An Open Letter to President Buhari on RUGA Settlement

by Yahaya Balogun

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) nation. Our needless-man-made and recurring problems are intractable. You must suspend the RUGA issue for now if the majority of your citizens oppose it. There are so many popular programs that you can embark on to address the immediate problems and needs of your impoverished citizens.

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. It is pertinent for you to note that the nucleus of integrity is amiss from some people’s values. And 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. They only explain to the disgruntled Nigerians when the damage has been done to the people and ill-informed nation. People have the constitutional rights to understand the business of government. Cattle ranching is not a new development in Nigeria, but when that 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 by your advesaries.

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 strives or conflicts between the cattle herders and aggrieved farmers? Why didn’t the Federal government extend the same gesture to Fishermen in Ijaw tribes 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 RUGA settlement. 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 by 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 polarized period in our nation’s history? Why was RUGA’s priority not explained from the conception to a divided nation? The more we try to disinfect our bad breaths in the polity, the more your government and cyborgs or wailers put indeliberate and deliberate 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 tribalized country. Your government needs to explain the long-term benefits of RUGA settlement to the country in form of education and mobilization.

The unexplained RUGA settlement is a big COMMA on 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 have the constitutional right to appoint who you want to your cabinet. But when it appears that your appointments are mostly of northern origin to ministerial and key government’s 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 always address the nation in time national crisis and emergency to appease a confused nation. 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…” and 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 on RUGA settlement 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; as we are striving for you to succeed and the entire Nigeria to grow into prosperity, you need to walk a fine line to govern and pacify your divided countrymen and women. You must understand that your citizens are grappling with the pervasive state of squalor, confusion, and contradictions. We are gradually etching into Hobbessian state: where life is short, brutish and nasty! Your aggrieved and hapless citizens must begin to enjoy the dividends of our democratic norms. You can do it! We must begin to have a better life for every citizen.

In your quest to joining the course of history, your intentions, actions, and inactions will determine where your names will be placed in the chapters of our history books.

Unlike your contemporary Mr. Tortoise, you are indeed the opposite of his grotesque grandstanding. Any attempt to perform our patriotic duties or social responsibilities for grandstanding and opportunistic expectations will be exposed in the long run. And our secret motives will not stand the test of time.

Sir, if you’re motivated by the courage of your convictions, and you avoid joining a convenient crowd to be politically correct, you will be vindicated by the judgment of history. As a true patriot with integrity, and an unrepentant lover of a united Nigeria, we encourage you to continue undeterred to stand by your sacred beliefs and pronouncements for the progress of all Nigerians.

This is just my another honest advise and concern as a concerned Nigerian and Buharist for you and your administration and the troubled nation.

God bless you, sir, may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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