Femi Fani-Kayode: An Interesting Conversation With An Old Friend.

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he following discussion took place on my Facebook friends page on May 2nd 2016. Since it is already in the public realm I have taken the liberty of.sharing it in my column as well.

Though we have not seen much of each other for a while I have known Alhaji Muktari Shinkafi for the better part of the last 35 years and we are more like brothers than friends.

We spent a lot of time together in our youth and in those heady and blissful days of the early and mid-1980’s when I was still at Cambridge University and when I spent most of my leisure time playing polo at the Lagos Polo Club or at the Guards Polo Club in the U.K., eating caviar, and drinking champagne. We had great fun in those days and Nigeria was a much better and happier place than it is now.

At that time Lagos was something of a melting pot and everybody that was anybody in the country had a home there. These were the days before Abuja was built and Lagos was still our nation’s capital.

Most people were very comfortable then because the naira was still strong at approximately two naira to one dollar. It was often the case that people would travel to London, the South of France or the Bahamas for long weekends with their loved ones and be back in Lagos for monday morning. Then of course there was late night chicken suya in Obalende which was always a delight. I wonder if they still have that?

More importantly it really didn’t matter which part of the country you came from or what your religious faith was because nobody cared in those days.

The only thing that mattered was whether you had a good education, a good pedigree and whether you had class. Whether you were a northerner, a southerner, a christian or a muslim didn’t matter at all. Lagos was home to all and we loved it.

It was in that pleasant setting that Muktari and I became close together with a large number of other Polo Club buffs.

His older brother, a legend in intelligence circles and in the world of spying, the former head of Nigeria’s dreaded spy agency the NSO, a much loved and revered elder statesman and the former Presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, the Marafan Sokoto, brought me into politics in 1989 and he was my leader and political mentor for many years.

Simply put Marafan was like a second father to me. He was a an arch-conservative and a man of immense discipline and courage and all of us at the Lagos Polo Club were in absolute awe of him. When he walked in the room with his head held up high there would be pin drop silence as we all stood up.

We were his boys and we were all very proud of that fact. I learnt everything from him from the art of politics to the murky and grey world of espionage.

In addition to that I had the distinct honor and privilege of being appointed as his special assistant in 1992 when he ran for the presidency before General Ibrahim Babangida banned him, General Shehu Musa Yaradua (who was the presidential flagbearer for the rival Social Democratic Party) and all the other “old breed” politicians from contesting.

I have nothing but the deepest respect and affection for the Shinkafi family and that remains so till today. I was therefore delighted when Muktari made his contributions on my Facebook wall.

The conversation was prompted by the fact that I posted some graphic pictures of the victims of the Fulani herdsmen in Agatu and Enugu. Those pictures can still be seen on my Facebook friends page.

Muktari did not feel that it was appropriate to post the pictures and the following conversation took place between him and I on the thread.

I believe that it was an interesting discussion which brought out two distinct and separate perspectives (if you like call them the northern and southern ones) to the whole issue of the Fulani herdsmen.

I believe that both sides have something to learn from one another on this issue which is why I chose to share it with my readers. Enjoy!

MUKTARI SHINKAFI wrote:

“Since we already have the Senate and House of Representatives in place, it will be easier to bring the issue next week of dividing Nigeria immediately after the budget issue.

The division of the country should be proposed based on six Geo-polical zones based on the following basis and natural / human resources to sustain each zone.

1. South south oil, sea port,
2. South west, service industry, sea port, agriculture
3. South east . Oil,, commerce
4. Middle belt. Agriculture, solid minerals
5. North east. Oil, agriculture
6. North west. Oil, strategic solid minerals, agriculture.

We in the north don’t deserve this negative propaganda and name-calling.

Let us separate peacefully for the sake of our children since even after the separation, we will be surely bonded together by commerce and personal relationship.

We have millions down there that we are friends through business, marriages etc. I don’t think posting these pictures is necessary as no one is sure of their source, they may be accident victims but some people are posting them to propagate messages of hate among us”.

FEMI FANI-KAYODE responded:

“Before I would post such pictures on my wall I have to be certain of their authenticity and in this case I am.

There are other pictures which are far worse and which I cannot post here. My brother, your people kill ours and we are not supposed to even complain about it or let the world know what is happening?

Enough of this madness. If the Fulani leaders cannot reign in their herdsmen and terrorists themselves then we will do it for them.

This barbarity has been going on in the Middle Belt and core north for years unchallenged and now you guys want to extend it to the south.

We will not take it, we will not allow it and we will not sit by idly as your kinsmen slaughter, rape and abduct our men, women and children and occupy our land.

It has been going on for far too long and now we are prepared to resist it. I agree with you that maybe it is time that we begin to consider the division of this country and the best way to start is simply to let the core north go its separate way first and leave the rest of us alone.

Either that or a clean north/south break. We in the south cannot be expected to continue to live peacefully with what the Global Terror Index has described as the first (Boko Haram) and the fourth (Fulani militants/herdsmen) most deadly terror organisations in the world.

They both come from the north and the so-called Northern leaders would do well to look within, accept the fact that they have a major problem with their youth and try to fix it.

