Fasoranti and Rise of Nigeria’s Un-Nigerian President, By Festus Adedayo
The killing on Friday of the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, 94-year old leader of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba group, may yet be throwing up two apparent equations in a post-Fulani herdsmen-sympathetic Nigerian leadership which may begin in 2023. The first is that, President Muhammadu Buhari may be the last Nigerian president. We will get so riled as a people by this daily bloodshed inflicted on us by an evading army of bloodthirsty Fulani nomads, sauced by Buhari’s obvious unpretentious Fulani leader leadership of Nigeria, that the hurt regions will demand, with a baffling stubbornness, their right to go their different ways. This equation is still mutating in the womb of time. Second, and the most apparent, which is also related to the former, is that Buhari is certainly unfolding as an un-Nigerian Nigerian president. We do not need a diviner to look into the Ouija-board for us to know the apparentness of these obvious permutations. I will explain presently.
Mrs. Funke Olakunrin was said to have been killed by yet unidentified but suspected Fulani herdsmen along the Ondo-Ore road. The killers, according to a modus operandi that is a profile of their brutality in the South West of Nigeria, were said to have suddenly emerged from their bush domicile, taken over the highway and began sporadic and indiscriminate shooting at oncoming vehicles. In the process, Mrs. Olakunrin was hit.
As I write this, the omnibus reactions from Buhari’s regimented information machinery is yet to be unleashed on the information highway. They will, assuredly. Buhari will express his regrets at this nefarious activity – a la his information night soil men; he will talk tough; he may even order the Inspector General of Police to vacate his “slimming, hard-working session” (excuse me while I laugh!) to make Ondo State his temporary office. His Man Friday, Yemi Osinbajo, may even be hurriedly suborned to visit Pa Fasoranti to advertise a governmental contrite face, talk tough in the process and get photo-ops suggestive of government’s decision to rout the banditry. Mark my words: You will never hear Buhari, the Nigerian President, personally verbalizing these alleged regrets.
Second, there will never be, as there has never been, any arrest to be made. Third, the Buhari online cyber leopards will be unleashed on the stratosphere to bay our blood. They will straddle the information highway with justifications, rationalizations and permutations to explain off this unfortunate killing. Their recruits, many of whom hail from Fasoranti’s ethnic stock, will tell us how even in America, such killings are no big deal. Anyone like us who volunteers an opinion contrary to legitimizing Buhari’s Fulani ascendancy, they will argue with certainty of algebra, yesterday held a meeting with Atiku Abubakar, bribed with huge sacks of dollars to say what they are saying. All Progressives Congress (APC) governors in the South West will convoke on Fasoranti’s house like mourning Salamanders to shed crocodile tears; they may even call an emergency meeting “to address the menacing insecurity” in the region. They are all a familiar route of the tragedy of the dead burying their dead that has become our lot as Nigerians under Buhari.
The killers of Nigerians, said to be Fulani by their victims, have literally strewn themselves round many parts of the country. Why South West is the core place of harbor they chose to moor their deadly ship is yet inexplicable. Hardly does a week pass without this apparent alien force, deadly and without any iota of humanity, unleashing weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth on their victims. It will appear that their banditry and blood-thirstiness are gaining notoriety by the day, encouraged by a government that is ostensibly not bothered by the incessant blood spillage and is thus flinging its hands up in surrender.
Things have gone really very bad in Nigeria under Buhari. The most bothersome is that neither he nor any member of his government is bothered about the calamity that this portends. The division and ethnic fissures in the country have become hugely pronounced in the last four years. Issues that separate us are the most dominant of the things that link us together today. There has never been a moment – perhaps, except during the civil war – when divisions of ethnicity, religion and political party affiliations have been this pronounced. Buhari is apparently not bothered. In his silence, his pronouncements, body language, appointments and other indices of governance, he does not pretend that he is not an Un-Nigerian Nigerian President. He is Fulani, Hausa and then probably Nigerian, in that order. The last, for him, is secondary.
Those who can lend their voice on the side of right and righteousness have shut their mouths, lest they be tar-brushed with ink of tribe or party. You must be a PDP lickspittle to ask Buhari to respect the contours of our nationhood pretentions. Those of us who volunteer opinion, do so at the huge risk of being demonized. Yet, it will be criminal conspiracy to allow this sorry pass under the Buhari government become a model without a voice of dissent.
The way things are playing out in Nigeria, Buhari’s silence on killings in the country, which are becoming really alarming, will continue, probably till 2023. I remember Ilorin, Kwara State-born Ddadakwada music exponent, Late Odolaye Aremu, warning us that with the rain that is yet to subside, no one can claim to be immune from the drench of its merciless downpour. So those who are abetting Buhari in this drive should continue in their follies. I have, countless times, psycho-analyzed Buhari as seeing himself as a Fulani President and not what we thought he should be – the Nigerian President. To reinforce this psychosis, he looks away from the bad of his ethnicity and shovels goods in its way. The RUGA policy is an attempt to do the latter and the killings by herdsmen example the former. In the last 20 years of Nigeria’s democratic experiment, the closest to Buhari as an un-Nigerian Nigerian president is Goodluck Jonathan. But even Jonathan is far way out of the class of Buhari in ethnic irredentism. It took Olusegun Obasanjo a straight ethnic jab out of power to realize what Obafemi Awolowo saw decades ago about him merely queuing up at the bus-stop of people whose orientation is basically provincial. If Obasanjo is accosted in the private today, he will express his regrets.
