Philip Shekwo, Sultan of Sokoto and Nigeria’s sad reality

By now, virtually all Nigerians must have arrived at same juncture of opinion, something in the neighbourhood of what lawyers call “unanimity of purpose,” on how we fare at this critical time. Overtime, our opinions had been variegated, like the different seeds in a walnut pod. Politics, tribe, religion and dictates of our tummies had specified where we stood. Now, however, we have realised that we are under siege and if we don’t speak up, we stand the risk of being consumed by the tide of the time, all of us. “One and all, we have got to face reality now,” immortal Bob Marley, in his Natural Mystic, seemed to have summed up the path to tread.

The reality is that we are in a huge mess, security-wise. Last Thursday, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll sent a message to President Muhammadu Buhari. The Sultan said bandits, taking the inability and incapability of the Nigerian security forces for granted, now move from house to house to ferret out their victims, kidnap them and inflict all manner of violence on them.

Many Northern major highways are impassable. Not strictly because of the potholes that lace them, but because the roads have now become the exclusive preserve of lords of the Republic of Banditry. Until this meeting of minds, many northern irredentists thought that, some of us who cry that the Buhari government was one of the most troublous afflictions to descend on us in the history of Nigerian governance, were buoyed by hatred, politics or religion.

About a week ago, Philip Shekwo, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State, realised too late the eternal sense in that Yoruba wise-saying which says that, when there is a clarion call for denunciation of an affliction, if you don’t join in disclaiming it, they may push it to your backyard. In 2018 when the banditry reached its apogee and we asked Buhari to take responsibility or go administer his army of cows in his Daura home, Shekwo joined in our tar-brushing. Our call for sanity in governance was self-centered and political, he shouted. He labeled us beneficiaries of corruption.

In his mind’s eye, Shekwo must have believed that he and his family were in the clear of bandits’ strike as a state party chairman of the Almighty Nigerian president’s ruling party. Recently, however, Shekwo was abducted at his residence along Dunamis Church, Bukan Sidi, in Lafia, the state capital, by bandits. Last Sunday, he was found murdered.

In the South too, those who call Buhari out for his sickening governmental lethargy have been called names. Our beef wasn’t the beatification of Buhari by party warlords, their fawners and lickspittles of power. Our bother is that, no government, in the history of Nigeria, had been this laidback and inept to rescue its people from rampaging insecurity. We were either on assignments for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or enemies of the State. Now, “One and all, we have got to face reality now.”

Last Thursday again, gunmen suspected to be kidnappers, in broad daylight, shot dead the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Israel Adeusi, a First Class traditional ruler in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State. The Yoruba would say o nru’gbo bo (the calamity is afoot) and as Odolaye Aremu, the Ilorin, Kwara State Dadakuwada singer once sang, no one can predict the victim of a ceaseless downpour.

Last Friday evening, gunmen reportedly shot and killed a policeman while kidnapping a Chinese handling the construction of the new Ado-Iyin road in Ekiti State. The other expatriate at the site sustained gunshots injuries. A couple of years ago, daughter of Afenifere leader, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, was murdered in Ondo State by men suspected to be herdsmen.

Pardon my conservative analysis: I doubt if, in the history of Nigeria, except perhaps during the civil war, as much people have been killed by hoodlums, bandits, miscreants as under the Buhari government. Now, the reality has dawned on us – no thanks to the Buhari government – that Nigeria is one of the most unsafe countries on earth to live in. We got confirmation of this last Wednesday. In a new report published by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), Buhari’s Nigeria is ranked the third most terrorised country in the world. The report said that the number of insurgency deaths in the country increased by 25 per cent from 2018 to 2019.

One and all, we have got to face this cruel reality. That, if we continue to hide inside the cocoon of political affiliation, ethnicity and esophagus benefits to excuse Buhari of this gross failure of governance, his Nigeria would get us. May we not end up like Philip Shekwo who became a victim of his tummy, office and political projection. The time to speak up is now.




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