The Yoruba Council of Elders has restated its opposition to the Federal Government’s N179bn ranches, saying it cannot understand why the government funds are used to establish a business venture for a group of individual businessmen to the disadvantage of others.
The YCE Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said this during a debate organised by Ekitis in Diaspora for the governorship candidates of political parties ahead of the July 14 election.
The Chairman of EID in Houston, Texas, USA, Dr. Emmanuel Dada, said the event was to avail stakeholders the opportunity to interface with the political gladiators.
At the event were candidates of Democratic Alternative, Ayodele David-Adesua; Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, Tope Adebayo; the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti, Chief Jide Awe; and a representative of the Labour Party’s candidate, Mr. Sikiru Lawal.
The candidates were quizzed on national issues, including cattle ranching and restructuring.
Olajide criticised the Federal Government’s “surreptitious” moves to obtain land for herdsmen in the South-West and its non-committal response to the demand for restructuring.
He said, “We have seen so many moves being made to use federal power. The Yoruba are not happy with the structure of this country.
“The Federal Government should not have any business in agriculture other than making policies. The land belongs to the state. It is the state government that should do cattle ranching and farm settlement, among others.”
Meanwhile, a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party in Delta State, Mr. Sunny Onuesoke, has warned that the model introduced by the Federal Government for ranching will escalate the lingering crisis between killer herdsmen and farmers in the country.
Onuesoke faulted the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who had reportedly stated that those opposing President Muhammadu Buhari’s ranching colony plan for herdsmen should have a rethink as the government was going on with its plans.
The PDP chieftain, in a statement on Wednesday, said Adesina’s utterance signified that the Presidency had lost faith in the ability of Nigerian security agents to tackle the menace of the herdsmen.
Onuesoke, while condemning the killings, urged the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility as the ongoing spree by arms-wielding gunmen would no longer be tolerated.