Posted by GRANDNEWS | 6 July 2019
By George Etakibuebu
Presidential Candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON), late Friday night broke his silence on the suspended controversial RUGA initiative by the Federal Government for Fulani Herdsmen in the country, saying his position remains exactly what all the governors elected on the platform of the PDP have articulated.
Atiku, in a response to the challenge thrown at him by former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, stated on his verified Twitter handle @atiku that “My position on RUGA is the same as articulated by the Governors elected under the banner of my party, the PDP. My position has been well iterated by our Governors and the PDP is one. I will not dignify that threat with a response. There is no North or South. There is just Nigeria”, he wrote.
The former Aviation Minister had taken Atiku to task on Friday, challenging him to speak up on the RUGA initiative and what he thinks about the threat by a Coalition of Northern Groups who gave President Muhammadu Buhari and all governors a 30 day ultimatum to implement the RUGA initiative for Fulani Herdsmen or face consequences they didn’t specifically mention.
Fani-Kayode, writing on the twitter handle @realFFK, had said
“I have 3 questions for @atiku, the man who I believe won the 2019 presidential election. 1. What is your position on RUGA? 2. Why have you not said a word about it? 3. What is your position on the threat and 30 day-ultimatum made by Arewa youths against southerners?”
Fani-Kayode, on getting a response barely two hours after, lauded Atiku’s “prompt response” but drew his attention to a regional divide within the PDP Governors on the issue.
He wrote: “Thanks for ur prompt response to my question. The problem is that there is a division of opinion on regional lines within the PDP Governors on this. Some Northern Governors like Mohammed (of Bauchi) and Tambuwah (of Sokoto) are for it whilst ALL Middle Belt and Southern PDP Governors are against it”.
He later twitted, “We must stop being disingenuous and we must be honest and clear. There is NO “common position” of PDP or PDP Governors on RUGA. ALL the core northern PDP Governors support the full implementation of RUGA whilst ALL the Middle Belt and Southern PDP Governors oppose it vehemently”.
The RUGA policy that sought to create what could pass for settlements or colonies across the 36 states of the federation had raised not a little dust in the past two weeks creating a sharp divide along ethnic, regional and even religious lines in the country.
Sensing the level of disaffection and opposition that has trailed the initiative, the Federal Government announced its suspension early in the week but two days later a coalition of northern groups came out with an ultimatum for President Buhari and all state Governors to implement the scheme of face dire consequences.
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