*Tasks traditional rulers to find solution to killings
*Omokri, Fayose, PDP, others react to the visit
At last, President Muhammadu Buhari has kicked off a five-state tour of Taraba, Benue and Zamfara which have become epicenters of massacres by herdsmen in recent times, Rivers which has been hit by cult-related killings and as well as Yobe where 110 female students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State were abducted from their hostels by Boko Haram insurgents.
On his first leg the visit our which began in Taraba, Buhari presented a comparative analysis of herdsmen killings saying he chose to visit Taraba ahead of other troubled areas because more people were killed on the Mambilla Plateau than in Benue and Zamfara states.
“I am in Taraba State to condole with the victims of the Mambilla crisis and sympathise with them over their losses. The traditional rulers are in a better position to find solutions to the problems.
“Myself as president and the governor would leave office, and only the traditional rulers will remain with the people. Therefore, the traditional rulers should go and sit down with the people to find solutions to the problems and continue to preach peace,” he said.
Buhari who addressed stakeholders in Jalingo, said the traditional institution rather than the federal or state government was better placed find a lasting solution to the recurring communal clashes between the Fulani and the indigenous Mambilla residents in Sardauna local government area of the state.
He pointed out that he and the state governor, Mr. Darius Ishaku, would one day leave office as president and governor but the traditional rulers would remain with the people.
Responding to the chairman of Taraba State Traditional Council, the Aku Uka of Wukari, Dr. Shekarau Angyo Masa Ibi, called for the strengthening of the traditional institution to carry out the responsibility.
Also speaking, Ishaku noted that what was happening in the state was criminality, saying those fomenting trouble in the state were not herders but criminals.
He stated that at inception, he met a polarised state and his administration was confronted with the problem of cattle rustling, which he said he had tackled successfully, just as he thanked the president for finding time to visit the state.
Buhari’s visit shows good followership not leadership – Omokri
Mr. Reno Omokri, former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, said Buhari’s visit shows him (Buhari) as a good follower not a good leader.
Omokri who took to his twitter handle wrote: “I commend President Buhari for following the example of Governors Wike and Fayose in visiting Taraba, Benue and other states gripped by Fulani herdsmen killings.
“If President Buhari can’t show good leadership, at least he has shown that he can be a good follower! Well done! ”
The visit is an afterthought and ploy to campaign for votes–Fayose
The governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose described Buhari’s visit to Taraba and planned visit to Benue, Zamfara, Yobe and Rivers states as an “afterthought” and political move to garner votes in 2019.
“Obviously, the visit to those states that he abandoned during their time of trouble is to seek for votes, not to sympathise with the people of the states on their losses,” he said.
He compared the president to a selfish king who went on making merry while his people were in agony only to show up when the people had buried their loved ones that were gruesomely murdered and moved on with their lives.
Fayose who spoke through his special assistant on public communications and new media, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said it was the height of cruelty that Buhari who promised to lead from the front in the fight against Boko Haram could not visit Dapchi, Yobe State where 110 school girls were abducted by the insurgents, but elected to go on merry making in Kano.
“On January 9 and 12, 88 victims of herdsmen attacks were given mass burial in Taraba State. Also on January 11, 2018, another 73 persons killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Benue State were buried in a mass grave in Makurdi, meaning that in Taraba and Benue states alone, 161 Nigerians were given mass burial within three days. This never caught the attention of our president. Rather, it was a visit to Nasarawa, a neighbouring state to Benue that was important to him.
“To further demonstrate his lack of compassion for Nigerians, while the entire nation, especially parents of the 110 abducted schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe State are still in anguish, President Buhari went to Kano last Saturday to attend a social function, thus sparking negative reactions from Nigerians.
“Apparently, it was the negative reactions of Nigerians, especially on social media and the effects on the president’s reelection bid that necessitated his hurried visit to Taraba State today (yesterday) and the planned visits to Benue, Zamfara, Yobe and Rivers States.”
Fayose said Nigerians could no longer be deceived by a president who never cared for them when they needed him most.
Buhari’s visit is deceitful–PDP
Similarly, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said the visit to Taraba and the other ones is a fresh device to further hoodwink the people ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said: “Mr. President has been in the country and never thought it necessary to pay a condolence visit to any of these states until Nigerians raised the alarm alleging a manifest indifference on his part. It is even more pathetic that in Benue State, President Buhari summoned the leaders of the bereaved people to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, rather than complying with the age-long tradition of Africans by visiting the bereaved.
“No wonder many Nigerians have dismissed the planned visits of President Buhari to these states as cosmetic afterthought. Nigerians have already formed their opinion of him and rightly so, as a president that has never shown them concern in their time of need.”
We’ll use the visit to tell Buhari of his government’s neglect of Rivers State–Wike
However, both Rivers and Benue states said they were looking forward to the president’s visit.
Terver Akase, chief press secretary to Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said as president, Buhari was free to visit any part of the country whenever he wants.
Akase said the government and people of the state were eagerly waiting to receive him.
“Benue is part of Nigeria and the president is free to visit any part of the country anytime he wants. Benue is his place. All we are saying is that the president is warmly welcome to Benue.”
For Rivers, the visit would afford the people of the state a rare opportunity to inform Buhari of the total neglect of the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government since 2015.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt, the commissioner for information and communications, Emma Okah said: “The impending visit is a welcome development. He’s president for all Nigerians, and not the president of a particular part of the country or political party.
“The visit would afford us the opportunity of interacting with him, if his programme would permit, so that we tell him the challenges we are facing and also, the contributions and efforts we are making towards building a stronger and more united nation.
“We will use the opportunity to also tell him about the peculiar security challenges that Rivers State is facing and the fact that we have not received appropriate cooperation from the Police high command despite our complaints.”
He added that the visit would provide the opportunity to inform Buhari of the plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some security agencies to rig the forthcoming elections to favour his party.
“We will also use the opportunity to tell him what INEC is doing and the fact that INEC is working with some security agencies to frustrate the 2019 elections in favour of his party. And we will assure him of our unalloyed commitment as we all work together in patriotism towards building a stronger and more united nation.”