Third Republic Senate President, Chief Ameh Ebute, has accused some respected politicians, serving governors and elder statesmen of leveraging on the Famers-herders’ clashes to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The highly-revered ex-lawmaker made this known in a paper presented at a One Day International Conference on Good Governance and Accountability in Government organised by the Coalition for Civil Society Organizations for Change and Good Governance on Tuesday in Abuja.
In his piece titled “Appraising 100 Days of President Buhari on the saddle and building a nation where justice shall reign”, Chief Ebute gave an honest assessment of the president’s second term thus far.
According to him, out of desperation for power, certain well-known politicians have either taken to sponsoring violence or simply turned blind eyes to clashes around them for their selfish gains.
In the forefront, as stated by Mr Ebute, is former Defence Minister, LT Gen TY Danjuma (Rtd) who he claims has surprisingly remained mute despite the farmers/herders in his state, Taraba, because those affected are not from his ethnicity.
The former number 3 citizen also fingered the opposition of fuelling the wave of violence, going as far as allegedly sponsoring the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) – thus keeping to their vow to make the country ungovernable for Mr Buhari.
Despite these conspiracy, however, Chief Ebute hailed the pesident for remaining resolute and focused, holding firm to his transparent and accountable ideals.
While admitting that the positive signs points towards path to greatness for the country, the ex-Senate President urged Nigerians to embrace the excellent governance philosophy of Mr Buhari.
Read excerpts from the paper below:
It is no longer a secret that the various security challenges facing Nigeria predate the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is on the heels that before 2015, there has been insinuation in certain quarters about the sponsorship of violence as a means of achieving political, religious, and ethnic goals by elite politicians.
These politicians whom in some instances are referred to as senior citizens or elderly political leaders have exploited ethnic and religious clashes to their advantage. A good example suffices in Taraba state where a former minister of Defence is silent over the killings in Taraba state because those being killed are not from his ethnicity.
The Taraba state killings raise the question as regards the sincerity of heart and of the purpose of supposed elderly political leaders in Nigeria who have been exploiting situations for their personal and selfish gains. They turn a deaf ear if the victims of such nefarious activities are not from their ethnicity and also feign ignorance if their kin perpetrated acts of violence. When factions of political elites compete for political power at the national level based on identity, groups emerge at the subnational level in Defence of these identities.
Also, those that lost in the 2019 general elections in Nigeria have vowed to make the country ungovernable, and this explains why despite the efforts of government, some of these issues won’t go away. I believe that they intend to cause the disintegration of Nigeria and to paint a picture of incapacity before the eyes of the international community.
Nonetheless, some of us conversant with the dynamics involved in the contemporary Nigerian society would readily attest to the fact that the killings and kidnappings, as well as the rise in cases of armed banditry, is as a result of what members of the opposition have plotted thinking that Nigerians would be gullible.
They have deployed huge resources to make the country ungovernable, they have also engaged the services of both local and international media to escalate issues to their advantage, not minding the consequences of their actions.
They have also adopted a negative narrative in the clashes between farmers and herders. In the wisdom of members of the opposition, the farmers-herders conflict must be construed in such a way that would make the citizens lose faith in the present Administration. While this is not only despicable, it is also an indication that those that failed to actualize their political ambitions at the general elections have refused to move on with their lives. However, instead, they have chosen this dishonourable path of fuelling ethnic and religious conflict aimed at distracting and destabilizing and distracting the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Most politicians hide under cover of farmers-herders’ crisis to perpetrate evil in the society. They arm and sponsor militia groups to wreak havoc. This much has been witnessed in situations where there has been a hasty ascribing any form of crime or criminality to a particular ethnicity or religion.
For example, we have seen situations where people from southeast Nigeria have been arrested masquerading as herdsmen after committing a crime or engage in any criminal behaviour. I also recall a particular episode that happened in Ghana, where a Nigerian man was arrested after killing three persons. He claimed to be a Fulani herdsman but couldn’t speak Hausa or pronounced a word in Fulani.
