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Ebonyi Governor, Umahi And The Herdsmen Crisis Resolution (Photos)


By Philip Nweze

Third week of January, a NEC Technical sub committee, headed by Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi, was raised to visit the four most affected states in the raging conflict between fulani herdsmen and native farmers across the country. The sub-committee was carved out of a ten-member working committee of governors, earlier inaugurated and headed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to engage and dialogue with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and other groups of cattle herders in a bid to end the clashes and bloodshed pummeling the country.

Given the delicate nature of this assignment, Governor David Umahi emerged as the best pick to chair the sub committee. The unanimous adoption of Umahi, by other governors to lead the push for the restoration of peace in the North East and North Central regions is traceable to his vast knowledge and wealth of experience in matters of state. Even as Nigeria is being controlled by the All Progressive Congress (APC), Governor Umahi’s relevance in Nigerian politics has never diminished as he is still consulted by the ruling party whenever the need arises.

He took the job in good fate and executed it with panache and aplomb. Series of national consultations and interactions with key actors in the conflict were initiated. His ingenious solution has resulted in enduring peace and prevented skirmishes. This opportunity once again proved the governor a consummate politician, master tactician and strategist. As leader of the peace project, he came up with practical ideas that the federal government can actually tap into to resolve the crisis permanently.

The current initiative of open nationwide consultations, which is his brain child yielded robust results. For instance, in Taraba state, the governor agreed to temporarily suspend the anti-open grazing law in the state to allow for some amendments in some of the contentious sections. The decision came after three days of intensive deliberations between the Umahi-led committee and key stakeholders in Taraba state.

By performing the near impossible task of bringing two perceived enemies to the dialogue table, everywhere he visited, Governor Umahi has carved his name in the national roll of honours and demonstrated that he is a detribalised leader committed to the wholesome growth and development of the country and its corporate existence.

Suffice it to say that Engr Umahi occupies a pride of place in Nigerian politics today. He is one of the voices that are sought to be heard in terms of emergency. He is steadfast and strong willed and does not hesitate to air his views with all sense of candour, on any national issue.

Today, the governor is not only leading the push for a more realistic political approach towards resolving the farmers/pastoralist conflict, he is also championing the strengthening of conflict resolution mechanisms and initiating long term efforts to reform livestock management practices, address negative environmental trends and curb cross border movements of herders.

The governor has remained a symbol of cohesion and a voice of caution and restraint. History will remember him as the man who cured Nigeria of the herdsmen malaise.


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