A leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has said that former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, is afraid to speak against the Fulani herdsmen’s crisis to protect his 2023 presidential ambition and look good in the eyes of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adebanjo added that Tinubu was deliberately silent on the Oyo and Ondo situations and did not represent the South-West interests.
The Afenifere leader stated these on Wednesday during a programme organised by The PUNCH, titled, The Roundtable.
Adebanjo said, “Everybody knows who Tinubu is. Don’t bring me to that controversy. Tinubu does not represent us. All that is happening in Oyo now, what has he said? When they (gunmen) killed the Oba in Ekiti, what did he say?
“He didn’t say anything that will oppose Buhari because he is thinking Buhari will make him the president. So, he doesn’t want to say anything to offend him. Amongst all the governors he (Tinubu) sponsored, (Rotimi) Akeredolu has the courage to speak up.”
In the past weeks, the Fulani herdsmen have been accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmland with their cattle in the South-West region, especially in Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun states.
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, recently issued a vacation order for herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves as part of measures to curb the spate of kidnapping and sundry crimes in the state.
A popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, had also asked herdsmen in the Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State to leave within seven days.
Commenting on Igboho’s activism on Wednesday, Adebanjo said the activist acted within constitutional provisions of self-help.
“What he did is constitutional –self-help. Igboho arose as a result of the negligence of the constituted authorities to protect the people. If the Federal Government had arrested the Fulani herdsmen, Igboho wouldn’t rise up,” he said.
The nonagenarian further said that instead of Buhari to protect all Nigerians, he has taken to defending the Fulani herdsmen despite overwhelming evidence that they are culpable of the heinous crimes perpetrated in the South-West zone.
He said, “I don’t buy the propaganda of the defence of the Federal Government that how do you know they are Fulani? That is escapist statement.
“For the past five years, we have been talking about the same thing. And when they are caught, they will say, they are not local Fulani. And you can’t explain how these foreign Fulani came to attack your people. You see the absolute negligence, dereliction of duty and incompetence in protecting lives and property as commander-in-chief?
“These Fulanis have been with us for a very long time. We are used to them – the Fulani herdsmen that used to carry sticks not AK-47. The question to ask now is that why is it now that Buhari is there that there are crimes. Buhari sees these people carry unlicensed arms openly and there are no arrests.
“If you are a competent defender of the Nigerian people, the Fulani herdsmen won’t be committing all forms of atrocities unabated.”