Second Republic senator and former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting genocide on account of his administration's treatment of the murderous Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves.
He also advised the President against seeking a second term.
Professor Hagher's position was made known in a open letter to the President. Dated 5 January, the letter opened with a blunt refusal to wish President Buhari a happy new year, with the former envoy saying doing otherwise will mark him out as a hypocrite.
Professor Hagher, an indigene of Benue State, where the latest episode of herdsmen's brutality resulted in numerous deaths, said nobody in the state is happy in the new year.
"Our citizens did not have a happy new 2018. Genocide on citizens of Nigeria has escalated in earnest in Benue State. This genocide has turned their happiness to nightmare and death," wrote Professor Hagher.
While apologising for making the Let me also apologize for making letter public, the former envoy said he had to do so because the country, Benue State especially, is in an emergency situation. The former envoy noted that President Buhari had previously ignored his advice in a private memorandum dated 30 July 2016.
"I had warned you of the possibility of a horrendous genocide in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Southern Adamawa States. I asked you to be proactive and stop the genocide that has been ongoing, but which would burst out in the open and shock the world within 18 months. Your office replied my letter on September, 28th 2016, and the reply was couriered to me in the United States, thanking me 'immensely' and giving me the assurances that the advice would be heeded," recalled the Second Republic senator.
He lamented that the current situation is an evidence that President Buhari's government took no step to avert what he predicted 17 months ago. "The nomadic terrorists have finally accelerated the ethnic cleansing in Benue State. They have strategically moved against the Tiv, the largest minority ethnicity in northern Nigeria. These perpetrators believe that if they can ethnic- cleanse the Tiv, then nobody can stand in their way to possess the land and carve a new geo-polity and demography for the middle-belt," claimed Professor Hagher.
That this has happened unimpeded, he added, is a proof that President Buhari has betrayed his your campaign promise to "always act in time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester’’.
"In allowing the Benue genocide to take place, your government has acted irresponsibly and has allowed problems to fester and failed to act on time. You have also failed to lead from the front, giving the impression that centrifugal forces around you are dictating vicious anti-people agenda," he told the President.
Professor Hagher contended that the security of lives and property is more important than the vaunted war against corruption.
"The protection of lives of citizens is the most sacred responsibility of the state and your presidency. Your government has failed woefully in this regard. Mr President, there is no greater corruption than the government looking the other way while the strong bullies and kills the weak with impunity and pleasure," stated the Second Republic senator.
He further stated that the President's desire to rid the country of corruption has made him ignore nation building, thereby leaving the country divided. Professor Hagher said the President has failed his immediate Northern constituency by his inability, failure or lack of political will to end the region's poverty through measures that enhance school enrolment, promote girl-child education, and revive dead industries. "You became Nigeria’s president on the altar of northern unity when the northern minorities abandoned former President Goodluck Jonathan to vote for you. You have now desecrated that altar. By refusing to arrest those that brutally butchered defenceless innocent Benue women and children, you have imperiled northern unity and taken sides with evil," Professor Hagher raged.
He equally raged that President Buhari's lack of vision and capacity to provide development and a political culture of integrity entitles him to pity and prayers, but not support for a second term.
While admitting that the President still has many admirers, Professor Hagher said what happened in Benue State has put a huge question mark on his capacity to lead a plural modern state. "Is there rule of law in this country? Why does the Miyetti Allah act with so much impunity? Is this because this terrorist group claims you as their life patron? Do not accept the clamour of those, who for their personal political reasons, urge you to contest in the 2019 election to be a second term president. Mr. President, please rise above the impression being given that you are just another power-obsessed and hungry politician. Step aside and open the political space for another person to continue your war against corruption with a more comprehensive development programme that Nigeria needs and deserves," said Professor Hagher.
He called on the President to spend the remaining part of his tenure to modernize infrastructure, and attempt to banish poverty, adding that while the All Progressives Congress campaigns for the 2019 general elections, President Buhari should take a sabbatical from partisanship to build national unity, good governance, concentrate on getting rid of Boko Haram and the herdsmen. "After all, great people are not great for winning elections. Rather, they are known to be great by the legacy they leave behind. With what legacy do you wish the country to remember you for? It is unfortunate that family members of those that were hacked to death will remember you as the genocide president," the Second Republic senator declared.