By Prof. Babs Onabanjo
Right before our very eyes, the political class in Nigeria has brought Nigeria to her knees. The nation is battling with recession and unprecedented levels of insecurity in every part of the country.
Tears flow down my eyes whenever I read stories of insecurity, banditry, and wanton corruption in our nation.
Nigeria is at a crossroads. We are sitting on a gunpowder waiting to explode. You do not need a prophet to tell you that Armageddon is imminent. It will take supernatural interventions to turn back this coming storm over our nation.
The signs are everywhere. Recently, His Royal Majesty, the Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, penned an open letter to General Buhari – who by the way is not aware of anything happening around him and in the country except issuing press releases in defense of marauding herdsmen.
The open letter entitled “Yoruba Question in Nigeria Conundrum.” In the letter, the revered monarch expressed his worry about the security situation in the country, especially in the South West geo-political zone, and the entire Yoruba-speaking area of the country including Kwara, Kogi and Edo states.
He noted that “This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege in almost all the highways of Yoruba land. Whether in Owo, Akure, Ilesa/Ife-Ibadan road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun state, the story is the same.”
“I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and in some occasions, in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands, which ultimately points to imminent starvation.”
“On top of it all is the menace of professional kidnappers usually in military uniforms. What is more worrisome about the kidnapping notoriety is what looks like impunity in which these kidnappers enjoy their nefarious activities.”
He warned of the looming anarchy and resort to self-help by the people if the security issues are not tackled forthwith. Then came the quit notice given to the Fulanis in Ibarapa in Oyo State after they were accused of kidnapping and invading the farmlands of the people. News reports stated that two people were feared dead and houses burnt during the confrontations.
Nigerians, this is a pointer to what is to come. Now is the time to nip it in the bud. If we want peace in Nigeria, now is the time to act.
This is a clarion call for a proactive, nonviolent, constructive, and decisive actionable steps by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Alake of Egbaland, Okadigbo of Remoland, Olu Ilaro of Yewaland, all Yoruba traditional rulers and all stakeholders in Yorubaland. No one can afford to be silent at this moment. You must #SoroSoke! The senators and the House of Representatives members must #SoroSoke. Above all the Governor must make a statement as the Chief Security Officer of the State addressing specifically the security of life and property, defending against terrorists, kidnappers, rapists, bandits, the pursuit of liberty and happiness in the South West and Nigeria in general.
Recall that the former president Olusegun Obasanjo warned severally about the impending disintegration, collapse and insecurity in the country to no avail. It is disheartening to learn that the Nigerian soldiers are backing the Fulanis which is amazingly worrisome and must cease. The soldiers are sowing the seed of discord, violence, mistrust and have become an enabler to the atrocities committed unabated by the Fulanis.
The Fulanis have been empowered by the soldiers who are charged to protect the nation not an ethnic Fulani group. They have been empowered by the government apparatus to forcefully occupy Yorubaland. The Yoruba must act and defend the Yorubaland.
What else do you need to know a failed nation? For a nation who takes pride in settling terrorists N100B naira to stop kidnapping, oh mercy, we can only conclude that we have an inept police force, and a failed and inept government.
We need to do better and create prosperity and peace. Without peace, there can be no unity, only chaos and deceptiveness, no development, only looting, destruction, violence, and anarchy.
We need to build strong institutions. What we have now is an aberration. Let us learn a lesson from the United States of America – democracy prevailed at last and remains strong after the aberration promoted by the former president.
Our history as a nation is nothing but an unrealistic dream with meandering turns and stairs leading to nowhere. It is time we abandon the journey to nowhere and change our course to a destiny of civilization, hope, progress, unity, justice, and peace.
As it is now, Nigeria is a failed state. It’s in ruins. Successive political leaders have destroyed what is left of Nigeria’s nationhood.
The starting point of the rebuilding process is to restructure Nigeria. Restructuring will reduce the tension in the land. Every region will have control over its government and resources. If this is done, never again will the destiny of the masses be determined by one man in Aso Rock. Peace will reign.
Let us rebuild it together by restructuring Nigeria into six regional autonomous entities or regional autonomous zones, reform the constitution and electoral laws and steer Nigeria on a new path towards unity, equity, progress, justice, and peace. The time for a referendum is now!
Time is ticking away. We must act fast to rebuild the ruins of Nigeria.
Prof. Babs Onabanjo is the President/CEO of A.D. King Foundation, USA and President, Nigerian Alliance for Democracy (1993-1999).