RUGA POLICY AND THE MILLION MILES DISTANT GOVERNMENT OF WAR Jejeniwa Olamilekan writes
I feel rage and this time will be writing about what and how I feel. Somebody somewhere will say I am young. Yes I know I am young but it will hurt me to hear someone somewhere say I know nothing and that I am inexperienced. Yes, I might have little or no experience at all and for that I have the education system of my country to blame. Essential and Comprehensive Government taught and nurtured me with a theory that’s totally different from field practice. I passed Government thinking I know the government. Ochu Joan taught me the system of government and I obliged thinking I know democracy. My National Diploma citizenship education courses reinforced these existing beliefs in me but now my eyes are opened. I have gotten to know outside school that government is not actually as I was taught. The Democracy my country, a republic practice is millions of mile faraway from me and its host community. Yes, I am young and this is probably the simplest way someone of my age could express his anguish.
Although I am young, I can boast of knowing the factors that culminated today’s yet-to-be-divided unified Nigeria. My young brain is quite receptive to know that Nigeria is currently sitting on a gun powder as it’s continuous unity gets threatened by the day. In fact, I am still in my twenties and faraway from being a critic, I know that the Elder at the helm of affairs of my millions-of-mile-distant-democratic government of war is again being driven by his impulsiveness and affluent display of ineptitude. Whether a man turns a village to a city or vice versa, history will tell of his time in power. The Presidency, as a way of curbing the unabated clashes between Farmers and Herders in the country suggested Cattle Colony which was rejected nationally but afterwards comes RUGA. It’s the same programme but with a different name and execution approach. Well, suggestion is not bad in an democratic government of a Federal country. In fact, different ideas is needed in proffering a lasting solution to a problem that affects all and sundry and such is prerequisite for the sustenance of Democracy. However, RUGA/Fulani hersman Cattle Colony is unprecedented. I don’t like to be disappointed but now I am.
Let me tell you about RUGA briefly. RUGA/Cattle Colony is the allocation of about 31,000 hectare of land settlement for Fulani herdsmen, their families, cattles, livestock, and culture in 12 States of the federation with Niger State as its kickoff base. This proposed settlement will contain grazing fields, cattle ranches, abattoirs, dairy, shopping complexes, religious houses, medical centres, schools, roads, power, water supply mechanisation and the complete range of infrastructure required to support and sustain an ideal but this time, ultra-modern local government area in each state of settlement. I didn’t know my government has enough resources to build six of this ideal and untra-modern local government size cattle colony in 12 states of the federation, until the plan was unfolded and of course, seeing that work has begun in Niger State already. Since the designated land for RUGA is that large, I have chosen to refer to it as a local government area. For RUGA to set course, there is plan to make provision for facilities that existing local governments in the nation cannot even boast to wholly possess. This is quite unappealing, I must say.
Now, the Federal Government of my already gun-powder-sitting-nation suggested RUGA to curb the menace that have led to the death of thousands; an act of terror that is not even close to being declared as terrorism. Definitively, Baba intends to establish and dedicate six local government in 12 states of the federation to appease the Fulani herdsmen whose perceived appetency for such magnific coup have mercilessly killed hundreds while grazing their AK-47 rifle protected cattles. The same Baba Buhari who alongside Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state sometimes back was quoted to have said that the Fulani herdsmen waging wars and causing despoil particularly in the south and middlebelt are not citizens of Nigeria. Despite this fore knowledge, this same Federal Government of my country is today preparing to establish and dedicate 72 newly created local governments not to indigenes this time but to placate coincided foreigners so they will lay down their arms. Chai, with all my supererogatory expectations, how do I tell the likes of Dr D. B. Oloyede of Fedpoffa that Buhari has failed me eventually. Even before the blaze of his first administration, Dr Oloyede knew a day like this will come, he told me but I didn’t agree with him.
Moreover, it is worthy of note that the advent of Buhari’s RUGA program or Fulani Herdsmen Cattle Colony and settlement program was preceded by increased Fulani Herdsmen Terrorist activity and land grabbing in the Middle Belt. It was also launched with militant advocacy by Miyetti Allah for grazing routes and grazing reserves to be established in the Middle Belt and Southern States of Nigeria in particular. Without doubt, Buhari has himself pronounced the fact that his RUGA or Fulani Cattle Colony programme is meant to resettle the Fulani Herdsmen and satisfy the demands of Miyetti Allah, who yesterday (July 1st) still indirectly threatened governors to either accept the RUGA policy of Cattle Colony of Baba or continue to have their states terrorised. This is a daylight robbery of our national heritage, all by non-Nigerians who will not even obey the Nigeria gun-laws of firearm possession; they freely move with standard military issued rifles just to protect their cattles and livestock. Who does that? They graze into farms and upon protest of farmers, they start to shoot sporadically unleashing mayhem. Imagine! Indeed, I am a young Nigerian who is considered inexperienced but today despite my lack of field knowledge of national politics, I am scripting of the day when things shall completely fall apart. This RUGA policy if not quickly abated and the impact of the million-miles-distant-government of war of President Mohammadu Buhari on its host nation will plant the seed of doom.
Prior to this RUGA, we have boiling unresolved nationality questions. The introduction of RUGA/Fulani Cattle Colony (72 new exclusive Fulani LGAs) in 12 States of the federation will swiftly provoke a mixed feeling of an avoidable national outrage. By implication, the Federal Government is allowing for perceived aliens to permanently own and retain substantial hectares of ancestrally and culturally owned land of natives and call it their homeland; a Federal Government’s gift. Let me tell you, I am not too young to know that a successful establishment of RUGA is tantamount to the re-establishment of the moribund Fulani caliphate in Nigeria. Well, I guess that’s one thing Miss Ochu Joan’s lessons of government and Fedpoffa’s citizenship have rightly done for me; providing me with detailed knowledge of history. Judging the unavoidable civilisation trend that have permeated almost every spectrum of our modern-day societies, I have this strong feeling that the killings have just began. The whole nation will someday be on fire. The war will no longer be sectional but absolute, round and profound.
Speaking of public opinion polls, does that even count for anything in today’s government? Does the will of the public change a thing, of course aside in elections? The Federal government is pushing on with its plan despite the loud voice on the media. Has Baba suddenly become a dictator or tyrant that he doesn’t welcome counsels? Hmmmmm I can smell wahala, coming. Frankly speaking, being a despot, the tales of the extermination Baba might cause for Nigeria will be historic that it will swallow every mistake of previous leaders be long forgotten. The civil war that his government will bring is swimming towards shore. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo sometimes back said of President Buhari’s agenda to islamize Nigeria, I chose not to believe. Now RUGA has confirmed Obasanjo’s accusation. The size of the proposed RUGA programme will mark the largest illegal migration in human history. Nothing is like it. Without an open declaration of war on the over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, RUGA/Fulani Cattle Colony is quietly but strongly capable of carrying out eventual fulanisation and islamisation of Nigeria. I can only imagine the uncertainty of what the future holds for me, as a Nigerian. Despite that we hardly have a single consensus on an issue, the Arewa, O’dua, Ohanaeze youths and others want RUGA settlement halted yet Presidency is adamant. If media’s public opinion polls, Arewa, O’dua, Ohanaeze’s consensus will not make Baba change his mind, what would? Civil war! Definitely, Nigeria is lost in her own democracy. This is my opinion of perceived mother of war.
©Jejeniwa Olamilekan Samson
♧Mass Communication Graduate, Federal Polytechnic Offa.