By Ladesope Ladelokun
SINCE the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was murdered in cold blood by suspected herdsmen on the Ondo-Ore road, the Akure home of the nonagenarian has become a Mecca of sort for genuine mourners and pretenders who only want to get photo ops to advertise their feigned compassion. It is not unexpected, therefore, that lawmakers, governors and the Presidency have taken turns to touch Akure soil in order to visit the bereaved because of the political connection of the victim – Mrs Funke Olakunri.
On July 12, 2019, Olakunrin joined the burgeoning figure of Nigerians dispatched to early graves by the bloodthirsty fiends on a rampage across Nigeria who now seem unstoppable as they have turned vast swathes of the Nigerian space to killing fields, leaving citizens in perpetual fear.
Sadly after the murder of Olakunri, an unnecessary debate ensued about who her real killers were. But it must be stated that whether she was killed by Boko Haram elements, armed robbers or Fulani herdsmen is inconsequential. What is disturbing is the fact that another Nigerian has been consumed by the nagging security problems that currently beset Nigeria. And on July 22, 2019, she was buried with tears flowing like a brook from her relatives and well-wishers.
It is bad enough that Olakunri was cut down by fiendish elements whose stock in trade is to unleash sorrow on their victims; the death of one’s child at the departure lounge of one’s life can be depressing, having lost a child earlier. This is why politicising Olakunri’s death by either the ruling party or the major opposition party disrespects Olakunri and the emotions of Pa Fasoranti.
Worthy of note is the fact that no death of a Nigerian occasioned by the current worsening security situation has attracted tears or sympathy from those in the power loop in recent times like Olakunri’s. While one means no disrespect to the deceased and her family, ordinary Nigerians have suffered worse fate while men of power just look away with dry eyes, or even spit on their graves by blaming them for their death.
Also read: Killing of Fasoranti’s daughter: My wife’s killers ’ll never know peace – Bereaved husband
On the same Ondo-Ore road where Olakunri was shot, people have been killed and kidnapped. One can hardly recall any time a delegation from the National Assembly, the Presidency or governors tried to outdo themselves in a harvest of tears and mourning. If the death of Olakunri provokes the same reaction from Nigerian leaders each time every Nigerian is kidnapped or brutally killed, perhaps we will be halfway to finding peace.
The tears of sympathisers and families of Funke Olakunri had not dried when kidnappers abducted the 76-year-old mother of ex-Super Eagle’s coach, Samson Siasia, only three days after Olakunri was murdered. And, just as the family members of the septuagenarian were still trying to come to terms with the ugly reality staring them in the face, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, even with the agony that has become an unwanted companion of victims merchants of death and failure of the state, said the security agencies had successfully tackled Nigeria’s alarming security situation.
Hear him: “All these cries of insecurity which some groups and individuals are taking … as a political game I think they should have a rethink because it is no longer the case. Insecurity has been tamed right now in the North-West, and even in other areas we are doing so well.” Really?
President Buhari boarded the same caravan a day after when he said: “those who politicise the isolated cases of insecurity in Nigeria are not patriotic Nigerians.” Buhari’s reference to “isolated cases of insecurity” in spite of unrelenting kidnapping, banditry and killings across Nigeria is not only worrying but raises pertinent questions.
What are those around Buhari telling him? Does he read Nigerian newspapers? Could it be that he is fed with untrue security reports as posited by former director-general of the Department of State Services, DSS, Afakriya Gadzama? Was it up to three months that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said 1071 Nigerians were killed and 685 kidnapped in four months in crime-related incidences in 2019 alone?
With threats of reprisal attacks flying in all directions following unceasing violence visited on Nigerians by suspected Fulani herdsmen, nothing better signposts the grave security situation we live with. The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces must first see the entire country as his constituency and ensure he is truly seen to be for everybody and for nobody to ignite the fading belief in one Nigeria.
Let’s call a spade by what it is; Nigeria is not winning the war against insecurity. Those who swore to protect us must address issues that threaten our unity as a country in the most holistic and purposeful manner. We will lose nothing if we seek help from advanced countries in the area of deployment of technologies to fight insecurity. Prioritising good governance, social justice and investing heavily in social infrastructure will also go a long way.
Beyond the condolence messages from political actors to the family of Olakunri, the biggest honour she can get following her demise is neither the tears to mourn her nor the visits to Pa Fasoranti. It is to ensure that we no longer have our hearts in our mouths when we ply major roads in Nigeria for fear of being kidnapped or killed and ensure we have a safe country for all. May the soul of Olakunri find rest.