How Buhari And Ogbeh Plan For Ruga Settlement Is Hunting The Nation

By Nwangwu Uba

 Audu Ogbeh, a former  National Chairman of the People’s Democratic  Party, PDP, and President Muhammadu  Buhari   of the  ruling All Progressive Congress, APC,  former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development  may have left office but the problem he created  with the call on the states to provide lands at the instance of the President for the establishment of Cattle colonies is far from being over.

 This is because  the north central , north west and the north east , geo-political regions , which are affected by the activities of   the Miyetti Allah members are now beating the drum of war. Afenifere, the south-west socio-cultural organisation  may have  triggered off the  trouble this time which appeared to have died down   when  they made it clear to the President that the region would not surrender  an inch of  its land  for Ruga settlement for herdsmen

The  south -west leaders may have taken the decision in apparent reaction  to the Katsina state born Nigerian President  remarks on Tuesday, June 25, 2019,  that in the next five years , the establishment of  the Ruga Cattle herdsmen ‘s settlements  to stop open grazing by herdsmen.  He confirmed  going by the records  submitted to him by Ogbeh, the former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development that no fewer than 12 states had accepted  the settlements in their areas .

Audu Ogbe, a former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP,

Recall that the APC government had repeated said that    the Ruga settlement policy would end  the postoralists and farmers frequent clashes across the country.

But Yinka Odumaki, a fone -time political ally of the President ,  and spokes person of  Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural  group , has made it that even if all the states of the Federation support support the Ruga settlement policy,   the Yoruba race , will never support it because” it is a ploy  to Islamise the country by the normadic tribe, the Fulanis”. 

Odumaki , who could not buy the government idea that it will would end the frequent clashes in the flash point states between herdsmen and farmers  maintained that the government   simply wants  to carve out  land in every Community throughout the country  to give to the fulani herdsmen. He may have spoken the mind of the Yoruba leaders, when he said ”We reject the agenda. We will not accept it”. 

The Afenifere image maker may have told  those that cares to listen that the Yoruba extraction are enlightened people  that could not be deceived like other tribes. He may have sent a signal to the President  to watch his actions, accusing the President and his kinsmen of  caring about the unity of this country going by the sectional way he has been running the country between 2015 and now, ”pandering clannish interests”.

The Yoruba leaders emotional outbursts  may have  woken the  three outspoken socio-cultural groups, against the activities of the  herdsmen in Benue  state to resist  the establishment  of Ruga settlements in their state with the last drop of their blood.  They  are Mdzough U Tiv,  the Ochetoha,K’Idoma and Omy Ny Igede. They may have allied themselves with the Yoruba leaders claim that it was another ploy by the government to clain Benue government. They  may have hit the nail on the nail on the head when   they warned that the award of contracts by the ministry of Agriculture under  the close watch of Ogbe , then minister of Agricure and Rural Development  for the establishment  of the settlements   was a clear indication of Miyetti Allah plan to claim  the Benue Valley as the original settlers and owners , insisting that it would never work.Note that Ogbe , is an indigene of Benue state , regarded in political circles as a sellout.

While   Afenifere, a socio-cultural group in the south southwest and three-socio-cultural Organisations in Benue state, have declared their opposition to the Federal government Ruga settlement plan, the Midwest Movement , a pan socio-cultural organisation of the  oil producing states of Edo and Delta in south-south  geo-political  region, have rejected the Ruga plan of the Federal governemnt outright , insisting that any plan to implement the policy without the people’s consent would be regarded as an invasion and would be resisted.

The position of the south east leaders on the Ruga settlement was very clear from the onset.  They had opposed it. Nia Nwodo,  President General, Ohneze Ndigbo, who has his feelings about it  had warned  that government that going ahead with the plan of establishing Ruga settlements  for herdsmen across the country  would create unnecessary tension that may be difficult to calm.

Nwodo may have spoken the mind of the Ibos when he said that the only option  to ”address the killings  of farmers across the country  by fulani herdsmen  remained  the establishment  of ranches  in states that had land but not certainly in the south east.

An aggrieved Ohaneze President General  disclosed that  the government had planned  to use a dishonest approach  to achieve  open grazing  or his Cattle colony agenda which it failed to achieve through  the 8th National Assembly under the leadership of then Bukola Saraki  , President of the Senate and Yakubu Dogara, who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The duo were said to have blocked every moves to approve the law to establish Cattle Settlements across which the President did not finf funny. He hopes to achieve his plan in the 9th National  Assembly  having planted his loyalists in the leadership of the Assembly.

Ahmed Lawan, an indigene of Borno state and Buhari, right hand man is the Senate President while Femi Gbajabiamila,  a political ally Ahmed  Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The duo, according to political Observers do have the powers to turn down  any executive bill of the President, particular if it has to do with Ruga settlement, an indication that the Buhari is on the path of achieving his Ruga settlement plan.

Note that that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the first to raise the alarm that there was plan to Islamise the country but that was how far he could go but was countered by the government which describe it as false. Political watchers beleieve that what  the President had said that in the next five years  Ruga settlements would be established  in the country to stop open grazing confirms the claim by former President Obasanjo of plans to Islamise the country.

The fear in the minds of many  was that ”now that the government is  talking  of increased local government autonomy, the plan may have been concluded   to turn the Ruga settlements into seperate local governments  to serve the herdsmen in the future  to serve the interest  of the herdsmen as obtained in Plateau and Kaduna states, the two states that had known peace in the recent time.

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