Those who are familiar with hunting for animals in Yorubaland would easily understand the meaning of the word “rugbo”. It is about bush beating by amateurs while experienced hunters wait with their guns to shoot at animals running from their activities to catch preys.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has been thrown into this kind of expedition since the ‘Rugarians’ started the next level in internal conquest by seeking lands to grab for Fulani herdsmen all over Nigeria.
There were serious outcries in all non-Fulani communities in Nigeria when the Ruga idea was mooted as the project was interpreted as an agenda in conquest and domination being the only reason why the Federal Government would want to grab land in all the 36 states of the federation for the private business of Fulani herders.
It was the Miyetti Allah group that inserted Professor Osinbajo into the noxious plan when.
The General Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Uthman Ngelzarma said Osinbajo’s office was in charge of implementing the programme nationwide.
He had said, “This Ruga settlement model is a component part of the livestock development and transformation plan that is being implemented under the office of the Vice President. It is a component part of it.
“All must agree with me that the crisis we are facing today has become a multi-dimensional one and so the approach must also be holistic. It was the desire of the Federal Government to take a holistic approach that gave birth to the Ruga settlement model and it is not only for Fulani herders.”
Miyetti Allah has been much more eloquent than even Alhaji Lai Mohammed in articulating sectional and insensitive policies of this government.
Embarrassed by the outing, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande quickly responded that the programme being handled by Osinbajo was different from the one being referred to by Miyetti Allah.
Akande said the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which had been endorsed by the National Economic Council, was different from the Ruga programme.
He tweeted, “Contrary to claims reported in sections of the media, Ruga settlements are not being supervised by the office of the Vice President. Ruga is different from the National Livestock Transformation Plan approved by state governors under the auspices of the National Economic Council.”
Before anyone could spell Osinbajo, SSA Media to President Buhari went on The News at 10 on Channels Television to rubbish the VP’s clarification insisting that Ruga and the National Livestock Transformation Plan were only different in name.
When asked if the two were different, he said, “It is just a matter of semantics. These herders who roam the entire country and overrun farmlands cause disaffection and fight and the government wants to stop this.
“So, we want to settle them in one place, provide the entire infrastructure they need. As a matter of fact, markets will come to this Ruga settlement or ranches. There will be establishment of meat processors, the utilisation of by-products including sanitary wares that will be developed from hoofs and horns. There will be a lot of business and money from this. It is not confined to Fulani. It is a business open to all Nigerians.”
Thereafter the FG announced a suspension of the “unilateral implementation” of the policy by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, a misnomer under Federalism, which some people naively thought was a backdown.
Events in the country ever since have proved those who read things correctly that the government is committed to the project in spite of the serious opposition to it and the potent threat it poses to national unity.
A fresh dimension of opposition to Ruga which Osinbajo cannot easily wave came from his constituency as a Pastor when the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) kicked against the programme in Lagos a few days back.
CAN told the Federal Government to jettison the planned RUGA scheme, saying the association was opposed to the implementation of the programme anywhere in Nigeria.
The President of CAN, Pastor Samson Ayokunle who announced the position of the association at a church leaders’ summit in Lagos said: “We, the Christian body call on the Federal Government to immediately suspend and abrogate the RUGA settlement programme.”
According to him, anything that smacks of mutual distrust should be avoided in the interest of national unity.
“We, the Christian body also kick against the Control of Waterways Bill now before the National Assembly. The Control of Waterways by the Federal Government Bill before the National Assembly should be rejected.
“Waterways in each locality should be controlled by local authorities. God created the waterways there. At most, they should be controlled by state governments.”
The CAN chief advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts on the establishment of modern ranching facilities, abattoirs and meat processing firms.
The final seal came from the usually reticent General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye,whom some have accused of being silent on some burning national issues because Osinbajo is a Pastor in his Church, who said that he supported the position of CAN on the RUGA settlement issue.
“CAN must do everything possible to let the world know that CAN is one. Whatever the CAN president says is the final.”
As if in a direct response to CAN the leader of the Fulani herders association, Bello Bodejo said that for for peace to reign in the country, every state must carve out a portion of land for his ethnic group to settle.
And Osinbanjo goes on trial on Tuesday as he goes to Adamawa to launch what has promised to be Ruga.
The five federal gazetted grazing reserves in the state were chosen to pilot the implementation because of its large Fulani herdsmen population.
However, Chairman of National Livestock Transformation Programme, Professor Alikidon Voh, said the move had nothing to do with RUGA.
Adamawa State deputy governor, Crowther Seth, had convened a strategic meeting on Wednesday with traditional rulers, where he informed them of the development and urged them to support its implementation.
Seth said, “The Vice President will visit the state on September 10, 2019, to inaugurate the National Livestock Transformation Programme.
“The NLTP as you will soon see during the presentation, is a very laudable, non-political, non-religious non-ethnic and non-partisan plan that seeks to modernise livestock production.
“It is also to bring an end to the violence and fatal crises that engulfed some states of the country including Adamawa.”
He said the NLTP, also known as Ruga would also stop violent conflict between farmers and herders which the Peoples Democratic Party government in the state had embraced and not hesitated to align with the All Progressives Congress led Federal Government’s plan.
Indeed the PDP at the national level has yet to make any coherent statement on the divisive Ruga policy.
Forty-eight hours now stand between Professor Osibajo’s integrity and the obnoxious Ruga policy. If what he launches on Tuesday is not Ruga he would still walk tall with his integrity but if Garba Shehu is proved right that he is being semantic and all he is supervising is Ruga, people would have to check their wristwatch before answering when next the VP says “Good morning”. And it would confirm he has just been doing ‘rugbo rugbo’.
Happy Birthday to Bisrod
All roads led to Igbeba Housing Estate in Ijebu Ode on Wednesday as Giwa Bisi Rodipe celebrated his 80th birthday. It was a big do that attracted the high and mighty as Bisrod rolled out the drums with harvest of thanksgiving for celebrating eight scores in a clime where life expectancy is 53.4 years.
Chief Bisi Rodipe who has achieved so much in different spheres of life in 1984 ventured into conservation and is today a foremost tree planter in the country .His Evergreen Tree Planter has done so much in afforestation project in the country.
It was a great worry when Chief Rodipe plantations came under the Fulani herdsmen attacks about two years ago but he gladly told me last Wednesday as a few guests including Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Olori Adetona spent the last hour with him in the celebration hall that the sad event is now history “The police did very well and I commend them.”
He was so full of life,vibrant and and energetic for the age he has clocked suggestive of the grace of God upon his life.
“Nigeria is a rain forest country that has all it takes to restore and rejuvenate its forest sector for wealth creation, sustainable environment and industrial prosperity” he said about his passion.
Left the bash for the home of my wonderful brother, Prince Ade Adetona to cap the evening with a wonderful reception in his serene vicinity of the town.Prince is married to one of Chief Rodipe’s lovely daughters.
Here is wishing Chief Rodipe many more years of celebration.