Fulani Radio vs Biafra Radio: Is Buhari planning to go the regional way?

Another controversy that may have a negative impact on the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari for the next four years is the creation of Fulani Radio. Some people say it is a regional radio which must be extended to other major regions of the country, but the Federal Government says it is needed to reach the Fulani/Hausa people.

One of the tools you can find on a typical Fulani/Hausa man is a transistor radio where he keeps himself abreast of happening in his environment. He goes with it everywhere. That has become a culture among them. While other regions of the country are concerned about the latest track of Davido, Olamido Badoo, Tiwa Salvage and other first-class hip-hop artistes, the Hausas and Fulanis stick to either BBC Hausa Service or any other stations that broadcast in the language they understand.

It was said that the best way to win the hearts of a Hausa or Fulani man is to speak his language. This must have prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with the idea of Fulani Radio as one of the ways to reach out to the herdsmen aimed at tackling the unending problem of the herdsmen-farmers clash which has claimed several lives.

Majorly, the Federal Government says the establishment of the radio frequency was to end the perennial farmers-herders crises across the country.

“The radio service will serve as a vehicle for social mobilisation and education, in addition to interactive radio instruction methodology that will be adopted to reach the very hard-to-reach segment of our target population.

The minister of education further stated that the Fulani Radion “will enhance our capacity to address crisis between herders and farmers with attendant consequences to loss of lives, destruction of productive assets, nomadic schools, facilities teaching and learning resources.”

According to the statement released by the government, Hausa broadcasters have already been contacted to develop programmes, meaning it would be difficult for any group to mount pressure on Buhari to rescind his decision. There is no going back!

But we had (have) similar radio stations in the past which were shut down by the Federal Government because of their perceived hidden motives.

Fulani Radio vs Kudirat radio

The establishment of the Fulani Radio sounds similar to seemingly regional radios that have been established in the past. Some of them include radio freedom which later became Kudirat Radio (in the South West) and Biafra Radio (in the South East).

In the case of Kudirat Radio according to a September 1996 Africa Research Bulletin report, Radio Kudirat was originally known as Radio Democrat Nigeria International. Though it was operating as a local pirate radio station, no one knew the location of its transmitter.

Kudirat Radio was aimed at offering an alternative voice to Nigerian people and runs programs in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and English. The radio also plays revolutionary music and its mission is to encourage Nigerians to resist the military dictatorship in Nigeria at the time.

While the tenets of Kudirat Radio was to reach the entire country, it was obvious that it’s a radio station designed for the South West, the Yorubas, whose son late M.K.O Abiola was cheated in the 1993 presidential.

That’s not in any way different from the Fulani Radio which is trying to address a specific problem of a section of the country instead of addressing Nigerian problem holistically. Kudirat Radio propagated similar philosophy.

Fulani Radio vs Radio Biafra

Also known as Voice of Biafra, it was a radio station that was founded by the government of the defunct Republic of Biafra now operated by Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader.

Nigerians have a divergent opinion about Radio Biafra. While some have criticized the station for “inciting war” through its programmes and “preaching hate messages” against the Nigerian government, but with the recent development Fulani Radio looks like the regime is going the regional way.

Looking at it politically, the South West is the headquarters of media and the region has never found it difficult using the media as one of its political tools. I don’t want to believe that our leaders are preparing for the likely effect of what may happen after the expiration of President Buhari second term in 2023.

Buhari did what others never did

One thing that I quite see as controversial about Buhari’s decision is that former President Olusegun Obasanjo never established Odua Radio even when there were skirmishes of crisis in the region. While the Buhari’s predecessor Dr Goodluck Jonathan didn’t establish Niger Delta radio when the militants nearly collapsed the Nigerian economy as they made it very difficult for the multi-national oil companies to operate in the region.

The establishment of Fulani Radio isn’t the way to go rather an indirect way of promoting violence. How would a Fulani President establish Fulani Radio which will be financed through taxpayers’ money?

This radio may fail to tackle the problem of herdsmen/farmers’ clash. The administration should focus on Nigeria’s porous border. In 2014, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) disclosed that there are more than 1,400 illegal border routes in the country.

“Across the over 4,000 square kilometres coverage, we have illegal routes which are not manned,” Parradang said.

“The number of illegal routes is 100 times more than the number of approved routes. In Adamawa State for instance, we have about five control posts but we have 80 illegal routes in the state, through which people come into the country,’’ former Comptroller-General of the service, Mr. David Parradang said in 2014.

If Adamawa alone, one of the Northern States, could have 80 illegal routes five years ago and we’ve not seen any measure taken by the government to curb it, I think Fulani Radio won’t be the solution to insecurity in the country.

Considering the record of Buhari as a former military leader who led Nigerian forces against Chadian forces in 1983, full military actions should be taken against the Fulani herdsmen instead of coming up with an ethnic agenda of a Fulani Radio.

He once said that he would leave Nigeria better than he met, this may be a mirage if establishing an ethnic radio is his own way of solving Nigerian problems. Alternatively, the president needs to tell Nigerians if he’s going the regional way where each region has their own radio to propagate their aspirations.