Controversy trails Buhari’s visit to Taraba, Benue, others

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…It’s campaign strategy, PDP

By Ayo Fadimu

The on-the-spot security assessment visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to states which have recorded different forms of killings this year has been described as afterthought and ýcampaign strategy ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The spokesman of the President, Femi Adesina, said Buhari would be making an “on-the-spot assessment” of “recent terrorist attacks, criminal activities and communal clashes” on his visits. The states the president would visit include, Benue, Zamfara, Yobe and Rivers states.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said it was “alarming” that Buhari would consider visiting some of these states months after marauders, insurgents and bandits committed their havocs.

“Mr. President has been in the country and never thought it necessary to pay a condolence visit to any of these states until Nigerians raised the alarm alleging a manifest indifference on his part. “It is even more pathetic that in Benue state, President Buhari summoned the leaders of the bereaved people to the Presidential villa, Abuja,  rather than complying with the age-long tradition of Africans by visiting the bereaved

“No wonder many Nigerians have dismissed the planned visits of President Buhari to these states as cosmetic afterthought. Nigerians have already formed their opinion of him, and rightly so, as a President that has never shown them concern in their time of need,” the opposition party said. Also, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose described President Buhari’s visit as afterthought, saying; “Obviously, the President is more concerned about his reelection in 2019 and his visit to those States that he abandoned during their times of trouble is to seek for votes, not to sympathize with the people of the States on their loses.”

Governor Fayose likened President Buhari to a selfish king who went on making merry while his people were in agony only to show up when the people had already buried their loved ones that were gruesomely murdered, gotten over their anguish and moved on with their lives.

In a statement issued by Monday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said it was the height of cruelty that the same President Buhari, who promised to lead from the front in the fight against Boko Haram could not visit Dapchi, Yobe State where 110 school girls were abducted by the insurgents, elected to go on merry making in Kano.

“On January 9 and 12, this year, 88 victims of herdsmen attacks were given mass burial in Taraba State. Also on January 11, 2018, another 73 persons killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Benue State were buried in a mass grave in Makurdi, the state capital.

“Meaning that in Taraba and Benue States alone, 161 Nigerians were given mass burial within three days! This never caught the attention of our President. Rather, it was a visit to Nasarawa, a neighboring State to Benue that was important to him. “To further demonstrate his lack of compassion for Nigerians, while the entire nation, especially parents of the 110 abducted school girls in Dapchi, Yobe State are still in anguish, President Buhari went to Kano last Saturday to attend a social function, thus sparking negative reactions from Nigerians.

“Apparently, it was the negative reactions of Nigerians, especially on Social Media and the effects on the President’s reelection bid that necessitated his hurried visit to Taraba State today, and planned visits to Benue, Zamfara, Yobe and Rivers States. “I am sure the people of Taraba State won’t be hoodwinked by the President’s cosmetic sympathy, show of concern and crocodile tears, which he never bordered to shed when hundreds of indigenes of the State were being killed by suspected herdsmen,” the governor said.

While declaring the visits as belated and afterthought, Governor Fayose said; “Nigerians can no longer be deceived by a President who never cared for them when they needed him most. Therefore, no amount of hurriedly organized campaign visits will sway the people, who never saw the President to protect them from being killed and console them when they lost their dear ones.” In the meantime, Benue State government has promised to welcome the President into the state despite continued attack on the people by Fulani herdsmen.

The Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Media and Publicity, Mr. Tahav Agerzuasaid the state had long expected the President’s visit. Agerzua said, “The entire country is his constituency and he is at liberty to visit any part of the country for any reason if his schedule permits him. “For the people of Benue, if you recall, the delegation that visited him after the new year day killings that claimed the lives of over 73 people, told him to visit the state. Several people have also told him and criticized him for not coming to commiserate with the people of the states.

“So if he has decided in his wisdom to visit and if his schedule permits, then we shall welcome him and table our problems before him. “He has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and property of our people. The constitution expects him to do that and we expect that he shall give account to God for the privileged and opportunity to govern the country and to provide good governance.”

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