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While attacking and persecuting Governor Ortom over ranching law, Governor Masari who reportedly received N6billion from FG to implement ranching policy told the people of Katsina to take up arms in self defence against bandits and terrorists who have made life a living hell by killing and abducting innocent Nigerians in the state. Interestingly, the presidency was quiet. What do you call this if it is not inequity, selective justice and brazen clannishness?

Nigeria’s future is gravely endangered. At least, that is the grim conclusion by many despondent Nigerians concerning the country’s socio-political and economic uncertainties under the Buhari administration. Severe issues such as national security architecture are, unfortunately, politicized, treated with puerile and sentimental mien.

Many have wondered why the presidency under the APC-led administration is being reduced to some religious and ethnic bigotry. All these are at the expense of the blood of the ordinary citizens. This is what the altercation between Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and President Buhari-led Federal Government has clearly further revealed.

Governor Ortom made a very disturbing revelation in an interview he granted Channels Television last Tuesday where he accused the Federal Government and the President. He accused the president of lopsided appointments into security positions along religious, clannish and ethnic lines, which shows that he is insensitive to the stakes of other sections of the country. He has alleged that as a sitting governor, he has been blocked from meeting the president.

The governor accused President Buhari of partiality and selective justice in its handling of the controversial issues of ranching, Ruga, as well as the so-called grazing route in the country.

Historically, the Benue State Government set a pace for modern cattle rearing through ranching as a panacea to the unending herders/farmers conflict in many parts of the country, especially in the North-central with particular reference to Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi States. It went further to establish a law banning open grazing in the state, a development that led to a bitter feud with the Federal Government.

Since the law against open grazing was made public, killings of farmers and peasants by suspected herders have continued unabated in the state without any well-meaning interventions by the Federal Government. Benue State has one of the festering internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the country.

Ortom accused Buhrai of partiality saying that while he (the president) is against ranching policy in Benue, gave Governor Aminu Masari the sum of N6billion commence implementation of ranching policy in Katsina.

Like many Nigerians, we are taken aback that instead of the presidency to address the grave allegations raised by Governor Ortom, it resorted to sentimentalism and propaganda.

In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), the presidency described Ortom’s style of administration as “sectarianism and ethnicity” and “playing on ethnic themes thereby causing deaths of innocent Nigerians by “inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims. Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria – using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide”.

There should have been a better craftsmanship in that speech that lacks decorum and tact, which has defined the response system of the present administration against all constructive criticisms since inception. This is not only wrong but condemnable. Governor Ortom has not said anything different from many Nigerian statesmen and leaders of thoughts who are exercising their freedom of expression.

Recently, Governor Masari who reportedly received N6billion to implement ranching policy told the people of Katsina to take up arms in self defence against bandits and terrorists who have made life a living hell by killing and abducting innocent Nigerians in the state. Interestingly, the presidency was quiet; however, if that statement was made by Ortom or any other national leader who is not a member of the APC, the presidency would have risen up in an impulsively acidic reaction. What do you call this if it is not inequity, selective justice and brazen clannishness?

We note with dismay that this presidency is overtly partisan in its leadership quality, policies and actions. This is indeed often demonstrated in its reactions to the citizens’ genuine views about its policies and programmes.

 

Another recent instance happened last week when a retired Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, granted Channels Television an explosive where he bared his mind on the burning national security challenges in the country and the unwillingness of the government to curtail the ugly trend. Some media reports stated that he is now being persecuted by President Buhari administration because he dared to speak the truth about the facts that the present government is not ready to fight the ongoing insurgency, herders/farmers clashes and banditry in the country.

The retired intelligence officer has unimpeachable facts about the issues and the rots in the Buhari administration. He revealed that confessions by some arrested insurgents showed that the government has the list of sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria among who are governors and persons inside the corridors of power.

The revelation did not go down well with the Buhari government. He has since been invited by the Defence Headquarters “to share” more light on what they already know. The TV Station that conducted the interviews granted by Ortom and Olawunmi, Channels TV, is now reportedly being sanctioned or queried by the regulatory authorities for alleged unprofessional conduct and for allegedly promoting hate speech and incitement against government.

A government that hates constructive criticism and truth stands a risk of collapse. Ortom said what other Nigerians have been saying. The message is national but the problem is the messenger is not right.

This is a real danger for Nigeria’s democracy. Such a situation imperils peace, unity and progress in any democratic society. We therefore urge that unless such obnoxious public policy and response systems change for the better, Nigeria’s future is indeed bleak.

 


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