Thursday, February 13, 2020 4:03 pm
By Johnson Idowu
Let me first introduce myself to you properly. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria in July 1947, and I have lived the whole of my life up to date in Nigeria. Therefore, Nigeria is very dear to me and I have an abiding interest in her because I don’t want to live in any other country.
I am a committed clergyman, so I am commanded by God to speak the truth irrespective of whose ox is gored.
I have never been a card-carrying member of any political party or association in my life and I have never held any political office, but I have an abiding interest in the politics of my country because the action and inactions of the political class have profound effects on the fortunes and misfortunes of the country and my life.
Lastly, I am a true son of Oduduwa, a Yoruba man to the core from Ogun State who has an abiding interest in the security, progress and development of the Yorubas and Yorubaland.
You can see that you and I are in the same age bracket so both of us have witnessed all the good, the bad and the ugly things that have happened to this country since Independence in 1960.
YOU WANT HISTORY TO BE KIND TO YOU.
In one of your speeches in the build-up to the new year 2020 you were quoted as saying that you would like history to be kind to you after you leave office.
I want to assure you that history is a mirror and it reflects whatever you portray into it back to you. For history to be kind to you, you must also have been kind to history, but so far you have not been kind to history in Nigeria.
YOUR FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD NIGERIA
In 1983, exactly on 31st December, 1983, you sacked the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and became the Head of State and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
Most Nigerians welcomed your coup with ecstasy because the administration you sacked was so corrupt that it had emptied the Treasury and the foreign reserves of the country, and there was hunger in the land because there was no foreign exchange with which to import essentially commodities for the consumption of the masses, particularly since the agricultural sector had been neglected by the government.
There was also a serious economic problem and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) presented some strangulating conditionalities to us if they would bail us out of our self-imposed predicament with their loan.
Although you had good intentions in rejecting the conditionalities of the IMF your administration did not have a viable alternative measure to take Nigeria out of the economic morass. You then resorted to jackboot strategies.
First, you introduced WAR AGAINST INDISCIPLINE (WAI) in order to inculcate discipline in the masses to do things orderly by queuing up to receive service, to obey sanitary regulations etc, and a lot of people were doubled up and, sometimes, given corporal punishments by your WAI Brigade members in public places.
While this policy was good, the overbearing excesses of the military, the police and the WAI Brigade members turned Nigeria into a police state and the masses became suffocatingly oppressed.
Secondly, in your righteous eagerness to tackle the emerging menace of drug trafficking, you promulgated a decree prescribing death penalty for conficted drug traffickers, but you spoiled your good intentions by backdating the decree to before the drug traffickers then on trial committed the offence , and you actually executed them, something unheard of before in criminal justice anywhere in the world.
Thirdly, as if that was not bad enough, you promulgated another decree to muzzle free speech by criminalizing any criticism of your Government and you actually jailed some journalists for the laughable offence of criticizing your government policies and actions.
Fourthly, you embarked on a one-sided anti-corruption crusade through which you set up kangaroo military tribunals to try and convict ALL the UPN State Governors, who were the best performing Governors in the country at that time, on trumped-up charges of corruption. Even, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the Governor of Ondo State (Ondo/Ekiti now) was tried and exonorated three times yet you insisted that he must be thrown into jail along with his UPN colleagues.
No single Northern Governor was jailed.
You thus revealed yourself as a tribal warlord and an enemy of the Yorubas who had progressive administration’s in their states.
Not only that, you managed to throw many children in the South West out of school by unilaterally cancelling the free education scheme being operated in all the South West states and introducing a uniform levy of N20 per term per student (a lot of money in those days) which made a lot of children to drop out of school.
THE ECONOMIC FRONT
On the economic front you had no solution to the economic problem of the country apart from another jackboot strategy through which your administration prescribed controlled prices for commodities you did not produce or provide, and your soldiers forced open the warehouses of merchants who had used their own resources to import those commodities into the country, and your soldiers sold the commodities to the public at your administration’s determined prices.
But after your soldiers had emptied all such warehouses the scarcity and suffering escalated because there was no more commodity to sell.
If you must know, it was the concerted, consistent and continuous cry of the Nigerian masses to God in churches, mosques, prayer mountains, seaside etc which made God to raise up General Babangida to topple your government in August, 1985.
A TRIBAL LEADER
You have always portrayed yourself as a strictly Fulani leader, and in 2001 you led the leaders of Area Consultative Forum (ACF) to late Governor Lam Adesina of Oyo State to challenge the perceived unfair treatment meted to the Fulani herdsmen in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, a claim which, on investigation, was discovered to be unfounded.
THE DILEMMA OF THE PROGRESSIVES IN 2014/2015.
In 2003, 2007 and 2011 you failed in your bid to become a civilian President of Nigeria because the South West refused to vote for you and the progressives in the South West and other parts of the country too were suspicious of you because of your tribal and dictatorial antecedents.
However, the South West and the progressives were confronted with a big dilemma in the run-in to the 2015 presidential election as a result of the rapacious nature of the PDP government under President Goodluck Jonathan, and they needed a person who could help clean the augean stable in order to introduce sanity and accountability into governance.
In the run-in to the 2015 general elections, the South West and the Progressives needed a person who could help Nigeria clean the Augean stable created by the PDP. They eventually settled for you because they thought that your anti-corruption crusade could be moderated and properly conducted in a democratic setting, and the country’s Constitution would checkmate your tribalistic tendencies. How very wrong they were!