What baffles me is that most Northern leaders are more concerned about the fact that these atrocities are being exposed before the world and evidence of it is being adduced than the fact that people are being killed.

They are very comfortable with it when the slaughter is being done in silence but when we scream about it they get upset. This strange and alien mindset is unacceptable to us.

If this rubbish goes on, sooner or later, the south will rise up as one together with our brothers in the Middle Belt and there will be a terrible reckoning.

I do not spread hate and I have no hate in me for anyone or any ethnic group. The truth is that, as you know, one eighth of the blood that flows through my veins is Fulani. I cannot hate myself.

You know very well that our leader and older brother, the Marafan Sokoto, brought me into politics in 1989 and I love him as if he were my father.

Yet the north no longer has strong, decisive and fair minded political leaders like Marafan or gentle, kind, wise and accommodating ones like President Shehu Shagari. That is the problem. If Marafan was President today this herdsmen problem would have been history long ago and so would Boko Haram.

He would care as much for the South and the safety of its people as he would have for the North where he comes from. Yet how many northern leaders think like that today?

As I wrote in my last column there are a few like Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Nuhu Ribadu, Kashim Ibrahim Imam, Col. Sambo Dasuki, Ibrahim Turaki SAN, Atiku Abubakar, and a few others but not many.

What is in me and millions of other Southerners and Middle Belters is not hate for the Fulani or the core North but anger: a very great and powerful anger that is growing by the day.

We trusted and loved you like brothers for the last 56 years but in recent times what have we got in return except for suspicion, persecution, misunderstanding, violence, and pain. First it was Boko Haram and now it is cold blooded murder and the claiming of our lands by your herdsmen.

Nobody can take all that with a smile. Nobody can tell us to take it all and keep quiet. You are my brother and you always will be. We go back such a long way and it pains me to write all this.

Yet the truth is that if only the North could change its attitude and leadership we could all be one big happy family again.

Sadly, though, they will not because there are a few Northern leaders who relish all that is happening today and who believe in the utter crushing, destruction, and subjugation of everything and everyone south of the River Niger”.

MUKTARI SHINKAFI replied:

“Honestly, we the northerners, have been at the receiving end since the beginning of this insurgency and Fulani herdsmen terrorism. If the division of Nigeria will bring peace, we wholeheartedly welcome the idea and the sooner the National Assembly begins deliberation the better.”

FEMI FANI-KAYODE responded:

“We both know that the National Assembly will not do it because the Northern legislators and those that they represent are addicted to Southern oil.

We can do it without the National Assembly if we so wish and the way things are going now we are getting close to that final parting day.

All we have to do is to begin to mobilise our people and tell them the benefits of going our separate ways and breaking up the country.

I guess it is long overdue. When that day comes the parting of ways will be peaceful if the North lets us go in peace but if they try to stop us it will not be so peaceful”.

MUKTARI SHINKAFI replied:

“I think the issue here is that you refused to acknowledge the frustrations of all Nigerians. We are all making these comments and postings because of total failure of the APC government to address critical challenges facing the nation instead, its over one year now but they are still associating their failure to PDP which to me is a sign that they just won the election without proper plan but based on change propaganda.

Where are Bakassi boys, kidnappers, and the Niger Delta militants? Since the government cannot protect our brothers and communities there, let them come out and protect its people against these bandits (herdsmen).

They killed 25 people in my local government 10 days ago, stole grains, and their valuables.

We resorted to use the vigilante and our young men to protect our farmers from the so called herdsmen bandits from neighbouring countries. It’s time government take this issue seriously and I believe our police, armed forces, and civil defence can take them out squarely. Grazing reserve will not solve the problems because these criminals are not the same Fulanis we knew years ago.

They used to live peacefully on Hausa farmlands grazing their animals but today, Hausas are their worst enemies.”

FEMI FANI-KAYODE responded:

“I acknowledge the fact that it happens in the core North too but if the leaders and people of the core North can live with it the rest of us cannot.

They have a duty to fight it and to put a stop to it more than anyone else because these beasts, militants and religious extremists that call themselves Fulani herdsmen are their kinsmen.

They are their slaves and their serfs. The cows that they are herding all over the country and destroying peoples lives for belong to the Fulani elites and not to the herdsmen or cattle-rearers themselves.

The herdsmen are too poor to own the cows and they do not have the resources to purchase the AK 47’s that they carry around and kill people with.

It is their sponsors, the Fulani elites that provide all that and, together with the government agencies, they also give them protection and free passage. Since President Buhari came to power they have been virtually untouchable and so have their cows!

What you said about APC’s incompetence and inability to run government is true though. The APC more than anyone else used religion and ethnicity to win power at the center.

They are not only the Boko Haram party but also the Fulani herdsmen party. Even though there are a few token and Uncle Tom Christians in their midst they are essentially like the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

They believe in the total and complete domination of all other tribes by the Fulani and they wish to Islamise our country.

That is their agenda and for the last ten months we have witnessed it all unfold before our very eyes. That together with the obsessive drive to use the various security agencies to discredit and destroy President Goodluck Jonathan’s legacy and to ruthlessly silence and persecute all dissenting voices.

I warned Nigerians during the presidential campaign that this was their agenda but they wouldn’t listen. Now they know better.”

The conversation ended there. My brother Muktari did not respond to my final contribution and we have not spoken since then. Despite all I still cherish him and I hope that we shall remain brothers even after the great divide if it ever comes.

No matter what happens in the end I will never forget those beautiful and youthful days in Lagos when we were proud of our rainbow nation, when we were all one and when tribe, faith and tongue did not matter.

Femi-Fani Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from @realFFK.

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Ese Oruru Is Still In The North, In The Arms Of A Mallam, By Oyewole Michael Rolex

I’m particularly loss of words to describe the acts of these pedophiles, mostly in the North, perpetrating evil and hiding under the guise of religious beliefs. Oh! How many of these people actually marry out their female children at 13?. Will it be safe to conclude that it is to satisfy fetish, diabolic and ritualistic ends or they outrightly need psychiatric evaluation?

I do not personally think that this child bride menace, which is gradually becoming alarming is an issue of the Constitution, for there are existing laws at all levels that clearly spells out the ideal age for a girl to be married off to a man. The Child Rights Act, which was passed in 2003, sets the age of marriage at 18 years-old. UNICEF defines child marriage as a formal marriage or informal union before 18 years of age. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) defines child marriage as marriage in which either the girl or the boy is underage, i.e., the girl is under 18 years of age or the boy is younger than 21 years. Some have posited that lack of education, poverty, social traditions, religious beliefs and poor economic conditions has greatly aided child marriage.

What then could be wrong or where did we not get it right? Methinks, enforcement of those existing laws, illiteracy, poverty and religion is obviously a major challenge in curbing the child bride problem. While some few have vociferously tried to extricate religious coloration from this, the facts available and more so, the region where this happens most is one largely populated by a particular religion. And, those caught or found doing this tend to justify this inhumane act by citing religious beliefs and permission and parental consent to perpetrate same. To support my claim: In Northern Nigeria with 76 per cent of adolescent girls in marriages in the North-west, 68 per cent in the North-east, and 35 per cent in the North-central. In the country generally, 43% of girls are married off before they turn 18 while 17% are married before they turn 15. According to UNICEF, Nigeria is home to the largest number of child brides in Africa: a massive 23 million girls and women were married as children. 76% of child marriage happen in the North West region and as low as 10% in the South East.

Quite disheartening, in Nigeria when moral issues like this come up, we act only like a wild flame, all out casting aspersions, demanding justice and of course vehemently condemning such societal immoral ills. But after a short while, we all go cold, abandon the earlier position and move on with our private lives! Forgetting that no one actually knows who the next victim would be. Social media has always been agog when issues like this come up. Do we sustain? No. Do we ensure justice is served? No. Do we follow through till the end? No. Do we keep the fire of say no to child bride burning? No. Do we keep being conscientious? No. Do we sustain continuous education as to the detrimental implications of a child bride? No. Maybe if we had, this societal menace that is gradually degrading and fast becoming a norm may have been curbed, if not completely but to a very large extent.

The resultant consequence of girl child marriage is gravely heartbreaking. Ranging from economy to health to social to physical issues. Nigeria alone, with 40 per cent of the global child marriages, accounts for 40 per cent global prevalence rate of Obstetric Fistula, which health experts have linked to child marriage and early child bearing. The country also has the highest prevalence of Vesico vaginal fistula (VVF) in the world with between 400,000 and 800,000 women living with the problem and about 20,000 new cases occurring annually, while 90 per cent are untreated. This implies that about 55 women are infected by VVF and 18,000 cases are untreated daily. It is estimated that two million women suffer from obstetric fistula globally. In Nigeria alone, the Northern part precisely has over 85 per cent of these cases.

Only 23 States of Nigeria’s 36 states have taken concrete steps to implement the minimum age of marriage. States yet to implement should as a matter of urgency do so.

The recent Ese Oruru case has revealed so many others kidnapped and held captive in the name of marriage. Truthfully, MY ESE IS STILL OUT THERE IN THE ARMS OF A MALAM! When will she be rescued like Ese Oruru and the rest? Until this perilous deed is permanently nipped in the bud, Ese is yet to be found. One then wonders where the abductor of Ese Oruru, Malam Yusuf who was said to be a tricycle (Keke) rider had the resources to hire a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to defend him in court. We do really need to start thinking that this conspiracy of a child bride is quite deeper than we think and there is more that meets the eye, should we not?

Let us all ponder on the wise words of the author of Harmattan, Gavin Weston who said “Most people simply dont know the extent of the problem. An estimated 25,000 child marriages occur everyday. That’s mind-boggling, so much so that to many people it becomes an abstract, unreal.”

Be good.

Oyewole Michael Rolex writes from Ekiti State, Nigeria. And can be reached via @Rolex7Michael and 08038796168.

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The Rotaract Club Of Gusau Metro, Zamfara State, Nigeria Celebrates the World Rotaract Week.

The world Rotaract Week celebration is an event celebrated yearly all over the world by Rotary International. This is solely in celebration and commemoration of the birth the youth wing of the world leading humanitarian organization, Rotary: Rotaract, on the 13th of March 1968.

The Rotaract Club Of Rac Gusau Metro, Zamfara State, Nigeria, District 9125 celebrated hers in a grand style by further emphasising the essence of the Club by making donations of anti malaria drugs, mosquito nets to mostly pregnant women and those with children, free malaria counseling and free malaria test to the people of Gidan Dan maizare community in Zamfara State, Nigeria.

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While addressing and making the donations, the president of the Club, Rotaractor Sharif Bashir Niniola said “Today, we have chose to come to this community to swivel the reason for which this club came life, which is to serve humanity selflessly. In holding on to this precious belief, the Club under my leadership has joined the rest of the world in the operation malaria must go and by so doing, we have come to give mosquito nets, anti malaria drugs, conduct free test and counselli

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The president further urged members of the community to ensure a safe and clean environment. In his words,  ” I urge you to at all times ensure that your homes and environments are kept clean, do not liter or leave stagnant water around you. Because Malaria has killed so many future leaders and brought tears to many. It is our collective responsibility to ensure a safe and clean environment.

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In his response and appreciation, Mal Mohammed, who represented the village head and supervised the donations said “Walahi today I am filled with joy as this is the first of its kind in our village. We thank the Rotaract Club for coming to make this gifts available. It is as if you know we truly needs mosquito nets and malaria drugs. I promise that we shall make good use of all this items given to us, and you people should always come to give us things as we really need them”.

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OPEN LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (KWARA CHAPTER), COM.Adekanye Kazeem

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Dear Chairman,

If humanness is defined to be rational animal, then we as veteran youth should be thankful to COM. Adekanye Kazeem for paddling this prestigious association at a time where Kwara youth overtly express their equidistance negative consumption of your administration.

Dear Chairman, permit me to share with you the skipping of the century under your disguised leadership of the Nycn Kwara Chapter. In the spirit of sportsmanship, I would have come to your office to submit this piece but I am aware there are other faction whom will equally claim to have the same right to receive the letter. Which in itself is a confusion in your leadership, hence, I am left with no further option than to via this medium elucidate my position.

Overtime, there has been vociferous calls from the concerned  comrades, legitimate stakeholders and responsive cadres on ‘when and how’ to call for congress to save the injury sustained by your leadership  as enshrined in the Charter of Demands. Mr. chairman, In swift response to the stakeholders meeting held last month where a reasonable conclusion was reach on how to hold a peaceful and credible congress, you gave your nod as if the election we hold the next day, not knowing you had surreptitiously planed to hold unto power unnecessarily. What has changed? Why renege so quickly an agreement with was entered upon by all concerned, yourself inclusive.

Dear Chairman, one would remember that your leadership has nothing in diary to justify your continuous stay in office cum tenure elongation. As you have unjustly held onto power as against the stipulated period. More disheartening is the fact that your leadership has lost all sense of credibility and has been divorced from the essence, ethics, ethos, vision and mission of the revered Council.

Methinks, as youths, every office we are privilege to occupy should be voraciously used a swivel to send home a message to our leaders and contemporaries that we are capable of exhibiting very sound leading prowess. Instead of this highfaulting attributes of yours! Which only repugnant mendicants exhibits.

I, on behalf of many who are not only ashamed of your holding on to power by force but who are clamouring for ideal representations want to put it straight that failure to fix a date for congress in March. Failure to comply would give us no choice but to unanimously declare our support for the factionalized chairman com. Shehu Ndanusa Usman of EDU LG. Common knowledge has it on record that, those who refuse to speak out in the face of moral injustice will rot in the deepest part of hell. Futher, when the reasonable is not available, the available becomes reasonable.

Kazeem, O God of all creation that created you will help you to Grant this our one request, Help us to build a strong and positive thinker youth leader, Where no man is oppressed, And so with good driven policy, Our prestigious name can be reshaped and blessed.

History has taught us how those who hold unto power unjustly and unconstitutionally ended. Hussein, Adolf, Gadafi, Abacha, etc. Posterity rewarded them with what they sow.

I humbly leave you with the words of Malcom X “Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action.”

Signed
Com. Michael O. Michael
Concerned Youth
+2349051365717

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The Sons of Futa Jalon (Part 1), By Femi Fani-Kayode

“O ye sons of Futa Jalon and ye daughters of the Vulture mountain and bitter waters: your princes and kings shall be exposed and brought to heel, your yoke shall be broken and you shall pay a heavy price for your wickedness and many sorceries”.

“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future” – Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Saurdana of the Sokoto Caliphate and Premier of Northern Nigeria,
Parrot Newspaper , October 12, 1960, recalled by Tribune , November 13, 2002.

Those are interesting words from the most reverred, prominent and powerful Fulani leader in the history of modern Nigeria. The Saurdana’s world-view, vision and intentions are well-encapsulated here and they are self-evident. They need no further explanation or analysis.

