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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Director-General of Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Dr. Salihu Moh. Lukman has challenged Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, to provide evidence of his claim that there is a sinister plot by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to turn Nigeria into a Fulani and Islamic caliphate.

In a statement titled, “Narrow Politics and Questions of Democratic Development”, issued Wednesday, the party chieftain also carpeted former Deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,  Dr. Obadiah Mailafia and a retired military officer, Commodore Kunle Olawunmi for going on air on national television to allege that people in government, including a serving Governor are the sponsors of insurgency and banditry in the country.

 Lukman stressed that such weighty allegations which is capable of creating ethnic hatreds and religious disharmony should rather be matters of judicial investigation and once proved, all identified culprits should be made to face the full wrath of the law, and not reduced to media debates, which rather highlights how low we have descended as a nation.

Recall that in August 2021, there were reports of incidences of killings in Plateau State, bandit attacks on Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), continued activities of bandits in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger States, Boko Haram – ISWAP clashes and many other criminal activities across the country which dominated national discourses.

These led to a revelation made by Commodore (Rtd) Kunle Olawunmi while granting an interview on Channels television where he alleged that government, including the presidency are the sponsors of Boko Haram and bandits.

Also in September 2020, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia similarly alleged on a live radio show  that a serving Northern Governor is the sponsor of Boko Haram.

Lukman, who described these allegations as  “unsubstantiated and meaningless wild goose campaign” which lack any specific proposal on how to resolve Nigeria’s challenges, maintained that the claimants should have supported their claims with evidence and not just making baseless claims that are capable of setting the nation on fire.

He said, “Although while making the allegations, he also claimed to have proof, after interrogation by the security, Dr. Mailafia was reported to backtracked, saying that he ‘did not really mean to say that the government was part and parcel of the killings.’ Since Commodore Olawumni has already began meeting with the security, hopefully the details of his evidence will come out.

“On the part of Governor Ortom, he claimed that he has forwarded his evidence to President Buhari and security agencies in the country. But since he feels so strong as to go public with his allegation without waiting for both President Buhari and security agencies to handle the matter, he can as well make the evidence public since he has lost confidence on established processes of managing matters of national security.”

The party chieftain debunked the allegations saying the only reason why such a campaign is attractive today is because President Buhari who is a Fulani man is in power.

“If a primary school pupil talks like the way all the diehard opposition campaigners in the country campaigning against so-called ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ agenda, one can excuse it because at that level of innocence, everything could appear possible. But for a public servant as highly placed as that of a Governor, retire public servant, retire security personnel, etc. it portends a big danger, which if overlooked can produce a cult mentality in the country with all the ethnic and religious hatred associated with it.

“Being Governor, retired public servants, retired military personnel, with all the knowledge and experiences they have but decided to adopt the imaginary notion that a country as diverse as Nigeria can be taken over by any ethnic or religious group, is the highest manifestation of morbid symptom of attempt to block any possibility that a new society can be born out of the dying culture of corruption, greed and lawlessness, which was the hallmark of PDP’s sixteen year tenure,” he said.

The PGF DG warned against conduct and utterances of political leaders in the country who are bent on setting the nation on fire for political gains.

Lukman noted that if Nigerian democracy is to develop and become the facilitator for national unity and political development in the country, there is urgent need for political parties in Nigeria to take steps to discourage ethnic and religious campaign of hatred by regulating the conduct of political leaders and elected representatives.

He added that to be able to discourage ethnic and religious campaign of hatred in the country, it  would require that parties put in place internal code of conducts – byelaws, beyond what is provided in their constitution as parties, as they are today, are weak in regulating the conducts of political leaders and elected representatives.

 


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