Literary giant and elder statesman, Prof Niyi Osundare, has lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari’s approach to the ongoing herdsmen’s violence across the country, saying his handling of the matter is “amateurish, pedestrian and dangerously incompetent.”
Osundare asked Buhari how he was ”trifling away the crisis in Aso Rock while the Nigeria house is burning” while urging him to say something and do something.
The elder statesman disclosed this in an open letter to the President on Friday, titled, “Nigeria and the cow problem: Another letter to President Buhari.”
Osundare said, “This letter, my second to you in five months, will begin with a very, very absurd question: Mr. President, will Nigeria drift into another civil war under your watch simply because the ‘Giant of Africa’ does not know how to manage its cows? Yes, absurd: for, absurdity is the faithful cohort of the grotesque and irrational, the conspicuously invisible and falsely true. No war has ever taken place without a potent dose of the absurd in its mix of causes.
“Mr. President, the country over which you preside is burning in all its flanks: kidnapping on the highways, kidnapping on village roads, kidnapping on township streets, kidnapping in the homestead, kidnapping on the farmlands. Nigeria has never had it so bad. The notorious perpetrators of these crimes are widely called ‘bandits’ and/or ‘Fulani herdsmen’, depending upon the speaker’s degree of sensitivity or political correctness.
“The ethnic origination and/or attribution of these crimes is my object of worry – and should be to anyone who cares for the stability of Nigeria and its survival as a corporate entity. Yes, the cow, that four-legged, two-horned, long-tailed, absolutely innocent animal, has become Nigeria’s casus belli , the moo-ing metaphor of a planless, dysfunctional country, waiting for another bout of absurdity to push her beyond the brink, and plunge us all into avoidable catastrophe.
“Mr. President, war drums are already sounding in some parts of the country, provoked by a question as dangerously absurd as this: when you and a herd of cows meet on the road, who/which should have the right of way? When you, a struggling farmer, get to your farm and find a herd of cows making a meal of the crops which are the lifeline for you and your family, should you take a bow as you shout bon appetite to the bovine bunch? When your only child is kidnapped and tortured and murdered, even after the payment of a hefty ransom, will you ask your neighbours to join you in the singing of the national anthem?
“To say the least the federal government’s handling of the herdsmen crisis has been amateurish, pedestrian, and dangerously incompetent. Tell me: Is someone in Aso Rock trifling away while the Nigeria house is burning? Say something, President Buhari. Do something.”
Osundare added that the apparent silence of the Nigerian government “is nothing short of ethnic connivance” warning that “the monsters consuming Nigeria are not the type you can tame through chats with traditional rulers on emergency trips to Aso Rock.”
“Concerning the young men and boys now famously known as ‘herdsmen’, put them in school; put their feet on the road to a worthy life. Let their rich and powerful masters/patrons (all over Nigeria!) treat them the way they treat their own children. Science, not superstition, purposive reality, not bovine absurdity, that’s the magic.
“Time to wake up, Mr. President. Time to wake up. The thinking, working world has left us behind. The whole wide world is appalled by Nigeria’s ostensibly incurable delinquency. Say something, Mr. President. Do something. Let us save Nigeria from another (un)civil war,” he added.
Saharareporters, New York