It Is Either All Buy-in Or There Will Be No-show

By Anthony Chuka Konwea, PhD, PE
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Itself a hostage of expansionist ambitions, the Buhari presidency's inability to renounce Fulani expansionism is deepening poverty in Nigeria.

With the Nigerian countryside overtaken by forest dwelling Fulani bandit-terrorists, I pity Nigerian businesspeople who must move from place to place to sell their goods and services.

Since 2015, Fulani expansionism has remained the number one millstone around Nigeria's neck. But like I always say, not all Fulani are expansionists, but all expansionists in Nigeria are Fulani.

Regarding Fulani expansionism, what Nigerians are living through right now is a tactical stalemate. It may be painful, but time is on their sides, not with their expansionist aggressors.

Fulani expansionists have but 3 poisoned arrows in their macabre quiver. The first poisoned arrow is deception. The prime targets were the masses, Southerners especially.

Between 2014 till reelection in 2019, Fulani expansionists were in deception mode. People were deceived that Buhari was fighting corruption.

That deception made Buhari tremendously popular among Southern Nigerians who were trenchantly supportive of Buhari's re-election as a national Messiah.

Under the cloak of Buhari's deception, Fulani bandits chased out many Middle Belt Nigerians from their ancestral lands and erected Fulani settlements.

In see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil mode, Southerners laboring under Buhari's spell, covered their eyes with their hands, stuffed their ears with cotton, and zipped their mouths with thread.

They failed to confront the naked Fulani aggression in the Middle Belt that their idol Buhari was surreptitiously encouraging. That populist anti-corruption fervor has since worn thing. Nobody talks of fighting corruption anymore.

The second poisoned arrow in the expansionist playbook is blackmail and intimidation. The primary targets of this weapon were southern state Governors and opposition leaders of thought. The primary tool of this blackmail was the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The intent was to intimidate State Governors into signing away their State Lands for the erection of permanent Fulani settlements.

History shall record that Buhari's expansionist scheme-upon-scheme floundered due to public exposure of their diabolical dimensions and implications, by relentless anti-expansionist agitations and writings, chiefly including those from this writer.

Under blackmail and intimidation, State Governors came under severe pressure of exposure to EFCC investigation, should their state houses of assembly enact and pass the popular anti-open grazing bill. That is why till this day many southern state houses of assembly have failed to pass their versions of the anti-open grazing bill.

In the interim however, Buhari's henchmen and henchwomen, mostly of Fulani or Kanuri extraction, who he appointed nepotically and often without merit, into positions of authority, quietly went about feathering their own nests.

With Buhari's gaze permanently preoccupied by his expansionist agenda, they apparently indulged in the very same malfeasance against which their boss was purportedly fighting, and for which he was previously hailed and idolized by the deceived masses.

But we now have a stalemate situation where the prime targets of expansionist Fulani blackmail and intimidation have accumulated enough counter evidence to equally blackmail their blackmailers.

That is why several southern state governors have openly and publicly told the Buhari Administration that they are not interested in participating in his expansionist pet projects, called by whatever name.

Without hundred percent buy-in by all the states in Nigeria, Buhari cannot commence implementation of his dubious expansionist project. Once he commences execution of his diabolically pro-Fulani plans, the participating states will be seeking a way to get out of the scheme.

Meanwhile non-participating states will be thanking the heavens and their stars that they did not join in the first place. It will never be the other way around.

If you doubt this, I publicly challenge the Buhari Administration to commence the implementation of their so-called National Livestock Transformation Plan among the willing states today. What are they waiting for, before take-off? If it is so nice, let them take-off. We shall all see the eventual outcome with our own eyes.

Afterall it is the flagship policy thrust of this Administration for the sake of which thousands of innocent Nigerian lives have been lost and tens of thousands of peasants displaced from their ancestral homes and lands.

I repeat, for Buhari's expansionist policy to take -off, it must be 100% buy-in, or it will be a no-show. There cannot be partial take-off for the simple reason that it is diabolical, and it will be exposed for what it is.

Which brings us to the third and final poisoned arrow in the expansionist Fulani arsenal. It is without question their preferred weapon of choice. It is none other than brutal savagery and terroristic violence.

Having permanently lost the weapon of deception, since every Nigerian knows about their expansionist intentions; With their power of blackmail and intimidation seriously eroded, since they have proven to be no different, perhaps even worse than others before them; What is left to deploy other than brutal savagery and terroristic violence?

Even at that, Fulani expansionists have lost the element of surprise. Other ethnic nationalities are arming themselves to defend their ancestral homes, territories, and cultures.

Without foreign assistance, there is no way the expansionist Fulani can subdue the rest of Nigeria by force of arms alone, more so when others are equally arming themselves.

More ominously for the expansionist Fulani, indigenous people are organizing themselves too and furiously erecting their own native chains of command. Retired soldiers are suddenly finding employment in their respective homelands as community security consultants. These men all know how and where to procure arms.

Like spoilt children disciplined by frowning neighbors, who run to their doting parents for succor, comfort, and assistance, each time the expansionist Fulani are repulsed, they run to the Federal Government for aid and assistance. And the Federal Government under Buhari always obliges and indulges them.

That is why the expansionist Fulani do not joke with power. And that is why they are having sleepless nights now contemplating the prospect of Buhari's imminent departure from power and life without power.

Without control of the levers of power, Fulani expansionism will grind to a screeching halt. All their recent territorial gains will be reversed albeit with copious bloodshed under a strong non-Fulani President. The ideal scenario for the expansionist Fulani is another Fulani successor to Buhari or a very weak, malleable, non-Fulani President doing their bidding without question.

We know how all this works when Fulani incursions are repulsed. Immediately afterwards, the Nigerian Police or the Nigerian Army step in to assist them and disarm their opponents while leaving them lethally armed.

Who has forgotten how the Buhari Administration three or four years ago suddenly revoked all lawful gun licenses while leaving Fulani bandit-terrorists armed to the teeth? A similar thing may be about to repeat itself.

Under the pretext of maintaining law and order, the Nigerian military enter the battlefield themselves, on the side of the Fulani, to attack people defending themselves from Fulani aggression.

Selective application of coercive forces. We have seen this time and time again. It happened again this last week. The Chief of Defense Staff a Southerner, most likely acting under deceptive, expansionist Fulani prompting, issued a warning that the military will shoot at sight, people seen bearing lethal weapons.

A few days later the Nigerian Army gunned down 16 or so people in Aba, Abia State purportedly bearing arms. It was meant to send an intimidatory message to all those arming themselves to defend their ancestral territories from expansionist Fulani incursions.

Meanwhile Benue State elders have told the military the precise locations and Forests where the lethally armed Fulani bandit-terrorists terrorizing them are hibernating. They have also reported the names and locations of all indigenous villages under armed Fulani occupation.

We are watching to see what the military will do about this, other than looking the other way while serving expansionist Fulani interest in the name of One Nigeria under Fulani, not God.

The one good thing about all this is that evil has an expiry date. Hopefully and prayerfully by the Grace of God the most High, Nigeria's current expansionist Fulani nightmare will come to an end by 2023.

More importantly Nigerians will hopefully think twice before electing a President with the slightest trace of expansionist inclinations to the highest office in the land ever again. If not, they will relive the most bitter experience of 2015 - 2023.

Those who fail to learn from the past will surely re-live it even more poorly, when their expansionist adversaries having learnt from the recent past themselves, up their own game.

Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.

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