By Myke Uzendu
Afenifere, Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on open grazing, appointments into his administration, the economy and general well-being of Nigerians in the last six years.
The organisation, in a statement on Sunday, said Buhari’s pronouncements in his television interviews, showed he has lost touch with reality.
They asked him to provide some relief for governors whose states have come under violent crisis because he (Buhari) controls the security agencies.
The statement by Jare Ajayi, Afenifere’s national publicity secretary, expressed Afenifere’s disappointment on the directive for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to ‘re-open’ what he dubbed as grazing routes throughout the country.
They maintained that the so-called grazing routes could be more of a figment of the president’s imagination than reality as our founding fathers at no time fixed such cattle route Buhari was always referring to.
They said: “We have some questions for Mr President and the Attorney General in this respect. One, who created the so-called grazing routes?
“At what time in our history did our founding fathers gather to designate specific routes from the north to the south as ‘grazing routes’?
“Two, assuming without conceding, that there were so-called grazing routes, what would now happen to structures that have been built in areas where the so-called routes are to be re-opened?
“Would such structures, including presidential villa or government houses, and factories, be pulled down so that cows would have places to graze?
“Compared to what would be lost economically, socially, politically and in security terms if these structures are to be pulled down, is it not better to encourage the building of ranches?”
Afenifere added the President’s pronouncement on nomadic posturing and appointments at the national level seems to indicate that Buhari’s government is operating a constitution that is different from the 1999 Constitution.
“For instance, Section 2 of the Land Use Act, the law governing land matters in the country, vests the administration and control of lands in a given state in the hands of the governor of the state.
“It is such that even when the Federal Government wants to use a portion of land, it has to seek the consent of the governor of the state concerned.
‘’Since most governors in the country have outlawed open grazing in their respective states, on which land does the Federal Government wants to ‘open’ or ‘re-open’ its vaunted grazing routes?
“Why talking of grazing routes in this age when ranching is the fad in all civilized climes?” they asked.
The pan-Yoruba body also faulted the president on the claim that he appointed the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) due to his experience and professionalism.
They said the appointment “like many others made by Buhari’s government, is in flagrant defiance of the federal character clause in the constitution as well as Section 5 (2) of the same constitution which states that – national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited”.
They insist that “only in a few instances does the Federal Government allow equity, fairness and empirical merit to characterize the appointments he made.
“Thus, most of the appointments being made were done in such a way that some sections of the country were being alienated.”
They further challenged President Buhari to send a bill to the National Assembly on restructuring and devolution of power if he wants Nigerians to believe that he meant what he said.