Following last week’s ultimatum by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, asking all Fulani herdsmen in Ondo State to vacate forest reserves within the state, the action seems to have pitched him against some of his northern colleagues, as the ultimatum expires today.
Interestingly, the angry colleagues of the Ondo State governor belong to the same party with him, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
An aide to one of the governors, who spoke to SUNDAY INDEPENDENT exclusively, expressed disappointment that Governor Akeredolu who had benefitted immensely from the support of Fulani leaders, including many of the APC governors in the north, would turn around to stab them at the back.
Accordingly, a pro-north political group within the APC, Northern Progressives Youths Coalition (NPYC), had expressed fears that the activities of the killer herdsmen would ruin the chances of the ruling party before the 2023 general elections.
Also, the Yoruba apex body, Afenifere, took a swipe at the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) for encouraging criminality and threatening war.
When SUNDAY INDEPENDENT made efforts to reach a northern governor on the possible implications of the ultimatum given to the herdsmen to vacate Government Reserved Forests, an aide who pleaded not to be the named, described the Ondo governor’s move as an embarrassing ingratitude taken too far.
“This is an embarrassing ingratitude taken too far by Governor Akeredolu, who has benefitted immensely from Fulani leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari and many governors.
“When some of the governors were trying to help the Ondo governor in his re-election, some of his friends warned that he would disappoint them.
“That was the reason my principal, for instance, was very careful about his second term bid. Now, we have seen it all.
“The man thinks he has arrived because he had won re-election and his case at the tribunal appears to be heading his way with the PDP’s inability to call witnesses.
“But, he has forgotten that he has a longer way to still go in his quest to be fully settled than the path he has taken so far.
“He has suddenly forgotten that we have the Appeal, and even the Supreme Court. Tell me, who is in charge of the Judiciary that he is misbehaving. We are disappointed and he won’t go unpunished as we progress in this struggle.
“There is no reason to be a slave to one political party if this is the way to go on the part of the Ondo governor. So, where is the difference?
“Whether PDP or APC, what matters is the personality and we are ready to ensure the man does not remain as governor. He is an ingrate. We shall show him our stuff soonest,” he said.
Fulani Herdsmen Demarketing APC
However, a Pro-Northern Youth group, under the APC Northern Progressives Youths Coalition (NPYC), has expressed deep concerns over the worrisome activities of some bad eggs masquerading as Fulani herdsmen in the country.
The group said apart from the onslaught of the Boko Haram in the North, the activities of the criminal herdsmen, have continued to embarrass the North and the APC ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Coordinator of the group, Mallam Yerima Dikko, lamented that the way and manner the Presidency takes up the fight in favour of the Fulani herdsmen whenever issues of their involvement in the insecurity situation in the country are raised, was worrisome.
Dikko, in a statement made available to reporters in Abuja, said the audacity of the Meyetti Allah and some other Fulani personalities in defending the senseless killings and kidnapping traceable to the killer herdsmen, was unacceptable.
According to the statement, “We must not be carried away with the wave of the moment. We must be wary of our past and allow the mistakes of the previous years to guide us into the future
“We are all living witnesses to what happened in Benue State and how Governor Samuel Ortom capitalised on the activities of the herders to defeat our party in the most crucial election.
“While we must continue to seek a good and better life for the people of our country, we must also understand that we have a great deal of responsibility to continue to put the fortune of our great party, the APC in the good book of our people.
“This is democracy. The people are the major stakeholders. We must begin to address the issue of insecurity and the involvement of the Fulani herdsmen from the prism of the value of human lives and the promise of our party to place a premium on the protection of lives and property of the people.
“The APC, our great party, cannot afford to be sunk in ethnic bigotry when in reality we are supposed to cater to the generality of the Nigeria people. We must be wary not to allow the activities of these herders to ruin our chances and injure our popularity among the people.
“The activities of the Fulani herdsmen is demarketing our party ahead of 2023 elections. Every man of conscience and noble conviction with total loyalty to the APC, must not fold arms and allow the issue to end the glory of the party we have all laboured to build.”
The group noted that both the Presidency and the Meyetti Allah have continued to act as the source of inspiration to the herdsmen.
It urged the presidency and other stakeholders to think more about the value of life and the need to ensure that human lives are valued above cheap ethnic colouration.