The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has acknowledged former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s attempt to foster dialogue with the Fulani community in South-west Nigeria as a good move.
The group however wondered how the forum was made to look like a rival one to the recent roundtable on national security convened by another former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
It said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that the previous rhetorics of Chief Obasanjo is enough to create suspicion in the minds of a large number of Nigerians.
“We acknowledge that the former President held a parley with the leadership of a relatively unknown Fulani group known as Gan Allah Fulani Development Association about a week after we urged him to emulate efforts of General Abubakar, rather than playing to the gallery.
“More surprising is that the meeting was not turned into a media circus by the Afenifere faction that failed to show up for the Abubakar peace summit,but was conspicuous in the meeting called by Obasanjo.
“We are tempted to view it as an afterthought, but we commend the former President’s efforts based on the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting.
“It is much better than what he did in the recent past with his rhetorics on Fulanisation agenda, as well as his open letter that ended up heating up the polity rather than calming frayed nerves,” the group said.
BMO however expressed reservations about the possibility of the meeting paving way for peaceful co-existence between the Fulani and the host community.
“It is instructive that the Afenifere group that showed up at the parley boycotted the security summit facilitated by the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS) because an invitation was extended to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeding Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)
“This, according to the Yoruba socio-cultural group, is because their members cannot be in the same room with ‘those wielding illegal AK-47 all over the country and inflicting terror on fellow citizens’, but Chief Obasanjo now opted for a lesser known group that may not have the same clout as MACBAN among the Fulani.
“If the former President was keen on genuine peaceful coexistence, he should have been working on ensuring a roundtable engagement between the Afenifere group and MACBAN with a view to clearing the air on the real representative of the Fulani
“We see the move as a gambit to raise the profile of a Fulani group that has always seen former President Obasanjo as a patron but we also hope that the parley would achieve the goals it has set for itself.”
BMO also hoped that the former President would tone down his rhetorics and act more statesmanly now that he has embarked on a personal mission to ‘facilitate the mitigation of insecurity and criminality in South West Nigeria’.