By Sola Ebiseni
FRANTZ Fanon in his Wretched of the Earth wrote that “the future will have no pity for those men who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors, have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and sometimes of coldcomplicity”. This past week, two opinion moulders, the Afenifere and the United States’ Global Advocates for Terrorism Eradication, GATE, stormed the world on the Nigerian situation.
Afenifere, through its indefatigable leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, rolled out its arsenal against impunity in our land in a world press conference titled: “Fixing Nigeria Before the Fall”, held at Wheat Baker Hotel, Ikoyi Lagos on Thursday, November 11, 2021. The energetic 93 years old statesman, who always reminds his followers of the divine grace of his permanent residence at the departure lounge of life, warned that: “Nigeria is dying, is long dead.
It was mortally wounded in January 1966, and was then slaughtered in July of 1966. Its funeral obsequies were held between 1966 and 1970. The Frankenstein that was cobbled together in place of the dead nation that was agreed, has survived this long on the back of repression, lies, illusions and outright delusions.
But Buhari has finally killed it by his endless arrogance, the manifest incompetence, and the vile ethno-religious agenda, with which he is dangerously strangling the insufferable Frankenstein”.
Taking the audience carefully and painstakingly through Nigerian history, most of which events he witnessed, he berated the present administration for its deaf resistance to voice of reason and of wisdom that Nigeria was out for the mortuary attendant except urgent and decisive actions are taken to address its structural distortions.
He lamented that “the entire country is burning, with the North-East which was already aflame before the coming of Buhari, its peoples rendered as pawns in the power games of the Northern elite who allowed Boko Haram to fester as the evil powers of the Federal Government was lost to them, and the insurgents were seen as ethnic champions.”
He reminded the world that indeed, Buhari protested about the onslaught on Boko Haram, and for those who might have paid attention, Gumi’s interventions are merely aping what Buhari used to say, before he gained office in 2015. Chief Adebanjo opined that “what used to be confined to the North-East, has today become a pan Nigerian problem.
He added that terrorists have crossed into the North-West and as they have ravaged the entire region, including the president’s home state, kidnapping hundreds of schoolchildren and their teachers, raping and pillaging the land, the Buhari regime has treated them with kid gloves, and have blithely labelled them as bandits, businessmen, vandals, and even recently as Area Boys.
He wondered why train track bombers, who were clearly intent on the derailment of a passenger train, are labelled as vandals in a clear advertisement of the complicity of the Buhari regime in the terrorist led insurgency ravaging Nigeria.
The situation, he reasoned, was not different in other parts of the country where terrorists of the same ethnic group have unleashed violence on the Nigerian people facilitated or permitted by the Federal Government in an attitude of passivity, moot indifference and cold complicity to use the words of Fanon earlier alluded to.
The Afenifere leader reminded President Buhari of the warning of Chief Obafemi Awolowo to President Shehu Shagari in 1981 that “the ship of state is fast approaching a huge rock and, unless you, as the chief helmsman, quickly rise to the occasion and courageously steer the ship away from its present course, it shall hit the rock, and the inescapable consequence will be an unspeakable disaster such as is rare in the annals of man”.
Buhari was to be that disastrous rock a few months after the warning. The problem with the rock this time is that the rock is the helmsman of the ship, and he would appear to be deliberately and intentionally steering the ship to its end. For the avoidance of doubt Chief Adebanjo made it clear that the Yoruba people are not anarchists, secessionists, but democrats.
We recognise that there is a democratically elected president in Aso Rock. We are not asking for Buhari’s resignation, and since the National Assembly has not seen it fit to impeach him, he remains the president of Nigeria until May 29, 2023. But it is the considered position of Afenifere that he urgently constitutes a Government of National Unity, charged with the sole task of seeing to the restructuring of Nigeria, in consultation with the Nigerian peoples.
Almost concluding on a note of frustration on the Nigerian situation, the elder statesman quipped: “It is easy to see through the multiple lies of General Buhari if one is minded to look, but the question is: Is anyone looking at us again?”
As if answering the question of Chief Ayo Adebanjo and assuring him that the world is not only looking at Nigeria but also not giving up on her, the media on Friday reported a petition by a United States-based Global Advocates for Terrorism Eradication, GATE. In a statement by its Principal Advocate, Robert Berry, GATE petitioned that the Nigerian government is sponsoring terrorism by carrying out terrorist activities, including training, fundraising, financing, and recruitment of terrorists and terrorist activities.
It added that “the Nigerian government officials have deployed the instrumentality of power and are using the veil of sovereignty in knowingly consenting and with malicious intent allowing and promoting the use of Nigeria as a breeding ground and recruitment nursery for international terrorism activities contrary to Foreign Relations Authorisations Act fiscal years 1988 and 1989 (P.L.100 to 204:22 U.S.C 2656f), as amended.”
The media further reported the organisation as saying that “the balance of terror of government’s false narrative has further exposed the complicity of the Nigerian government in the anti-Christian butcheries and its monumental failure in discharging its constitutional duties of protecting and safeguarding the citizens irrespective of their religion, tribe or creed. It added that government has not only failed to provide official credible data of the killings, maiming and Christian properties destroyed or burnt but also undermined, mangled and denied same when independently presented.
In a reference to the Buhari administration by exact date, the organisation revealed that “there are no credible government’s records or from its security and law enforcement agencies showing the number of attacks against Christians since mid-2015 by Jihadist herdsmen, number of Christians killed, a number of their lands seized and occupied by the Jihadists and number of Christians’ properties, including dwelling houses, worship and learning centres destroyed or burnt or lost to Jihadist herdsmen and no credible records from the same government or its security and law enforcement agencies showing the number of attacks against Jihadist Herdsmen or Fulani citizens or settlements by the victim Christian groups or communities, number of Fulani citizens killed, number of their lands seized and occupied, number of Fulani properties, including dwelling houses, mosques and learning centres destroyed or burnt by same Christian avengers.”
Waxing on the same allegations of insecurity being promoted by the Buhari regime, GATE insisted that “both in principle and in practice, the present government of Nigeria has provided and still provides maximum protection for Fulani settlements and their jihadist groups and turned and still turns blind eyes, including little or zero response, to an early warning or distress calls on the side of the persecuted Christians and their properties, especially when under attack or about to be attacked.
The Group accused the Department of State Services, DSS, of raiding the home and killing two domestic staff of a Yoruba Nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho. The activist, Chief Igboho, was protesting the incessant killings by herdsmen in Yoruba land and government of conspiring with Kenyan officials to carry out the kidnap, torture extraordinary rendition and continued detention of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB who has waged an effective resistance against jihadists.
“The current Nigerian Government is executing a global Jihadist agenda that is comparable, if not more insidious than that of the Taliban’s of Afghanistan. It is even more dangerous because it is mixed with genocidal tendencies. It is in the best interest of the United States and all the democratic countries of the world to identify this threat early and address it now. This is to prevent the further spread of the global jihadist agenda of the Buhari government and to arrest an imminent ethnic and religious genocide.”
Giving a notice of applying for a writ of mandamus in default GATE urged that the United States Secretary of State to designate the Nigerian Government and the listed state actors as State sponsors of terrorism to kick start the statutory process and legal instruments of holding them accountable for their high crimes of sponsoring international terrorism. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear. Nigeria, we hail thee.