ISAAC OLUSESI who writes that State of Osun, Nigeria, will not accommodate the Fulani herdsmen’s inveterate hostility, with Mr. Gboyega Oyetola as governor and security apparatchiks in the state, asks, where then is the basis for the growing public anxiety over safety and peace in Osun?
In State of Osun, Nigeria, “Governor Gboyega Oyetola assures investors of safety in Osun” was the news lately. No one was at a loss of clues to his assurances to Osun citizens of “adequate provision of security at all times and in all places.”
But what does Nigeria as one nation, one people do with the extra threat-energy and actual violence by the guerillas called Fulani herdsmen, drifting, above surveillance and tracking, from one part of the country to another, a bizarre dimension in social convulsion after having always quaffed some hard drugs and marked by their odour, mascara, feet shuffles and oddities that embolden them to intruding on the peaceful life and living of other people and committing dastardly act of senseless killings of fellow human beings, aimed at expanding the 18th Century Fulani hegemony elsewhere, outside the Northern Caliphate.
Few months ago, at Esa-Oke, a hilly town, tucked away from Osogbo, the state capital, the Fulani snipers, called herdsmen, clad in dark t-shirt, dark trousers, dark jungle boots, dark belt and dark fez caps; kitted in robust bulletproofs against gun projectiles, riffle fire and all kinds of knives; and clutched double action revolvers, commonly used for offensive operations, practically threw up varieties of panic that created overwhelming fear, charged climate of terrorism and hugely punctured peace in the state, that left in its trail a fresh Ph.Dholder-lecturer, Tope Olaniyi dead, with five workers and three students of the state College of Technology in the town abducted and released, reportedly on a ransom of N4million.
Osun cannot accommodate the Fulani herdsmen centrifugal forces turned on to set the state on edge and hurt its good governance, developmental trends, friendly social order and safety of life and investments in the state. Governor Oyetola was in every detail, alarmingly disturbed at the herdsmen inveterate hostility, intransigence at Esa-Oke just as all indications point to the fact that the strength of the security network in Osun could contain any such violation of human life in the state. He was more confounded as he believes in the fundamental fact that life, all life is sacred and nothing remotely justifies any criminality against life, expressive of his triumphant concern for peace and security of all in the state.
“Osun will not dilly-dally on the question of safety of life and property in the state,” Oyetola stated in an exclusive phone chat, adding that, “government will deal firmly and decisively with any one or group in the path of criminality. Let me say that I was effectively part of the profoundly active and profoundly rewarding security system under my predecessor. The system prevented crimes, regulated social relations and protected individuals and corporate interests in the state. And today, I want to re-assure all that anyone who dares violating the law and public order will be punished to the full extent of the law. The pain of Esa-Oke is my pain and the pain of all in Osun”. Meaning that eternal vigilance by all is the price of liberty, conditioned to a level of mental alertness of all in the state to all danger signals to be picked up for appropriate response to forestall or terminate all threats decoded.
Aside the observed fair command of English, impeccable communication in Yoruba and intelligence so demonstrated by the Fulani herders, suggestive of their relative level of education and cross-cultural exposure, the late Dr. Olaniyi and others abducted at Esa-Oke near the institution never shared same pedigree with the Fulani matadors’ proclivity to violence, notoriety and disdain for the sanctity of human life. But their adrenalin pumped utmost resistance, earlier than later, to the weirdly savagery of the Fulani goons, licensed to kill and whose shootings had the mastery of the lingo and norms of assassination. With the agility of a fox, the abducted eight matched zigzag or were flung into the bush, frisked of personal belongings, money, cell phones et cetera found on them and ravaged into incommunicado at the dare-devil abductors’ calculated glance, a grunt or the nod of head, with the trappings of medieval nativity the way the Roman Centurion barked out instructions to his boys or like Robbins Hood, the legendary English desperado who presided over his band of brigands in Sherwood Forest in medieval England.
The spate of the Fulani rumpus in the college town was ostensibly to ignite a war of attrition, a show down with the law abiding people but the Fulani herdsmen were not obliged with any horrendous counter action. The Fulani herdsmen’s menace, with a cache of deadly guns and ammunitions being heard in target-gunshots, in several parts of Nigeria that exterminate life of innocent Nigerians now almost daily, is a matter of serious concern to all levels of government in the country. In Osun, Oyetola, based on his principle of freedom – equality – justice for all, has vowed to push full steam against the steam rollers, the Fulani henchmen who by the Esa-Oke ugly incident, shot at the heart of Osun, jarred its psyche and infused deadly fear into the state that gripped security agencies, atomized security enforcement, injured public security consciousness and brutally rocked the peace of Osun. The scenario ignited increased anxiety in the residents and prospective investors over safety and peace in the state, pronto!
But with the sufficiently large scale effective counter security services under his watch, Oyetola is now determined more than ever before to preserve order, protect basic freedoms, resolve social conflicts and contradictions, lubricate social relationships, redress harm and secure justice, and generally provide conducive atmosphere in Osun for the pursuits of lawful activities that also include ensuring the total safety of citizens and investments in the state and re-orientating Osun and redefining its values.
Where then is the basis for the growing anxiety over safety and peace in Osun? Visitors and investors are assured that with Oyetola, the state security system allays fear of crimes, eliminate opportunities for crime commission, or made crime more difficult to commit; while it assures citizens of security of life and property. His promise of enhanced security system and ongoing effort in that direction will control any violence against the governed. And the existing platform for Osun government and the Fulanis in the state is a further assurance for prospective sanity and stability in the land.