Open letter to Buhari on Ruga settlement
Dear Mr. President, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter. Sir, the “new normal” is not always normal in our country-Nigeria. It has always been one-day-one-dose-of-trouble for our beleaguered (troubled) Nigeria. Our needless and man-made problems are recurring and intractable. At times, you forget not to listen to people who advise you not to follow a popular set of priorities! It’s understandably true that most of your enduring and popular programs are unpopular among some Nigerians. Because, the nucleus of integrity is amiss from the people’s values, it’s practically difficult to sell integrity in a dysfunctional society.
Painfully to some of us, your government seems inadequate at explaining to all Nigerians from the onset: your popular and futuristic programs in the areas of agriculture, road constructions, exports, and imports, responsible leadership, war on corruption and indiscipline, etc. These are good policies that lack adequate and simplest tools of information dissemination. Your special advisers are good at fire-brigade-approach or damage control to explain to the disgruntled Nigerians when the damage has been done to ill-informed the nation. People have the constitutional rights to understand the business of government. Cattle ranching are not a new development in Nigeria, but when that integrity-man from Daura sees a comparative advantage of today’s decision for the future and takes advantage of it, the good intention becomes ethnicized, politicized and tribalized. The recent State House press release of your special adviser was a “medicine after death.” Why was the nation not informed of this common-sense policy that can potentially stop the communal conflicts between the cattle herders and aggrieved farmers? Why didn’t the Federal government extend the same gesture to Fishermen in Ijaw and all geopolitical zones in the country to disavow this mutual ethnic suspicion and internecine battle?
The politicized and tribalized monstrous herdsmen saga has warped our psychology to understand the role of your government, and the gains of farm-RUGA settlement in the nearest future. Anywhere the name of the herdsmen is mentioned in the Nigerian geopolitical zones of the South West comprising Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo states; South-South: Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Edo states, and South East which consists of Abia, Anambra, Ebony, Enugu, and Imo states, the monstrosity, and killings of these mindless herders readily come to people’s minds. The dwarfed fact is that not all herdsmen are killers. But the killer-herdsmen have soiled the names of your other law-abiding citizens.
These citizens are mostly from your Fulani’s enclaves in the northern part of Nigeria. Sir, while we are grappling with the confusion, contradictions and nauseating COZA helmsman’s rape tragedy in the “God’s vineyard”, RUGA settlement rears its ugly or good head into our collective conscience and consciousness again! RUGA settlement has been politicized, polarized and ethnicized in Nigeria. The intention of your administration is good but the imports and publicity of your policies are grotesquely miscalculated and misappropriated. It has also been grossly under-reported. Your political handlers are ineffective and ineffectual at explaining to Nigerians the pros or advantages of the RUGA settlement to all interested states that want the program. Your handlers seem to be your greatest political enemies at explaining your long-term policies that will benefit all Nigerians! Thousands of Buharis in Nigeria will be ineffectual to the plebeians if they are not being informed of your government’s policies and programs.
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to ask if your citizens are suffering from unexplained generic sins. Do Nigerians really need collective atonement for wrongdoings or these unidentified generic sins? Failure to answer all these concerning questions among others truthfully will continue to make us go around (circumlocutory) with our mundane problems. And the buck wittingly stops at your official table in Abuja. Mr. President, what is RUGA at this polarizes period in our nation’s history? Why was RUGA’s priority not explained from the conception to the polarized nation? The more we try to disinfect our bad breaths in the polity, the more your government put the indeliberate mess in our fouled mouths! What is the intention behind this decision at this period? Whatever the good intention that brought this policy at this period, it may be a big problem to appease the absence of peace in a divided country. Your government needs to explain the long-term benefits of RUGA settlement to the country in the form of mobilization.
The unexplained RUGA settlement is a big COMMA in your popular efforts at bringing the country together from the inanity of the past. To enjoy immediate and future sanity and tranquility, your government must be proactive in information dissemination! As a nation, we have so many peculiar messes ongoing in our country! The long-term benefits of RUGA settlement among others are not being communicated in a way to de-emphasized ethnic suspicion in our country. In an aggrieved and polarized nation, you the constitutional right to appoint who you want, but when it appears that your appointments are mostly of northerners to ministerial and key positions, and you do some things that appear only favorable to the North. It will raise ethnic suspicion from other people in other geopolitical zones.
When you comment on some pressing issues and ignore other outcries, it will trigger intrinsic biases and ethnic suspicion. You must address the nation in time national emergency. One of the reasons Jonathan failed woefully was because his appointees were so inept in their duties that they did nothing to tell or propagate some the good works he did. Remember the adage “if a tree falls in the forest…” Same here. It does make noise regardless, but someone has to put the news out there that the tree did fall and it made a noise, otherwise no one will know or hear about it.” I am sure the protagonists (advocates) and antagonists (adversaries) of your government’s policy may not like my opinion on this burning national issue! But it’s just my honest and patriotic opinion to make your government succeed.
In conclusion, at the infancy of your second term in office, we want you to succeed and entire Nigeria to grow into prosperity. You need to walk a fine line to govern and pacify your divided countrymen and women: grappling with the pervasive state of squalor, confusion, and contradictions. This is just my honest and concern advice as a concerned Buharist to your troubled administration. God bless you, sir, may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Balogun wrote from Arizona, United States of America.