Just about 24 hours to the commencement of the special national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), where its presidential flagbearer will be elected in Abuja, murderous gunmen, which many have labeled as Fulani herdsmen, struck in Owo, Ondo State.
The attack on St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, is no doubt a heinous one, planned or coincidentally carried out at a time the ruling party is converging on Abuja to choose its presidential candidate.
It is also instructive to note here that the attack, did not happen in the North-East, where insurgents have already left a mark with the continuous spilling of blood, or the North-West and North-Central, where murderous bandits continue to wreck havoc almost on daily basis. Neither was it carried out in the South-East, where ‘unknown gunmen’ have continued to dictate the pace, and determine when citizens can move around freely and when they must stay put at home.
The Sunday attack on worshippers in Owo, leading to the death of about 50 persons, took place in the South-West, the only geopolitical zone of the country believed to be relatively safe and at some kind of peace. This, no doubt points to something dangerous and alarming!
The APC, no doubt have its hands, flag and whatever symbols it employs soaked with blood, the blood of innocent and hapless Nigerians. It has the blood of helpless Kanuri man, Adamawa people, almost annihilated indigenes of Southern Kaduna, the Fulani and Hausa in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and the Igbos in the South-East who are daily murdered in cruel manners by unknown gunmen. The blood of every Nigerian the APC-controlled government have failed to secure and protect in the last seven years.
Unfortunately, the blood of over 50 worshippers in Owo have just been added to the long list of murdered Nigerians crying for justice, a rare item in Nigeria’s most recent history.
If truth must be told, the ruling APC and those in charge of it have an unenviable moral burden to strike a balance between constitutionalism, adherence to extant laws and the need to take time to reflect on the current and latest happenings in the country, by reading the mood in the land and do what is morally right.
The question, many will want to ask, especially indigenes and residents of Owo, families of those that were killed and worshippers receiving treatment in hospitals in the aftermath of the church attack, is, is it morally right for the APC to go ahead with its presidential primary less than 24 hours after the Owo Massacre?
It must be noted that in an ideal situation, and in proper climes, the leadership of the APC would, without prompting, shift the primary commencing today in solidarity with the dead, the families, the injured, the people of Owo, the government and people of Ondo State and the nation in general. The APC-led Federal Government, would also declare days of mourning, and order flags to fly at half mast, and most importantly go after the perpetrators of the heinous crime with the kind of zest hitherto unknown.
It will, however, be unheard of in today’s Nigeria for any of the above to be done by the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Bloodletting, mass murder, destruction of property and displacement of citizens have become the order of the day that the government no longer see them as anything out of the ordinary. The Buhari administration’s psyche have become so accustomed to unprovoked killings to the point that it is hardly moved.
The best Nigerians should expect as response has been done! The ritualistic condemnation without concrete actions to bring the perpetrators to book and also prevent a next occurrence has been the hallmark of the APC-led Federal Government. Off course, after the condemnations, we all go back to bed and wait for the next hit!
It’s a vicious circle that is gradually destroying the very foundation of the country called Nigeria.
The APC will no doubt go ahead to hold its presidential primary to choose a flagbearer for the 2023 general elections, as party leaders, delegates and members gather in a fun filled atmosphere as we continue to dance on the graves of our dead, those who died as a result of the inability of our government to secure and protect them.
It will certainly be a shameful outing for the APC at Eagles Square, Central Area, Abuja between Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th of June, 2022. But what then can they do? They will most probably hinge the decision to go ahead with the convention on the Electoral Law and the timetable set out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
One thing that is however certain is that whoever emerged winner will be getting a blood soaked flag which he may find extremely difficult to wash clean.