traditional rulers from Akokoland in Ondo North Senatorial district before security men came to evacuate the herdsmen from the territories.
His words: “we reject cattle colony in any part of Ondo State. The Land use Decree of 1978 vest the ownership of land on the governors. The Federal Government does not have land unless offshore. The governor of Ondo State should take a position on cattle colony. We cannot cede any of our land for cattle colony.”
Also, Oba Akinbola said the monarchs who would be affected by any policy statement of the governor should be carried along in any decision making process.
According to the monarch “the obas are not a trade union or pressure group. We want to know the stand of government on the issue of cattle colony.”
It will be well with the land if the highest authorities in the land use the words of the Monarchs to gauge Ondo mood at the moment and not the silence of the state administration.
Re: Time to call out Osinbajo
DEAR Bro Odumakin,
A lot of thanks for helping in your own ‘little’ way in bearing a number of the troubles and ‘heartaches’ in our Nigeria.
Some time ago, during Segun Obasnjo’s tenure as president, a friend/confidant of mine who was being considered for a political appointment did ask me to accompany him to see his Pastor. The mission was to seek proper counselling. Well, the experienced and respected man of God summarised all the deliberations with just two notable posers among others, which he maintained that my friend needed to go home and ‘sleep’ over.
The first was, whether my friend was ready to die or kill for a course he believed in?
And the second was about my friend’s ability and readiness to differentiate between genuine state interest(s) and those of his principal’s and promptly/subsequently act ‘righteously’ when the chips were down. Hmmmm. Please permit me to digress a little.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, just like the late mechanical engineering genius, Prof. Ayodele Awojobi won my feeble heart, majorly due to the testimonies of their former students at UNILAG and the legacies bequeathed to the society. And invariably, the Vice president profusely cemented my personal admiration for him with his divinely led performance when President Muhammadu Buhari , PMB, was on medical vacation, inspite of the horrible ‘mines’ that were surreptitiously laid for him and the nation by those who drafted PMB’s celebrated second handing-over memo. No thanks to the cabals.
Prof. Osinbajo’s seeming ‘failings’ today the way I see it, are all indeed woven around the second poser to my friend/confidant by his spiritual mentor cum Pastor as mentioned earlier.
PMB’s several actions, inactions and body language, are most times, enough to put a good number of his loyalists who are forthright and God fearing in serious dilemmas.
For example, what do you make out of the replacement of the ‘troubled’ NIA boss with a northerner right under the nose of Prof. Osinbajo?. What about the damning and very surprising absence of both Aso Rock occupiers during the mass burial of 73 poor souls in Benue state ?. At least, one would have expected either of them to be in Markurdi. Curiously and sheepishly if I may ask, did the very aged, kids, even pregnant women and their unborn babies equally took part in blocking the ‘holy’ grazing routes in Benue state? Or, did PMB actually encourage Benue farmers/citizens to embrace and ‘ACCOMMODATE’ as brothers, the questionable characters who the DSS boss earlier proclaimed to the whole world to be the deadly and notorious ISIS terrorists? Glaringly and very painfully too, a number of things just can’t add up.
Apart from our VP’s slippery and undefined stance on restructuring/true federalism, ordinarily, Prof. Osinbajo in his true elements would have certainly been by the grave sides with Governor Ortom in Markudi, if for nothing else, but to please his Creator.
The Vice president, the way I perceive, is a worthy gift to our country Nigeria. It is NOT easy persuading such personality and character to go into mainstream politics in Nigeria. And somehow, this is partly where one needs to give it to the astute and shrewd professional politician, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Please, Bro Odumakin, rather than “call out Osinbajo”, in my own opinion, our dear and very polished Vice president should be “called inside” for special prayers,and maybe, reminded that it is very dangerous and unprofitable to please man at the expense of one’s Creator/conscience. The Holy Scriptures have it that “what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world but loses his own soul” -Mark 8:36. No one should be considered too wise, intelligent or gifted for advice/admonitions.
May God have MERCY on all of us.
Ikperite, G.K. – Lagos