The Coup That Failed

DIALOGUE WITH Akin Osuntokun 

The choreography and orchestration began with the imposition of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC. Then in cahoots with so called Independent national electoral commission, INEC, the party orchestrated the one week extension of the deadline for the conduct of their party primaries. This was to enable them exploit the vulnerabilities of whatever choice of candidate the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made. 

From what we know of Senator Adamu, no one zeros in on a personality of his skill set with a noble objective in mind. You do so when you are looking for the best man to do a dirty job. Caught in the dragnet of efcc indictment, he had valiantly laboured to buy his way out by posturing as a fulminating ethno-regional chauvinist. And it paid off. Anyone looking for an unconscionable interlocutor for the prosecution of the campaign for the emergence of two northern moslems as candidates of the two dominant parties, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, couldn’t find a more suitable factotum. His emergence coincided with the progress of this notion from the level of theory to that of praxis. It subsequently climaxed four days ago with the furtive announcement by Adamu that senate president Ahmed Lawan has been chosen as the consensus presidential candidate of APC. 

It is in the nature of Nigeria to distort and deform universal norms and standards. The dictionary meaning of consensus is “the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned, group solidarity in sentiment and belief”. But according to Adamu, the consensus he announced was a directive from one man, the president. Never mind that when the blowback started coming thick and fast, the latter had to dissociate himself from the announcement. Upon the furtive announcement the chairman took to playing the fugitive when he disappeared altogether from public radar. 

According to the People’s Gazette “The crisis preceding the national convention and presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress intensified on Monday night after the party’s chairman went underground… We don’t know where he disappeared to and the governors and other important people are saying they have to see him urgently,” a senior party official told Peoples Gazette. “It is hard to believe that the chairman could just leave his office and switch off his phones like that.” 

Simultaneous with the deployment of this conspiracy was the fulani carnival in Abuja and the terrorist attack in Owo, ondo state. A day preceeding attack, the chairman of the miyyeti Allah, Bello Bodejo, “addressed a mammoth crowd of Fulani pastoralists from across Nigeria and beyond and “rained curses on some state governors whom, he claimed, chased Fulani pastoralists away from their states using state systems, assuring them that peace will continue to elude them until they reverse their decisions and wholeheartedly welcome and accept the pastoralists as members of the society. “We know our friends and enemies and we will act at the right time,” he threatened 

“In as much as we don’t support arms struggle, our people have, undoubtedly, been badly treated over the years in Nigeria. We have been cheated, denied all the necessary opportunities for good life and education, and this time, our sources of livelihood are being targeted. Obviously, we have been pushed to the wall, hence the justification to the recent display of anger by our people. It’s left for the government to do the needful” There is a saying in Yoruba that “Àjẹ́ ké lánàá, ọmọ kú lóòní. The witch crowed yesterday and the child died today. 

The characteristics of the assault are as follows. First this is the first time an assault of this magnitude will occur anywhere in southern Nigeria. It is therefore a turning point of sorts. Second, Owo is the metropolitan gateway and border town between eastern Yoruba and the North Central zone. Third the target was a church. Fourth it was calculated to do maximum damage given the military style of bombing the church to smoke out the victims and then open fire on them as they flee the inferno. 

Fifth is that it has the trappings of a retaliatory attack and coded message to 

Mr Rotimi Akeredolu in his capacity as the governor of ondo state, an indigene of Owó city, a family parish member of the catholic church. 

His offence? Over a year ago, in response to the existential crisis posed by the violent impunity of the fulani herdsmen, Akeredolu posted the public notice that “Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo State.”

“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities. As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the State, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the State. In light of the foregoing, the following orders are hereby issued:

1. All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021.

2. Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.

3. Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited.

4. Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed.

Now imagine for a moment that the backdrop to the terrorist attack on the Catholic Church in owo, ondo state, was the spectre of the emergence of two northern moslems as the candidates of the All Progressive Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. 

*To be continued 

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