President Muhammadu Buhari chaired the National Council of State meeting yesterday and as he was greeting the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, the president asked him: “How are your cattle rearers?”
Watch the video below:
This is callous, crass, in-your-face insensitivity of the worst order and betrays a chronic shortage of emotional intelligence. At least 70 people were killed in Benue State by Fulani herdsmen in January this year. The state also bore the brunt of herdsmen attacks with over 500 killed in Agatu Local Government Area in early 2016. But Buhari only seemed concerned about those rearing cattle.
While Buhari has not even bothered with the pretense of condoling with the people of the state, he has visited neighbouring Nasarawa and Adamawa States this month for what many see as the early strikes for his campaign to be reelected in 2019.
The reaction on Twitter to Buhari’s question to Ortom should worry him if he cared.
VIDEO: "How Are Your Cattle Rearers", Buhari Mocks Benue state Governor Ortom At The Council Of State Meeting
Murderous "Herdsmen" brutally slaughtered 70+ innocent Nigerians but the wicked mass murderer @MBuhari has turned this into a joke!
This is beyond insensitive!!!
— Harun Elbinawi (@ELBINAWI) February 23, 2018
How are your cattle rearers ?
Buhari asks Gov Ortom
The cattle rearers murdered 73 citizens and rendered 90,000 homeless
Well done Grand Patron Cattle rearers Association of Nigeria
— IKECHUKWU (@iykimo) February 23, 2018
The sheer insensitivity displayed by the @MBuhari asking the grieving Benue Governor Ortom "how are your cattle rearers?" shows Buhari's awareness and sanctions of the Fulani Herdsmen behaviors in Nigeria.
We need a new President ASAP.
2019 should please come fast.
— Tony Mbawuike (@MrTohNey) February 23, 2018
Many Nigerians continue to wonder why Buhari, who is Fulani, has not taken serious action to end the killings by Fulani herdsmen. He is a patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the pressure group that advocates for the herdsmen. In October 13 2000, Buhari led a delegation to see then Oyo State governor Lam Adesina to complain about attacks against herdsmen by farmers. In 2003, then Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu, according to Wikileaks cables, said Buhari’s “ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity”. Despite the thousands of Nigerians that have died from the violence of Fulani herdsmen, with deaths from the violence rising since he became president, Buhari once described the crises as “farmers attacking herdsmen”.
When Ortom led a delegation from Benue State to visit Buhari in the wake of the attacks in January, he told them that they should be more welcoming of outsiders.
This month, Chidi Odinkalu, the former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, asked Buhari to stop acting as president of just the Fulani. Buhari has shown with his question to Ortom that he has no inclination of behaving like a national leader. Constitutional lawyer Ben Nwabueze said in March 2016 about the president: “The fact is that he lacks the capacity to govern as the problems are beyond him.
“Even if you give him 20 years to prepare, it would still be beyond his capacity. Nigeria is a very complex country. I have told you before, that we have 389 ethnic nationalities. The complexities and the issues involved in ruling such a country are huge.
“Leading such a complex country is an intellectual issue and Buhari does not have the intellectual capacity to comprehend what it means to govern this country.”
Very few would argue against Nwabueze’s assessment on Buhari’s showing on the Fulani herdsmen crisis.