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Grazing Reserves, doomsday foretold

By Josef Omorotionmwan

INEQUALITY everywhere is man-made. Many things we do are like the chickens – they come home to roost. Today, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State is on the war-path with his teachers, a bulk of who are said to have flunked the test intended for their Primary IV pupils.

To El-Rufai, these deadwoods, so-called, must give way  to other younger and brighter teachers – not imported from outer-space but from among the indigenes of the same Kaduna State. For some, the El-Rafai measure is intended for the good of the teachers, the pupils, the State and future generations. But the Union leaders who are paid to defend evil see things differently.

Grazing Reserves

True, the El-Rufais of this world may be coming face-to-face for the first time with what they sowed; some of us have lived with the situation all along. For instance, this writer has been in the vanguard, agitating most relentlessly that the abysmally notorious differential in the cut-off marks for admission into the Federal Unity Schools portend grave danger. Nobody listened and things began to get incrementally worse over time. In the name of national integration, the just-released cut-off points for 2018 admissions show that a pupil from Sokoto State with a score of 7 points in the National Common Entrance examination will have the right of first choice while his counterpart from Abia State who scores 64 points will be told that he is not qualified for admission!

In the class, the good and the bad will be mixed up in an amalgam in which the worst will gradually pull down the best while the best will be unable to push up the worst. This is where the rot begins to set in.

In the end, they will produce a system of mediocres or outright imbeciles from which future El-Rufais will pick their teachers – teachers that will produce Legislators, Doctors and Engineers who will represent us at international arenas where Australia, America and Britain will be represented by their best. It may matter less if our system produces murderers in the name of Doctors; Legislators that cannot  make good laws; or that even with the tallest engineering degrees our Engineers cannot produce a simple water pump; or, indeed, while these other countries may be experimenting into space, we shall be experimenting into sachet water. It is simply a process of development or lack of it. The choice is ours.

Evidently, the El-Rufais are fighting a good fight, albeit on a wrong battle-field. They must come down from their giddy heights and join us in fighting the fight from the grassroots where it belongs.

Meanwhile in their desperate effort to remedy attempted manslaughters, they are committing unpardonable murders. In their limited vision, they are unable to understand that the world is changing. In fact, our world has grown in ignorance as it grows in wisdom. The story is told of a recent case in Oshodi market  where one of the best Nollywood actresses was almost lynched because of the perceived wicked roles she has been playing in home movies. People hardly understand the difference between acting and real life.

Far into the 21st century those people with limited vision are digging up a Bill left behind by Othman Dan Fodio; dusting it up; presenting it to today’s National Assembly; and expecting it to be passed into a law dubiously dobbed Bill for an Act to Establish The National Grazing Reserve Council. This Council will be charged with the responsibility for compulsorily acquiring all lands from the Sahara to the Atlantic for the cowmen to graze their cows.

See how the Council and the obnoxious Act will work: they will come to your land anywhere, even in the remote village, and take it over. They will throw at you, what they call compensation. Essentially, this is an offer you cannot reject. If you have any reservation about the acquisition or the so-called compensation, you would have to apply to the Attorney General of the Federation for permission to approach the courts. Head or tail, you are a loser – where the Attorney General turns down your application, that’s the end of the road. Your land is gone! If the application is approved, you would now proceed to their court, where the verdict is already pre-determined!

Why are we now wasting this precious space, discussing a Bill that is dead on arrival? Need we be told that, as happened to the Nollywood actress in Oshodi market, whoever will make the initial presentation of this obnoxious Bill at today’s National Assembly stands the big risk of being lynched before the Bill will be tossed out of the window at first reading?

This first Executive Bill – apart from the annual appropriation rituals – that President Muhammadu Buhari is presenting to the National Assembly is a total fiasco.

It is doubtful if the Executive has examined the implications of the measure in all its ramifications. Have they looked at it side by side with the Nation’s Constitution? Have they examined its compatibility with the Land Use Act, which is not yet abrogated?

Are they aware that the world is watching us? There are numerous associations that are similar to the cattlemen’s body and they are saying that unlike George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “All animals are equal and some cannot be more equal than others”. We hear that for a long time the Piggery Farmers’ Association’s applications for land across the country have been with the Federal Authorities. Now is the time to listen to all of them!

When people no longer know what to do, they begin to try everything. At that point, the loss of one genuine purpose invariably leads to the pursuit of a dozen pseudo purposes. We are approaching that breaking point. Otherwise, why should we be looking at measures that are, ab initio, unenforceable? Let’s assume for a moment, that this Bill gets passed by default. How are they going to implement it, when they have been unable to police the pogrom ravaging the entire country today? What a dilemma!

 


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