Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jubrin, Sunday said that his comment on the controversial RUGA policy should be seen as a position of a Fulani leader and not in the context of his position as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees.
Moreover, he said that his party, the PDP had not taken any position on the controversial RUGA policy and therefore he had not controverted any position of his party.
Senator Walid Jubrin’s position on RUGA had attracted condemnations from the Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Elders Forum and the Yoruba Pan Cultural Group, Afenifere.
But reacting Sunday at a press conference, the PDP BoT Chairman said, “First and foremost, Nigerians should realize that I am a full-blooded Fulani, the Sarkin Fulani of Nasarawa state, an elder statesman and an industrialist. I have over two million Fulani people under me who look up to me as their leader. I need to speak for them and if I refuse to talk, they can remove me.
“I am a founding member of the PDP who rose from a ward leader, local government leader, zonal leader, state leader, to become an ex-officio member. I became Deputy Financial Secretary, National Financial Secretary, which made me a member of the National Working Committee, then, BoT member, BoT Secretary and now, BoT chairman.
“Based on the above, I can make a personal statement on any issue. My statement on Ruga was to my Fulani people as their leader, the Sarkin Fulani, and it was purely a personal statement. It is not connected with my position as BoT chairman or with the PDP as a party”.
He further stated, “I am an ardent adherent of the official decisions of my party which is yet to take a stand on Ruga. I have never gone contrary to the decision of my party. I am a respecter of the party’s constitution”.
On what actually informed his position on RUGA, Senator Jubrin said, “Ruga is not for APC or PDP. The two parties accommodate Fulani and herdsmen. There is no need drawing a line between APC Fulani and PDP Fulani. When we talk of Fulani, we are one and the same. Anything that is good for the Fulani people is good for me because I am their leader. But I will never support any Fulani involved in conflict, killings, kidnapping and any form of evil”.
He explained that the controversial livestock policy should not be seen as compulsory as it is optional for states. He said, “Ruga is not a compulsory scheme for all the states in Nigeria. The southern states and even some northern states are not party to the scheme and I support them. Those who don’t want it should be left alone. It is only a test programme for those states that want to adopt it. It is a personal decision of the states and no state should be forced to adopt it”.
The PDP BOT chairmanship cautioned against mixing national security issues with politics, saying, “When we are discussing security, we must not bring politics, religion or tribe into it to confuse matters. I am a Nigerian devoid of any intention to create divisions in Nigeria”
On the level of preparations by party for the Bayelsa state and Kogi state governorship elections the PDP BOT chairman said that he National Working Committee of the party was doing everything possible to ensure that there was no impunity, godfatherism and lawlessness.
According to him, “All our aspirants in the two states must eschew bitterness, so that we will produce the two governors that we will be proud of, urging the screening committee to do a good job of all the aspirants”.
He said that the BoT was working closely with the NWC to ensure that the right things were done.