I thought so too and I willingly prayed for your success and voted for you in 2015 because I saw you and the APC as a better option to the rot that the PDP had become. (I did not vote for anybody in 2019)
YOUR TRUE COLOUR
However, between 2015 and now you have revealed yourself to be an unrepentant parochial Fulani leader and have disappointed the Progressives and other liberal minded Nigerians, apart from the gluttonous self-serving politicians who are feeding fat in the National Assembly and in your administration, as a result of the following actions and events:
1. Your appointments into the positions of Service chiefs and Heads of other uniformed services were heavily biased in favour of members of your tribe, the Fulanis.
2. When your kinsmen, the Fulani herdsmen unleashed terror on farmers in Benue, Plateau and the entire Middle Belt, with scattered incidents in other parts of the country, you deliberately turned a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the gory sights and sounds, and not once did you condemn their wanton killings and destruction, and not a single one of them was apprehended and prosecuted, but whenever a Fulani herdsman or some of their cows we’re killed or rustled your law enforcement agents were quick to apprehend the culprits.
3. You planned to establish a Homeland for all your Fulani kinsmen across West Africa in Nigeria, and towards that you proposed RUGA (Fulani) settlements in all states of Nigeria, ostensibly, as your spokespersons claimed, to solve the problem of herders and farmers clashes.
4. When the indigenous peoples of Nigeria resisted the move, you quickly put your Plan B in motion by declaring Nigeria a visa-free entry country to all Africans in order to precipitate a massive influx of Fulanis into the country.
THE FULANILISATION AGENDA WILL NOT SUCCEED.
Mr President, please note that this surreptitious Fulanilisation of Nigeria will not succeed because an influx of of Ten million Fulanis in addition to the between Seven and Ten million already in the country CANNOT overcome the over 300 indigenous tribes of Nigeria and take their ancestral lands from them.
Please be reminded that the warlike indigenous tribes of Benue, Plateau Taraba etc – the Tivs, the Junkuns, the Nupes, the Igalas, the Agatus, the Idomas etc who checkmated the incursion of the rampaging army of Uthman Dan Fodio after 1808 are still there and waiting. If you had allowed them to deal with the rampaging Fulani herdsmen in their own way there would have been a sorry tale to tell.
Also, the Yorubas who also checkmated the same incursion from coming into Yorubaland are ready and waiting. And I can assure you that the Yorubas have a plethora of lethal and non-lethal physical and spiritual weapons of warfare and we deploy whichever one is appropriate on each occasion. When General Babangida affronted us by annulling the mandate freely given by Nigerians to our Son, late MKO Abiola, we deployed the non-lethal weapon of orchestrated verbal crucification coupled with controlled civil disobedience to chase him out of the presidency.
Further, the unconquerable and indomitable Igbos of the South East are there and waiting, and so also are the war-like Ijaws, Ogonis, Binis, Urhobos, Ibibios, Itshekiri, Annang, Kalabari and other tribes of the South South region are ready and waiting.
None of them will surrender an inch of their land to the Fulanis.
BALKANIZATION OF NIGERIA.
If you proceed with your Fulanilisation agenda you will only succeed in disintegrating Nigeria into several sovereign states because the Nigerian Army which have not been able to defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP in over six years of fighting does not have the capability to fight a civil war on several fronts at the same time.
What is more, the Nigerian Army is made up of all the various indigenous tribes of Nigeria and if such a war occurs (GOD FORBID & ALLAH FORBID) the Nigerian Army will break up into factions and they will align with their respective regions.
NIGERIAN ARMY DID NOT DEFEAT THE BIAFRAN ARMY.
Mr President, let me assert here categorically without any fear of credible contradiction, that the Igbos lost the 1967-1970 civil war, NOT because the Nigerian Army was better than the Biafran Army, No! Far from it. They lost the war because of two major reasons:
1. The Igbos of the South East, who constitute only one of the six geo- political regions in Nigeria, were up in arms against the other five regions because even the people of the South South region, who had been oppressed by the Igbos in the Eastern Region, but who found themselves willy-nilly boxed-in inside Biafra, did not share the Biafran dream and therefore worked against the Biafran war efforts internally.
2. Two major measures taken by the Nigerian government progressively weakened Biafra and led to their eventual surrender. These were:
A. The Food Blockade against them which progressively imposed hunger and malnutrition on the people, and
B. The Nigerian currency change during the war which denied Biafra of the much needed convertible currency with which to buy arms and ammunition because the former stockpile of the old Nigerian currency had become valueless externally.
In the event of a multi-faceted civil war (GOD FORBID AND ALLAH FORBID) that kind of scenario will not be present and the Nigerian Army will be completely overwhelmed.
HISTORY CAN STILL BE KIND TO YOU.
Mr. President, you can still make history to be kind to you if you will agree to do the following four things:
1. Halt the Fulanilisation agenda immediately because it is dead on arrival, because all the indigenous tribes in the entire South and the Middle Belt are already aware of your game plan and you cannot take them by surprise again.
2. Continue to prosecute the laudable anti-corruption crusade across the board without shielding members of your own party and tribe in political positions.
3. Reduce the tribal nepotism in your appointments into key positions in the uniformed formations and other key parastatals.
4. Make a fact of what Garba Shehu hinted, that You and APC were ready to restructure Nigeria into a true Federation. Since there is a bonding synergy between your Executive and the 9th National Assembly, please commence the process NOW so that Nigeria would have been fully restructured into a true Federation by the time you leave office in 2023.
If you do these things history will be very kind to you because your name will be written in GOLD as THE BEST PRESIDENT NIGERIA EVER HAD and THE FATHER OF MODERN NIGERIA.
God bless Your Excellency; God bless Nigeria.
-This article by Rabbi (Dr) Johnson Idowu was originally published on nairaland