EDO STATE FULANI CATTLE COLONY: THE OSHIOMHOLE CONNECTION
Edo people have been wondering what the federal government offered the Governor Godwin Obaseki led Edo State Government to have had Edo State committed, among the ten states in the federation, to the establishment of the controversial cattle colony, now dressed as cattle ranches. The announcement by the federal government that Edo is among the states that have agreed to implementation of the project came as a shock to virtually all Edo indigenes. Edo people are understandably shocked because the project is largely perceived as a subterranean move by the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari to pursue a nationwide Fulani/Islamist imperialist agenda.
The introduction of a bill for the establishment of cattle ranching sponsored by a member of the Edo State House of Assembly late last year generated public outcry. According to members of the general public and civil society, government had no business acquiring land for a particular tribe to do their personal business. This aversion is particularly so because the beneficiary Fulani cattle herders have gained notoriety for being overly covetous, unreasonably aggressive, murderous, religiously bigoted and are seen to be on a mission to overrun whoever hosted them. There has been a consensus that the Fulani cattle herders should not be given n clannish foothold in Edo State, which may give them the opportunity to conquer the people and put them under subjugation, over time.
Given the resistance of Edo people to the bill seeking to create reserves for cattle herders, funded by government, Edo State Government had promptly distanced itself from it. For this reason, the Edo State House of Assembly wasted no time in throwing the bill.
However, the recent volte-face by the State Government has set tongues wagging as to what may have informed its decision without consulting the people, whose land they hope to give out for the unpopular enterprise. Speculation is rife that it may not be unconnected to the sudden adoption of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole as the candidate of the APC and his subsequent emergence as the National Chairman of the ruling APC at its recently held Elective National Convention in Abuja. It is rumoured that the Edo State Government of which Adams Oshiomhole is the undisputed godfather, negotiated with the Presidency to land the Job by agreeing to donate land for the controversial project to which the Buhari administration seems irrevocably committed to actualizing by whatever guile.
Sources say that having secured the assurances of Governor Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole, the Presidency switched support from Chief John Odigie Oyegun to Oshiomhole. Oyegun was therefore compelled to drop his ambition of re-contesting the position. This is said to have accounted for Oyegun’s last minute withdrawal from the race.
It is a well known fact that former Governor Adams Oshiomhole bended over backwards in order to impose Godwin Obaseki, hitherto unknown in the political firmament of Edo State, on the APC as their governorship candidate of the Party in the 2016 Edo State Governorship Election. Thereafter, in equally mysterious circumstances, Godwin Obaseki was declared winner of the general election by INEC.
Prior to the sudden decision of the APC to suspend the extension given Chief John Odigie Oyegun National Executive Committee, and hold elective party primaries, Oshiomhole had been linked with contesting the Edo North Senatorial ticket of the APC. However, on seeing the opportunity in the NWC of the APC, Oshiomhole joined the race and with the support of the Edo State Government, which was willing to give anything to actualize Oshiomhole’s ambition, his success was guaranteed. It is said that what Godwin Obaseki gave away was the mandate for the federal government to acquire Edo State land for the cattle colony.
This presumed deal by the Edo State Government, in spite of the objection of the people, no doubt has the full support of the APC. This is reflected in an interview granted by the State Chairman, Anselm Ojezua in an interview by saying that it is a welcome development. He went on to say that personally, he is willing to invest in it. Whether in that investment Ojezua would be a tenant of the Myetti Allah, Fulani controlled cattle territory or not is a subject for another debate.
In the meantime, the big question on the lips of Edo people, while they ponder the expected occupation by the Fulani is: whose particular land has been mortgaged for the vested interest of Edo APC and Adams Oshiomhole?