In a recent remark, the Vice President and Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was quoted as having said that the spate of crossovers from one party to the other which is threatening the very fabric of democracy in the body politic is “a fight between good and evil.”

That, in our considered opinion, is putting it very succinctly. However, at the very root of what should be considered acceptably good or bad depends on the lens from which one is said to be observing the happenings which have held us spell-bound for months on end, not just within the few weeks during which the esteemed Senators deemed it inevitable that they were in conscience and duty bound to leave the APC, and return to the PDP which they left to amalgamate with others to oust the PDP from the Presidency. 

Any observer of the political landscape must recall that in the late months of 2014 and the months to the run-up to the 2015 elections which ushered President Buhari to power, Nigeria was practically made ungovernable by a conglomeration of forces such as: the unending fuel scarcity; the escalation of attacks and killings by Boko Haram; and the onset of the mayhem unleashed on the non Hausa-Fulani States in the Middle Belt, North-East; South-West; South-East and South-South zones by the Fulani militia, generally known as Fulani Herdsmen.

In hindsight, most observers believe that those events were politically motivated with a view to turning the tide against the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan and ensuring a shoo-in for Mohammadu Buhari.  The further marriage of the Hausa-Fulani north and the Yoruba West on one hand, and the Mosque and Penticostal Christianity on the other by the Buhari and Tinubu engineered coup of nominating Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate ensured that the unbending retired army general secured the Presidency.

However, like someone remarked lately, it was asking for too much for a general who retired thirty years back to correct all the ills of the economy which the incumbent Phd holder  found formidable when he, in all those thirty years: didn’t start a company; didn’t sit on the board of any established organisation; didn’t write a book on either his command in the armed forces, or his brief Head of Stateship; and never gave any public lectures.

In the three plus years of his incumbency, Buhari’s Presidency has been known mostly for six things: its oft-touted anti-corruption stance; its selective hounding of “the corrupt”; the reintegration of Boko Haram militants into the society as rehabilitated; its obsession with creating Grazing Reserves in every state of the Federation; and the unabated killings and destruction of properties in the non Hausa-Fulani States. Not to be forgotten is the venom with which President Buhari, who did nothing about the Fulani militia’s terror on law abiding Nigerian citizens, descended on IPOB on his return to the country after his 100 plus days health vacation in the UK via his appropriately named “operation python dance.”

With the turn of the year, the Fulani terror increased a huge notch; while the Federal government insisted on seeing the problem as “farmers and herders” clashes, those affected in the North-Eastern, Benue, Plateau, and the Southern States insisted that these were terror attacks instigated by the AK 4O-wielding Fulani militia.

The hallmarks of such attacks were, a) the invasion of farms by the herdsmen who chop into bits and pieces yam, potato and cassava tubers and other cash crops which they feed their cattle, followed by the unleashing of terror with bullets and matchetes on any group of farmowners who raise any form of objection over the liberality with which the Fulani herdsmen treated their means of livelihood; b) that initial skirmish often leads to the fight being taken by the herdsmen to the nearest villages, resulting in destruction of lives and property; c) the ensuing pogrom often left in its wake men, women, children and the very elderly with heads, chests, stomachs, backs and limbs

split open or completely hacked off with matchetes, belying the notion of clashes between such murderous cattle hérders and farmers, as children cannot by any dint of the imagination be numbered amongst farmers.

That prominent people like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was compelled to write his famous open letter to the President expressing his distaste over his perception of how Buhari had governed the country is now history. On his part, General TY Danjuma in a lecture had opined that the military was aiding and abetting the killer herdsmen, and therefore advised the besieged Nigerians to defend themselves.

Almost immediately after Danjuma’s lecture, the Fulani militia unleashed fresh terror on Benue and Plateau States. Meanwhile, in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, discussions on the daily killings had become perfunctory; Senators Marafa, Ben Bruce-Murray, Dino Milaye and a host of others shouted themselves hoarse over the fact that in spite of the daily slaughter and the then usual expressions of condemnation, the executive arm of government basically did nothing.

Outside the hallowed chambers of the Nigerian Senate, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a minister of Aviation in the Jonathan administration shouted and condemned the atrocities committed by the herdsmen on Nigerian citizens, all to no avail. The Senate President, a fellow Fulani as the President and murdering herdsmen, was compelled, at that stage, to wade into the issue. 

He insisted on the Inspector General of Police submitting to the Senate, the statistcs of the killings in Benue and Plateau States by Fulani herdsmen during a month’s period. The chilling verdict was close to one thousand. Senator Saraki released the said report to the public and all hell broke loose.

Prior to that development, there was what was characterized as a bank robbery at Offa in Kwara State during which over thirty persons were killed. Police reports indicated that the mastermind behind the robbery were men who were in Senator Saraki’s employ, and that one of the vehicles had a SARAKI plate number. In essence, the Police concluded, Senator Saraki had a case to answer.

Then began a daily siege by the Police to arrest Saraki. When this seemingly failed, attempts were made, as some Senators claimed, by the Presidency to impeach Saraki. It was in the bid to thwart that move and express their anger that the now famous defections commenced.

There have been few cross-carpeting from the PDP to the APC – negligible by comparison – the most prominent being Senator Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State.

