Obeisance to the Cow for the sake of eating beef

The meat of cow all over the globe is such a tasty delicacy and a rich source of nutrition, and it has gained a great appreciation from all manner of people irrespective of their social or geographical status. The very few exceptions are those who for religious and health reasons are compelled to stay away from the consumption of this nature given delicacy. It is therefore not surprising, that the raising of the animal which is the source of the meat has been promoted to the point of a mega source of revenue and livelihood. And lately in Nigeria it has become a talking point in our polity.

While agreeing with the fact in the importance of this animal and its products for our continued existence as mankind, an old saying that- ‘we cannot because of our desire for beef that we begin to accord seniority to the cow’ readily comes to mind. The import of this saying never dawned on me until recently when the issue of Herdsmen attained a staggering and threatening dimension in our country. Of such great attention is the fact that the very fabric of our unity as a nation has been and is still being, put to question by this issue, to the point that it is now being used as a critical factor in assessing the performance of the current administration!

This to my mind is giving unnecessary prominence to an issue that need not attain such, making the saying above, gain real relevance in our country. As if this was not enough, the euphoria of the recently inaugurated Abuja-Kaduna Rail line was almost punctured for me when the Honourable Minister of Transportation reportedly told Journalists that the speed of the train at inauguration will have to be pegged at about 90km/hr as against the capacity of between 150-250km/hr, reason? – The perimeter fencing along the track has to be completed to forestall the possibility of mishap with herds of cattle! Just then did I realise indeed that we as a nation have been according undue seniority to cows for the sake of eating beef.

For whatever reason in the world, ours is not the only society where the consumption of beef is widespread, but no where have I read or heard that the rearing of its animal source, gained this topical and incendiary status as we currently have with us here. The Government has been severally accused of maintaining a mischievous silence that is gradually creating a deafening backlash from both allies and adversaries of the administration.

Now it is gradually creeping into our developmental quest, where we have to deliberately ‘slow’ ourselves down in the transportation arena for the sake of eating beef. The critics as well as the those in authority should realise that beef is only a food source which should not be allowed to take such a great deal of time and other resources before guaranteeing the continued supply, talk less of allowing it to start dictating our pace at catching up with the rest of human civilisation, otherwise, we would have fulfilled the unenviable assertion in the saying – that for us to eat beef, we have to call the cow our senior, except of course, there is more to the whole saga than immediately meets the eyes, in which case it should be unfolded to put an end to the needless carnage and furore it has resulted!

Femi Awotunde.

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