Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has attacked Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu for criticising the ban on open grazing by Southern governors.
Akeredolu’s reaction was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr Doyin Odebowale, on Tuesday, title ‘Mr Garba Shehu: On the trail of an agent provocateur’.
According to Akeredolu, anyone who has been following the utterances of Shehu, as well as his fellow travellers on the self-deluding, mendacious but potentially dangerous itinerary to anarchy, could not but conclude that he works, assiduously, for extraneous interests whose game plan stood at variance with the expectations of genuine lovers of peaceful co-existence among all the peoples whose ethnic extractions were indigenous to Nigeria.
He said Shehu must disclose, this day, the real motive(s) of those he served, definitely not the President.
“He cannot continue to hide under some opaque, omnibus, and dubious directives to create confusion in the polity. The easy recourse to mendacious uppity in pushing a barely disguised pernicious agendum is well understood.
“The declaration that the recommendations of the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, a mere political appointee like Garba Shehu, are now the “lasting solutions” which eluded all the elected representatives of the people of the Southern part of the country, exposes this man as a pitiable messenger who does not seem to understand the limits of his relevance and charge,” he said.
Akeredolu added that Shehu contended that “their announcement is of questionable legality”, referring to the 17 Governors of the Southern States, but the decision of certain elements to take the ancestral lands of other people to settle their kinsmen, including the “gun-wielding “killer herdsmen” and their families, and provide “veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families including schooling through these rehabilitated reserves” for which “the Federal Government is making far-reaching and practical changes allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side”, does not appear to him as a comprehensive plan for land grabbing, a precursor to internal colonialism.
“He wants to “revive forest reserves” but seems particularly uninterested in the current position of the same law, that he and his cohorts often misinterpret to serve parochialism and greed. Governors no longer have powers over the lands in their territories. They must take instructions from appointees of the Federal Government on such matters.”
“It is superfluous, and that is being charitable, for anyone to remind us of the constitutional right of bona fide citizens “to enjoy rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 States (and FCT)-regardless of their state of birth and residence”.
“There has never been any contention on this provision. It is clear that Mr Garba seems to have issues understanding the difference between licentious criminality and qualified rights under our law. It is our duty to continually nudge him off his current state of cognitive dissonance. His pronouncement betrays dubiety and mischief,” he added.
According to Akeredolu, most traditional families in Nigeria have occupations, saying that pastoralism is not an exception.
He said any ethnic group still trapped in anachronism might be assisted to embrace modernity, adding that dispossessing communities of their ancestral lands, encouraging denizens of the forests to overrun lands belonging to other people, and forcing alien bands of migrants on the local populace to live “side-by-side” with other communities, could not be for the purpose of animal husbandry
The governor stated that this raised suspicion on a grand, deliberate, persistent, and insidious design to use naked force to subjugate the real owners of the land.
“Mr Garba Shehu is a major supporter of the current pervasive anarchy in the land,” he added.