By Ayo Fadimu
The Presidency has refused to comment on allegation made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram are out to ‘Fulanize’ West Africa and Islamize Africa.
Obasanjo, while delivering his keynote address at the 2019 synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican communion) held in Oleh, Isoko South local government of Delta State said, “It is no longer an issue of a lack of education and employment for our youths in Nigeria, which it began as; it is now West African ‘Fulanisation,’ African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.”
Obasanjo who spoke on the topic ‘Mobilizing Nigeria’s human and natural resources for national development and stability said. “Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier, and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.
“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.
However, 24 hours after Obasanjo made the comment, the Presidency is yet to release official statement on the issue. Text messages and repeated calls made to the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina and the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu were not answered.
However, a former Minister of foreign affairs during Obsanjo’s regime, Alhaji Sule Lamido in a statement on Sunday, advised Obasanjo against transforming himself into “a religious and ethnic bigot” because of his disappointment with the current administration.
Lamido, who was a two-term governor of Jigawa State cautioned the ex-President from turning himself into a religious bigot and called on him to withdraw the statement.
Lamido said, “If it were said at a non-religious venue to a non-religious audience, maybe it might have been more tolerable. Please, sir, don’t let your disappointment with sitting president turn you into a bigot.
“You must not abandon the national stage. The cracks along the various divides in our national cohesion are already turning into huge gorges.”
However, another former minister in Obasanjo’s cabinet, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, chided Lamido and insisted Obasanjo was right in his comment.
Fani-Kayode who was Aviation Minister in Obasanjo’s regime said the former president had done more for the core North, “including Lamido’s Fulani tribe” than any other president.
According to the former minister, Obasanjo remains the only politically active southern or Middle Belt leader that understands what is really going on, the grave danger that Nigerians are in and what lies ahead.
He added, “I hear one or two people, like Sule Lamido, are not too happy with what OBJ said and have called him out for saying it. That is sad and unfortunate because Obasanjo has done more for the core North, Lamido’s Fulani tribe and Nigerian unity than any other former president or head of state in our history.
“He also fought in a civil war to keep the country together. For anybody from the core North to call him names for speaking the truth and baring his mind over what is unfolding in Nigeria today, it tells you how blinded by power, insensitive and callous some of these people are.
“It is only those that subscribe to the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda that will criticise or oppose Obasanjo’s observation and describe him as a ‘bigot’ for making them.”