IN PLACE OF RUGA: DAPO ABIODUN PROFFERS WIN-WIN SOLUTION By Divine Oyindamola Osas.

Dapo Abiodun.

The ideology behind the initiative of Governor Dapo Abiodun's Ranching in Ogun state ought to be met with resounding applause throughout the country. This should be implemented in place of the national peace threatening rural grazing area (RUGA) proposed by the Federal government. The attendant condemnation, outcry and rejection of the policy especially four of the six geopolitical zones of the country are enough testimony its in-acceptability in the country. What is not hidden is the challenge the incessant clash between the nomadic herdsmen and rural farmers in the country with respect to security of investment in both divides.
 

The Federal Government , the farmers, the herdsmen and by extension, the whole country would not only find succour in the idea put forward by Ogun State government but would ensure sustainable peace.

The modern ranching as proposed in Ogun, if successfully executed would address the deficit of ideas and imbalance noticeable in RUGA. It would completely eradicate the mutual suspicion of an ethnic domination and annihilation from the ownership of historical lands. 

Many commentators, policy formulators, nationalists, consider RUGA dangerous for not limited to three reasons.

First, it is condemned as act of nepotism as it’s established stylishly confer special status on category of Nigerians, Fulani herdsmen, outside their native land.

Second, it would accord to those “special” citizens privileges and advantages not accorded to other Nigerians, contrary to section 42 of the Constitution.

Thirdly, the critics consider it offensive to the sensibilities of other nationalities who are naturally disadvantage in one form or the other economical but not fend for through government intervention.  For example, ideology opines that the seasonal movement of the herdsmen from northern part of the country is caused principally by the factors. The availability of greener pastures in the southern part of the nation as well as the prevalent of tsetse flies in the north at drought which usually lead to high infestation of "typanosomiasis " , a disease termed sleeping disease in cattle husbandry that affect the humped herds. 

It is argued that if crude oil pipe could be laid from the southern part to a refinery in the northern part of the country to serve Kaduna refinery, given the avalanche of landed property in the northern part, well funded irrigation initiative should suffice at providing enough irrigation for the cultivation of pastures for the consumption of the cattle.

Let's not forget STILL that pastoral agro-ecosystem is a private entity and appropriating grazing areas for this course hold no economic advantage to the state, it only vies to enrich and strengthen a particular sect of Nigerians

Whatever other truly improved system of exploiting the pastoral agro-ecosystem as practiced by the Fulani herdsmen up north, it seems it seldom can indict sedentarized tendencies and rarely can it be less intensive than ranching. All hands should be on deck as we urge all well meaning sons of the state to embrace this scheme as it promises to enrich the vaults of the state. The advantages are numerous;

1. BEEF PRODUCTION: This would improve the quality of the beef in the market but reduce cost of beef. Good for the citizens and enriches the pockets of the states.

2. DIARY/MILK PRODUCTION: The availability of quality milk, as it encourages the production of diary products like _condensed milk, yogurts, cheese and ice cream. All of which when sold produces returns to the state Government and makes things easier for the citizens.

3. EMPLOYMENT: The absence of a reliable data bank, and renewed census by the Federal Government, rendered her prostrate on actual status of the unemployed hands to match it with capable labour, hence its efforts has always been like throwing stone into a well and then listening to hear the sound and how long it took it to resonates before determining the depth of the well.

 But, with this modern ranching initiative the state Government would be seen as taking care of her own as the workforce needed in running it is widely vast. These and many  more, like the production of cow hides, buttons, calcium, and even manure for farmers from the cow's dung would readily available as raw material.

Besides this would go a long way to show a thinking and proactive head in the seat of leadership for the Ogun state people, a man who is interested in making the state better than what he met, a progressive thinker and trouble shooter.  

 Ranching has always been an alien word from the developed western world. We hear of cowboys not Fulani herdsmen, and no better time to act than now, now when we are about to be ordered to give up our lands, now when unemployment in the country is at its peak.