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1983’s Ondo riots incomparable with 2011 killings in the North
Media reports have quoted the legal adviser of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Abubakar Malami, likening the murderous violence in the Muslim North over the result of the presidential election in April to the riots in the then Western Region in 1965 and in Ondo State in 1983. Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman of the Buhari campaign, has also been quoted as having made similar remarks.
This analogy is not only absurd and bizarre, but also mischievous.
In the Southwest in 1965, Action Group rioters attacked local NNDP (Demo) leaders who were of the same ethnicity and religion like them to protest the mass rigging of the regional elections of that year.
Again, in 1983, UPN supporters attacked NPN leaders over the rigging of the governorship election of that year in Ondo State.
In both cases, Yoruba people did not target Hausa and Fulanis or Igbos living among them specifically and there was no religious or ethnic undertone to the riots.
In June 1993, when the regime of Ibrahim Babangida annulled a free and fair presidential election that was won by Bashorun MKO Abiola, Yorubas did not attack a single Fulani or Hausa or any Northerner for that matter in any part of Yorubaland, despite their frustration at such a brazen injustice perpetrated by a military dictator of Northern origin against one of their own.
However, in April 2011, murderous Muslim Hausa-Fulani CPC supporters descended specifically on innocent and defenceless Southerners and Northern Christians (including youth corpers), killing them and burning their properties and Churches.
And the killings took place paradoxically in the states won by the CPC. Where is then the analogy between 1983’s Ondo State or 1965’s Western Region and the genocidal violence of April 2011 in the Muslim North?
CPC is a fascist party like the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. It does not subscribe to democratic values and does not accept the verdict of the majority of the people. Buhari’s supporters are radicalised Muslims who reject the presidency of a Christian as an ideology.
The CPC should stop dancing on the graves of the hundreds of innocent victims of the latest vile, reprehensible and senseless violence in the Muslim North.
We must not ignore the lesson of history. Killings such as these sparked the Nigerian Civil War, which cost the nation more than 1 million lives, leaving scars that are still etched in the nation’s psyche until today.
Too many of these unjustified, unjustifiable and unwarranted killings have occurred in Northern Nigeria and that they have the potentials of sparking nation-wide reprisals and eventually lead to a civil war and the dismemberment of the country.
The time to act to stop these killings is now, for the peace and unity of Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan must prosecute the sponsors and perpetrators of the April 2011 killings.
Republic of Ireland.