Don’t repeat Jonathan’s mistakes , Soyinka warns Buhari

Nobel Laurette, Wole Soyinka has warned president Muhammadu Buhari against making the same mistake former president Goodluck Jonathan made during the onset of Boko Haram.

In an article published on Wednesday, titled “Impunity Rides Again Through Killer Herdsmen”  Soyinka likened Buhari’s reaction to Fulani herdsmen killings to what happened with Boko Haram during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

“History is repeating itself and, alas, within such an agonizingly short span of time” He said.

Soyinka said president Buhari refusal to accept killer herdsmen for what they are may degenerate into something else.

“We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe those killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarized him accurately.

“The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistic ally, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling”

Soyinka recalled El-Rufai speech that lead to protest nationwide when he claimed that he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders and made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge.

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He said IPOB were not this close when it was declared a terrorist organization.


“El Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, proudly announced that, on assuming office, he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders. He then made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to these herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling. The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation

“I could only call to mind a statement by the same El Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service corpers.

“They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organize rescue missions for their citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.

“This question is now current, and justified:  just when is terror? I am not aware that IPOB came anywhere close to this homicidal propensity and will to dominance before it was declared a terrorist organization. The international community rightly refused to go along with such an absurdity.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state right here, and yet again, that IPOB leadership is its own worst enemy. It repels public empathy, indeed, I suspect that it deliberately cultivates an obnoxious image, especially among its internet mouthers who make rational discourse impossible. However, as we pointed out at the time, the conduct of that movement, even at its most extreme, could by no means be reckoned as terrorism.

“These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice etc farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.”

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