It’s extremely important to get a full speech of a person before commenting. This is to avoid quoting the author out of context. When the story of Obassnjo of making the bizarre statement of BH and herdsmen violent conflicts are aimed at the fulanisation of west Africa and Islamizatiom of Africa, I refused to comment on it because I didn’t have the full text to be able to make an informed comment on it.
Bearing this in mind, I decided to get the full speech on line. I found out it was a prepared speech delivered at Anglican Church in Delta state. If you go through the speech, unless you have made up your mind, you are likely to conclude that he was quoted out of context. For the benefit of my fellow compatriots, I have decided to download some of the relevant portions of the speech on this thread and also make an analysis based on my understanding of the issues at stake.
Here is the complete extract of the speech where reference was made on Fulanisation and Islamisation.
“Every issue of insecurity, must be taken seriously at all levels and be addressed at once without favouritism and cuddling. Both Boko Haram and herdsmen acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning. They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone.
They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control. It’s no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youth in Nigeria which began as, IF IS NOW( emphasis mine)west African fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human human trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change. 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woke up to reality, it was turned to an industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.”
OBJ went further to quote a foreign based magazine, the Economist which collaborated OBJ’s thought. “ The conflict is spread across a broad expanse of Africa, from Somalia in the East to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. It is concentrated in some of poorest countries on earth, where it is fuelled by bad governance….. many of the jihadist recruits come from ethnic minorities, such as FULANIS, WHO SEE OFFICIALS AS ALIENS AND PREDATORY( emphasis mine).
Now if read carefully where OBJ referred to fulanisation and Islamisation, it was not as if it was his opinion but the general opinion. Note the phrase “ as if is now west African fulanisation and islamisation. As if is now means it looks like. It’s not categorical statement. If OBJ had said what is happening and based on facts available, I’m left with no any other conclusion, but to say it’s a fulanisation and ismalisation agenda.
He went further to admonish successive governments for leaving the BH and herdsmen acts of violence to fester because they used kid gloves. “They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle.”
Granted that OBJ had said so that could be statement gleaned from mission statement of BH. From inception BH had openly said it was waging a holy war to establish an Islamic state, same with ISIS. If he said so then it has to be qualified it is their warped idea of Islam and doesn’t receive the support of the majority Muslims. It will further be qualified that majority of the victims of BH were Muslims who had their lives and properties destroyed. I can’t remember any Islamic country supporting ISIS. The only country that could be remotely associated with ISIS may be Iran. The point being made here is that yes it’s true that both BH and Herdsmen violence have the pursue of fulanisation and Islamic agenda, but they do not have the support of adherents of Islam and the fulani nationalities and those purportedly executing Islamic agenda are distorting the principles of Islam.
Despite alleged divisive nature of his statement, typical of OBJ, he has always suggested ways out of the conundrum which are well thought out and if meticulously implemented will go along way to change the violent narrative that pervades the land. These are the salient points.
1. OBJ said and I quote “ Government must appreciate where we are. Summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently, collectively seek the way forward for all hands must be on deck and with with holistic approach of stick and carrot. There should be no sacred cows.”
2. OBJ suggested that some groups should be contacted to resolve the serious security challenges such as traditional rulers, past Heads of paramilitary organizations, private sector, civil society, community leaders, particularly in areas affected by violence, present and past Governors, present and past Heads of state, local government leaders, religious leaders, past intelligence chiefs etc.
3. On solving this problem internationally, this what OBJ said, “ After we have found appropriate solution internally, we should move to bilateral and multilateral, regional, continental and global levels. With ISIS involvement, We cannot but go global. Without security and predictable stability, our development, growth and progress are peril. Let me hasten to add that we must be at appropriate seat at the table of international discourse, deliberations, agenda and action.”
4. To be able to that, OBJ posited we need a United Nigeria for all Nigerians. Any attempt at political, economic and social engineering will not yield the desired results. Peace and stability, national development will continue to elude us without the desired unity.
Now with the holistic and all inclusive panacea propounded by OBJ how can somebody attribute OBJ’s piece as geared towards polarizing this nation. Yes the man is egoistic, full of himself, penchant for speaking half truth and sometimes outright lies, but when it comes to issue of patriotism, commitment to the oneness of Nigeria, OBJ can only be equated to great ZIK of NCNC. Some people may think this is hyperbolic statement, but review this man antecedents and you will appreciate my objective assessment of this highly controversial, unconventional sometimes demagogic Charecter.
For my fellow compatriots, please always read the entire story or speech before commenting because you may end up making a wrong assessment of the issues at stake. It is called sifting the wheat from the shaft and think this has not be done in the case OBJ’s speech under review.