Dissecting Buhari’s, Luther’s dreams
Psychologists say that dreams are actually activities that take place in the subconscious. Although dreams in the thinking of top rated psychologists who are clinical scientists are not just some frivolous ephemeral phenomena that only exists in the subconsciousness but some observers view dreams from a dismissive perspective. Besides psychologists, the majority of those who profess religion of one kind or the other, see dreams differently. Most followers of organised religions believe that dreams in most cases have metaphysical imports. For the adherents of the Christian religion and even the Jews, the concept of dreams played significant role in the earliest salvific mission that heralded the liberation efforts of the founding fathers of the Jewish political entity. Dream indeed defines the historicity of the one of the Sons of Jacob called Joseph or Joseph the Dreamer.
Joseph was one of the most renowned Old Testament personalities who gained reputation for the power of his dreams and has become one of the major fathers of modern organised religions for the fact that his popular dream came to a positive fruition. Although, he (Joseph) was trafficked and sold into slavery by his jealous brothers who never liked his dream about his high status in the near future but his enslavement gave him an edge over and above his brothers to a point that he was the bridge between deaths by famine and his biological brothers who but one conspired to auction him to strangers who in turn sold him to Potipha who was like the Chief Security Officer in the then Royal household of Egypt. Fast forward to the contemporary political history of America’s civil rights movement and one personality that became pivotal to black civil rights emancipation because of the inherent speaking powers he displayed as an activist was called Reverend Martins Luther King who was trained as a cleric but used his oratorical powers and his influence as a clergy to work vigorously to end the discriminatory practices against the black minority who were denied civil and political rights.
His major reputation came about by his speech in which he talked about having a dream for a human right friendly United States of America where the colour differences amongst the citizens will not be the basis for citizenship rights and privileges. On August 28th 1963, King gave his iconic speech which he titled “I have a dream.” In three quick catchy paragraphs, that speech can be completely captured and these verses are as follows: “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity”. “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition”.
King also stated thus: “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and the declaration of independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir”. That “I have a dream”, powerful speech propelled the realisation and liberalisation of civil political rights for all Americans, irrespective of colours, race, or religious orientations. Less than a century after these dreams were rendered in a speech, America produced her first ever black American president in the person of Barack Obama. After briefly stating the above, we will also like to recall that Nigeria is blessed with great statesmen and iconic thinkers who ventured into politics in the colonial period and had indeed written and spoken about the political dreams of freedoms, unity and progress of all people that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Some of these earliest political philosophers whose thoughts and practical contributions heralded the 1960 independence include the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; late Sir Ahmadu Bello and late Sir Obafemi Awolowo.
However, in the year 2015, a former military ruler in the person of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) successfully sold a political dream of his ambitions to transform the country and to decisively put the corrupt tendencies of political office holders behind us. He alongside Bola Tinubu deployed the powerful media of mass communication to get Nigerians to buy into the narratives that the then presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was signposted by uncontrolled corruption of top office holders. That singular lecture of “I have an anti-corruption dream” sold by Buhari and his political party known as All Progressive Congress through cocktails of well cooked propaganda gave him a slim victory against the incumbent President, and the university of Port Harcourt trained doctor of zoology, Jonathan and his party the Peoples Democratic Party. The political class in power headed by Jonathan unanimously conceded victory to the opposition political party that came up with a singsong of anti-corruption dreams. Upon his swearing in, the current Nigerian President also spoke about him not been the candidate of any particular religious or ethnic group but that he will discharge his constitutional mandate to comply with the provisions of the constitution and his oath of office to be fair to all manner of persons.
But three years down the line, the dream of waging relentless war against corruption has not seen the light of the day even as the texture, colour and complexion of the most strategic national security appointments by President Buhari have violated the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the constitution. Corruption is also at its peak amongst major cabinet level appointees and the EFCC has also launched anti-graft battle against political opponents of the government in power to the consternation of objective minded Nigerians. Significantly, the majority of those who call the shots in the national security positions are of his Hausa/Fulani cum Moslem Northerners just like the man who wields the appointing authority in a highly sectional fashion. Of greater significance is the fact that both the external and internal intelligence chiefs of Nigeria are of the same Katsina State, same as that of President Buhari. The Department of State Services and National Intelligence Agency are manned by Fulani people from Katsina State same as Buhari. The entire heads of all internal security agencies are of Hausa/Fulani ethnicity which clearly violates the constitution.
