A university don, Dr Innocent Osagie, has urged Edo State people to commend Governor Godwin Obaseki “for insisting that due process and robust consultations must precede the passage of any anti-open grazing law.”
Speaking in Benin, he said sarcastically that “if that makes Obaseki a bad leader, then carry on with your good leaders who do not see any reason to carry their people along”.
The University of Benin lecturer, who attended one of the stakeholders’ meetings in Benin organised to discuss the issue, said: “What are the issues, and why the intense negative comments that almost seem so coordinated to paint as black anything that this man does? I am not and will never be a political apologist.
“On this matter, what is the hoopla about taking time to consult with the people involved in various aspects of the meat production value chain?
“After observing proceedings from this event, I left with a renewed sense of anger and frustration at some of the comments I had been following, especially on the social media. I have never written to a newspaper before but, once the issues became clearer to me, I decided to speak out once and for all on this matter.
“How dare Obaseki insists that all people from all sections of Edo State population have their say in the development of this new legislation? Of what benefit is it for my kin, the Afemai Butcher from Edo North, or his brother in New Benin Market from Edo South to be included in the deliberation process? Have we become so politically blind that it is impossible for us to think and reason critically?
“This is the result when we politicise straightforward economic matters. Of course, it should be illegal for people to bring their animals to feast on the sweat and blood of hard-working farming communities. It should also be criminal for them to kill, rape and literally destroy the lives of many of our farmers who have had to resort to self-help to protect themselves and their investments.
“What should, however, be frowned upon is the current trend to utilise this sensitive issue to divide and conquer Nigerians. There is a deliberate attempt to stoke negative tensions and it is important that we resist this most unproductive form of self-destructive politics… politics of “as long as I don’t like his face, everything he does is bad”.