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The Garbage in Shehu — By Nathaniel Ikyur


It is not surprising how Garba Shehu, Presidential spokesperson came out, in his vintage style against Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State. It was however amusing reading Shehu’s feeble attempt in the ten-paragraph irritating press release. He no doubt lost his voice under the weight of the governor’s concrete issues bordering on statecraft and the oath of office of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Governor Ortom in the interview on Channels Television flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 raised germane issues bordering on the President’s failure to secure Nigeria. Security was one of the pillars the Presidents hinged his campaign in 2015. Now, lifes don’t matter in Buhari’s Nigeria. From Katsina to Benue, Kaduna to Plateau, Zamfara to Niger State, the blood of Nigerians are flowing unhindered. And this is worse than what ex-President Goodluck Jonathan bequeathed to us.

In an attempt to cook up some falsehood, Shehu failed to convince the Nigerian public who are now indifferent with is warped logic. Rather than address the issues Governor Ortom raised in his interview the presidential spokesman chose to arrogate to the President the image of an emperor who should never be questioned. Shehu bragged that ‘no ex-president would have taken governor Ortom’s insult? Really? Where are the insults? Calling on the Commander in Chief to live up to his mandate by ending the killings in the country has become insulting? Shehu should be told that President Buhari did not appoint Governor Ortom to be dancing to his whims. Ortom was elected by majority of Benue peoole to uphold and defend their right to life.

Funnily, Garba Shehu is throwing up one of the most deadly conspiracy against Governor Ortom since this carefully planned killings in Benue State and Nigeria by the Fulani herdsmen. He alleges that the governor is beating drums of a genocide against the Fulani ethnic group something je claims is akin to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. How absurd and brainless can this be? The right postulation is that the Fulani are the ones wedging a Jihad against the people of Benue State and other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria in a bid to conquer, dominate and take us as slaves. This has been their trend of invasion. They kill, maim, rape, destroy and settle on the lands.

How could Garba Shehu in his right sense accuse Ortom of inciting farmers against herders and Christians against Muslims? Let’s find out the garbage spokesman: is it Ortom that incites bandits to be abducting and killing school children and students in northern Nigeria, including Buhari’s home state of Katsina? Is it Ortom that incites bandits to kill farmers and burn down villages in Katsina and other northern states? Was it Ortom that incited Christian’s to kill Muslim rice farmers in Borno state? Is it Ortom that incites bandits to abducts Islamiyya school children in Niger state? Is Shehu Garba aware of the killing mines of Zamfara where the Governor has called for a state of emergency on security? Is Shehu knowledgeable about Kaduna state where schools have become endengeared? Is it Ortom that sponsored killer Fulani herders to be attacking and killing Benue people? The killing fields of Plateau are ongoing. Is it Ortom that also instigated this? I won’t forget the audacity by the terrorists group who invaded the nation’s premier military university, the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA killing two officers and abducting one. Will Shehu also pin this invasion on Governor Ortom too?

It is laughable how Buhari, speaking through Garba Shehu could accuse Governor Ortom of playing on ethnic themes. Nigeria has never seen such a divisive and nepotistic leader like Buhari in its 60 years of existence. Take a look at his appointments, siting of projects, policy statements etc. We can count them. The facts are there for all to see who, between Governor Ortom and President Buhari is an ethnic leader.

The other day, one time Governor of the Central Bank and former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido took a swipe at Buhari’s government, saying the economic gains of Nigeria 8n forty years has been lost in the six years of the APC’s administration.

A few days ago, retired Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, former Defence Intelligence Officer in the Nigerian Defence headquarters also corroborated the fears Governor Ortom. Olawunmi revealed that key people in the Buhari administration have hands in the ongoing terror against Nigeria and as such government is reluctant in dealing with them.

But instead of addressing the worsening insecurity foisted on Nigeria by his administration, President Buhari and his media handler is more interested in mundane, pedestrian and petty issues discussing how Governor Ortom has changed political parties. But we wish to remind the president, in case he has forgotten, that he has been a member of four different political parties in his “distinguished” political career of less than 20 years: ÀPP, ANPP, CPC and APC.

By his body language, actions and utterances, Nigerians and indeed the whole world has now known who President Buhari is. We can no longer be blindfolded into accepting a fake toga of “Mr. integrity” and “mai gaskiya.” That is over now. Under Buhari’s watch, Nigeria has become a nation of blood-human!

Governor Ortom in that Channels interview listed several instances where he personally met with the president and raised these issues. Unfortunately, given the mindset of the presidnet, Ortom’s diplomatic visits with correspondences failed to make the president accept such proposals. Instead of President Buhari bowing his head in shame for failing to live up to his oath of office of securing the lives of Nigerians, he is busy playing to the gallery claiming all is well while bandits and terrorists are overrunning the nation.

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina state, the President’s home state has given up. He has now encouraged his citizens to carry arms and defend themselves because their son has failed to protect them. The other day, members of the Katsina state legislature at plenary, broke down and wept uncontrollably over incessant killings of their constituents. What is more shameful than this? How will the presidency describe Katsina state governor and their lawmakers now?

Garba Shehu should be educated that Governor Ortom has proven to be a political strategist. Ortom’s political antecedents is far from the classification from the presidency and never in “sinking political fortunes.”

Is it not anachronistic that in the 21st century, our president is insisting on grazing routes and ordered an audit of same with dispatch when others are pursuing digital development of their nation’s? Globally, ranching has been adjudged as the best method of livestock farming. All the other 35 governors and indeed patriotic Nigerians cannot be wrong that ranching is the way to go. But for signing the anti-open grazing law, Ortom is now christened an ethnic leader who hates a particular ethnic group. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Shehu was overwhelmed trying to pick up himself from his garbage, he forgot that between President Buhari and Governor Ortom, it is Buhari who has shown that he’s a man who should not be trusted with a public office. Under Buhari’s administration, Nigeria has divided more along religious and ethnic lines. In Buhari’s present Nigeria, the number of Nigerians killed may have surpassed the casualties in the Nigerian civil war. In this wise, keeping silent will no longer be golden but calamitous. Ortom believes that posterity won’t be just to him if he keeps quiet in the face of tyranny when he had the opportunity to do so.

Ikyur is the Principal Special Assistant on Media to the Executive Governor of Benue State

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