A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh Lukman, has warned against ethnic and religious profiling in the country, even as he challenged those who claimed to have evidences to make it public.
The PGF specifically challenged the Benue state governor Samuel Ortom and others in the opposition parties to prove their allegation or keep quiet.
In a statement released to newsmen Wednesday in Abuja, titled “Narrow Politics and Questions of Democratic Development” Lukman said it is more worrisome when a serving governor could attempt to substantiate allegations of complicity against political leaders, especially President Buhari with argument about ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ agenda in the country.
“On the part of Governor Ortom, he claimed that he has forwarded his evidence to President Buhari and security agencies in the country. But since he feels so strong as to go public with his allegation without waiting for both President Buhari and security agencies to handle the matter, he can as well make the evidence public since he has lost confidence on established processes of managing matters of national security.
“What does ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ of Nigeria mean? Although it is possible to convert people from other religions to Islam, could anyone who is not a Fulani be conscripted to become Fulani? Maybe it means that every Nigerian will be forced to have a Fulani tribal mark. What will be such a mark? In addition, Fulfude may become the lingua franca of Nigeria.
“With respect to so-called ‘islamisation’, is it possible to force everybody in Nigeria to convert to islam? Maybe ‘islamisation’ means that shari’a law will be imposed on the country. Will that be possible. Often those who campaign based on narrow agenda have short memory.
“As recent as 2000, when Zamfara state under Ahmed Sani Yerima, made a questionable political declaration adopting shari’a law, thereby triggering a campaign in many parts of the North to make similar declaration for shari’a law. How many states in the North succeeded in making such a shari’a declaration? In Kaduna State, it was resisted, which led to a big crisis that consume many lives.
“If it wasn’t successful in Kaduna, how can it succeed in Nigeria? Even as tales by moonlight, how conceivable could Governor Ortom’s alleged ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ agenda be?
“If a primary school pupil talks like the way all the diehard opposition campaigners in the country campaigning against so-called ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ agenda, one can excuse it because at that level of innocence, everything could appear possible. But for a public servant as highly placed as that of a Governor, retire public servant, retire security personnel, etc. it portends a big danger, which if overlooked can produce a cult mentality in the country with all the ethnic and religious hatred associated with it.
“Being Governor, retired public servants, retired military personnel, with all the knowledge and experiences they have but decided to adopt the imaginary notion that a country as diverse as Nigeria can be taken over by any ethnic or religious group, is the highest manifestation of morbid symptom of attempt to block any possibility that a new society can be born out of the dying culture of corruption, greed and lawlessness, which was the hallmark of PDP’s sixteen year tenure.”
The APC chieftain said there is urgent need for political parties in Nigeria to take steps to discourage ethnic and religious campaign of hatred.
“When a retired public servant of the status of Dr. Mailafia and a retired military officer, Commodore Olawunmi can go on air on national television to allege that people in government, including a serving Governor are the sponsors insurgency and banditry in the country and the issues are reduced to media debates, it highlights how low we have descended as a nation. Such weighty allegations should be matters of judicial investigation and once proved, all identified culprits should face the full wrath of the law.”
According to Lukman, the consequences of allowing Governor Ortom to continue with a so-called campaign against ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ without proof will confirm that the campaign is nothing but to promote ethnic and religious hatred in the country, which is dangerous.
While calling on the opposition PDP to prevail on its chieftains against the campaign of ethnic and religious hatred ahead of the 2023 general elections, Lukman said political parties should put in place internal code of conducts – byelaws, beyond what is provided in their constitution.
“Therefore, as we move closer to 2023, the pangs of ethnic and religious hatred will have its strong manifestation inside PDP. Once the PDP is not able to moderate campaign of ethnic and religious hatred of so-called ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’, it will be weak in controlling how it manifest itself internally in PDP.
“In fact, it more a danger to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, former Governor Sule Lamido, etc. than it is a danger to President Muhammadu Buhari or any potential APC Presidential candidate from the North. It is also potentially a danger against the emergence of any possible Presidential candidate in PDP from the South-West, South-East or South-South than it is to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Kayode Fayemi, former Governor Ibikunle Amosun of APC from the South-West; or former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from the South-south; or former Governor Rochas Okorocha and any other contender from the South-east.
“Narrow politics can misrepresent ultra-right-wing politics based on partisan coloration. The biggest danger of ultra-right-wing politics is more manifest in the host party. PDP leaders would need to understudy what became of the US Republican Party after President Donald Trump to appreciate the dangers of so-called ‘fulanisation’ and ‘islamisation’ campaign of promoting ethnic and religious hatred to PDP’s electoral fortune.
“Already, PDP is faced with enough challenges. It must not allow the seed of right-wing politics to grow within its leadership. Once that happens, its capacity to put up any strong electoral contest in the country will be eroded.”