By Okanga Agila
“Information gathered from impeccable sources indicates that it could not have been a coincidence that upon issuing such threats, before the elections, and after the elections, activities of herdsmen and armed bandits have increased tremendously….There are several pointers to the fact that making the country ungovernable is a game plan of Atiku Abubakar who enjoys some level of support from some rebel groups in Cameroon by infiltration of some Nigerian communities and inflicting maximum damage to these communities.”
A 2019 post-election report by Centre for Diplomacy and Democracy, Washington DC, USA, signed by MsCatherine Kerigun.
At the turn of 2019, there were penetrative anxiety and tension everywhere in Nigeria. For a nation facing another round of general elections in a few weeks, the crisis, violence and killings which engulfed the country in strangulating grips and its ferocious character was bad enough omen.
Prophets of doom who earlier predicted Nigeria’s violent break-up, sensed a glaring possibility of affirming their prophesy with the prevailing terse atmosphere, wailings and bloodshed in the country. Unknown to many, the partisanship of this period, laced in the lethal campaigns by the leading opposition PDP; its candidate, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and political actors sympathetic to his cause of ousting incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari accentuated the tensions in the land.
Outside other conflicts, which were exhumed and deliberate actions initiated to intensify subsisting crisis, such as engaging foreign mercenaries to wreak havoc, the herders’/farmers skirmishes became potent tools exploited by the opposition to poison the minds of the electorates against the President. The devilish calculations and its results portrayed President Buhari as an incompetent leader and incapable of resolving Nigeria’s insecurity challenges.
The opposition found the herdsmen/farmers conflict a kicker for campaigns because they erroneously thought it was easy to impinge on the Nigerian psyche preachments that President Buhari sided, connived, and protected his Fulani kinsmen to murder other Nigerians. But they were caught by their own traps for supporting Atiku, another Fulani as Buhari’s replacement. Nigerians sensed deceit in the entire scheme or narrative.
However, the conspiracy against President Buhari was thick and certified by big political players and stakeholders. And each was assigned a role. They included serving PDP State Governors and other lily-livered Governors on the APC platform who were lured into the fold by the sweet jingles of the PDP apologists.
Former leaders of Nigeria and military chiefs were also active planners of the plot to upstage President Buhari. They included, the chief trumpeter, former military head of state and democratic President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; former COAS and defence Minister, the multi-billionaire businessman, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma,(rtd) former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, Gen. Zamani Lekwot and Gen. Joshua Dongoyaro among an array of other enthusiasts’ in the project.
A coalition of civil societies domiciled in Nigeria were also drafted into the evil plot. They were sponsored for the mandate to mobilize and create awareness in Nigerians home and abroad about Buhari’s alleged failures, in tandem with the tempo of the instigated /rising violence and killings across the country.
Gen. Danjuma who chanted alleged Fulani killings of his Jukun kinsmen in Taraba state reportedly led a delegation to the United States to present practical evidence of the killings. The mission was also reportedly to curry the support of American President to dethrone President Buhari in 2019. He had earlier falsely accused the Nigerian Army of siding the alleged Fulani killers and publicly persuaded his kinsmen to arms in the guise of self-defence.
Even leaders of some Northern ethnic and religious groups were goaded into approval of the plots to oust President Buhari . They included, theNorthern Elders Forum, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Borno Elders Forum, and Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria among other mushroom groups.
At a meeting held in Kaduna, March 24, 2018, when partisan campaigns kicked-off, these coalition of groups citing the President’s “failed” leadership in the region, denounced the 2019 presidential candidature of Buhari. By the action, they clearly endorsed, an unknown potential rival to Buhari, who would later be Atiku Abubakar on the platform of the PDP.
At least two State Governors on the platform of the PDP, namely, Benue state Gov. Samuel Ortom and his Taraba state counterpart, Gov. Dairus Ishaku had the onerous task of amplifying the herders/farmers killings to national and global limelight. And they performed this task creditably.
At some point, Gov. Ishaku asked the Fulanis; “Why have they become kidnappers, arsonists and killers? …So, why such a blind ambition to conquer and occupy other people’s territory?” His Benue comrade, Gov. Ortom chorused worse and louder, whatever, Ishaku chanted on Fulani herdsmen killings.
So, from Churches to schools, the enemies of Nigeria gathered to sponsor foreign mercenaries to bring down the institution of state. OBJ chorused plots by of “Islamisation and Fulanisation” of Nigeria by President Buhari. Therefore, the PDP electoral undertakers gleefully thought they have diminished the electoral value of President Buhari.
But Buhari’s strongest rival in the 2019 presidential race, Atiku Abubakar lost the ballot to the incumbent President Buhari of the APC. But it never deterred him and the gang from pursuing the cause of wresting power from President Buhari at all cost. Atiku proceeded to the Tribunal to challenge Buhari’s victory, which he has also lost again by the verdict of the court a few days ago.
But again, few weeks the deceleration of results of the presidential election, it was hellish, as the violence and killings exacerbated in different parts of Nigeria, as revealed by the report of the Centre for Diplomacy and Democracy, Washington DC. And the body fingered Atiku as allegedly the covert mastermind of the bloody restiveness in Nigeria to actualize his threats of destabilizing Nigeria as he promised during electioneering campaigns.
The report reads in part; “The statement by Atiku Abubakar stating that killings would continue if he loses the elections was a strategy designed by Atiku Abubakar to instill fear in the hearts of the electorates to secure their votes during the elections. However, this did not work out in his favour, and he has resorted to activating the plan B, which is to subtly engage the services of mercenaries from neighboring francophone countries to cause mayhem in Nigeria.”
It further insisted; “There are several pointers to the fact that making the country ungovernable is game plan of Atiku Abubakar who enjoys some level of support from some rebel groups in Cameroon by infiltration of some Nigerian communities and inflicting maximum damage to these communities.”
Nonetheless, it must be noted that the set of crisis and killings which was the first to relax after the general elections was the alleged Fulani herdsmen killings. The twine megaphones of amplifying the killings, Ortom and Ishaku are no longer wailing every day in the media over the killings. In fact, the belligerent Gov. Ortom admitted immediately after his reelection victory at the governorship elections that herders/farmers clashes have abated impressively, as he thanked President Buhari and commended the “Operation Whirl Stroke” for the marvelous job.
And in Taraba state, Gov. Ishaku who also secured his reelection victory in 2019 is silent about herdsmen killings anymore. Now the real face of territorial expansion in his state has manifested in the sustained vicious and bloody campaigns by his Jukun kinsmen to exterminate the indigenous Tiv people of Taraba in the last five months. No Fulani herdsman is mentioned as precipitating or orchestrating the carnage in Taraba state.
It’s a pleasant surprise that peace has now returned to Nigeria after the end of the 2019 general elections. It implies that the root cause was therefore to destabilize the Buhari government and project him as incompetent to preside over the affairs of Nigeria, especially tackling the security challenges. It is relieving that President Buhari refused to bow to the plots or antics of enemies of Nigeria to hijack power from the backdoor and so, the agenda has failed woefully at break of day.
Therefore, the so-called fulani jihadist agenda, much publicized has failed. Nigerians can attest that it was crafted purely to blacklist President Buhari and his government. The assemblage of the anti-Buharists, who sponsored the various conflicts were mere looters whose only intention was to truncate the lifespan of the administration as envisaged by Nigerians for the personal phobia of what would confront them in President Buhari’s second coming.
*Okanga wrote this piece from Agila, Benue State.