GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has described presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu as an agent provocateur over his recent comments in which he condemned the Southern Governors Forum for banning open grazing.
Earlier this month, the Southern Governors Forum met in the Delta State capital Asaba where among other things, they agreed to ban grazing, called for the restructuring of the country and lent their support to the idea of state police forces. While the measures were broadly welcomed by civil society groups, several prominent northern politicians like senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan, Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Abdullahi Adamu have opposed the proposals.
Wading into the matter, Mallam Shehu described the resolutions as acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate power. He added that the actions of the governors, was an attempt to violate the rights of some Nigerians.
Reacting to the comments, Governor Akeredolu, the chairman of the South West Governors Forum, said Mallam Shehu was not speaking for President Buhari on the ban on open grazing. He called on Mallam Shehu to disclose the real motives of those he serves, as his interests are definitely not those of the president.
Governor Akeredolu said: “He can’t continue to hide under some opaque, omnibus and dubious directives to create confusion in the polity. Mr Garba contends that their announcement is of questionable legality but the decision of certain elements to take the ancestral lands of other people to settle their kinsmen, including the gun-wielding killer herdsmen, does not appear to him as a comprehensive plan for land grabbing, a precursor to internal colonialism.
“It is clear that Mr Garba seems to have issues understanding the difference between licentious criminality and qualified rights under our law. It’s our duty to continually nudge him off his current state of cognitive dissonance as his pronouncement betrays dubiety and mischief.
“It raises suspicion on a grand, deliberate, persistent, and insidious design to use naked force to subjugate the real owners of the land. Mr Garba Shehu is a major supporter of the current pervasive anarchy in the land.”