To add to the Saurdana’s contribution and to butress his point, in August 2001 President Muhammadu Buhari, a proud and ascetic Fulani man, whose mass appeal, popularity and following has reached cult-like proportions amongst the working class Fulani population in Nigeria said the following: “God-willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of sharia throughout the federation”.

Finally to emphasise the point, on January 27th, 2013, Mujahedeen Abubakar Shekau, the young and brash leader of the most dreaded, most powerful and most deadly islamist terrorist organisation on the African continent called Boko Haram said, “By Allah, we will not stop fighting until every Nigerian is living by sharia law. If you don’t abide we will kill you”.
When one hears and reads some of these things, one can only look up to heaven and say, “may the Lord deliver the people of Nigeria”.

Here you have a classic case of anything and everything, including religion, being used to effect an ancient ethnic agenda of conquest and subjugation. It is not even subtle: it is brazen and real. Worse still most Nigerians are fully aware of it but they find it difficult to voice it, let alone resist it.

Yet despite our awe and trepidation, at least a few questions must be asked, such as the following: Who exactly are the Fulani? Where did they come from? What is their story and what is their history? What is their purpose and what are their intentions for the rest of Nigeria? I shall attempt to answer some of these questions in this two-part essay.

Futa Jalon is an area made up of beautiful plateaus and breathtaking mountains which is situated in modern-day Guinea. It is a confluence that is known as the “bitter waters” and it is the location of the Vulture mountain where, up until today, thousands of vultures gather. It is also the source of no less than five major African rivers including our very own River Niger.
The people that live in that area are known as the Fula Jalons and it is from that ethnic stock that the Fulanis evolved. From there they migrated to other parts of West Africa and settled down in what was originally known as Sakkwato but what is now referred to as Sokoto in northern Nigeria.

The Fulanis were actually the product of a beautiful racial mix and generations of cross-breeding between the Arab-like and nomadic north African Berbers and Tauregs on the one hand and the local black indigenous Fula population of Futa Jalon on the other.
It is interesting to note that the Tutsis of Central and East Africa come from the same racial root as the Fulani and they share similar physical features and characteristics. They are also both essentially nomadic in nature and traditionally they both have an intense fascination and interest in cattle and cattle-rearing. As a matter of fact, the old-fashioned way of establishing a Fulani mans wealth is to find out how many cows he owns. The more cows he owns the richer he is considered to be.

That explains their unusually light complexion, their well-chiseled and refined visage, their height, their unusually slight frame, the soft texture of their hair and their essentially non-negroid features. If the truth be told, generally-speaking, they are a physically attractive people. In terms of temperament they are proud, patient, calculating, subtle, courageous and they have very long memories.
They are capable of masking their thoughts and emotions very well but they will never forget a sleight. Most importantly, unlike most, they are capable of recognising a common group cause and consequently they are in a better position to further the political and economic interests of their people more than any others. To the Fulani, what is most important is the interest of his people and their collective cause than anything else.

It is interesting to note that the Tutsis of Central and East Africa come from the same racial root as the Fulani and they share similar physical features and characteristics. They are also both essentially nomadic in nature and traditionally they both have an intense fascination and interest in cattle and cattle-rearing. As a matter of fact, the old-fashioned way of establishing a Fulani mans wealth is to find out how many cows he owns. The more cows he owns the richer he is considered to be.

It was after their mass migration to our shores and after they successfully infiltrated the Hausa kingdom of Gobir that Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio, the father of the Fulani Caliphate, unleashed his violent and very bloody jihad, established the various emirates and conquered much of what is now known as northern Nigeria in the name of his Islamic faith. That is the history.
On March 3rd, 2016, there was a violent clash between Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani youths in Orile, Lagos State. A number of people on both sides of the divide, together with some of our security agents, were killed. Homes, chattels, property and places of worship were burnt down as the fighting raged.

This came just one day after a similar clash between both ethnic groups took place in Ikorodu, Lagos State which also resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of property.
Again on March 5 in Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, yet another clash took place between Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani youths, which resulted in even more casualties and a terrible bloodbath.

A number of days before then, over 300 Idomas were killed by well-armed Fulani herdsmen in Agatu, Benue State.
At a so-called peace meeting, when asked why they did it, they told the Inspector General of Police that it was because some of their cows had been killed!
After the meeting, instead of being arrested for genocide and ethnic cleansing, there and then they were allowed to go home quietly. Not even their AK 47’s were confiscated from them.

If we ever needed the elders and great men of wisdom and knowledge like President Olusegun Obasanjo, General T.Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Chief Alex Ekweume to pull us back from the brink and bring healing, peace and unity back to our land, it is now.

To make matters worse, it was later suggested that those that perpetuated the atrocity were not even Fulanis at all but rather aliens from Chad and Niger Republic. The question must be asked: who is fooling who?
Sadly there are many other examples of mass murder, genocide, official impunity and similar atrocities. Over the years, the same thing has happened in Jos, southern Kaduna, Zaria, Zangon Kataf, Kano, Bauchi and many other places.

