An elder statesman from the Southwest, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), says the only way to a united Nigeria is through the restructuring of the country.
Akinrinade advised during a speech in Osogbo, Osun state, at the commissioning of the projects, Kuta and Asamu by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.
The elder statesman pointed out that President Buhari would need to take a firm stand to move Nigeria out of the doldrums into modernity.
Akinrinade added: “Please, grant me the indulgence to mention to him one or two matters that throw me into distress because of my association with him.
“The first is this pervasive belief that he is an ethnic bigot, an irredeemable religious fundamentalist, that he firmly subscribes and promotes the possibility of his ethnic Fulani to take over the country, the reason he does not interfere in curbing the brigandage of the Fulani herdsmen, that he has performed woefully in the fight against the terrorist Boko Haram and that he cannot rise to the occasion when it comes to reflecting the heterogeneous composition of our country when it comes to appointments to sensitive positions in his government. These are difficult matters that cannot be addressed in the abstract. The whole buck stops on his table.
“I cannot claim to have adequate information outside what the media and the ubiquitous social media chew out every second. But I know, that you and your brother Service Chiefs are doing your best within the resources our country can make available to you.
“Let me suggest to him that he needs to shape up, read the riot act to our people, enlist them in unswerving cooperation to participate fully in the redemption of their country. Arms and brutal force is not sufficient to defeat an insurgency”, Akinrinade said.
He stressed: “I am sure he is aware of the hue and cry from all corners and crannies of our country for secession as if we have not been there before. He needs to stand on his table against the motley crowd of advisers surrounding him and take a firm stand on the reorganization of our country, physically, politically, economically and socially. What we simply term as a reorganization in the Armed Forces is what the bloody civilians call RESTRUCTURING.
“It is long overdue and over flogged, as if it is such an impossibility, an attempt at which, will balkanize the country. As a matter of fact, it is what is required to move our country out of the doldrums into modernity. He cannot afford to pass it on. We may end up without a country, as no country has been known to survive two civil wars.
“He can take better counsel in the appointments to the sensitive parts of his government. There are capable and loyal men and women from every village in the country”.
While lamenting the high rate of killings in the country most especially in the north, Akinrinade said, “we are regaled every day with blood-chilling stories of killings and pillaging of villages, sometimes towns in the North and Central parts of Nigeria, and of recent talks of impending massacres and intensification of kidnapping coming our way in the Southern States and the main protagonists of the disturbance is the Fulani herdsmen. Sometimes we are told that they are Fulani mercenaries from outside Nigeria being sponsored by our Nigerian brothers.
“The situation is so dared, that in collaboration with unexpected bad weather this year, a famine is imminent. We hear we are already borrowing grains from the ECOWAS countries, the immediate result of farmers being forced to abandon their farms.
He, however, suggested to President Buhari to read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen cautioning them that it is not acceptable for foreigners to illegally enter the country and molest the citizens.
Akinrinade concluded: “I suggest to him to read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen, that it is not acceptable for any foreigner by whatever name called to enter our country illegally and molest our people. They are not welcome. We should not, by mistake of omission or commission allowed our people to degenerate to self-help. It is a sure road to anarchy and perdition, which will not go away.”
By Okunade Adekunle