By Yahya Alfa Bakar
Dear Mr. President
For God and country
There is no North or South, there is just Nigeria. Only a fool will not acknowledge this. Our diversity is a great divine blessing. A good number of countries desire it. And from whichever perspective you look, it offers much more. We must work (together) to make that blessing our reality.
Love, peace, unity and prosperity in Nigeria are the common goals of a very much larger proportion of us. Each of us must be careful to ensure that we are on this path. It`s in the seemingly little things: the thoughts we harbour, the words we utter, the actions we take, and how we treat each other. We must do away with all things that could threaten our coexistence.
Let the words herein guide your thoughts and decisions on economic and political matters.
Love, peace, unity and prosperity
The objective of the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlements is to curb open grazing of animals that causes the recurring conflict between nomadic herders and farmers. The conflict, which is mostly over land access and resources, ultimately pose continuous security threats to both groups. The settlements will house herders and animal farmers. There would be provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products. The Federal Government believes RUGA settlements will be beneficial to the nation. From the presidency:
“The overall benefit to the nation includes a drastic reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection complete with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, increased quality of feeding and access to animal care and private sector participation in commercial pasture production by way of investments.
Dear Mr. President, every second in the years of your present and final term in office is your moment. Follow the path of a National Leader. Make every boy, girl, man and woman (in all 36 States and Capital) believe in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your words and actions should be that which leads to love, peace, unity and prosperity in Nigeria. May the Almighty God grant you the wisdom
Other gains are job creation, access to credit facilities, security for pastoral families and curtailment of cattle rustling”
With a complete condemnation of RUGA by the public (notable individuals and groups included) and a call to scrap it, the Federal Government suspended the policy barely a month after it was initiated.
RUGA is being condemned for very important reasons: the plan is not part of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), it did not address the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), and how lands will be provided for the settlements. The NLTP is a N179 billion initiative that was presented by the National Economic Council (NEC) in June 2018 for ranching as the future for cattle rearing in the country. Under this plan, cattle herders will be registered with cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme.
The IDP should be treated with at least the same level of urgency. The taking over of land by the Federal Government in the manner implied is unacceptable. Land acquisition as stipulated under the NLTP (where through the cooperatives, rental agreements for land from State governments can be made) is a far better approach. Given what has been made public by the Federal Government, we can understand that RUGA seeks to curb insecurity and promote a viable economic activity. The policy would have been a good one had land acquisition been reasonable.
Also very important in this is the widespread belief of an Islamisation and Fulanisation agenda. Some who oppose RUGA consider it the president`s plan for carrying out that agenda.
The Buhari-Osibanjo`s administration has, in the last four years, greatly reflected bias. In the 2015 and 2019 elections, we observe the vote pattern across States and Political Zones; and can infer the pattern among the various income class (the lower income class, the lower-middle income class, the upper-middle income class, and the higher income class). Voters of the All Progressives Congress Party benefit more from the actions and policies of the Federal Government, most times at the expense of others. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country of diverse people; this should be greatly reflected in all policies.
There are yet others who respond to RUGA, and every other policy of the Federal Government, with a divisive, separatist and break up psychology. What you are pushing is useless; unity is the way to go. All around the world we see increasing economic integration and security cooperation within and amongst nations. North Korea is working on integration with South Korea and the rest of the world. Then we have the European Union, League of Arab States, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), amongst others. And then, to top it off, we have China`s ambitious efforts to link continents through its Belt and Road initiative. Whenever we are displeased with policies of the Federal Government, there are various tools at our disposal for effective resolution.
To the users of social media: you will do well to handle economic and political matters with the utmost care. The various media through which you express yourself are powerful tools. They bring progress when used appropriately, and destruction when abused. Be careful to ensure that your arguments are based on knowledge. Get yourself educated rightly on the issues you discuss. And in your communication, apply wisdom.
Dear Mr. President, every second in the years of your present and final term in office is your moment. Follow the path of a National Leader. Make every boy, girl, man and woman (in all 36 States and Capital) believe in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your words and actions should be that which leads to love, peace, unity and prosperity in Nigeria. May the Almighty God grant you the wisdom. Amen!
All to the Glory of God!
*Yahya Alfa Bakar is a teacher and a consultant in business, economics, investment and finance. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org