Finally the raging and controversial RUGA settlement or cattle colonies project proposed and marketed by President Muhammadu Buhari has been buried, at least for now.
What we don’t know is under what protext or label it will be resurrected to distract the nation from the present realities of dire economic problems which many households are facing.
Surprisingly this RUGA settlement was never part of the APC’s manifesto or proposal during the 2018 to 2019 political campaign period, but suddenly the government woke up and tried every possible means to force it down the throat of Nigerians.
Even in the presidency, there seems to be a disconnect between those pushing for the RUGA option and the comprehensive ranching transformation agricultural project under the auspices of the Vice President, Professor Yomi Osinbajo.
In Nigeria, we like playing with words, so what is the difference between the cattle colonies that was canvassed for in 2017/2018 and the RUGA project of 2019? It is obvious that there are people in the corridors of power who think that most Nigerians are fools and can’t read in between the lines of words that are meant to confuse people with simple minds.
Whatever you call it, RUGA or cattle colonies are one and the same thing. It is just a matter of choice of words or label to sell an unworkable policy in most parts of the country.
The palpable fear and the opposition this RUGA generated across the country indicate that primordial economic solution to modern problems are unworkable in an enlightened society. It is not that people hate cattle herders, but their antecedents are an open book of destruction of farmlands, murder, rape and genocide.
In states like Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Delta, Edo, Ondo and Enugu, rampaging herdsmen have left in their wake massive destruction of lives and property and as at today, they have even ventured to the lucrative crime of kidnapping. And to make matters worse, hardly can we hear of arrests made by security agencies of these marauders.
So, when the federal government tried to re-label its unworkable cattle colonies project to Ruga settlements, the opposition to it from the middle belt and the states in the southern part of the country was overwhelming. As notable personalities like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former chief of army staff, General Theofilus Danjuma, governor from the South-East, South-South, the middle belt, clerics and socio-cultural groups like the Ohaneze, Afenifere, the Ijaw National Congress, all condemning the scheme.
So what really went wrong? To some keen observers of the socio-political structure of the country, the president is just pandering to the whims and caprices of his Fulani kinsmen. Apart from that, he is also the life patron of the Miyeh Allah group, which sees nothing wrong in their actions.
There is also this feeling that in Nigeria under the present dispensation, the lives of cows have more value than human lives, that is why despite the atrocities committed by this group, the presidency has never ordered security agencies to deal with them the way the government has dealt with others, for example, the Biafra group.
Again, there is the universal belief that cattle rearing is a private business and the government should not involve itself in such a venture. But the passion and zeal shown towards the project, coupled with the fact that in some states, sign posts have been hurriedly in some states, sign posts have been hurriedly put up, such as in Benue State, without the consent of the host government despite the fact that there is already a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle, calls for concerns.
Meanwhile the somersault by the government to jettison the idea is highly welcomed and shows that if Nigerians speak with one voice absurd policies will no longer have a place in the country.
According to the current global terrorist index report, “not less than 3,641 people were killed between 2015 to late 2018. And in 2018 alone 1,700 people were killed by herdsmen between January and September of 2018. It adds that the herdsmen have killed six times more people than any terrorist group in Africa”.
So, no one with a same mind, who values his or her life will like to have the herdsmen as neighbours. But if the option of ranches is implemented the issues of violence or rape of women in their farms will no longer persist. The herdsmen should be encouraged to buy land and join the modern world by building their own ranches. Ranching still remains the best option as it will provide the individual herdsman the opportunity to expand his business, have better health facilities and as well, eliminate cattle rustling and theft.
It is only when we play less politics with serious issues that we can make any meaningful progress. There is this distrust of certain government policies that no matter how it is painted it will still have a bad smell. Why is it that from 36 states to 12 and now to being suspended; the Buhari administration should jettison its ill-conceived so called cattle colonies and promote modern ranching as it obtain in South African, Namibia, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. We don’t need to see cows roaming the streets of Abuja, Lagos or Port Harcourt, creating nuisance and threatening the lives of pedistrians and motorists.
Today, a lot of Nigerians will feel vindicted that the huge outcry has paid off with the suspension of the programme, but there still should be vigilance as we don’t know yet the next device that would be used to promote this absurd idea of cattle colonies nationwide for a particular ethnic group. Because if the scheme had sailed through, every ethnic group that was dormant in a particular trade or business could advocate for its own; such as breweries, piggery, dog meat, snake, motor spare parts and others.
Let us grow above primordial sentiments and think like a 21st century human being.
Igbo Youths Task PDP, APC On Presidency
The umbrella group of youth leaders in the South East geopolitical zone, under the umbrella of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has said that it is either the presidency for the Zone in 2023 or nothing.
The group emphatically demanded that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should cede the presidency to the South East zone in 2023 at the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The youth coalition warned that refusal of any big political party to zone the presidency to the South East in 2023 simply means swimming against the tide of the curriculum of democracy in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement issued by the President-General of the group, Chief Goodluck Ibem, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday.
The Coalition warned that those clamouring for the North to take the presidency after eight years of Buhari’s presidency, are not patriotic, but place their personal gain and aggrandisement above the survival, progress and success of the country.
