Two days after Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, won the Ekiti governorship election in the Southwestern state, Fulani herdsmen matched into Ekiti state defying the anti-open grazing laws of the state.
Dr. Fayemi, widely seen as the candidate of the Fulani oligarchy in the state, was recently a minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Kolapo Olusola, who was backed by the fiery Governor Ayodele Fayose, lost the poll by a little over 19,000 votes.
Following killings by Fulani herdsmen in the state in 2016, Governor Fayose had imposed an anti open grazing law in the state and ordered that cattle herders must own ranches.
Ekiti’s anti open grazing law was met with stiff resistance by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the umbrella association for cattle herders in the country.
Baba Ngelzerma, the secretary general of Miyetti Allah, on a television programme in 2016, admitted that the cattle rearer’s association, was often referred to as ‘Fulani Cattle Rearers” because of the exclusive ethnic make-up of the group.
Fulani herdsmen had signed agreements with the government to obey the laws of Ekiti state.
During the heated governorship elections campaigns, Dr. Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti, was accused of promising to repeal the anti-grazing law which is believed to be a move that would allow the invasion killer Fulani herdsmen into the southwestern state.
President Muhammdu Buhari, a Fulani, had campaigned for Fayemi in Ekiti before the elections.
On Monday, July 16, 2018, the cattle and their Fulani herders were seen roaming the ‘almighty Ekiti mega city,’ as a commentator in a Facebook post stated. A voice, which appeared to be that of producer of the video, mockingly welcomed the cattle into the state hailing them and the herdsmen as “senior citizens of Nigeria”.
A wave of violence and killings by Islamist Fulani herdsmen has rocked the Central Nigerian region with new intensity since Buhari came to power in May 2015.
According to human rights organisations, 8,900 Nigerian Christians have been murdered by the Fulani herdsmen since Buhari came to power.