The true meaning of Ruga

IT’S a monumental tragedy for Nigeria that our conversations in the last four years have mostly been about barbarism. At a time when even African countries are manufacturing vehicles that would not consume fuel, we have been bogged down with Miyetti Allah, cattle routes and grazing reserves. We have, in the process, lost thousands of precious lives to terrorists who use cattle as cover to inflict maximum harm on various communities in Nigeria.

The fundamental essence of law and order has lost meaning in the country as these marauders have been somehow elevated above the law.

The quality of life has gone down drastically for millions of our citizens in the last four years to the point that we are now the global headquarters of poverty. Yet, there has not been any coordinated effort to resuscitate the economy, making it to appear that poverty has become the new weapon of social engineering in the country.

Lately, Fulani herdsmen have taken their nefarious activities to the “Next level” as they now kidnap citizens for ransom across the country and, in the process, making many roads unsafe for users. The governable space in Nigeria is shrinking and we are daily looking like a failed state.

It’s now one month and three days that the president was sworn in for a second term and there is no cabinet in place. The only appearances of government that we see are measures that remove faith in corporate Nigeria like the Fulani Radio, negotiation with Miyetti Allah and alleged offering of mouth-watering sums of money to those who should be lined up before the law.

The latest is the Ruga settlements that has polarised the country and making it divided than it was before amalgamation.

The brazen audacity of coming up with a project in Hausa word is the crudest assault of inclusivity in a multi-ethic country like Nigeria. Ruga is Hausa term which means cow settlement. The in-your-face attitude in coming up with this concept is a summation of all that is wrong with Nigeria now under this administration.

To start with, the very idea of Ministry of Agriculture is a misnomer in a federal system with so much diversity like Nigeria. The only land that belongs to the Federal Government in Nigeria is the Federal Capital Territory, which makes the ministry just a money-siphoning entity given the amount we vote for it yearly.

And since independence, most of our agriculture ministers have always been from a section of the country, except for some exceptions which may explain why many of the operations of the ministry have been sectional.

Not many Nigerians would know that the FADAMA programme the ministry had executed over the years is from an Hausa word for irrigation, copied from Ancient Egypt’s Shadoofs: involving use of water wheels. The water wheels worked the shadoofs. A shadoof was simply a counterweight system, a long pole with a bucket on one end and a weight on the other. Buckets were dropped into the Nile, filled with water and raised with water wheels. Then oxen swung the pole so that the water could be emptied into narrow canals or waterways that were used to irrigate the crops.

Other nationalities never bothered to find out the meaning of the term because there was not the kind of loss of faith the polity has suffered in the last five years. Ruga has, therefore, become the height of the impunity that has been carried on for many years now and it shows clearly the absence of sensitivity on the part of leadership to bring this up at this time.

No matter how it is dressed, Ruga connotes no other thing than a measure in ethnic domination and conquests as it seeks to create territories for Fulani people all over the country.

This is not about cattle in any way. The truth of the matter is that Fulani hardly eat cow meat as they know it’s not healthy for human consumption. They are more at home with lean meat. There are reasons why they hardly eat cow meat, some of which are: (1) red meat may increase Alzheimer’s disease risk (2) can cause cardiovascular disease (3) risk of colon cancer goes up with red meat consumption (4) lots of beef causes Type 2 diabetes (5) mad cow disease. (6) meat just ain’t what it used.

There is, therefore, no way the Ruga settlements project is going to sell, as it smacks of only a desire for land-grabbing, domination and conquest. The statement put out by Garba Shehu on Sunday night is just a waste of time, as it said nothing convincing. It is not a hidden fact that the Fulani is the only group that are herders in Nigeria. Even Hausa have nothing to do with cow breeding and their involvement with cows only have to do with selling cow meet and suya.

There can, therefore, be no convincing reason why the Federal Government would make cattle business a national affair the way it’s being done presently if there was no hidden agenda. The rest of Nigeria is aware of how the Fulani used subtlety to corner Hausa land under the guise of introducing pure Islam to them. The Hausa bought this and some communities killed their own kings to have Fulani emirs installed. That was how Fulani became domineering in all Hausa territories, even when they did not build a single town or city in the land.

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It was after they finished with Hausa that they faced the Kanuri who resisted them, asserting that they they knew Islam before them. It was after they hit the wall with the Kanuri that they faced Ilorin and was marching towards the heart of Yorubaland when its warriors stopped them in their tracks.

If there is still some sense of patriotism and care for the well-being of Nigeria as a polity, the administration must quickly perish this thought, allow those in the cattle business to run their affairs and face serious issue of governance. We risk overheating the polity and creating immeasurable tension if this Wong-headed idea is not shoved.



Re: Abnormal now our new normal

YINKA, thank you for your piece on the above topic. Please, permit me to note that the examples of ‘abnormal now our new normal’ are modern-day ones. Looking back, you will see that we entered the state of anomie long ago. In a country where the government has no concrete plans for the future of its youths, but rather leaves them to take to drug use and abuse, drug trafficking, prostitution, irregular migration to North Africa and Europe, cyber crimes, cultism, kidnappings, and many other maladaptive behaviour, is the government’s silence to these maladies not abnormal becoming normal? In  a country where the police that should be protecting the citizens are shooting down these same citizens, is this not abnormal becoming the normal? In a country where gun-carrying policemen mount checkpoints  and  extort money from brutalised motorists, is this not abnormal becoming the normal? In states where governors became emperors, owed salaries, pensions and retirement benefits, destroyed the civil service system and health services, is this not abnormal becoming the normal?

In a country where some teachers engage in ‘sorting’ of all types and give good grades to students who do not merit such grades, is this not abnormal becoming the normal? In a country where there is a selective fight against corruption and its president is looking on as if all is well, is all really well? In a country where gun-carrying herdsmen are killing innocent citizens and Boko Haram is on the rampage everyday and our president is just talking and not backing the talk with serious preventive actions, is this not abnormal becoming the normal?

Recently, a group claiming to be presidential candidates of some political parties in the February 2019 election came out shamelessly on television to refute the European Union’s report on the elections. Is this not abnormal becoming the normal? I can go on and on. The list is endless. It was Sonny Okosun who sang “Which way Nigeria?” Many years after the release of that song, Nigeria is still searching for the right way. With the recent happenings during the voting exercises for the National Assembly leaders, do you think that Nigeria will ever find its way? In the same song, Sonny Okosun also added “Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t die.” The present happenings seem to be showing that this country is on the butcher’s dissection table and is being decimated gradually. It is a big pity that some people who are benefiting from this ugly situation are pretending that all is well. Those who speak out against the butchering of Nigeria are called names, hated and sometimes threatened with death. Let us watch and see where this behaviour of making “abnormal our  new normal” will take us.

  • Tony O. Ekwe.

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