Does Buhari Want Us to Be One?

By Umar Sa’ad Hassan

That two of the three major tribes are actively clamouring for their own separate nations is in itself a failure for the Buhari administration. What makes it even more pathetic is how the government has made available an enabling environment for such agitations to fester and escalate to a point where we may just be fighting a civil war this October instead of celebrating our 57th independence anniversary.

Like I always say, President Buhari’s promise of placing those who voted en masse for him on a higher pedestal than those who didn’t breathed legitimacy into the Biafra and Ijaw nation struggles and, as such, he  has contributed in foisting this sad predicament upon us. The Yoruba are the latest to join the train.

To take the loudest and perhaps more righteous of the struggles, after more than 31 non-ministerial appointments by this administration, the south-east was still waiting for its first. Add to the lopsided appointments Nnamdi Kanu’s incarceration contrary to court orders and the fact that the minister of
transport still hadn’t appeared before the Senate to defend the non-inclusion of a single south-east state in the proposed rail projects and you have how Buhari justified the agitation for a Biafran state and won more converts for it.

I had planned to write on the need for Nigerians to demand updates on the efforts being made by our law enforcement agencies to apprehend Yerima Shettima of the Arewa Youth Council Forum and his gang of hoodlums that issued the satanic ‘Kaduna declaration’ asking the Igbo resident in the northern states to vacate by October 1. But that was before the Presidency, with utter disregard for the possible consequences of doing such, released an Eid-el Fitr audio message by President Buhari in Hausa. The sheer insensitivity to the current climate of the polity is shocking. Perhaps the non-arrest and prosecution of Yerima and co. is not entirely down to the inefficiency of our system but due to the fact that they enjoy sympathy from the ‘very top’. The call for their arrest by the FG appears now more than ever, a means of disguising that.

It’s regrettable, to say the least, that at a time when all government efforts should be geared towards preserving the unity of this country, our president is exhibiting divisive tendencies. A coalition of Yoruba groups have toed the path of the Biafrans by advocating for an Oodua nation, just in case they are also asked to vacate the north; and it baffles me that our president doesn’t think that is a delicate situation requiring caution. That the president thought the earlier written goodwill message insufficient but felt the need to follow it up with an audio message in Hausa arouses suspicion. It appears more a deliberate attempt to further heat the polity from a rational standpoint.

The reason for the audio, according to some reports, was that the president’s media team was in a hurry to debunk rumours that his speech had been impaired but that doesn’t make sense. If anything, the audio does more damage than good in that regard as anyone who has heard President Buhari speak before has to know the voice on that audio tells that the president is very ill. His speech really has been impaired and I don’t see any reason why Buhari’s media aides would try to disprove an obvious truth.

The Arewa youths have come out to reiterate their Igbo quit notice stand after the order for their arrests by the federal and Kaduna state governments, and one is now bound to think they had long been assured of their untouchable status before we even started suspecting.

The unity of this great nation is sacrosanct and it’s sad to watch our leaders fan the embers of disintegration in these dire times. Does Buhari really want us as one?

Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

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