Before I proceed to deflate the unsolicited, hypocritical admonition of the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, against the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, that he should seek forgiveness from God for allegedly lying about the spate of kidnapping in the country, it is pertinent to submit that indeed the crime of kidnapping is on the increase in the country. And that’s where the consensus ends!
And, what exactly is the Federal Government doing about the ugly development? The tales you read from the police about random arrests, the military launching drones to trail perpetrators of the crime, state governments making regional efforts to tackle the crime and much more should suffice that governments at all levels are not sleeping, watching as Nigerians get abducted for ransom. Except for deniers who are in the minority, there is hardly a week in the country where kidnappers are not arrested with caches of arms recovered from them. A good number of them are currently facing trials in multiple courts in the country. All these do not happen without governmental intervention.
Going academic about it, the government alone should not be blamed for the rising wave of kidnapping in the country. The fault is in all of us for being enablers of this industrial scale crime in one way or the other. How do I mean? The society, family, religious, traditional and other social institutions also have their own blame to mine. The unbridled quest for materialism without regard for diligence and morality, the society hero worshiping the wealthy regardless of how they come about their wealth, the religious and traditional institutions adoring the rich without scant regard for how they come about their wealth are some of the subtle factors that trigger kidnappers to believe that any way that leads to humongous wealth is just and healthy. Anyway, it is no time to apportion blame or dissect the anthropology and sociology of how the crime came to become intertwined with our collective reality as a nation.
By the way, it’s safe to submit that kidnapping as a violent crime in the country predates the Buhari presidency. Inconvenient as this may seem, it is the truth and the truth, regardless of who is hurt or set free by it, must be said at all times by all conscionable persons. And that exactly was what Professor Osinbajo said during his recent visit to the United States of America recently! Aside being the VP who regularly gets classified reports from the exclusive intelligence community, he is not a flippant character who will make careless and reckless statements just to satisfy his political cravings as Afenifere would want us believe without taking cognizance of the truth.
Another question: is kidnapping being politically motivated? Sometimes it’s, especially after a major election cycle. It is truism in Nigeria that some politicians arm thugs during electioneering period to actualize their political desires. Whenever their political sponsors fail, in order to keep up with their hedonistic lifestyles fuelled by easy money, a lot of these armed thugs take to crimes with kidnapping being their trophy game to make ends meet. Again, VP Osinbajo was and remains spot on that kidnapping is sometimes politically motivated.
If the position of the VP, which has, understandably, been misunderstood and misconstrued in some quarters remains our reality, what then is the beef of Afenifere with the Professor of Law? You need not look farther: it is a fallout of the 2019 and possibly 2015 general elections. It is open knowledge that the Afenifere, led by Chief Reuben Fasoranti whose spokesperson is Yinka Odumakin, has been a rabid partisan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It is on records that the Fasoranti-led Afenifere supported the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 as against Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who eventually won the election. Again, perhaps having not learned anything from its loud failure in 2015, the organization also threw its weight behind the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the 2019 presidential election. Again, the organization failed to actualize its inordinate desire as Atiku, their new paymaster, suffered a huge electoral loss in the election.
So far, the serial, back to back losses suffered by the sociocultural group and with no redemption in sight anytime soon, the only game left for the group to sustain its illusory relevance is to continue to cast aspersions on the person of the VP thinking such sadistic aspersions will have a huge negative impact on the APC as the nation leaves behind 2019 and ambles towards the 2023 general elections. Fortunately, and unfortunately, the APC and the Buhari presidency do not seem to bother about what will happen in the future as the future belongs to God wholly. They are only concerned about fulfilling their 2019 electoral promises to Nigerians which include among other things; fixing the economy, beefing up security and fighting corruption to a standstill. One good thing is, VP Osinbajo is unfazed by the tasteless criticisms coming from Afenifere and its disgruntled ilk.
Meanwhile, a faction of the sociocultural group led by the irrepressible second republic senator, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, was in Aso Rock recently to see the President. The crux of the group’s visit was a message to President Muhammadu Buhari to beef up interior security especially as it relates to the southwest geopolitical zone where kidnapping is now eating up its arteries and veins. Rather than engage in blame game, the Fasanmi-led group made suggestions to the President on what his government can do to stem the ugly tide of kidnapping in the country. From the foregoing, it is easy to spot who is on the side of the Yoruba nation and who is in the sport to extract pecuniary gains for their own selfish interests as they have demonstrated in the last couple of years. Fortunately, the people are wiser as they now know who is working for or against their interests.
Ben Abdul wrote from Lokoja