A Fulani socio-cultural group, Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria, (KACRAN), has tasked presidential candidates to fully incorporate livestock development in their policies and programs or risk losing their bloc votes in the forthcoming general elections.
KACRAN’s National President, Hon. Khalil Mohd Bello gave the charge in a statement issued on Tuesday and made available in Damaturu.
The Association observed with dismay that despite herders’ numerous contributions to the nation’s economic development and provision of nutritional food to Nigerians, they were also ignored when it came to policy and program formulations.
“Most politicians, with the exception of very few States, are neither mindful nor concerned with the vital role played by the livestock sector towards creating millions of job opportunities for our youths and people whose livelihood fully depend on pastoral occupation.
“KACRAN noticed that it is only through the creation of the Federal Ministry of Animal resources that herders’ problems and daily pressing needs related to water points or animal feed during the dry period will be adequately taken care of.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is fully charged with numerous responsibilities that cannot allow it to fully incorporate livestock development in its yearly or daily programs, hence necessitating our appeal for the creation of a special Ministry for Animal Resources.
“Most of the money given to the said Ministry is always spent on the development of arable farming to the detriments of Fisheries and livestock sectors”, Khalil said.
The National President, who felicitated with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar; Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and Peter Obi, the presidential candidates of APC, PDP, NNPP and LP, respectively for their emergence as candidates of their parties, also called on them to incorporate livestock development in their policies and programs during their campaign exercises.
“We want our politicians to note that we have millions of herders who have their PVCs at hand and are ready to cast them to candidates of their choice, more especially the ones who they noticed care about their interest and general survival.
“KACRAN also wants to draw the attention of our presidential and gubernatorial candidates that pastoralists’ block votes, especially in the Northern part of this country or at a highly competitive presidential level, will help one to clinch power”, he claimed.
Bello warned politicians not to underestimate the powers of the herders when it comes to voting.
“We KACRAN members always cast our votes en bloc, because we normally don’t want to divide our votes, but always put them based on the person or party we strongly believe will fully consider us in policy formulation and implementation”, he maintained.