The suspension of the Rural Grazing Area policy (RUGA) by President Muhammadu Buhari is a confirmation that the government is responsive, responsible and accountable to Nigerians.
This is the conclusion of a lawmaker, Mr Tunde Olatunji who commended the president for his listening ears and for being sensitive to people’s agitation.
Olatunji who is the Chief Whip of the Osun State House of Assembly observed that Nigerians have expressed their their displeasure to the introduction of the policy, due to limited knowledge and information.
Speaking with newsmen in Osogbo, the lawmaker said the opposition and the controversy generated by the policy was also not unconnected with the volatile nature of ethnic suspicion in Nigeria.
He, however, advised Nigerians to do away with petty jealousies, tribal sentiments and mutual suspicions.
“Nigeria cannot move forward as a nation, if we continue to hold ourselves back with premodial sentiments of politics, religion and ethnicity.
“It is very important for us to take conscious and bold steps to evolve policies that would bring sustainable development without compromising the peaceful coexistence of the country,” he said.
The Assembly whip believed that the suspension would enable the government to throw the policy into the public space for more engaging discussion with Nigerians.
Olatunji said opinions and views on matters of national importance should be more issue-based and analysed in the overall interest of a united country rather than on ethnic, religious or political affiliations.
“Let us discuss as Nigerians and not as Hausas, Yorubas, Fulanis, or Igbo”.
Olatunji wondered why Nigerians would want to consume meat, clamour for economic diversification but, out of sheer sentiment would not want to see want to see herders and cattle rearers.
“Just as it is inconceivable for someone who wants to eat beef to hate cattle rearers, it is also paradoxical for a herder who wants to earn a living by trading cows worth billions of naira annually with consumers from a particular demography but he doesn’t want to have respect for his lives, lands and other properties. What a world!”
The legislator said Nigeria should deploy, not mere practicable, but a practical solution to the problem of cattle rearing.
“According to John Keynes, difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.
”We must simply come to terms with the reality of this problem and be sincere and bold in our approach towards solving it.” he said.
Olatunji noted that after developing an acceptable modern cattle rearing/grazing solution, it is also extremely important to complement it with effective measures to address environmental factors like the drying up of lake chad, growing desertification and other human activities that have over the years, become an enabler of the serious crisis.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo