16th July, 2019
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again shown his propensity for mischief with his recent letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, designed to further his claim of a Fulanisation agenda.
According to the Buhari Media Organization (BMO), Obasanjo’s attempt to present this mischief as a solution to the security challenge in the country is not only pretentious but also hypocritical.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke ,BMO said the letter was meant to present the Fulani as an ethnic group harbouring some grievances against the Nigerian state which only a national dialogue would help resolve.
“We have seen through Chief Obasanjo’s latest deceit to present the Fulani as the ‘agent provocateur’ by putting it in the dock of public accusation with claims of some grievances which he insinuated as the cause of banditry, kidnapping and killings in the country.
“What he did with his preamble for a call for a National Dialogue is to place the neck of an entire ethnic group on the slab on the basis of what he, as an octogenarian, perfectly knows to be a long-standing farmers-herders crisis. Yet he sought to place the matter at the doorstep of a President that he has fallen out with, by claiming that the government had been treating it with levity.
“So It was not entirely surprising that the former President found a way of dragging President Muhammadu Buhari into the fray by suggesting ‘vicarious responsibility’ and even went to the extent of saying that ‘perception may be as potent as reality at times’.
“In essence, it is an extension of a previous letter in which he accused the President of harbouring and pursuing a Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda which he couched as one with a solution to the myriad of national problems.
The group also accused the former President of stoking tension in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the national leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere.
“We are shocked that Obasanjo referenced the incident in a manner unbecoming of his status as a three-time head of government, and which further lends credence to the conspiracy theory launched by the Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin and spread by several other unpatriotic elements even before additional facts emerged from eyewitnesses.
“The fact that he alluded to possible outbreak of violence is a pointer to his war mongering mindset. Or else why would a man who prides himself as father of Modern Nigeria so glibly speak of spontaneous or planned attacks against the Fulani which could lead to a Rwanda-like genocide?
“Although we see Chief Obasanjo more as an opposition figure than a former President , yet like many Nigerians have said in reaction to the letter, he is at a stage in his life where he should be seen playing a more conciliatory role rather than always playing to the gallery to suit his political inclination
“It should be beneath an elderly Nigerian that claims to still bear the scar of the 1967-1970 civil war to be stoking ethnic tension under the guise of searching for appropriate solution to the problem of insecurity,” it said.
BMO added that Obasanjo’s penchant for mischief also showed in the manner he suggested a way out as well as the individuals he wants the President to invite for a national conference.
It said: “We wonder why he could not use his membership of the National Council of State to push what he considers as solution to the security challenge in a way that other former Presidents could also bring up suggestions.
“We know that during his years as President, farmers-herders crises claimed 50,000 lives in Plateau state alone and that’s even according to a government report cited by the BBC. It was also within that period that his Attorney General and Minister of Justice Bola Ige was murdered by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, but there was no record of him yielding to any outside suggestion for a security summit.
“We are however convinced of President Buhari’s sincerity and determination to make Nigeria more secure.”
*Press Statement by Buhari Media Organisation