Suspicions, controversies trail Sokoto killings

Suspicions, controversies trail Sokoto killings

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 10:22 am

Governor Aminu Tambuwal

Anxiety is rising among supporters of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto over recent killings in the State. Suspicions over the brazen, cruel killings in which over 35 innocent lives were lost, many houses and other property destroyed and over 10,000 people were displaced and turned into residents of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps overnight has been heightened by recent media attacks unleashed on Tambuwal by some forces interested in the 2019 general elections.

The bandits had invaded Tabanni in Rabah Local Government Area on Monday, July 9, 2018 in broad daylight, maimed and killed over 30 villagers while they also carried out wanton destruction of property.  Ironically, the marauders, aside from the killing and maiming of the villagers never took away a pin, from the village, and as the survivors of the massacre noted, “they only came to kill, and left.”

Anger and suspicions over the killings is also heightened by the failure of security agencies to act on intelligence regarding the attack.

Supporters of the governor and other observers who are still trying to make sense of the crude disruption of the peace the Caliphate has enjoined over the years by the unprovoked and totally mindless killings attributed to ‘unknown gunmen’ who invaded the state from a border town are particularly agitated at the coincidence of the unprovoked massacre with Tambuwal’s recent public comments on the lingering insecurity in the nation, in spite of the huge amount of money being spent on security by the Federal Government.

The governor, in a recent media statement released days before the attack, had, like other Nigerians, who had spoken on the issue, attributed the widespread killings and the seeming inability of the security agencies to secure lives and property of citizens to “failure of leadership” and ineptitude.

It will be recalled that a group allied with the ruling party had attacked the Governor over the statement, accusing him of embarking on “blackmail to score cheap political goals” in the statement in which the governor reiterated his call for the rejigging of the national security architecture, in order to make it more effective and efficient.

Also, the killings are viewed in certain quarters in the state, as an attack on Tambuwal’s novel Agric policy, under the “Cattle Breeding, Milk and Beef Production Project”, which is designed to make the state a model of modern agriculture hub, essentially in the areas of animal husbandry that is driven by technology as against the current problematic mode of nomadic cattle herding in Nigeria.

The successful management of the herdsmen and farmers relations, like Governor Ganduje’s invitation to herders all over the country months ago, to come and take over the massive arable land in his state, is said to be offensive to some interests advocating for setting up of cattle colonies.

This suspicion is heightened by the fact that horrendous killings were carried out in the same Rabah area of the state where the project is sited. There is now a concern now that with staffers and foreign partners gripped by fear as a result of the wicked massacre, the project may suffer a major setback.

The Sokoto state agriculture blueprint, which, as findings revealed is about 95 per cent implemented, has a detailed roadmap of a technological template fashioned to dramatically improve the fortunes of the state in the agro-allied sector positively.

It is a model designed to provide a realistic a framework to be replicated in other states, with a view to bring a new order of prosperous and peaceful nation, devoid of herders/farmers conflicts. An integral part of the blueprint is a cluster of farms in the area that would benefit from the facilities in the project site.

Designed to stop the senseless killings and orgy of violence associated with current method of cattle breeding, the project initiated by Tambuwal which is to train the people “in the new and modern methods of Cattle Breeding for sustainable upgrading of our Local Cattle Breeds in the state and beyond for maximum productivity in terms of good quality Milk and Beef production” is now in danger of abandonment, as many of the expatriate and other personnel working on the project, have become so frightened by the recent carnage that they are now expressing unwillingness to remain in the area.

Some supporters of the governor also speculating that the attack may be the handwork of ‘detractors’ who have been angling to teach Tambuwal “lessons” over his efforts to rein in the reign of thuggery, violence and all sorts of misdemeanors in the state, especially among the youths.

Yet, some of the governor’s supporters also believed that the carnage may be a “mindless ploy by some interests, to bully Tambuwal and blackmail him into abandoning his 2019 presidential ambition.”

This thinking, it was gathered, was based on perception that some interests within and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are not comfortable with the idea of Tambuwal, who was also former Speaker, House of Representatives, standing for the coming presidential election.

“Peer envy over his profile and how he is being received across different divides is at work in some places. His perceived presidential ambition is considered a threat to the incumbent and other prominent presidential aspirants across major political parties,” said the source.

Buttressing this claim, a chieftain of the ruling party from a South – south state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, proffered reasons why some interests feel threatened by Tambuwal’s ambition. He noted that the governor has age on his side, just as he has also acquired an enviable track record and impressive leadership experience.

He added that Tambuwal also had a deep understanding and knowledge of this country, with an added experience of having served as a principal officer of the House of Representatives and as executive experience as a governor.

In the same vein, the party chieftain noted that the former Speaker is a seasoned lawyer, who was at a time a member of body of benchers, thus, is also experienced on issues related to the judiciary. Tambuwal, he noted, is thus well positioned with the expreince to tackle the problems of the usual crisis of confidence between the executive and the legislature in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999 with potentials of bringing stability to the polity.

Even in the face of agitations and suspicions being raised by his supporters, the Governor himself has not spoken much on the killings as he has been preoccupied with providing succour to the survivors of the massacre and helping them to go back to their normal lives.

The governor had also promised that he will continue to work with his governor colleagues to improve security architecture in the cordon around the North west part of the country in spite of the constitutional limitations imposed on state chief executives as security officers of their states.

And as noted by Benin National Congress, (BNC) an Edo based social – cultural organization, the killings in Sokoto was another justification of the calls by Tambuwal and others for the re-examination of the security set up in the country.  While asking the Federal Government to rise up to the security challenge, President of the group, Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, in a statement released last week said, “We are by all means devastated by this catastrophe, and this is one too many of the pogroms and massacres occurring in debilitating proportions, prompting political scholars to question the political rationale of our federal superstructure if federating units are left asunder during precarious security challenges. “

“We call on the Federal Government to restore the fast dwindling confidence of Nigerians in her security capabilities by rooting out all agents of terror, else Nigerians may surrender to the United Nations for help”

While commiserating with Governor Tambuwal and the people of the state over the gruesome murder, the group also prayed “the Almighty and Everlasting God will unveil His Omniscience prowess, and expose the unseen actors, while rendering their bodies as meals to the vultures, and their skeletons and souls to the burning fire”, a prayer which most people in Sokoto and indeed, across the nation will gladly say Amen to.

“We urge you to rise above the aura of sobriety and weakness of the spirit by sustaining your good governance advocacies for the overall benefits of not only Sokoto State, but also Nigeria,” the group said while urging the governor not to allow the killings kill his interest in advocating for focused leadership at the national and state level.

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