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Return of the king and rise in clamour for fair-play

Whether due to the pressures mounted on President Muhammadu Buhari by protesters (Abuja and London) to either resume duty or resign, or it the clean bill of health given to him by his doctors, the president returned about 2 weeks ago.

Expectedly, there were jubilations around the country while jackals, hyenas and other smaller animals had to go under on the return of the lion king.

While the king enjoyed his medical vacation in London, more than 100 days, issues such as restructuring/resource control, secessionism, among others, dominated our national discourse.

Reasons being advanced by these agitators include lack of equity, fair play and justice in the distribution of the nation’s commonwealth and in federal appointments, among several others.

Each time these allegations come to the fore, the establishment always had a way of allaying the fears of the people and assuring them that things would get better with subsequent appointments.

And we do not want to doubt these hopes.

However, the recent shake-up/ restructuring in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the ensuing new strategic managerial positions speaks volumes.

Th e fears of the people or sections of the country of being sidelined or marginalized as regards appointments into strategic federal positions seem to be confi rmed and reinforced.

And this is coming at a time a group of militants in the Niger Delta region are brandishing unconfi rmed report/statistics that northerners, the Yoruba and the Ibo own 90%, 7% and 2%, respectively, of Nigeria’s oil blocks.

Consequently, the militants have renewed their quit notice to northerners and the Yoruba living in the Niger Delta to leave the region on or before October 1, 2017.

Th ey threatened to resume disruption of oil exploration from Sunday.

Th is new wave of threat may have been sparked by the alleged recent lopsided NNPC appointments.

Only recently, while assuring the Ibo of their safety in the North, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, lent his support for national dialogue aimed at ensuring fair play, equity and justice in the distribution of national resources in the country instead of agitation for secession.

In other words, a sustained national dialogue that is geared towards harmonization of our perceived areas of disagreement is better than any form of hostilities.

Nigeria cannot aff ord new crisis at a time when our security agencies are already over stretched and are battle-weary in the course of fi ghting all kinds of crimes.

Th e country cannot aff ord to slide into any form of religious or ethnic insurgence.

Th e said report/statistics by the Niger Delta militant group may look like a fairy tale to us but if upon investigation the report is found to be true, the federal government should make some adjustments with a view to accommodating the people of the Niger Delta.

Th is is the issue that needs to be addressed in respect of equity, fair play and justice, which is our focus.

Th e next critical issue is the need to lay the ghost of alleged lopsidedness in federal appointments and allow it to rest in perfect peace in its grave.

Any attempt to wake it up will continue to lead to further clamouring for restructuring or even agitation for self determination as is the case of Biafra.

Th e selfacclaimed IPOB leader may not boast of followership from the more enlightened groups or the intelligentsia from the Ibo who are in the minority but he may be commanding strong followership from the middle and the lower classes – majority of whom are apprentices, youths, the unemployed who formed the majority of his proposed Biafran nation.

For clarity, the Ibo business tycoons will rather dialogue with the Nigerian state for fair play and a more equitable arrangement than jeopardize their investments located in other parts of the country in the name of agitating for a smaller nation which cannot sustain their entrepreneurs or vast businesses empires.

Another issue that caught our attention is the renewed hostilities by the suspected herdsmen despite the fact that President Buhari promised to tackle the issue decisively during his recent national broadcast.

Only last week, another group of suspected herdsmen reportedly drove their cattle into the farm of Chief Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Federal Government and former presidential candidate, Social Democratic Party (SDP), and allegedly destroyed his farm crops.

Th is should be the third or fourth time that the elder statesman and septuagenarian is witnessing unprovoked attacks.

In the previous incidents, the former fi nance minister was kidnapped and released after his family paid some ransom.

In another attack on the man’s farm, one of his security offi cers, an OPC member, was allegedly killed.

And in recent times two women in Ondo and Oyo states were attacked and raped by these hoodlums.

One of the women was a septuagenarian who was raped while working on her farm in Owo, Ondo state.

As if these were not enough, on September 5, a man, identifi ed as Efosa, was allegedly gunned down by another group of suspected herdsmen in Edo state.

According to an online news portal credited to Amebo, the man, a father of 12 with two wives, was killed after confronting the herdsmen for invading his farm with their cattle and causing damages.

Whether the government admits it or not attacks on innocent citizens and their property is causing some disaff ection to the Buhari administration amidst allegations of lopsided appointments.

Th is may be the handiwork of fi fth columnists within the government itself.

Or can we attribute these unprovoked vicious attacks to some disgruntled opposition elements who may be working assiduously to distance this government from the electorate ahead of 2019? Whatever, government should oblige the wise counsel of leaders like the Sultan of Sokoto and other advocates of genuine national dialogue that is geared towards ensuring equity, fair play and justice.

Th ese are the words of elders which are words of wisdom.

And there is no doubt that these elders are genuinely concerned about the peaceful co-existence of this nation.

About GBEMIGA OLAKUNLE

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