That is the irony of the situation we face as it stands today. People are masquerading under different umbrellas to perpetuate evil and passing the blame on ethnicity or religion, which would ultimately lead to reprisal attacks on innocent people going about their normal businesses. The cases presented in the Benue-Taraba axis gives us a hint on how the political elites have continued to exploit the situation for their benefits.
The political elites understanding the gullibility of their subjects have formed the habit of taking advantage of communal clashes to paint a particular ethnicity or religion in a bad light just in an attempt to be able to perpetuate their nefarious activities thereby causing unrest in the polity.
It is most worrisome that in a state like Taraba, the government would choose to play petty and feign ignorance to the monster they created. I am particularly pained that a personality such as Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma would condescend so low as meddling in petty politics despite what he has benefitted from Nigeria.
The likes of Danjuma and his cohorts have indeed shown that they do not have the interest of the country at heart. This is also on the heels that some CSOs have been able to expose the fact that a high ranking member of the opposition is behind the wave of violent protests by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) with huge sums of monies.
While I consider such acts as despicable, I am gladdened with the fact that Nigerians didn’t sell their birthrights for a plate of porridge. Indeed, Nigerians were wise when they cast their votes for integrity, accountability, and transparency. If the reverse has been the case, I am sure there would have been no country called Nigeria today due to the wickedness of these individuals parading themselves as elder statesmen.
I believe that the traditional rulers must rise to the challenge instead of blaming the table of President Muhammadu Buhari. They must understand the dynamics involved in the farmers-herders’ crisis and realize that it is merely the act of political elites manipulating the system to their advantage, and at the detriment of peace and tranquillity in the system.
A good example can be seen in Zamfara state where peaceful engagements and collaboration with security agencies have helped to tame the nagging problem of insecurity. Also, the South-West Governors have been holding meetings on how to support the security agencies to address the insecurity situation.
However, some governors who have exhibited a high level of incompetence are still bent on passing the blame on President Muhammadu Buhari, whereas they are the Chief Security Officers of their respective states and they draw security votes every month.
The democratic experience in Nigeria has not come without its challenges. Some of us have witnessed Nigeria in its lowest, so much so that we feared for the worst to happen. However, our hopes were rekindled with the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration, which by all standard is a worthy example of accountability and transparency in governance.
Nigeria indeed got it right in 2015, as well as 2019 with the way and manner the government has carried on since then. So in this context of this conference, which is the first 100 days in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, I am convinced to say the foundation for economic growth has been laid.
As an elder statesman, I have witnessed administrations in Nigeria, and I dare say that the level of commitment displayed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the governance of Nigeria is equal to none.
The first 100 days in office of President Muhammadu Buhari is filled with hopes for Nigeria. All the critical sectors of the economy are receiving the required attention, and it is sufficing to say that President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed displayed an unalloyed commitment to the growth and development of Nigeria and as such it behoves on all well-meaning Nigerians to lend its support to this Administration in its quest to building a country of our dreams for this generation and generations to come.
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are often assumed to be institutions that facilitate communication between citizens and policymakers. However, CSO advocacy is only as effective as the space allowed by the government, the resources available from funders, and their internal capacity.
Emerging trends point to the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari led Administration has indeed highlighted to Nigerians that when there is a will, there would always be away. This much the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has displayed in the first 100 days in office.
This is noteworthy that despite the conspiracy to paint the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in a bad light, the high level of transparency and accountability displayed has indeed negated the plot to make the country ungovernable.
The first 100 days in office of President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed proved to Nigerians that indeed Nigeria is on the path of greatness. I cannot but align with the vision and mission of this Administration, and I encourage the generality of Nigerians to do same because never in the history of Nigeria have we experienced such display of sincerity of heart and purpose and a rare demonstration of commitment to the advancement of Nigeria as a country.
The leaders and the led should embrace the excellent governance philosophy if development administration is to meet the underlying rationale it stands for. Both the leaders and the led have their roles to play to embrace good governance and strengthen development administration. Highly developed nations can attest to the promotion of national development through the application of good governance in their development administration.