RUGA Scheme and Matters Arising

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In a country where strange things happen every day and 16 is often greater than 19, few things can be counted as genuinely surprising or shocking.

What happens when an unstoppable force collides with an immovable object? That is the billion dollar question on the lips of many who have watched in amazement how the RUGA controversy is panning out.

In a saner clime, the proponents of the scheme ought to be behind bars for piloting anti-people policy without due consultations and enlightenment. It is now crystal clear that the Nigerian people do not wrestle with mere flesh and blood but some political principalities and powers with a determined agenda.

Serendipitously or perhaps calculatedly, the RUGA project saw the light when Nigeria was almost naked without ministers after weeks of inauguration to serve some pecuniary interests. How can a ministry (Ministry of Agriculture) without a serving minister dust up such a project? Time will do justice to that question. Even as no one can hazard the chief reason why the nomenclature was dumped the last minute for National Livestock Transformation Plan, the mystery behind the suspension remains a puzzle yet to be solved. Despite repeated assurances by the federal government that there is no connect between the two projects, it is baffling that the RUGA project was suspended rather than summary termination.

The federal government obviously pooh-poohed public opinion on the matter, else it would have died a natural death via outright cancellation because suspension is paradoxical; the more you look, the less you see.

The RUGA conversation irrespective of the nomenclature awarded to it remains a threat to national unity and sits the country in a keg of gunpowder. Nigerians have decidedly resolved to taste freedom from the stifling yokes of ethnic domination and control and are united in rugged determination to celebrate their deliverance irrespective of whosoever is offended by the jubilation.

Like a kid giddy with delight after getting his first taste of chocolate, the drivers of the scheme hurriedly went to town with it, bypassing institutional protocols but thank God Almighty for the media, which is firmly in the grip of the masses. Rather than tender an unreserved apology for mooting such a stimulant to disunity, the forces behind the scheme threatened xenophobia via the Arewa Youths on the opposition to the project. Whilst some dismissed their childish rant, others however swallowed it with elevated seriousness resulting in an eruption of verbal hostilities and release of angry missiles from different circumference of the nation to pick on this ugly trend (constant threats).

Until these men are apprehended and charged for larceny, treason and institutionalised thievery for always threatening other sections of the country, the claim that we are equal remains an illusion. It is so unfortunate that a bunch of disgruntled elements are threatening the unity of the nation at will and the federal government is fixated towards establishing the herders, when it has become an embarrassment that cabinet members are yet to be formed almost two months after inauguration.

The recent travel advisory handed down by the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria to its nationals speaks volumes. This kind of warning by the international community to steer clear of 21 states over security challenges will adversely affect the economy because most investors will shun investments in the country.

The 1999 constitution is one of the greatest enemies of Nigeria’s growth as a country because it has failed to serve its purpose optimally. Some lacuna in the constitution takes the nation through south. As a constitutional democracy, the rule of law should be exalted at all times in Nigeria. The delay in forming the cabinet after inauguration is inexcusable. The president is mandated under the law to take prompt decision that will save Nigeria from further embarrassment before the world by doing the needful. The president should buckle down because picking cabinet members from 198 million Nigerians is no rocket science.

The federal government should desist from using the taxpayers money to fund any animal husbandry project (irrespective of the title) even when it is public knowledge that livestock contribution to Nigeria’s GDP struggles to approximate 5%. Cattle rearing is a private business and should be treated as such. The ownership and entitlement mentality already cultured in the “Fulani Ethnic Nationality” should be erased as all Nigerians are equal before the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

There should be no sacred cows or untouchables under any guise before the law. The federal government should relax all policies that will not capture the interest of the masses in the interest of national cohesion. A high powered security team should be structured to critically look into the activities of terrorism in Nigeria to avert further deaths. The RUGA Scheme or its attendant appellation should be totally obliterated to uphold peace and unity amongst the different tongues and faith.
––Agada Ikechukwu, bishopagada@yahoo.com