Throughout the country, Fulani militias and herdsmen are wreaking havoc and are slaughtering their compatriots for one reason or the other.
Worse of all is the fact that our Fulani-led Federal Government and Fulani-led Armed Forces are killing thousands of young Igbos in the East simply because of their support for Nnamdi Kanu and their call for the establishment of the independent sovereigh state of Biafra.
Again a few weeks ago the same Armed Forces killed over 1000 shia muslims and shot and abducted their leader, Sheikh El Zakzaky, who has not been seen in public since.

As all these is going on our economy has ground to a halt, our people are suffering untold hardship and difficult times, and the war against Boko Haram and Islamist terror is still raging.
Today, Nigeria has the dubious distinction of having within its borders the first and the fourth “most deadly terrorist organisations” in the world according to the Global Terror Index. According to the Index, the first is Boko Haram and the fourth are the AK 47-wielding Fulani militias/herdsmen.
People are being slaughtered, abducted, pillaged, kidnapped and raped all over the country on a daily basis by these heartless terrorists, simply because they believe that one of their own is now in power and that they can get away with these. All these, yet no-one appears to be prepared to do anything about it or to call a spade a spade.
In the light of all these facts, the question on everyone’s lips is: what is to be done? We all hope and pray for peace and unity in our country but judging by the way things are going perhaps the first question that we have to address is whether we really have a country at all and, if we agree that we do, whether it will or can remain united and as one for much longer.

If we ever needed the elders and great men of wisdom and knowledge like President Olusegun Obasanjo, General T.Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Chief Alex Ekweume to pull us back from the brink and bring healing, peace and unity back to our land, it is now.

Then came the sad and pitiful case of Ese Oruru in which the Fulani Emir of Kano played an unspecified and unclear role in the abduction, forced islamisation, rape, torture and kidnapping of a 14 year old southern christian girl, whilst our security agencies turned a blind eye to the whole thing and refused to rescue her for months.

The rise of radical islam and the use of terror to achieve the objectives of those who espouse and believe in it has changed the world forever. Our country cannot be exempted or left out of this. We have changed forever as well and things can never be the same in Nigeria again.

Those that are in power in our country today appear to have a soft-spot for the terrorists, and for reasons best known to himself our President has simply refused to condemn the murderous activities of the Fulani herdsmen and militias.

This is probably because he is, and has been for many years, the Life Patron of the Fulani Cattle Rearers Association: which is the umbrella organisation of the Fulani herdsmen and militias. To make matters worse, our President told the world, as recently as 2014, that “an attack on Boko Haram is an attack on the North”. One wonders what purpose that was designed to serve and why he had to say it.

Then came the sad and pitiful case of Ese Oruru in which the Fulani Emir of Kano played an unspecified and unclear role in the abduction, forced islamisation, rape, torture and kidnapping of a 14 year old southern christian girl, whilst our security agencies turned a blind eye to the whole thing and refused to rescue her for months.

It has been alleged that the girl was kept against her will at the Emir’s palace and that one way or the other she was used as a sex slave and she came out pregnant. Despite all these, the police has refused to pick him up and compel him to answer the necessary questions that could have cleared the air.

All these because “his” people are in power and they believe that thay can get away with anything and everything, including pedophilia, slavery and, in many cases, murder.

Worse still, there are hundreds of other cases, five of which have been exposed by Miss Toyosie Ogunseye, the editor of Nigeria’s Sunday Punch newspaper and her incredible team of investigative reporters, and one by the famous high society blogger Miss Linda Ikeji on her blog in the last few days.
These cases are all similar to Ese Oruru’s and they involve the abduction, islamisation, rape, sodomy and enslavement of young southern christian girls (some as young as 9) who ended up in royal palaces and hareems all over the North.
In each of these cases, those that carried out the abductions have refused to return the girls back to their families despite all pleas and efforts, and the police have been unable to do anything about it.

In one case in Bauchi, in which the southern christian girl was just 12 years old and in which she was abducted whilst on her way to church, her family was told that if they wanted her back they would have to “negotiate with the Sharia Council”!
As long as Jesus lives I know that He will never forsake me and that, until my work on earth is done, I cannot be cut short and neither can my enemies overwhelm or destroy me.
In another case in Zamfara State, the family of a 14 year old christian girl who was abducted as far back as 2009 was told by her abductors that if they persisted in asking for the return of their daughter their entire family would be killed and their home burnt down.
As a result of this threat, the girl’s father and his entire family had to leave their home and flee from Zamfara for their lives. They were compelled to leave their young daughter behind in the clutches of her merciless abductors.
Nothing reflects the degeneration to which our country and our values have been reduced to better than this.
Permit me to end Part 1 of this contribution with the following words, which I keep hearing in my spirit and which I believe shall prove to be prophetic.
“O ye sons of Futa Jalon and ye daughters of the Vulture mountain and bitter waters: your princes and kings shall be exposed and brought to heel, your yoke shall be broken and you shall pay a heavy price for your wickedness and many sorceries”.

Many have been killed in the most hideous manner or falsely implicated and wrongly jailed in our country for sharing such knowledge and for exposing some of the things that I have chosen to expose in this write-up. Regardless of this I have no fear because I know that my Redeemer lives and I know that He shall stand with me till the end of time.

