By Rogers Edor Ochela
Truth is the ligament that holds the integrity of any government together and once that is gone, the government loses its credibility—African Proverb
Smarting from the humiliating defeat it suffered in the recently-concluded LG Polls and with the looming fear of losing the state in 2015, some officials of the APC administration in Nasarawa State are furiously whipping up sentiments by way of looking for scapegoats for their inability to provide democracy dividends for the people of the state.
It is within this context that Bala Dan-Alkali’s diatribe titled ‘’Nasarawa: Tiv/Fulani Feud and the PDP Conspiracy’’ (Peoples Daily, Tuesday, April 8, 2014 page 27), should be situated. Since the APC was demystified by the PDP at the local council election, the former has been throwing up all manner of tantrums with a view to downplaying the level of its embarrassing defeat and to divert the attention of the people of the state.
One of such diversionary tactics is the article under reference, whereby Dan-Alkali tried unsuccessfully to give PDP a bad name in order to hang it. The writer said that the incessant Tiv/Fulani crises in the state was ‘’premeditated solely to create tension in Nasarawa State so as to pave way for the presidency to unseat Gov Tanko Al-Makura through the declaration of state of emergency’’. Haba Alkali! This kind of sabre-rattling cannot help the cause of the state government; rather it will expose it as totally unserious in handling state matters.
Just because the Federal Government decided to respond decisively to the incessant crises ravaging the state by dispatching security agents to haunt down insurgents that have made life unbearable for the peace-loving people of the state, the state government is crying blue murder.
It would be recalled that when the Ombatse militia gave the state government a bloodied nose when it was at its murderous peak with its officials watching helplessly, this same officials through sponsored articles accused Labaran Maku, then acting minister of Defence of turning a blind eye to the massive destruction in the state. What manner of politicking is this?
For the author of the offensive publication to conclude that the FG has been on the throat of Al-Makura since he emerged as governor of the state in 2011 as if his election as governor is a crime is rather unfortunate and smacks of heresy! Quite unsettling, I tell you. This unnecessary vilification of the presidency (nay PDP) by the officials of the state government who are apparently bereft of ideas urgently needed to move the state forward and as such, have taken refuge in the cold passivity of grandstanding and unhelpful pontificating is tantamount to standing honesty on its head.
It is trite to say that the two main religions—Christianity and Islam—strongly preach the gospel of truth, which simply means the ability to look at issues objectively regardless of one’s personal sentiments or beliefs. It is concerned with getting the facts without distortions and once properly and honestly applied; truth tends towards balance and charitable judgment. This is the cardinal principle of life that some elements in Nasarawa State have decided to play dangerous politics with.
Bala in that write-up elected to sidetrack the truth when he accused the FG of reluctance in tackling the Ombatse ‘wahala’ because ‘’Nasarawa state was not controlled by the PDP and to cash on the situation to reclaim the state in 2015’’. Nothing can be further from the truth. Even to the uninitiated, Nasarawa state, from all intents and purposes, is predominantly PDP and as such, the FG does not engage in ‘wuru-wuru’ tactics to reclaim it in 2015. The impressive outing of PDP in the recent LG poll is a veritable case in point.
It is rather unfortunate that Bala would accuse President Goodluck Jonathan of insensitivity and playing politics with the lives of the people of the state on the altar of his second term ambition. Hear him: ‘’—nothing is more important and dear in the heart of Jonathan and his handlers than the 2015 ambition, not even the lives of thousands of innocent souls are more valuable than his ambition.’’ It is pertinent to remind the likes of Bala that as president of Nigeria, Jonathan is highly preoccupied with the gargantuan problems of all the states of the federation, Nasarawa state inclusive. The questions to ask are: Is Nasarawa the only state in Nigeria controlled by the opposition party? Why would Jonathan place his ambition over and above the trouble with Nasarawa state?
More disheartening is the conclusion by Bala that those killed recently in the state by security agents were not insurgents. He went further to also jump to conclusion that ‘’we don’t have rebellious people and neither do we harbor nor condone rebellion; except of course if some political observers are saying the Tiv/Fulani feud in Nasarawa State was designed to unseat Al-Makura through declaration of state of emergency’’. Why would the presidency plot Al-Makura’s ouster and make the state ungovernable when the people of the state voted massively for Jonathan in 2011? Such phantom plot exists only in the fertile imagination of the fawning acolytes of the APC administration. My advice to the APC apparatchiks in the state is to embark on a soul-searching exercise with a view to reviving the dwindling fortunes of their party in the state, occasioned by its epileptic performance and stop blaming others for their bone-chilling failures.
Rogers Ochela is a media consultant based in Abuja