- Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said Ruga settlement will return at a later time
- The former special adviser to former president Shehu Shagari urged Igos to have a rethink
- The northern elder said The region would need the support of other people ahead of 2023
Alhaji Tanko Yakassai has said that Ruga settlement programme has only been suspended but not abandoned and that it will return at a later time.
In an interview with Nigerian Tribune, the former special adviser on National Assembly Matters to former president Shehu Shagari said the Ruga settlement has been in existence for a long time.
He called on Nigerians particularly Igbos to reconsider their stance against Ruga saying the region would also need the support of the north particularly for 2023 election.
Yakassai said: “I would advise the Igbo to have a rethink over their rejection of RUGA settlement, because I rub your back, you rub my back when the need arises.”
“People were talking about power shift; that is to say the Igbo should produce president come 2023. But one thing that is certain is that this lofty idea cannot be achieved just on a silver platter. I am committed to the unity of this country and this is what I had been fighting for as far as back to 1953.
“When we say power should move to the Igbo, as we all know, for anybody to become president of this country, he has to garner votes from at least 24 states of the country. The North has 19 states, while South has 17. Therefore, for the Igbo to realise this dream, they need the support of every part of the country. So also, any Northerner equally needs the support of the South one way or the other.
“Recall that the South-West has produced president. The North has also produced, while the people of the South-South had their turn by producing former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“What I am trying to say here is that the Igbo, at this crucial stage in their quest of producing Mr. President in 2023 or at any time Allah destines them to occupy the seat, still need the collective support of people from the North and other parts of the South.
“However going by their hostility towards an interest that belongs to the North, they may be erecting an impediment to this yearning and aspiration, because the North may give them back in their own coin. The North may ask them why they denied them support over their (North) interest in view of their opposition to the RUGA settlement project. Nobody can, therefore, blame the North for not supporting them then.
“What I am trying to say is that for their people to kick against the establishment of RUGA, which is an interest of the North, there would be a time when the Igbo would equally need the support of the North for an assistance and they might also not render such an assistance to them, because they could tell them ‘you did not support us when we needed your backing for RUGA settlement.’
The northern elder expressed optimism in the return of Ruga at a later period saying the scheme has only been suspended and not abandoned.
He said: “Ruga settlement is only suspended, but not abandoned. It will come at a later date very soon. In my view, it is only suspended, but not abandoned. It is merely waiting for a better time to come back for its implementation. I believe they will do it.
“However, let me tell you that those states or people that are currently against it will, in the future, embrace it, when they see the lots of advantages in it. Though it may take five, ten or less years, I can say categorically that in the nearest future, many states in the Southern part of the country will willingly embrace, adopt and implement RUGA settlement in their domains.”
The government in a statement on Tuesday, July 2, stated that it will not participate in the planned settlements for herdsmen.
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