The only deserving response to Yinka Odumakin is that he needs a cure for his seeming selective comprehension. The range of short and long term options for an enduring peace in the incessant clashes between herders and farmers offered by His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Tinubu were suggestions for the consideration of the 2-day Conflict Resolution Summit, which ended on Tuesday in Abuja. Asiwaju Tinubu did not mention South West in particular and what he said had a context to it: “Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states”.
It is not only some states in the South West that are affected but several states across the country. Why Odumakin suddenly gets hot under the collar may not be far-fetched. The usual frenzy and self-righteous mentality he portrays is on full display. Perhaps next time he should read through the whole submission and caution himself from self-righteousness and displaying in full glare anarchical emotions. And if Odumakin’s delusion still allows him to read, perhaps a read though of the full chunk of what was said by Tinubu at the summit will educate him better. It’s as follows:
The violence has thankfully subsided. Government must sustain wise policy and action to keep peace and prevent violent recurrences.
1. Government must maintain reasonable and effective military and law enforcement presence in the affected areas. This presence should work with leaders of both the herder and farmer communities as well as traditional and religious leaders.
2. Government should develop a comprehensive remedial/rehabilitation strategy for victims of the violent crisis.
3. Government must help herders gradually shift from their traditional nomadic existence to a more static lifestyle. We have to face the reality that modernity is making the nomadic way counterproductive and inefficient.
Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states. In the long run, this will enable herders to better maintain their livestock and thus their own livelihoods.
4. Government should establish a permanent panel as a forum for farmers and herders to discuss their concerns and identify ways to mitigate contention. This will also help educate the general public.
1. Nigeria needs to take the lead for Africa in international community for dealing with climate change.
2. Water catchment and conservation systems must be developed. This includes the prudent use of dams and irrigation sub-systems maintainable at the local level.
3. More water efficient farming techniques must be employed.
4. Projects to protect the land for additional desertification must take adequate priority.
These recommendations are suggestive and not at all comprehensive. However, I think they convey the idea that dealing with the immediate crisis is essential. But we also must position ourselves to deal with these larger forces which are at the deepest root of this challenge. If we cannot get to this root, our short-term efforts may be successful but over time they will be of decreasing utility.
This is a problem that is mostly not of your doing but one that you must solve for the future of this nation and its people. If you allow your greatness as a nation to show, you shall succeed in securing the benefits of a good life and suitable environment people for generations to come. That is the Nigeria I see and believe in.