But these lopsided appointments are now blamed for the bold and consistent attacks of farming communities by armed Fulani herdsmen and the conspirational silence of all the top commanders of the armed security services. The arrogance of these Fulani herdsmen and the recent plots being weaved together by the ministers of Agriculture to foist what they call cattle colonies in all parts of Nigeria in violation of the land use Act of 1978, has further made people to ask if President Buhari’s real dream is that of setting up cattle colonies all across Nigeria. Mr. Audu Ogbeh, the septuagenarian Agriculture minister has been quoted in the media as stating that the government would commit public resources to set up these cattle colonies and equip them with all modern facilities to be donated to the private owners of cows who are accused of sponsoring the armed attacks against farmers all across Nigeria which became a major national security threat since the current government came on board. Only last week over 100 Benue villagers were massacred by armed Fulani herdsmen and not one person of note is in the docks.
This “I have a dream of cattle colonies” of the current government portrays the government of Buhari as that which does not care about the clear provisions of the constitution which prohibits the enforcement of policies that will be discriminatory against other ethnicities and which is aimed at promoting the commercial interest of one ethnic group. The ‘I have a dream of cattle colonies’ of Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government delivered through its Minister of Agriculture recently captures the illegal essence of a sinister plot that would soon commence in the form of the establishment of cattle colonies in the states to check what they dubiously dismissed simply as increasing cases of farmers-herdsmen clashes in the country. These killings are acts of terrorism. Pure and simple. But the Buhari’s dream won’t concede any of these sacred facts. He the Agric minister made this known during what is pejoratively termed a strategic retreat for civil servants and political appointees of the Ministry in Abuja. Ogbeh, while stating the target of his ministry for 2018, said it would also engage in massive cattle breed improvement through artificial insemination.
Hear him read out his master’s Dream of Cattle colonies: “We want to handle the issue of cattle rearing and crisis between farmers and herdsmen and actually bring it to a halt. I know that some people argued that open grazing is our culture. Once a culture begins to develop very dangerous trends, leading to warfare between people, bloody clashes and death, that culture is due for re-examination. A culture must not be left because it is a culture. If it is harmful, we reform it.”
Ogbeh continues the I have a dream of cattle colonies in Nigeria of Buhari this: “We are talking of cattle colonies, not ranches. We are talking of massive cattle breed improvement through artificial insemination; we have to start immediately. Sixteen states have given us land to work on. The programme is not going to be cheap but Mr. President has personally informed me that if we seek help from him, he will give it to us over and above the budget we have. In our interactions with the herdsmen, they always say that if we have water and grass, we will not move anywhere, grass is not grass”. This bad dream of setting up cattle colonies in Nigeria must not be allowed to see the light of the day for a number of reasons including the potency of widespread land war similar to what was witnessed in Columbia when government took the Ancestral lands of people for another unpopular use. The Land Use Act gives the right over land to the states. Section 1. states thus: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that State and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
Section 2. of the Land Use Act say the following: subsection(1) As from the commencement of this Act (a) all land in urban areas shall be under the control and management of the Governor of each State. And (b) all other land shall, subject to this Act, be under the control and management of the Local Government, within the area of jurisdiction of which the land is situated. Subsection (2) states that “There shall be established in each State a body to be known as “the Land Use and Allocation Committee” which shall have responsibility for:- (a) advising the Governor on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above relates; (b) Advising the Governor on any matter connected with the resettlement of persons affected by the revocation of rights of occupancy on the ground of overriding public interest under this Act; and (c) determining disputes as to the amount of compensation payable under this Act for improvements on land. (3) The Land Use and Allocation Committee shall consist of such number of persons as the Governor may determine and shall include in its membership:- not less than two persons possessing qualifications approved for appointment to the public service as estate surveyors or land officers ad who have had such qualification for not less than five years; and (b) a legal practitioner.
Whilst subsection (4) affirmed that “The Land Use and Allocation Committee shall be presided over by such one of its members as may be designated by the Governor and, subject to such directions as may be given in the regard by the Governor, shall have power to regulate its proceedings. Subsection (5) of the law says: “There shall also be established for each Local Government a body to be known as “the Land Allocation Advisory Committee” which shall consist of such persons as may be determined by the Governor acting after consultation with the Local Government and shall have responsibility for advising the Local Government on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above relates.”
President Buhari must be made to adhere strictly to the laws.
Onwubiko is head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
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