By Ochereome Nnanna
If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should happen again in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood – retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, May 14, 2012.
THE major religions have concepts to keep their faithful on the path of righteousness and avoid evil. In Buddhism and Hinduism, the concept of karma says that whatever you do in your current state of being, you will get your reward in the next life. The Bible says God is not mocked; whatever a man sows that he will reap. Islam shares the concept of heaven and hell for their faithful, same as Christianity. Every charitable or uncharitable attitude is a boomerang.
Five years into his reign as an elected president, Muhammadu Buhari presides over a nation threatened by insecurity. In every part of the country, people are being slaughtered on a scale like before through the activities of Boko Haram in the North East, armed herdsmen in the Middle Belt and South, and the “Bandits” in the North West.
Just a week ago, Katsina State erupted in massive protests over the bloodshed being waged against the people by “Bandits”. They were reportedly foreign and local fighters allegedly assembled earlier by evil politicians to unleash against the Goodluck Jonathan regime if Buhari had lost the 2015 election.
Apparently, when these politicians attained their heart’s desire, these killer hoodlums were abandoned to their own devices.
They turned their weapons meant for Jonathan against the innocent, ordinary people. Today, in the seven states of the North West, only Kano is still free of these Bandits’ reign of terror. Buhari’s home state (Katsina) and neighbouring Zamfara (which has always voted for parties Buhari has associated with since 1999) are the epicentres of the carnage. Buhari’s in-law, Umar Musa, a traditional ruler in Daura, was kidnapped by these bandits and kept for two months before being freed. The kidnappers had demanded $30 million (over N12bn). Can you beat that? My people have a proverb: “Those who dress up masquerades are usually the first to be whipped by it”.
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We’ve just discussed the rage of the bandits who have become implacable, even after unsolicited amnesties were offered them by North West governors. Abdulaziz Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State, “resigned” as the chief security officer of his state but held on to the post of governor in admission of failure to protect the people. Governor Nasir el-Rufai in March this year told Kaduna people: “I apologise for failure to protect you”. This was a governor who had confessed to paying foreign herdsmen to persuade them not to kill people in his state. They simply used the money to morph their campaign of terror.
Bello Masari, Buhari’s own state governor who negotiated with the bandits and offered them unsolicited amnesty, also confessed failure on June 16, 2020: “I don’t know what to tell (the people). I cannot look them in the face because we have failed to protect them, contrary to our pledge to ensure the security of lives and property throughout the state”.
After all these confessions of failure, did the governors do the next logical thing by resigning? “Not in my country,” as an All Progressives Congress, APC’s propaganda slogan would say. Buhari sits in Aso Rock and pleads with Katsina people for “patience”. Change the service chiefs who have failed to secure the nation he won’t. There must be cosmic forces at play here.
After Buhari lost his third presidential election in 2011 his psyche was badly bruised. He vowed never to run again. But on May 14, 2012 a group of loyalists from Niger State called on him in his Kaduna residence and pleaded for him to contest the 2015 elections.
Buhari wept profusely and agreed to run again. But he promised bloodshed if he lost again. As far as I am concerned, Buhari had lost the previous elections because he had naively believed his proverbial 12 million Northern votes would bring him to power.
He won in 2015 because the rot had permeated the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, just as it has APC regime. The centre could no longer hold. Buhari’s merger with Bola Tinubu’s group coupled with international interference in his favour brought him victory in 2015.
When Buhari became president, he vowed to secure the country. Instead of the country being secure, herdsmen militias who were active only in Plateau and Southern Kaduna moved their bloody campaign South. They killed indiscriminately, maimed, burnt down churches, farms and communities; raped, kidnapped for ransom and forcefully settled on people’s lands.
Rather than stop them, the Federal Government has sought (and is still seeking) to seize people’s lands to set up cattle colonies and Ruga for them. Government also refused to acknowledge the “herders” as a terrorist group though they are globally ranked as fourth deadliest. The security agencies harshly react to any attempt at self-defence by indigenous communities.