The youth leaders maintained that the zoning arrangement was borne out of doctrine of necessity designed as democracy bond with the sole objective of creating a sense of belonging, harmony, happiness, peace and unity for our dear country Nigeria.
The statement added, “Zoning of the presidency has its moral weight. Zoning of the office of the president to the South East in 2023 is very important to preserve the corporate entity of Nigeria and also calm down political tension.
Police Have Abandoned Duty For Political Thuggery – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kogi State has warned against looming anarchy in the state, saying police authority has left its duty post for political thuggery, intimidation of electorate by the State government and APC.
Deputy Director of Public Communications of the PDP in Kogi State Campaign Council, Austin Usman Okai in a press statement on Sunday said the state Commissioner of Police has refused to stop the rising political thuggery and intimidation of electorate by APC thugs in the state.
Okai alleged that the State Commissioner of Police was giving technical support to the All Progressives Congress, APC, political thugs in the state, which has made them untouchable for security agencies despite glaring evidences of violence against them.
The council called on Police authority, Departments of State Security to call the outgoing governor of Kogi State to order, stating that, “nobody has monopoly of violence but in PDP we believe in peace.”
“No amount of gun importation into Kogi State will make Bello popular, we warned that we will not continue running for help, and we must not be pushed into self defense as that will amount to anarchy, if police failed, we will protect ourselves, the IGP must guarantee our safety as we will not fold our hands and watch some APC government officials intimidate us using police and SARS.
“In Dekina local government, the government officials have contracted some boys whose responsibility is to go after our candidate posters and billboards, the boys are armed in Sienna buses and guns, the police are aware of their activities but decided to look the other sides, while the thugs are boasting they have police and nothing will happen.
Okai also expressed worries over the level of sporadic gunshots across Abejukolo the headquarters of Omala local government area of the state, stressing that activities of the local government administrator, Hon. Aboh in sponsoring thuggery activities against the main opposition party, PDP, under the guise of electioneering campaigns needs to be checked.
He noted that the LG administrator has contracted miscreants fully armed who move in Siena and Sharon buses across the entire local government to create panic, among members of opposition political parties in the area.
“Honourable Aboh is known to be harbouring hoodlums under the cover of vigilante group, but their main mission is to attack the PDP members and their families in the local government.”
He said the decision to start now is to create uneasy calm, instill fears into the electorate and supporters of PDP from the local government under the supervision of the state government.
“This ugly trend has also spread to Olamaboro Local Government where the coordinator of PDP in the local government, Enefola Charles Agada and his family have been harrassed severally, his properties destroyed and other members of the party chased out of the area”.
“This developement is expected to go round the local government as the election draws nearer,not for anything, but to ensure PDP members are chased out of their homes on the instructions of APC leaders who are viewing the election as a war.
He called on security agencies in Kogi to without further delay address the issue of thuggery from the ruling APC government in the state, noting that the APC’s only strategy in winning the election is to instill fear in the minds of the people not to come and vote in next month’s election.
“The APC have devised several means to spread to other local government areas of Kogi East to ensure voters particularly PDP supporters and sympathizers are not allowed to come out to vote.”
Ekiti PDP Disowns Members Urging Boycott Of LG Poll
Ekiti State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), on Sunday, declared its readiness to participate in the forthcoming local government elections scheduled for December 7.
In a statement by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Jackson Adebayo in Ado Ekiti, PDP maintained that there was no amount of shenanigan that would stop the party from its resolve to participate in the election.
This position has also been corroborated by all the 16 Local Government Chairmen of the party in the state as the party threatens to brand members working secretly against its interest as rebels, with appropriate sanctions awaiting them.
The party described its members calling for boycott as fifth columnists working for the ruling APC.
“We are aware of some fifth columnists among us who, perhaps, are working in collaboration with APC to stop PDP from participation in the election due to public opinions that favours us.
“It is not unusual for some members to want to play fifth columnist in any political party, but whenever such action is established, it would be naturally treated as an anti-party activity
“We therefore call on all our members to ignore the ranting of some individuals against our participation in the council election.
“Rather, we should concentrate our energy on strategies that can win the election for us instead of allowing some black agents to plant distractions in the party,’’ he said.
Adebayo, who said that apart from the decision of the State Executive Committee of the Party to participate in the election, the State Working Committee (SWC) had also been up and doing in preparation for the election.
According to him, all necessary forms had been obtained by candidates while the party has concluded all documentation at the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and only waiting for substitution if any need arises.
The PDP spokesman also explained that the party had put some mechanisms in place to ensure unity in the party which informed why imposition of any form was not allowed in the primaries of the candidates of the party.
The PDP state Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase, in an interview confirmed the stand of the party.
“The position of the extended EXCO and the SWC, with all party chairmen of all the local governments remains same.
“We met and we discussed extensively on what the PDP should do concerning the local government election.
“We all resolved that, in the overriding interest of the party, so that there will be activity in the party, so that Ekiti people will have option, so that the fundamental provision of the constitution that we all have right to vote and be voted for would not be blotted out by unnecessary emotions and sabotage, we should participate in the elections.
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