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Of Ruga and Taqqyiya

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ONLY those who operate in crude faith and are not aware of Taqqyiya (deception) would operate on trust with fellow Nigerians on agenda-based issues and not regret it.


Deception is an art that runs through many Shakespeare’s plays. In Macbeth we mainly have Macbeth deceiving himself. He convinces himself that he can control fate when he is told by the witches that he will become king; he deludes himself that no man could harm him. He also deludes himself into believing that the witches are on his side and not agents of his destruction. The results of the self-deception are that everyone in McDuff’s family is killed and that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth die.

In Othello, Iago deceives Othello into believing that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio; Iago plants a handkerchief on Cassio to frame him; Iago tricks Roderigo into killing Cassio. The results of the deception are that Othello kills Desdemona and later commits suicide over that act. Roderigo, Cassio and Emilia all die and Iago is imprisoned.

Deception and manipulation

One could examine every play to see how deception acts as its main building block. But taking just one, Julius Caesar, a play that depicts the worst aspects of Ancient Rome, with its conspiracies, treacheries and bloody battles, has deception as its main building block. The device that moves the plot forward, is deception – the power of deception and manipulation is crucial to the development of the narrative. Brutus joins the conspiracy as a result of the anonymous letters Cassius sends him. They are a big step towards the assassination of Caesar. Moreover, without the use of deception Cassius would not have gained power over Brutus and induced him to kill Caesar.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo remains one of the most cerebrally gifted and capacity-endowed politicians Nigeria ever produced. But with all his fecundity, he was caught unaware in 1962 when he operated on the basis of trustful relationship. The Federal House was in session and Awo had made all the powerful submissions a man of his gifted faculty could do. At a stage he felt it was important he confronts the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa on some sinister plot he heard was afoot about events in the Western Region. He scribbled some note to the PM.  “Dear PM, can we meet sometime?” Balewa responded in a jiffy: “Why not now?”

Awo packed his documents together, adjusted his agbada and headed to the PM chambers. They exchanged pleasantries and Awo opened the conversations: “Mr. Prime Minister, I have been hearing some unpleasant rumours that I think we should discuss one-on-one. I learnt there are plans to declare emergency rule in Western Region which I think will not augur well for the country. I want to appeal that such a plan should be shelved if there was any.”

Balewa smiled wryly and looked Awo straight in the face: “Chief Awolowo, I thought it was something serious. You are a seasoned lawyer and know all the processes involved  before such could take place. Why would anybody contemplate that? Any other thing for us to discuss?” Awo said that was all he came for. They shook hands and departed. A state of emergency was declared in Western Region that night.

Also read: Ruga: The hypocrisy in us

Chief Anthony Enahoro was another victim of Taqqiya. He was a strong pillar of the Action Group, AG, and is well remembered for moving the motion for Nigeria’s independence. As the Second Republic dawned,  top operatives of what became the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, approached him with a deal that they would be comfortable with him as president instead of Awolowo. He swallowed the hook and joined the NPN where he could not even lead the Bendel chapter of the party not to talk of becoming president.

Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu, was a brilliant man and a gutsy officer who engaged Nigeria in a three-year war. But when he faced Taqqiya he fell like a recruit. He had fled the country after the war and the NPN approached him to return from exile towards 1983 to join the party with a deal that he would be made Senate president once he won the seat in his district.

He returned home and campaigned vigorously. All the top leaders of NPN stormed Anambra to campaign for his victory one afternoon but in the night held nocturnal meetings where they distributed money for his defeat. He lost the elections woefully.

Those who have learnt useful lessons from all the above and more are, therefore, not likely to fall for the latest Taqqiya about the suspension of the controversial Ruga policy of the Federal Government. Such eyes are likely to read inquisitively a purported memo from the office of the chief of staff to the president to the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development which I reproduce below:

“The Ruga Model Settlement Project

“Mr President has directed the immediate suspension of the current unilateral implementation of the Ruga Model Settlement Programme by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as it is not in accordance with the designs approved by:

  1. a) the National Economic Council, NEC;
  2. b) the National Food Security Council, NFSC;
  3. c) the Federal Executive Council FEC
  4. An Implementation Committee of the National Livestock Transformation Programme comprising of representatives from NEC, NFSC and the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development will be inaugurated in due course to oversee the Delivery of the project. Please accept the assurance of my highest esteem.

Abba Kyari

Chief of Staff to the President”.  (All emphasis mine)

This memo (which has not been disowned as I write this) has made it clear that the suspension of Ruga is doubtful as it is only the unilateral implementation that was suspended. In essence, only what the Agriculture Ministry is doing solely is suspended until an Implementation Committee will be inaugurated for the delivery of Ruga.

Another revelation from this memo is that Garba Shehu was right when he put a lie to Pastor Yemi Osinbajo’s claim that Ruga is different from his NLTP. Shehu said his talk was all semantics and the memo has said also that the Ruga being implemented  has not been in accordance with NLTP design!

The Federal Government should know that people are wiser now and there is no way Ruga is dressed that it would ever be acceptable. It is  already been seen for what it is: an expansionist agenda meant for ethnic conquest and domination. And people are guided by recent history. It is not lost on people that the civil war in Central African Republic started because the Fulani who were less than six per cent of the population did a coup to seize power.

The president then began installing Fulanis in top government  positions in the country. All business, economic, military positions were held by Fulanis. Churches were attacked and ransacked. Lands belonging to other tribes were taken and grabbed by the Fulani ethnic stock. Then the indigenes planned and strategised  for their own reaction. One night, they launched an attack and killed hundreds of soldiers guarding the president with dane guns and matchetes. Some accounts say they butchered the soldiers like cows and goats.

The president fled the country and a civil war broke out during which over 80 per cent of the Fulani fled CAR. Those that remained and their cows were slaughtered and their lands given to the rightful people. It is suspected that a lot of these people might be among those troubling Nigeria since 2015.

This is why it is not a good thing for a government to be profiling the Fulani in Nigeria for antagonism of other nationalities the way this government has been doing with the pampering of Miyetti Allah, Fulani Radio and now Ruga settlements. The government should stop pursuing any domination and conquest agenda under the guise of cattle business. The owners of cattle are billionaires who can afford to build world class ranches.

Owners of cattle

We must heed the warning of Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, at this crucial moment: “Ruga is going to be an explosion if not handled with care. But why do we not take our policies from good models? This is not the way people and countries deal with issues of cattle. I travel everywhere. It has to be handled in a way that is logical, comprehensible to the environment. When a cow walks up to the window of my house in Abeokuta, a house which is located in a residential area, then there’s a problem.

“When a cow goes to Ijebu Ode and eats up their seedlings and so on and you expect people to be quiet? People have been killed in hundreds just because of the failure of leadership at a critical time. And the cattle herders have been given a sense of impunity. They kill without any compunction, they drive away the farmers who have been contributing to the food solutions in the country, the cattle eat their crops and then you come up with Ruga.

“I think there is going to be trouble in this country if this Ruga is not handled  imaginatively and with humanity as priority.”


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