Restructuring will end Herdsmen, Farmers Clashes – Adebanjo
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, elder statesman and chieftain of Afenifere, in this interview with Augustine Adah, speaks on the inability of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government to manage the security challenges in the country, especially the attacks by Fulani herdsmen, and other issues. Excerpts:
It was a bloody New Year day in Benue State as suspected Herdsmen invaded some communities and killed many people. Do you think the federal government is doing enough to bring this lingering problem to an end?
I want to say that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should cover their faces in shame. A similar incident to what happened in Benue happened on the same day in Rivers State where some people coming from church were killed by suspected gunmen. Human lives are being wasted on daily basis in Nigeria. The most unfortunate thing is that these things are happening when we have a retired military general as the President of the country and he cannot do anything.
To me, he is completely confused and don’t know what to do about it. When he came into power, one of the issues he promised to tackle is the growing insecurity in the country, but we don’t see that happening right now. They told us that Boko Haram insurgency that has killed many people in the north-east of the country has been decimated but you have heard how they are still attacking and killing people including security agents in some communities of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The Fulnani herdsmen have been carrying AK 47 around which they have used to kill and destroy properties. Unfortunately; the government has not called any of them to order one day. We are not aware that AK 47 is what they are now using to train their cows and other animals. Hardly can you see any state that has not experienced the deadly attack of the herdsmen and the government continues to keep mum over the matter. Because they have not been confronted and brought to face the law by security agencies, they continue to unleash mayhem on innocent Nigerians as if there is no government in power.
You have been a strong advocate of restructuring, do you think this present government would yield to people’s demand?
I don’t think the government is serious about restructuring which all Nigerians have been yearning for. I don’t think President Muhammadu Buhari knows what Nigerians want and the earlier he resigns the better for the country. I don’t understand why it is difficult for Mr. President to implement what is the popular demand of the people. We are saying that the present structure would not encourage better development of the country and the way out is to restructure it; I don’t know what is difficult about that. They are now talking of 2019 general elections while they have not delivered on the promise made to the people since 2015.
I believe that the country can only move forward if it is restructured. What is happening in Benue and other parts of the country would have been put under control long ago if the country has been restructured as we suggested. The restructuring would give each state opportunity to provide for their own separate security outfit to deal with its own peculiar situations. I could not understand while we have the police and other security agents and the herdsmen would invade communities for two days killing innocent people and there was no resistance from the police or other security agents.
Some people are saying agitators of restructuring are selfish politicians who are looking for opportunity to gain popularity. I describe such assumption as foolish. What do you think somebody like me at my age would want to get from politics? I worked with late Obafemi Awolowo and what we are seeing now is not the kind of agenda he had for the country at that time. Some of us who worked with him got the patriotism on how best the country can move forward and we are committed to seeing that to fruition.
Do you think the government deserves second term as Nigerians are complaining so much on its inability to deliver on the promise?
It is left for Nigerians to decide but what I know is that none of the promise made to the people has been kept. They promise to create job for the teeming unemployed youths but instead of creating the job as promised, a lot of people have lost their jobs in the country yet the government is interested of seeking a fresh mandate of four years. I don’t know what they want to do with the fresh mandate. I tend to believe with what some people said that he was not prepared for the office before he came in.
Being a president of the country is not a tea party, it means you must understand the problem of the people and have solutions to those problems. The earlier he resigns from the position, the better for the country because the country is not moving forward under the present dispensation. In the past two years, people have been suffering and the government appears to be confused over what to do to help the matter.
I want the government to tell Nigerians the good things they have done since they come to power almost three years ago. It is not just about power, you must be prepared to use the power for the benefit of the common people.
The present APC government has not used power to the benefit of the people with poverty everywhere and petrol crisis confronting the country. It is a difficult situation for the country at the moment. I believe at the appropriate time, the people would decide whether to continue with the present situation or opt for a change. I can tell you that nothing is working in the country and people are helpless. President Buhari and his APC government have betrayed the trust of the people.
When the government came to power, there was a lot of enthusiasm and hope that the new administration would put the country on the path of economic development. People trusted Buhari so much may be because of his integrity and his position against corruption.
Though he is fighting corruption but not the way people thought it should be as only the opposition members are the target of anti-corruption agencies. Fighting corruption should be for those in opposition and members of the ruling party. It is in so doing that the people would have confidence in whatever you do or say.
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