Afenifere chieftain, Yinka Odumakin, says All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, is one of the promoters of the Ruga initiative which seeks to give free land to herdsmen for cattle grazing and other forms of animal husbandry.
Odumakin drew the attention of Nigerians to Tinubu’s speech at a national summit on conflict resolution organised by The Nation and TV Continental with the theme, ‘Towards an Enduring Peace.’
He noted that at the event which held at the Nigerian Air Force Centre, Abuja on October 8, 2018, Tinubu said, “The government must help herders gradually shift from their traditional nomadic existence to a more static lifestyle. We have to face the reality that modernity is making the nomadic way counterproductive and inefficient.
“Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states. In the long run, this will enable herders to better maintain their livestock and thus their own livelihood.”
Speaking with our correspondent during an interview on Monday, the Afenifere spokesman said it was for this reason that Tinubu could not join other prominent Yoruba leaders in rejecting the Ruga programme.
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; the Aare Oona Kakanfo, Otunba Gani Adams, the Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi; and other prominent Nigerians have all condemned the scheme.
Odumakin said, “It would be a waste of time to expect Tinubu to say anything on the Ruga matter. Don’t forget that in 2018, it was reported in The PUNCH that he said all unused lands should be given to herdsmen for grazing. I spoke up then but he lambasted me.
“What we are witnessing today is a manifestation of what he said. So, how can he come out today to oppose Ruga? He advocated Ruga.
“To expect Asiwaju to speak against Ruga is like expecting a shadow to shed tears. It will never happen.”
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The Afenifere spokesman also noted that the Ruga initiative and the National Livestock Development Plan being handled by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were not different from each other as claimed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Spokesman, Garba Shehu.
Efforts to get a reaction from Tinubu proved abortive as his Spokesman, Tunde Rahman, did not respond to a text message sent to his phone.