As long as Jesus lives I know that He will never forsake me and that, until my work on earth is done, I cannot be cut short and neither can my enemies overwhelm or destroy me. (TO BE CONTINUED).

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How President Jonathan’s ‘Classy Role’ During 2015 Election Will Shape 16 African Democracies

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Two scholars at the Wilson Center in the United States, U.S, have lauded the “classy role” played by former President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election which they described as Africa’s “most important story of 2015″.

According to them, Jonathan’s laudable roles in last year’s elections in Nigeria would serve as a shining example for 16 African countries that would go to the polls this year.

The Wilson Center is chartered by the U.S Congress as the official memorial to former President Woodrow Wilson and is reputed as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

Writing in the Center’s maiden Africa Year Review 2015 publication, a Ghana-born democracy activist and the current executive director of the African Immigrants Caucus, AIC, Nii Akuetteh pointed out that if Jonathan had not handled the election well, there could have been violence as normally witnessed in Africa.

“Thanks to Jonathan’s handling the election and the turnover of power so smoothly, another potential havoc was avoided,” he wrote.

Akuetteh, who quoted Jonathan as telling him after the election that: “Had serious post-election disturbances erupted, Nigerian refugees flooding Ghana would have exceeded your entire population,” stressed that “unquestionably, Nigeria’s recent embrace of democracy and Jonathan’s classy role define Africa’s most important—and uplifting—story of 2015. Africa and the world should give thanks.”

On his part, a senior researcher with the Nigerian think tank Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, IPPA, and member of the Southern Voices Network, Olusegun Sotola wrote that: “Nigeria’s historic and successful 2015 election marks a significant milestone in the country’s democracy, and it signposts several emerging positive trends in Africa. First, given Nigeria’s stature in the region, the willingness of the incumbent to concede power and not manipulate the process matters a great deal.

“African leaders are known for attempting to manipulate the electoral process to lengthen their stay in office. The electoral histories of African countries are replete with post-election violence caused by the unwillingness of the ruling party or the incumbent to relinquish power.

“That an entrenched power bloc would acquiesce to its loss in an election without engineering violence suggests a new robustness of Nigerian democracy and provides a strong practical example for African leaders.

“At least 17 African countries will hold elections this year. The outcome of the 2015 Nigerian election should serve as a benchmark for these other coming elections, especially those which the incumbent is contesting”, he stressed.

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Time to Rewrite the APC Manifesto, by @DeleMomodu

Time to Rewrite the APC Manifesto, by @DeleMomodu

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Fellow Nigerians, something melodramatic occurred some days ago in Doha, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, where President Muhammadu Buhari dropped a bombshell inadvertently. And what was the matter? The President in his usual candour and uncommon honesty announced that one of his major campaign promises was no longer feasible and practicable; the plan to pay unemployed youths a paltry sum of N5,000 monthly stipend was thus summarily jettisoned. Or so it seemed. To be accurate, what Mr President said with a wry smile was that this was a campaign promise of his Party and was one of the cardinal points of his Party’s Manifesto but he had not personally campaigned about it and it was not going to be a priority of his administration in view of other more significant and important challenges.

However, all hell broke loose on social media because the President’s body language actually suggested that the pledge was dead in the water and had not just been demoted from the list of priorities. There were several reasons why social and popular media became instantly agog with activity on this issue. Nigerian youths took great risk to get Major General Buhari elected. They trusted him with their lives and expected the change mantra to become reality as soon as the People’s General regained power after being sacked as a military ruler in 1985. Truth is there are already some loud whispers in many quarters that lofty expectations are turning to a mirage and that things are already falling apart. Every explanation that it is too early to expect miracles is hardly treated with belief.

Thus when the President delivered this seemingly bad news to the expectant nation, it did not go down well with many people. First the location was wrong. I agree that such monumental decisions should not have been announced while sojourning abroad. To some it would appear as if the President was taking the easy pusillanimous way out. Perhaps, the President should have addressed the nation on home soil. Maybe the President could have requested his ruling APC party to take the bullet for him by getting the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, to talk to the nation about the need to revise the manifesto that was sold to the electorate with so much glee. There is nothing wrong if fresh realities have necessitated a change of plans. There is usually a world of difference between the idealism of opposition and the reality of being on the hot seat. It is one of the reasons I don’t envy the President on this present job.

Mr President and his Party would have to sit down urgently to reappraise things and come out with a tidier and clearer agenda containing the realistic plan for Nigeria and Nigerians in this dispensation. Sooner rather than later, the first year of this administration will come knocking. It would be disastrous if by May 29, 2016, we still cannot have a glimpse of where the government is headed or heading. The staccato, stop-start fashion by which things are being currently handled must yield way to a smoother policy manifestation and implementation. There are many things that need to be worked on speedily.

