By Hope Eghagha
Musa: What is the whole noise about ‘Ruga’ fa?
Emeka: You call it noise eh? This noise shall soon consume the nation and roast all of us if we don’t handle the matter with the sensitivity it deserves.
Bayo: Not possible! It won’t burn all of us. Some of us have started making arrangements before the collapse, before the fire outbreak.
Brume: We too! Ruga or no Ruga all the signs are there of distrust and mutual suspicion and soon it might be ‘to your tents O Israel!
Iorver: It needn’t get to that. It needn’t get to that at all. It would be too costly!
Emeka: Costlier than what is going on? Aren’t we in a state of war already with people dying like flies? This government that banned IPOB cannot have the balls to check the excesses of Miyetti Allah whose members have unleashed mayhem on the country!
Musa: You guys should show understanding. We need to feed our cows and feed the nation and its not Miyetti Allah members that have been killing people.
Emeka: No one says you should not feed your cows. What we are saying is that you should feed your cows the way it is done in the civilised world- ranching.
Brume: Yes! Feed them behind your house and not at government expense too.
Bayo: Is government going to make special provisions for all trades and traders in the country?
Musa: How do you mean?
Bayo: Is the Federal Government going to create special parks or markets for the Igbo traders all over the country?
Musa: The government should be able to do that!
Emeka: I am afraid the atmosphere is too polluted for any rational thinking right now.
Iorver: So who has been kidnapping and killing people all over the country? Those guys speak the Fulani language!
Bayo: And their looks too! You can’t mistake them!
Musa: They are not Nigerians; they must be foreigners.
Emeka: So why has the government been unable to take action against them?
Brume: They are kith and kin with the powers that be! Simple! It is an existential crisis for all of them across the region and they want to find homes for their brethren in Nigeria!
Musa: Our livelihood is seriously threatened by desertification and we need water and grass for survival! Aren’t we one country, should we not care for one another if we all are Nigerians?
Emeka: And this you must do by imposing Fulani communities in the south? By planning to seize all lands 500 metres to any river Federal Government property for the sake of Fulani herdsmen?
Bayo: Besides, this is not one Nigeria! This is a Nigeria where one ethnic group wants to lord it over all the rest of us. Why is power under the current administration concentrated in the hands of one ethnic group?
Iorver: We never had things so bad, so myopic and ethnicized! Even the military mis-adventurers respected the ethnic composition of the country in appointments!
Brume: Without settlements Fulani men are killing and maiming people! By the time we make it official they will overrun all our communities someday and claim that the lands belong to them!
Iorver: Yes o! One of their leaders has already said the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to them!
Musa: It is all politics. Don’t take some of our leader seriously at all! Can Israel claim that the oil in the Arab world belongs to her? Preposterous!
Bayo: That’s the point! Preposterous things are being said and promoted in the public space in the name of policy!
Emeka: Resistance is building up. Can you imagine Miyetti Allah having the temerity to say they want to raise vigilante in the South East!
Brume: Or saying that the presidency will remain in the North in 2023!
Iorver: Why do some idiots like stoking the embers of discord? Do they want violent reactions?
Musa: There will be no violent reactions. Any violent reactions will be crushed by the army. Remember Operation Crocodile? Remember Biafra?
Emeka: Excuse me Mallam! Aren’t you so insulting? Are you saying this to provoke us? The impudence and temerity!
Musa: I am simply stating the facts as they are! Chikena!
Iorver: You are taking the rest of the country for granted. Look here, that rubbish you have started in Benue will be uprooted. We shall resist your advances with the law and any other means available.
Emeka: Let me tell you; the next Ojukwu cannot be crushed!
Bayo: Please, please, please! Let’s watch our utterances. There must be no violence. All persons or groups who are aggrieved should seek redress in the court of law. That is the only way we cannot slip into anarchy.
Musa: You see, there is too much politicking going on. The Federal Government of Nigeria is NOT imposing anything on any state. Some states have agreed to host settlements for herdsmen. Those states will be supported by the government.
Emeka: Whatever your plans are, just remember that Igboland can never be Fulani land. We can protect ourselves. Even in your part of the country where we buy and sell, we secure ourselves. We have not claimed the land.
Musa: But I know that there is an Igbo Eze in Sokoto! We have not complained that you want to take over our land! Hahahahahaha!
Emeka: You know that is different. No Igbo man will ever lay claim to land in the north. But everyone is wary about the threat of Islamisation as echoed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Musa: Don’t mind that man. He was playing to the gallery. Was he not made by the power brokers from the north?
Bayo: He was not made by the north! He struggled from the scratch and became a general in the army! A very competent officer!
Iorver: That is another myth you guys promote- that one cannot make it without support from the north. Look here…
Musa: Never ignore the North in politics!
Emeka: Never ignore the South East in commerce!
Bayo: Never ignore the South West in business!
Brume: Never ignore the South-South in oil and gas!
Bayo: The strength of the Nigerian state will be harnessed if we recognised and respected our areas of strength.
Brume: That is true federalism!
Emeka: That is the way to go!
Brume: Breaking news! RUGA has been suspended!
Musa: Not possible!
Bayo: It is not a suspension that we need! ABOLISH the Ruga nonsense!
Emeka: The come has become the come! Ruga must go!
Dr Hope Eghagha, professor of English at the University of Lagos, wrote this for The Guardian, Nigeria.