Of note in all these are, firstly, the claim of … the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State Assembly who stated that he was offered N2 bn by the Presidency to abandon PDP for APC. What does that say of the claims and posturing of the Buhari administration to anti-corruption? Secondly, the fact that in the house of the recently dismissed Director General of the Department of State Security, Mohammed Daura were found: N21 billion; stacks of Voter cards PVCs; and hoards of arms and ammunition paints a picture of what the ruling party is planning ahead for the February 2019 scheduled elections. 

Furthermore, the fact that the same Daura was the one who posted hooded security personnel to prevent the President of the Senate from attending the session of the Senate during which he would have been impeached speaks volumes about APC’s respect for other constituted authorities, and its respect for the rule of law. Lastly, the way and manner in which the Presidency and the entire force of the APC invaded Ekiti State, and the ensuing intimidation and the ultimate election of Fayemi, the APC candidate paints a picture of what Nigerians should expect in 2019.

Given all these, we would love to echo the Vice President’s assertion that the 2019 elections would be one between good and evil. There have been so much evil in the land that it cannot be otherwise. In closing, we crave the reader’s indulgence to outline the issues that would be relevant in determining which party has consistently been on the side of good, and on the side of evil.

Although there is a plethora of reasons relevant to determining which of the contending parties has sided with either good or bad, we shall, for the purposes of this discourse limit ourselves to five, viz, Governance, Anti-corruption, Security, the Grazing Bill, and the Economy. 

Let us now have a cursory look at the foregoing issues:

  1. Governance

From the very onset after candidate Buhari became the President Elect after an election in which children were not only allowed to register as potential voters, but actually voted in the north, Buhari who avoided debating the issues, said nothing beyond the litany of promises belted out during the electioneering period. Nigerians became aware that we were headed for trouble when forming the Federal Cabinet took all of a whole year. This meant that for most of that twelve month period, President Buhari ran Corporate Nigeria alone, with the assistance of Civil Servants.

  1. Anti-Corruption.

Most Nigerians, three years into the Buhari administration, can’t point at anything positive that has impacted their lives for good through the APC government. The only thing the Buhari government has been consistent at is shouting ”anti-corruption”. On his return from his oft-repeated health vacations, he has resolved to jail all looters. We only hope that this time, in his bid to impress his would-be voters in 2019, he would prosecute all looters, beginning with the looting that has gone on in Aso Rock by way of very bogus budget provisions, and the looters of Federal and State economies in the APC.

The only other thing the Buhari Administration has done consistently is her desire to impose its Cattle Grazing Policy on the rest of Nigeria. It seeks to have large expanses of land cut out and reserved for grazing of cattle in every State of the federation. At the rate of 10,000 hectares of land in every State, it would amount to reserving one third of the entire land area for cattle rearing which doesn’t bring in one dollar to the GDP. Moreover, the Buhari government has earmarked N198 billion from Oil Revenue to which not one square meter of land has been allocated for the building of cattle rearing facilities for the Fulani. When confronted over these outrageous provisions, the President was reported to have retorted that it was better to give up land than to be dead.

  1. Security

As most Nigerians now know through personal experience, the state of insecurity has never been as bad as it has been in recent times. Candidate Buhari promised to end the Boko Haram terror months into his administration. Three years into Buhari’s term, the only certainties we know are: first, Boko Haram is still alive and well; it is still abducting and killing Nigerians; the government is still paying ransom money to Boko Haram; captured members of Boko Haram, who should be serving time in jail are being released back into society as rehabilitated; and by the reckoning of the UN, Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen have collectively butchered 26,000 Nigerians.

With the inception of the Buhari Administration, the state of insecurity became worse with the influx of the Fulari from every conceivable place in West Africa. Early this year, Senator Marafa of Zamfara remarked that there were strangers all over Zamfara State. The same thing applies to most states of the Federation. It would seem that there is a preparation of sort to force people to vote in a certain direction in 2019, or be slaughtered the way Fulani Herdsmen are doing right now unchecked.

4.The Grazing Reserve

Along with the inexplicable influx of the Fulani into Nigeria, the spate of killings increased in the North Eastern zone, the Middle Belt zone, especially Benue and Plateau States, and the Southern States. With the inception of the year, the killings increased to the extent the Senate summoned the Inspector General of Police who supplied the Senate damning evidence on the statistics of the number of Nigerians being butchered on a daily basis. There’s no other way to see things than from the viewpoint that the herdsmen were positioning themselves for their grazing reserve.

5.The Economy

The Nigerian economy is still in the doldrums. The economy has gone from bad to worse on a yearly basis. Recent reports have it that within the three-year period it has been in power, the APC government has increased the Debt burden to N23 trillion. The unemployment rate has been on the increase, and the Abacha loot which return the previous administration discovered and negotiated to have repatriated, the Buhari Administration has resolved to share to the poor in an unverifiable manner, instead of being used to reduce the domestic debt burden.

Finally, no one knows what spin the Federal government would put on the N21 billion cash, 400 assorted and sophisticated small arms and thousands of PVCs belonging to Niger Republic immigrants found in the house of the ”sacked” DSS boss, Alh. Daura.

Given the foregoing, it seems which party is on the side of GOOD, and which is on the side of EVIL. If there is still a God in Heaven, like we believe, then the issue of which party would win is obvious.

May God save Nigeria from evil.

Gabby Ogbechie

Follow me on @GabbyOgbechie1

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