President Muhammadu Buhari was recently quoted to have said that his government is constructing a rail line that will link Nigeria with the Republic of Niger because he wants his relative to have access to that country. This is incredible! The rail line, he said, will run from Kano (Nigeria) to Niger and facilitate the movement of his kith and kin from Nigeria to Niger and verse visa.
His word, “I have cousins, family members in Niger Republic, I shouldn’t just cut them off”. Buhari spoke during a live interview on Arise Television. He also cited transportation of oil from neighbouring country to Nigeria as well as job creation as other reasons for constructing the rail lines.
Taking Buhari’s speech on a face value, one could simply conclude that he doesn’t understand the complexities of
Nigerian problems. In fact, Mr Buhari does not even understand the country he rules as President. Well, I don’t blame him… a man who is yet to find his school certificate, who until date couldn’t submit any academic certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), may not understand that at a time like this, when the world’s economy, particularly his country’s economy is in doldrums, almost kissing the dust; the boat he’s piloting is about to capsize, that he, as the driver and captain of a sinking ship should look for a bait to steer it on shores instead of embarking some perfidious exercises.
A President of a country should be the number one patriot of that nation. His speeches and body languages should be laced with patriotism, civility; reflecting the core values and norms, honour and love of that country, appreciating the fact that that no President represents two countries at a time. What Mr Buhari is telling Nigerian, by this act, is that he is not qualified to rule Nigeria, having nursed or continues to nurse the ambition of protecting and defending the territorial integrity of a sister country. In terms of war, which country would he raise his gun for?
Time and time again, it has been said that some of the element that hold sway in Nigeria’s political space are not true blooded Nigerians; that they are foreigners who crossed to Nigeria from neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroun . And there were contentions that such statements were fallacious and untenable. But today, facts are emerging authenticating them; that some elements in the core north are Berbers, a slightly darker Arab tribe whom the original Arabs treated with contempt and therefore drove them away.
History has it that the Berbers were forced to flee North Africa by the full bloodied Arabs. They were driven into the desert by their Arab brothers because of their roguish nature. “The Berbers-Fulah were expelled into the desert because they are vagrant, congenital bandits, a menace to any society”, according to a report. They are mainly found in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Chad and some desert north of Africa. These are the people Buhari says are his cousins and whom he still maintains relationship with.
This fact gives Mr Buhari away as unpatriotic and a President that serves dual national interests, committing the nation’s funds to wastages in a foreign land. The Nigerian government under Mr Buhari had in January, 2021 curiously signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mota Engil Group, a multinational engineering and constructing firm, for the construction of the 1.959 Billion Dollars Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line project.
The rail line is expected to run through Kano, Jigawa, Katsina States and terminate in Niger territories. His administration says the 283.750 kilometre rail line, besides developing freight and passenger transport, will be integrated with road transport, adding that it will make a great contribution to the local economy as well as an important development in the social sector”.
Meanwhile, rail lines in the Southeast, a major component of Nigeria, are left in limbo. Weeds have taken over the once blusterous stations whose rail lines stretch from Port Harcourt to Enugu and down to Makurdi; crisscrossing many agrarian and industrial cities. It then means that Mr Buhari is trying to destroy the geographical space of Nigeria and create another larger Nigeria that will include Niger and perhaps Chad. Is it that Mr Buhari wittingly or unwittingly is trying to annex these countries without the consent of the National Assembly or Nigerians? What actually does he want to achieve by building infrastructure in a sovereign nation other than his? If this is not an impeachable offence, I wonder what else is!
Now, on his insistence on reopening the mythical Grazing Route of 1963, one is at a loss as to his understanding of the present composition of the country. Let’s concede the fact that such feudal policy existed then, (but it didn’t from records available) how do you bring it back to fruition without destroying the geographical and social structure of this nation?
For instance, there was nothing like Abuja as a capital territory in 1963; Lagos was. Now, what would happen if the so called cattle route passes through one of the major buildings or establishments in the Federal Capital Territory, say the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the Federal Secretariat or even Aso Rock? I hear him say the route would be diverted; diverted to where? This is incredible!
We all know that cattle rearing business is neither a government business nor a fundamental project for a nation’s economic survival. There are thousand and one business ventures that are privately owned, which of course have not been adopted by government as its legitimate business, but are being carried out happily by their owners without qualms. Does he not think that Ndigbo, known for their prowess in trade and commerce, also deserve the right to be given some large portions of land in every parts of the country to do their spare parts and other businesses? Ditto to the Yorubas and other ethnic nationalities?
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.