The first and most pressing is the economy. What is on ground now has been described by a famous economist as “Robinson Crusoe economics.” Like Robinson Crusoe, our economy is being handled like one man living alone on an uninhabited island but surrounded by cannibals and vermin. The economy is on a freefall, the sort we’ve not encountered before. My humble suggestion is that the President should assemble a crack economic team immediately. Those who wish to hold conferences can still do so especially as we know where similar jamboree conferences have gotten us in the past. However, it is obvious that some people have hijacked the misfortune of Nigeria and turned it into a spectacular goldmine. “Voodoo economics” is being practised by those milking the country dry and their acolytes as well as by others wishing to manipulate themselves into the position of latter day economics experts and get a slice of the national cake. There are at this moment only a few sincere economists about and we should tap into these people but not make the mistake of putting them on the same platform with the evildoers lest we become unable to separate the wheat from the chaff. A nation that fails to consult and use its best brains is doomed and may be permanently jinxed like we seem to have been forever. In any event what is necessary now is not to make the country a debating society where esoteric and grand economic principles are postulated and propounded but a society where practical visionary and meaningful economic policies are garnered and implemented.

As young as I was in the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, I was aware that his best asset were the brightest brains he was able to attract and assemble. He gathered their brilliant ideas and merged them with his own. Leadership is thus an art and science of skillfully managing people and resources. It is even easier these days. In the age of advanced technology, where you can buy whatever you lack, including brains. As advanced as Britain is, the Governor of the Bank of England was recruited from Canada. No one raised eyebrows because the most important thing was getting the job done. Our parochialism will kill Nigeria ultimately if care is not taken. Many of the voodooists controlling Nigeria know nothing about modern governance or managing an economy, not to mention an ailing one. What is worse is that they know that they know not but would not agree to allow those who know something to do anything.

The time has come to declare an emergency on an evil economic apparatus foisted on us by selfish people that may end up ruining our otherwise great country. I believe we should rise above partisan politics and bring our past and present geniuses together including The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, The Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, The Emir of Kano, His Highness Lamido Sanusi, Professor Charles Soludo, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, Professor Part Utomi, Mr Bismark Rewane, and some of our brilliant University dons to fashion out a way out of this scandalous debacle.

The next thing is for this government to reflect true frugality and shed the toga of prodigality that is already rearing its ugly head. The President should be alerted about how those outside now believe he has already joined the psychedelic class by wasting resources on flights of fancy and excessively flamboyant and ostentatious airport ceremonies. The social media caught fire last Monday as the pictures of our Brigade of Guards in Scottish kilt fully piped up welcomed the President on his arrival from his Middle East tour went viral. Such frivolity did not reflect the mood of the nation. The President’s winning formula had always been his simplicity, humility and childlike innocence. He must resist the temptation of being corrupted by the carpetbaggers who litter our corridors of power. Running the different tiers of government has been a major drain on our economy. It is also the reason the citizens would not change their ways when government refuses to set good examples.

All Progressives Congress (APC)

Everything humanly possible should be done to empower and encourage Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola to give us power. There will never be any meaningful development and progress until we can generate enough electricity and be able to transmit and distribute this effectively. When people shout that we should patronize made in Nigeria products they conveniently forget that most of what we use in making the made in Nigeria products were fabricated and made abroad. At best we are only an assembly line for these products. An average company loses its profit to what should have been provided ordinarily by government. I cannot begin to overemphasise the importance of electricity. Nigerians will never forget whoever can put an end to their life in perpetual darkness. It is worth every effort and investment.

It is heartening to note that there are those ready and willing to partner with Government at little or no cost to make our dire power situation a thing of the past using both conventional and sustainable energy solutions. All that seems to be required is for government to discard any policy that would be a stumbling block to the utilisation of these opportunities. Nothing must be seen as set in stone. National development requires not only flexibility but a willingness to think outside the box. It is time to seize the moment!
In the name of God, we must revamp our educational institutions. It is disgraceful that we watched them collapse and we have refused to do anything tangible to bring them back to par with their counterparts elsewhere. The APC should tell and demonstrate in concrete terms what it intends to do to restore the lost glory of our schools from primary to tertiary institutions. Mercifully, the Vice President comes from a scholarly background and hopefully should be able to activate and actualize what the former President Goodluck Jonathan, himself an academic, could not achieve in the five years he spent as substantive number one citizen of Nigeria.

Without quality education, most of our graduates would never be employed or even become employable. Our school curriculum must now be redesigned in such a way that it can be relevant to the needs and requirements of our tough situations. Entrepreneurship should become a compulsory subject. This is why we must commend and recommend the great initiative by Tony Elumelu’s foundation that seeks to locate and situate hidden talents and future captains of industry. Innovation and inventiveness must be encouraged. There are Nigerians undertaking breathtaking research in many fields of human endeavour within the hallowed precincts of our university communities but they do not have the financial muscle or government encouragement and backing to be able to bring their dreams into reality. Great nations are made from developing such talents. Research and development (R & D) is the way to go. Most of our manufacturing companies hardly have any such viable R & D departments. Incentives must be given to all concerned, including funding and tax initiatives, so that our nation may truly enter the industrialised comity of nations and not just pretend that we are better than mere panel beaters!

Yes, it is time for APC and the Government to set their priorities again but this must be done with a sense of purpose and a desire to take the people to a higher level. May God help them.

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