Following the southern governors’ resolution to end open grazing in the southern part of the country by September 1, pan-Fulani groups, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association (GAFDAN), and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have threatened the governors to rescind the resolution or lose the 2023 presidency.
According to the National Secretary of GAFDAN, Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Southern Governors’ Forum failed to consider the implications of their resolution, describing it as a step that would “definitely jeopardise the chances of the South to produce the next president come 2023,” Tribune reports.
“You don’t just play politics. Some people want power to return to their region and they believe that the only way to go about it is to intimidate others. You want power to return to the South and you are driving people, about 17 million voters (Fulani), away,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi admitted that the open grazing system across the country is outdated but said the southern governors need to provide an alternative instead of banning it.
He further described the open grazing deadline handed down by the governors as a “call for anarchy.”
“The position of the forum is very unfortunate because you don’t stop a system unless you have provided an alternative to it. We are not against any new method of animal husbandry because we believe that the present system is outdated but then you don’t stop it overnight without providing alternatives. So, the position of the governors is practically impossible under the present setup in Nigeria.
“The statement of the governors is more political than realistic. It is unfortunate that people can play politics with the livelihood of millions of Nigerians. If you stop open grazing in the South, you are simply saying that those people should move to the North or they should move to other parts of the country. What happens if those in the North also ask the southerners to leave?
“You don’t stop people’s means of living and expect peace to reign. So, the implication is that the unity of Nigeria is going to be in question. You don’t expect those that will be affected to return to the North and live in peace with people from the South living in the North. It is double standard.
“It is a call for anarchy. If the governors had provided alternatives and set aside an area to practise ranching, it would have been better. The present situation does not favour herders themselves and then for you to start a thing without providing alternatives is wrong. This is a call for anarchy,” he noted.
Similarly, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, said that southern governors were only playing politics with their resolution to end open grazing in their territories without providing alternatives.
Mr Alhassan described the southern governors as being hungry for power in 2023 and warned the Southern governors against blackmailing the North to get the presidency.
He said: “They (the southern governors) are hungry for power. Why are they making open grazing an issue? Is it the only problem in the country? They may not even get the power.”
Mr Alhassan said herdsmen could not leave because the southern governors did not make any alternative arrangements before slamming a deadline on open grazing.
“Fulani herdsmen cannot move anywhere. The southern governors have not made any alternative (provision) for them. You cannot just drive away an economic group,” Mr Alhassan said.
He added that “If they (southern governors) want to blackmail the North, they may not get the presidency. They are only hungry for power with the direction they are going.”
The southern governors on Monday demanded that the region should produce the country’s next president.
The governors, irrespective of their different political parties, gave their stand after a meeting at Ikeja, the Lagos State capital on Monday.
The governors unanimously agreed that the presidency seat be alternated between the northern and southern region, adding that the next president must come from the South in the spirit of equity and fairness.