IMPUNITY OF HELMSMEN, HERDSMEN, THE SHAME OF A NATION

The title of this piece draws from the imperative and sad question of whether there is still a nation called Nigeria, in the real sense of nationhood, against the backdrop of the entire hullabaloo concerning the ills of government and governance, which unaddressed have reduced the nation to a cacophonous distressful symphony from every angle. It is obvious that matters affecting the well-being of the citizenry has faced arduous relegation, jettisoned and slaughtered on the altar of political profligacy at all levels, thereby making it inevitable for the erstwhile blind followers to express in lucid exclamation: “We can see!”

It is a reality of human existence that no one is immune to sickness, not even the President of any nation as exemplified by our own President Muhammed Buhari (PMB) who for health challenges has spent over 130 days altogether sojourning in London, away from the Topsy-turvy affairs of the nation. It typifies the popular saying that an unwary landlord chases rat into the bush while his house is on fire. There are good reasons for him to have sought better health improving alternatives abroad, especially since he and the other helmsmen of the nation have revolvingly jeopardized the improvement of health facilities at the home front. Along with misrule and wanton looting is the annoying parade of ill-gotten wealth by the power sharks.

Thus the rise and rise of insurgencies, agitations, dissensions and all what not from every corner of the nation remains a function of awareness of the people of their incapacitation over a protracted period of the nation’s life. The erroneous notion held by rulers that the singular problem of the pauperized people is hunger that can be suppressed by occasional ‘stomach infrastructure’ has faded into oblivion as the people’s sleeping might have been awakened by perceived perilous cheating. From the infested interiors of Aso Rock through the vicarious corridors of the National Assembly and into supposed judicial havens the news of profligacy flows like putrid gutters of Ajegunle in Lagos. These have led to agitations for the immediate and non-negotiable correction of the imbalance which political gluttons in the cloak of national leaders are further trying to mitigate. However, it is germane to observe that the restructuring of the nation as is being demanded is sine qua non. The retrogressive and self-aggrandizing rulers (leaders) should not forget that with the magnitude of dissection and sensitization going on a product of long standing misrule, there can be no forcing the horses to drink from the stale oasis that is the Nigerian Nation. As if this was not enough, the unresolved menace of herdsmen and their cattle pillorying and devastating farm lands from North to South. Tales of woes have become common symphonies in homes, families, villages and states arising from the impunity of a crop of malevolent herdsmen. Erstwhile gentle, business minded and friendly herdsmen have withdrawn into oblivion leaving in its wake a more daring, rapacious, and well-armed sorts, degenerates whose stock in trade is rape, arson, kidnap and armed robbery to mention but a few.

It truly flies off reason why the Federal Government has remained web-footed in the face of the audacious impunity of the herdsmen. Many have ascribed this to the tendency for the ruling North to surreptitiously Islamize Nigeria, bringing a tilt of religion to the whole argument, while some hold that the ravaging herdsmen are a potent arm of the nefarious Boko Haram ardent at making the nation ungovernable due largely to immense benefits that accrues to their sponsors from any instability in the nation.The origin and base of such sponsors have been traced to serious power blocs such as the retired military Generals and senior members of the National and State Assemblies. The Hausa/Fulani cattle rearers feed their stock fat with the ruins of other people’s farm, the victims loose produce and income in unquantifiable terms, unable to meet subsistence needs talk more of excesses for the market. It is evident that there is a wilful and malicious attempt by some Northern elements at denying the South and Middle Belt the means of survival in case of any separation, knowing that majority of their people are dependent on farming. It brings to question again PMB’s claim in a reply to the Igbo IPOB and Arewa Youths altercation that every Nigerian has the constitutional right to live and do business in any part of the nation unperturbed. The question of which constitution he really referred to does arise but will be the subject of another discourse.

It suffices to submit under the circumstance that it is a huge slight on a people that out of fear, they should abdicate their ancestral homes and occupations because of the onslaught of another race and yet, PMB talks of a constitution that is evidently obnoxious and moribund. It is my considered opinion that the recent crop of herdsmen are a vagrant deadly arm of Boko Haram with sinister motives that are being orchestrated and perpetrated while Nigeria’s security apparatus and men keep moving in impotent droves, that’s when they are not lending stealthy hands to the perpetrators.

The imperative for those who are preaching one Nigeria to stem the perpetration of evil against the entire citizenry of the nation by some faceless and aggrandizing individuals cannot be over emphasized. It is the evident failure of leadership and the serious disconnect between the led and the leaders, the alternate sides of the nation’s divide and the unbridled greed of the ruling class that has necessitated agitations for separation and self-determination, and until the ruling class realize that their game is up and that it is just a question of time for the downtrodden to ask for their pounds of flesh for supper owing to angst and hunger, the better it would be for Nigeria if it must still remain a united nation state. Otherwise it is absolutely “to your tents oh Israel!”

Written By Augustine Omilo

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