We at the Southern Leadership Conference (SLC) were not in the least surprised or shocked by the utterances of the Nigerian minister of Justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami while expressing his objection to the ban by the country’s Southern governors on open grazing, given his demonstrated primordial pro-Fulani chauvinism over time.
We are perturbed that in betraying his ethnic bias, he threw caution to the wind and not only betrayed and desecrated his oath and responsibilities as the chief Law officer of the federation, but embarrassed Nigeria in the comity of nations.
Malami on had on Wednesday, likened the ban on open grazing in the southern region of Nigeria to the constitutional right to free movement of citizens.
The AGF also compared the ban on open grazing to Northern governors banning spare parts trading in their own region as southerners comprise a majority of spare parts traders in the North.
The Southern Leadership Conference notes that it is hypocritical of Mr. Malami to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons.
It is disingenuous to link a ban on open grazing to the constitutional right to the free movement of persons. The latter does not extend to the free movement of cattle, goats, sheep, etc. through farms with the attendant destruction of somebody’s harvest.
Equating the activities of nomadic herdsmen destroying peoples’ means of livelihood with others legitimately carrying on businesses by selling spare parts in their shops stands logic on its head.
Any public officer who cannot rise above primordial sentiments and who pursues a parochial ethnic agenda need not occupy a position of trust especially at this time of sectional agitations. It was not dignifying of the status of the nation’s attorney-general and minister of Justice to make such remarks.
We advise those who have no meaningful contributions to national discourse operating on the basis of equity and justice to keep quiet and stop kindling the already burning fire of ethnic disharmony in the country.
On a balance sheet, the country on all indicators is prostrate. Not too long ago, it earned the unenviable position of the world capital of poverty; the economy is on a free fall without productivity while the government is mopping loans from wherever it is available. The dire nature of the economy has now led recently to quantitative easing, i.e., the printing of paper money not backed by productivity.
Upon this, through complex contrivances, the country has been taken over by new militarism, i.e., armed non-state actors with consequent impact on the free movement of law-abiding citizens and the crippling of farming activities across the country. The overall impact has engendered a situation in which the component nationalities, in other words, the peoples of this country are agitating for separation.
To the blunt, the country is collapsing under a rudderless leadership that is part of the problem.
Be that as it may, beneficiaries of the present decadent system, like Malami, would perhaps never desire a change. Without a doubt, the call for re-federalizing Nigeria is not to be ignored if we desire to keep the country together.
The issues the southern governors raised are issues that have been canvassed variously for several years by all patriots and lovers of Nigeria, namely, the fiscal and institutional restructuring of the Nigerian state in ways that devolve power in the component units of the Nigerian state.
The Southern Leadership Conference supports the actions of the governors. It is a right step in the right direction. We insist that it should not be discarded in deference to blackmail from the perpetrators of the backward state of affairs in the country who are incurable loafers who contribute nothing to the national coffers.
Southern Leadership Conference wishes to re-emphasize that Nigeria’s unity is only feasible on the basis of justice, fairness, and equity and only federalism can guarantee that.
Karl Chinedu Uchegbu, National Coordinator
Angela Onwaeze, National Secretary
Sokari Goodboy Sokari, National Mobilization Officer.
#Malami Must Resign