By Abiola Olawale
Following recent attacks in the South West, Northern Progressive Youths Coalition (NYPC), a pro-Northern youth group which claimed to be under the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the weekend advised Fulani herdsmen against soiling the reputation of the APC and the north amid ongoing political calculations for the 2023 general elections.
The group raised concerns that reported cases of alleged attacks by herders have been “demarketing” the APC in the South-West geo-political zone, noting that there was a need for the party to frontally address the issue and promote justice to bolster confidence in the party.
This was contained in a statement made available to The New Diplomat on Sunday, by the Coordinator of the group, Mallam Yerima Dikko.
The Coalition group warned all alleged criminals to desist from all their alleged infractions. The coalition lamented that there has been a rise in reported cases of kidnapping, raping and killing in the Southwest geo-political zone of Nigerian. Recall that in recent times, this has resulted in fiery exchanges between Fulani and Yoruba leaders.
Dikko in his statement stated that the ongoing alleged aggression by herders could negatively impact on the APC ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections.
The coalition group which claimed to be part of the APC also called on all stakeholders in the party to act swiftly and salvage the insecurity in South West and around the country.
The group said: “We must not be carried away with the wave of the moment. We must be wary of our past and allow the mistakes of the previous years to guide us into the future. We are all living witnesses to what happened in Benue State and how Governor Samuel Orton capitalised on the activities of the herders to defeat our party in the most crucial election.
“While me must continue to seek a good and better life for the people of our country, we must also understand that we have a great deal of responsibility to continue to put the Fortune of our great party, the APC in the good book of our people. This is democracy. The people are the major stakeholders.
“We must begin to address the issue of insecurity and the involvement of the Fulani herdsmen from the prism of the value of human lives and the promise of our party to place a premium on the protection of lives and property of the people. The APC, our great party, cannot afford to be sunk in ethnic bigotry when in reality we are supposed to cater to the generality of the Nigeria people. We must be wary not to allow the activities of these herders to ruin our chances and injure our popularity among the people.
“The activities of the Fulani Herdsmen is demarketing our party ahead of 2023 elections. Every man of conscience and Noble conviction with total loyalty to the APC, must not good arms and allow the issue to end the glory of the party we have all labored to bIt would be recalled that there have been heated arguments between the Fulanis and the Yorubas on the insecurity situation in South West, which the Yorubas have alleged the Fulani herders for disturbing the peace enjoyed in the Yoruba nation,” the Northern coalition said in the statement.
Recently, there has been tension between the herders and local communities in the South West, especially in Oyo and Ondo where there have been reported cases of attacks and counter attacks.
It would be recalled that Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu had given herders residing in the state a 7-day ultimatum to vacate all the forest reserves in the state.
Also, in Oyo, O’odua activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho had said herders operating in the Ibarapa area of the state should vacate the area.
Amid the escalating tension, groups in the southwest and the north have been lashing out at each other over the developing scenarios.