Elder statesman, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, he is “deeply worried about four avoidable calamities”.
In the letter released by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former president said he intended to use the open letter to address weighty issues which is worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and those residents in Nigeria.
Speaking about his fears, Obasanjo said “1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.
Speaking about herdsmen and farmers crises, Obasanjo said the menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer.
He urged the government to engage the Fulanis and other ethnic groups through debate and dialogue.
He said “herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country.
The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship.
Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.
Obasanjo also prayed for God’s wisdom, understanding, and protection for Buhari.
“For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”, the former president concluded.