Yinka Odumakin, a prominent rights activist and public affairs analyst is the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the recent visit of governors elected under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to Benue, cattle colony and other issues. Excerpts:
You granted an interview recently where you accused the governors elected under the platform of the ruling APC of dancing on the graves of those killed by herdsmen in Benue. Why did you arrive at that conclusion?
It is quite obvious. I am not even the first person to say so. Even the Benue Advisory Forum and so many stakeholders in Benue have accused these governors of coming to mock them, play politics and dance ‘skelewu’ over the graves of their beloved ones who were cruelly murdered by Fulani herdsmen on January 1st 2018. When you look at the whole scenario, that 73 people will be killed in a go in Benue state and up until we went there on the 19th of January, neither the presidency nor the APC governors deem it fit to go and commiserate with the people of Benue over this tragedy, despite the fact that the state governor, Samuel Ortom is a member of their party is . In fact, rather than the presidency visiting Benue, it was a delegation of Benue leaders led by the governor that went to visit the president in Abuja.
As if that was not shocking enough, it was revealed that they asked for the appointment; not the presidency inviting them to come to Abuja. In proper African tradition, when a man is bereaved, his neighbours, friends and even his enemies all come around him to commiserate with him, not him going round telling the neighbours that ‘Don’t you know I am bereaved?’ Now it was two days after we left Benue that APC governors now thought it fit to visit. I believe they didn’t go there to commiserate with Benue people; they went there to counter us. That is the major reason why they went and while there, they could not even disguise it and give the impression that they have come to commiserate.
They got there and Governor Kashim Shetimma was talking like Abubakar Shekau lambasting everybody and insulting age mates of his fathers. You are on the graves of those who are departed and you are doing all that! Throughout the visit, (Nasir) El Rufai has his I-Pad on his table to show the deep contempt he has for the people of Benue. They were just there to show to the people of Benue that they have been conquered. Throughout their speech, they never offered one word of condemnation of the murderers which is consistent with the position of the Presidency, the Inspector- General of Police (IGP) and the rest of them. The IGP who is the number one law enforcement officer in this country came out and said it is nothing more than a communal crisis and the killer herdsmen are Nigerians. Later, the presidency told the people of Benue to accommodate the herdsmen.
In other words, they are telling them ‘go and find accommodation for those killing you’. Now we have Daura, the Director of DSS talking about ISIS being responsible even after Miyetti Allah has taken responsibility for the killings. They are even threatening more bloodflow and blood is still flowing in Benue. In 2014, Senator Bukar Ibrahim said something worse than Boko Haram will soon be here. Governor Shetimma also said that something worse than Boko Haram is coming. Balarabe Musa warned us that some people are planning something worse than Boko Haram. Maybe this is it! And that is why you can see the conspiracy of loud silence and indifference from those who should act.