By Odey Ukandi
In the past few weeks, Buhari’s policy gamble to provide succour for his tribesmen has busied discerning Nigerians; and tended to stretch – not enrich – the lexicon of the country’s political economy. Matter-of-factly, this diversionary talk and officialese has been employed and deployed effectively enough to turn populist emotions from the pogrom, grief, and sober reflections that trailed the killings in Benue and the President’s dismal and uninspiring response to a tragedy that attracted and arrested international attention.
Like a shriller hypnosis, the issue of ‘ colony ‘ for herdsmen in all the states of the federation and Abuja came with a callous ferocity on the heels of laying 73 citizens to rest in a mass burial in Makurdi; such ferocity that has left the rest of Nigerians and tribes demobilized and disparate to the reality that the fate of the Benue 73 is an emergent national contact point in the context and content of this unfolding neocolonialism.
That is, what happened in Benue and to Benue people can happen in any other state, or any other tribe, and claim its people in similar or worse bloody abandon. To forestall these colonists and their colonialists, other tribes in Nigeria must embrace this anti-colonial consciousness that any attack by the herdsmen on one tribe is an attack on the other. This is one way to forge a bypass to Buhari’s ‘ colony’ road.
While the farm of former secretary to the government of the federation, Chief Olu Falae was in flames yesterday, no thanks to herdsmen midwived and masterminded inferno, natives and the entire population in a village in Taraba State were in scamper, livid with apprehension about a reprehensible landing of a strange and no less sinister helicopter bearing arms for some looming and lurking marauders on a mission to attack a target village in Taraba. Then, like the cry of the night owl and the fate of the baby who died in early dawn, reports today indicate that a village in Numan, Adamawa state (neighbouring Taraba State), was attacked by suspected herdsmen, and this left four dead, and several houses burnt, according to Police report.
All these amidst Buhari’s resolve and zeal to begin to foist the ‘ colony ‘ policy this week, according to undisputed media reports.
It appears that both the principal and his prefect are at a loss, desperately in want of direction, and tragically not in synch with national aspirations and prevailing mood of the people. Searching and combing through reference materials, the ‘ colony ‘ has no roots, links, or application in agricultural administration.
A 1972 graduate of agricultural science of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, not even those who specialise in agricultural economics that I spoke with on this issue agree with Innocent Audu Ogbeh, on this disputed and disputable usage of ‘ colony ‘ , with all its huge potentials and sharp prospects to rock and severe the delicate and intricate standing of the Nigerian federation. And I can’t say here whether Ogbeh is a victim of expired agric literature and science. The closest semantics of ‘ colony’ which appears relevant to our context and aspirations of its authors and sponsors is ‘ imperialism ‘ .
And that is the essential material particular of Buhari’s colony road. If the idea goes through, the Buhari presidency would have succeeded in making Fulani a tribe in every State of the country.
With massive land mass of 10 square kilometers, the ‘ colonialists’ will be better positioned to network, and ultimately interface, and, eventually, the long standing jihadist ambition to take Islam to the Atlantic coast would be fulfilled ( read accomplishment of conquest! ). This historical imperative and the following, which is a plan by Buhari’s colony of political adventurers to scuttle the 2019 general elections, and to that extent torpedo the subsisting democracy, and rely on some Machiavellian option to complete the ‘ colony ‘ and Islamization work started, constitute the crux of the cattle colony policy.
In this rapid build up and vexed succession of events towards 2019, these seers in office are already face to face with the truth that President Buhari has suffered immense political depletion with serious adverse consequences for his politico-moral estimation. This makes him hardly marketable, and a tactless electoral risk in 2019. The seven governors who went to him a fortnight ago to urge and cheer him into the contest in 2019 are governors with no less depleted political and moral carriage in their various electoral constituencies and environments who are ready to fan Buhari’s embers and render 2019 unrealistic.
With the obvious imbalances in the national security structure which constitute a problem in tracking and arresting these herdsmen attackers, and growing insecurity all over the country, Buhari’s road to colony must be mindful of sustaining national unity, preserving democracy, and must not end up as a high way to separatist agitations and possibility of war.