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  1. Zuwaqhu Bonat

    In the days of General Abacha, people unjustifiably assumed that that taciturn general did not know what he was doing. He proved everyone wrong. He would take a decision and ignore whatever the citizens’ reactions were. He became known as Kurma (deaf man in Hausa). Kurma imposed the worst form of dictatorship on Nigerians. We were living in abject fear. Abacha imposed a highly discriminatory constitution on us and we accepted it, and we are now complaining that Professor Auwalu Yadudu wrote an “Islamic” constitution.
    Now comes Muhammadu Buhari, a general with a proven track record of disctatorial tendencies. He is implementing an agenda. Almost all federal appointments go to one section, northern Muslim Fulani, Kanuri and Hausa. There are complaints but no action taken to stop him. We have hundreds of SANs and brilliant senior lawyers who can take Buhari to court and prove his bellicose nepotism for all the world to see, but they don’t. The propagandists hammer everyone who offers any contrary opinions. Some persons who call themselves “northerners” threaten others with expulsion from the “North”,and we expect Buhari’s government to sanction them. There are educated people who still insist on seeing the north as a monolithic Muslim and Hausa-Fulani entity. The Southern states ignore the killings of northern minorities, describing it as “a northern affair”. We still insist that the genocidal attacks and killings in the Middle Belt are “herders/farmers conflicts” or “communal conflicts”. We are afraid to call naked terrorism by its name. Have we not noticed that in the last four years no federal government official has referred to Boko Haram as terrorists? They are just insurgents. They are not interested in negotiating an end to the insurgency; they will not have any excuse thereafter for not tackling the Fulani terrorists in other parts of Nigeria.
    I suspect that the political elite are waiting to reap the benefits by using the apparently incompetent government handling of the crisis to rev up the arguments for secession as the solution to the problem of northern hegemony. The dogmatic insistence on “no restructuring” by Buhari’s government and their insensitive and deliberately forceful pursuit of grazing reserves, cattle colonies, ranches and RUGA settlements are driving wedges between Nigerians, and they do not seem to care. They are right and everyone else is wrong. I have even read very rude and insolent statements by so-called “progressives” insisting trident lay that “only RUGA” can end the so-called farmers/herders “conflicts”. Nigerians are not supposed to have different views from the Buhars, Osinbajos, El Rufais etc, because they are the government and they know best. In all other countries, before governments undertake far reaching demographic re-engineering and political restructuring as the grazing reserves, cattle colonies and permanent home areas (the actual meaning of RUGA where it originated in Niger Republic’s Code Rural), widespread negotiations and genuine consultations are held with all concerned communities and stakeholders right down to the villages, with the people who own the land that would be alienated. But no, no one will even consult with “farmers”, since those in power falsely claim that government “owns” the land and can take it away by merely issuing a gazette and paying compensation for trees and standing crops.
    The people of this country called Nigeria will learn to be honest, courageous, conscientious and steadfast in addressing the dictatorial dispositions of those in power, or we will remain helpless while the powerful hegemonists tear the country apart and go behind their walled houses in the federal and state capitals or foreign lands to stay in safety protected by the security forces. Fela Kuti said we are always afraid when someone takes away our rights because we own a house, we have a family, or a business, we don’t want to die, and we cowardly allow brutalizations until we have lost all our dignity and become enslaved, and then we are still killed and driven out of our lands and we become permanent subjects.


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