Umaru Yar’Adua was very nationalistic in his thought process. You will recall that he was the one who began granting Niger Delta militants amnesty. The major blight on Jonathan’s national apparel was when he denied that his kinsmen, the MEND militants were blowing up installations. He also ensconced his government with his native South-South people. It also manifested when this same Niger Delta ascendancy aspiration and Northern Nigeria machination theory of his blinded him from believing security reports on the kidnap of over 200 girls from their dormitory. Jonathan’s variant of Buhari’s irredentism was reinforced further by his wife’s brusque and infelicitous we no dey born pikin trowey thesis.
In the case of Buhari, the rest of Nigeria, except his Fulani/North, were like the farmer who cultivated a groundnut plantation beside a squirrel-infested forest who, after the squirrels mowed down his plantation, now laments his loss. We should have known from the outset that he was irredentist in cognition. We were blindfolded by the quantum of hate provoked against Jonathan by leg-men of Buhari’s party. When Buhari harangued Jonathan for attacking our Boko Haram, upbraided late Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina for “your people attacking my people” on this selfsame Fulani attacks in the North of Oyo State, Buhari was acting the unshakeable script of a permanent mind construct. No matter how many people are killed by these thirsty hound kinsmen of his, the C-in-C will not budge.
What that tells me is that, if and when Buhari eventually leaves office in 2023, whoever takes over from him cannot act out the script of a Nigerian Presidency any longer. If he is Igbo, his people will prevail on him to remember that their own time too had come; if he is Yoruba, his people will tell him to learn from the pitfalls of Obasanjo who believed, to his eternal regret, that he represented a non-existent nation called Nigeria.
I extend my condolences to Pa Fasoranti on this huge loss. The inexplicable way of providence manifested in this avoidable murder. How good would it have been if the child of the person murdered was that of those who tell us daily that there is no Fulani onslaught in the South West or even in Nigeria; that kidnappings and killings by nefarious Fulani herdsmen – of course with the connivance of accursed Yoruba accomplices – are only the rheum off the nostrils of those overblowing it for political advantage?
The Oje in Goje’s Nolle
Nigeria gets curious and curiouser by the day like the verses of an eerie poem. Everything, even the air we breathe in, is tinged with strangeness. It is one day, one curious phenomenon. So when the Federal High Court sitting in Jos last week discharged former Governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, of corruption charges, it just piled up on the huge debris of curiosity that has become our lot as Nigerians.
Goje’s discharge by the court was predicated on a Nolle prosequi application for withdrawal of the two pending charges against him by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF). In 2011, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed 21-count charges against Goje on allegation that he and the former Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Aliyu El-Nafati and S. M. Dokoro had allegedly stolen N5billion state money. Nineteen of those charges were struck out by the court which maintained that Goje had case to answer on the two charges left, to wit counts 8 and 9. The court ruled that the defendant should open its case on May 8, 2019. On June 7, however, the office of the AGF took over the matter against the governor. And now, it filed a Nolle.
By the portent of section 128 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, with particular emphasis on its sub section 1, the AGF is vested with prosecutorial powers equal to that of a mandarin to withdraw and discontinue cases in any law court in Nigeria at his whims, other than in a court-martial. This power is not subject to questioning; he does not have to explain how he arrives at that critical juncture of withdrawal or what was going on in his mind at that particular time. The withdrawal does not even have to conform to logic or the mood of the time. This was apparently the legal justification for the discontinuance of trial of the former governor.
Nolle is one of the inherited corpuses of our justice system which factors in issues of nation and national security into prosecutorial matters. The autochthonous owners of Nolle apparently factored it into their laws so as to protect the interest of the nation at critical intersections where it is threatened, especially by dissembling interests that are contrary to the state. In this Goje case, the question to ask is whether the discontinuance of the alleged fraud case linked to Goje is in the interest of the Nigerian state or whether the matter of who occupies the seat of the Senate President is that of the Nigerian state. The answer is that, getting Goje to stand down and installing someone else are a political party’s interest and the interest of some narrow-minded power blocs.
Mama Sophie Oluwole – God bless her soul – taught me in the African Philosophy class decades ago that the causality in the ancient Yoruba wise saying which says that there is an inherent connect between the witch who cried yesterday and the child that died today is not a fluke. Positivist school disagreed with this causality theory. They said that causality has to have a mathematical certainty and scientific explanation for it to be convincing. For us in Africa, there is no mathematical certainty or scientific clarity to causality. We extend this logic by saying that smoke necessarily follows the fire. It is all about the cognitive of what we perceive; if you like, the optics.
For Nigerians, the causal trajectory of this Goje Nolle is not only suggestive, it is visible and we can perceive it. Being a man who apparently understands the geography of the underbelly of this administration inside out, Goje threw his hat into the Senate Presidency ring and fought the battle with all his might, even when it became obvious that he could lose the battle. He stuck to his guns, becoming the issue in the race. He was subsequently brought before President Muhammadu Buhari, where their meeting was advertised to the world. Almost immediately, Goje stepped down from the race and every other thing began to fall in place. Now, the AGF has secured the discontinuance of the case, even when the court had earlier said he had case to answer in the erstwhile two charges.
The questions to ask are, yes, the philosophy underpinning Nolle demands that the AGF discloses no reason for the discontinuance of a case to anybody, but does the Buhari government which claims to wear a white apparel not feel that it is dishonourable for it to swap whatever honour it claims to have with an embrace of a man who, even in the face of the law, wasn’t blameless? Can the Buhari government claim to still be honourable after this swim in the sewer? The dirty deal of this Nolle should make anyone want to puke; it can only be explained by the joke – Oje – that Nigeria herself has become and why we have to laugh at this latest drama from runners of government who themselves know that Nigeria is a theatre, perhaps of the absurd, of Albert Camus hue. Let us move to the next Oje, please.
Festus Adedayo is an Ibadan-based journalist.