• ‘Govts have obligation to protect herders’
Adamu, who said this while addressing members of the Senate Press Corps in Abuja ahead of today’s resumption of the Senate, said the idea of zoning is alien to the Nigerian Constitution.
The Nasarawa West lawmaker insisted that government at all levels across the country owe it a duty to protect herders as they go about in search of their means of livelihood.
On what will happen in the APC over power shift in 2023, Adamu said: “My answer to that is Constitution. There is nowhere in the Nigerian Constitution that says we should zone any public office. There is Federal Character, but not that parties must zone positions for Presidency during elections.
“The Constitution is being reviewed. If you want a specific provision that presidential positions be zoned, you say it, and tell us how you want it to be zoned. Is it going to be from one zone to another?
“You can’t just wish away a situation that is fundamental to a country. You can’t talk of merit and talk of zoning. You can’t. The issue of rotation is out of it. Let’s just go by me.
“Let every party find a way of selling itself in a manner that will garner the kind of votes that will win the election. It is as simple as that.
“Do we have anything like that in the American Constitution? Are we more democratic than the Americans? It is democracy. Why do you want to change it? It’s wishful thinking only.
“How do you zone it? Yes, somebody is saying the Southeast has not had a President. I agree and I sympathise with them. But the Constitution says you can only become President through the ballot box, and we have been saying it during elections that every vote must count. So, why do you want to zone?”
Asked to comment on the plan by some state governments to ban open grazing in their domains, Adamu said such a thing should not happen.
The Nasarawa West senator insisted that the governments owe it a duty to support cattle herders the same way they have helped to bail out ailing private firms in the past for economic stability and growth.
He said: “Every Nigerian has a right to free movement and the right to pursue any legitimate business. It is in the Constitution.
“The fact that a governor or two in the North have said something similar does not take away the right of the herdsmen.
“The duty to protect the herdsman and the farmer rests squarely on the table of the national government, the state governments and the local governments.
“The question is: has the government done what it ought to do to protect the people in that category or in that trade? The answer is no.
“You cannot blame the person who is desperate and looking for a means of livelihood from going to pursue his own goals.
“However, this does not excuse anybody in the course of exercising his right to do harm to another person’s right.
“A farmer has the right to farm. If you take your cattle to his farm and cause damage, he has a right to claim damages and he can make such a claim in the court of law.
“It doesn’t matter. If all the northern governors echo the same thing that the southern governors did, it doesn’t change it. The government owes these herdsmen a duty to protect their calling.
“Yes, there is modernisation. But it is not the fault of the herdsman that he still grazes the same way he has been doing. We have misdirected our political thinking and activism by refusing to tackle the main issue.
“If you can protect a spare parts dealer, why can’t you protect herdsmen? If the government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can protect failing banks, why can’t you protect herdsmen?”
On the seeming disagreement between Southern and Northern leaders on major national issues, the former Nasarawa State governor said the issue predates the current crop of leaders and politicians.
“The division did not start with my generation of politicians. Right from the amalgamation, there have been discontent and disagreements between our politicians, right through to Independence, and this is in the blood.
“It is a historical fact. You can’t wish it away and you don’t achieve anything by shouting on rooftops. You have to come together and talk,” Adamu said.
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