On the 8th of February 2021, Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari a State man’s “APPEAL TO ACT BEFORE HERDSMEN DRAG NIGERIA INTO A CIVIL WAR”.
It is, especially for those who share the Governor’s take on the matter but fear the repercussions of a publicized engagement, an evidently bold letter. But bold alone doesn’t – even nearly – offer fitting description to a wholeheartedly patriotic outing so rich on counsel and specific policy proposals such that it’s a shame of a nation it could be so hurriedly archived in the face of a total lack of political will by a former Army General once thought of as being fearless; and of belonging to everybody and belonging to nobody.
No matter how deeply sworn to the jaw dropping free-of-any-intellect submissiveness that some 21st century Nigerians are to the bizarre idea that any of Buhari’s positions or total lack of on any matter, is the example to follow, one can not, without showing self as blockheaded, appear to be persuaded that ranching of cattle is not long due nor that nomadic pastoralism should go on.
The confusion has to be profound really, seeing as Buhari has by his own example, ranched all his cattle. His unwillingness to actively support the outlawing of open grazing shines in irony – placing many of his supporters in dilemma with some of them choosing behind closed doors to offer whispering support for ranching.
In Governor Ortom’s latest epistle – his fifth to the President on the subject of violent herdsmen – the Governor, for not walking away and instead working a way for country, has come across as bold and for it, has drawn huge applauses that are as loud in the South as they are in the carefully sound-proofed North.
Gov Ortom’s letter which is worth every one’s reading time adorns the beauty of diplomacy; carries the grace of a counselor who points to the good things the counseled has done; it brushes briefly on pending Federal Government promises to victims of herdsmen attacks; it tilts into fine depths of analysis of the problem; the letter offers a number of proposals aimed at tackling the nationally worrisome problem of herdsmen attacks and as all true States men carry with them a message of hope, the letter fuels the hope that, in spite of our challenges, a committed and transparent, even if difficult, approach would lead us out of the woods.
Raymond Bemseer Magen
Principal Special Assistant (New Media) to Gov Samuel Ortom.