The last few years have been tough for Nigerians especially with the issue of banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen clashes with farmers at different regions of the country. The recent one that caused uproar was the fracas that ensued between the Fulani in Oyo State and popular Yoruba activists, Sunday Igboho.
A lot of questions have been asked without any answers. The Fulani tribe believes that it is superior to other Nigerians, in fact, one of its slogans deployed by the Fulani is ‘born to rule’. Since the past few years, there have been outcry from Nigerians to the government about curbing the excesses of these people but all to no avail. No Fulani herder has been prosecuted despite all the allegations of rape, kidnap and murder in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Anambra, etc. and many Nigerians begin to wonder if the Fulani are more Nigerian than other tribes.
The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, in the thick of different accusations against Fulani herders across the country said that the Fulani own Nigeria and will rule the country forever. Abdullahi in an interview with a The Sun Newspaper, revealed that his organisation had concluded arrangements to flag-off its own security outfit with about 5,000 to 100,000 vigilantes to be deployed across all the states of the country.
The premise above puts the national unity to question; where is the place of Fulani in Nigeria as a country.
THE ORIGIN OF THE FULANI NATION
The Fulani, a people of obscure origins, expanded eastward from Futa Toro in lower Senegal in the 14th century. By the 16th century they had established themselves at Macina (upstream from the Niger Bend) and were proceeding eastward into Hausaland. Some settled in the 19th century at Adamawa (in the northern Cameroons). Many of the Fulani continued to pursue a pastoral life; some, however, particularly in Hausaland, gave up their nomadic pursuits, settled into existing urban communities, and were converted to Islam.
ARE FULANI SAME AS HAUSA?
Many Nigerians don’t know that the Fulani tribe is not the same as Hausa. The Fulani speak Fulfulde or Fula while Hausa language is spoken within the Hausa tribe. The major challenge here is that virtually all Fulani speak Hausa but very few Hausa people can speak Fulfulde. In commercial activities, the Hausas are the occupants of Sabo around us, who, as farmers, supply your tomatoes, carrots and trade in our kola nuts etc. The Fulani learnt and speak the Hausa language, which they make the northern lingua franca, to dominate the Hausa itself and other northern tribes. The Fulani Fulfulde language, is still preserves for core Fulani strategic thinking, which he ultimately sells as the position of the North, for which the rest of Nigerians hold the Hausa vicariously responsible, in the uninformed belief that they are the same tribe. In the 1790s a Fulani hero and leader, Usman dan Fodio (1754–1817), who lived in the northern Hausa state of Gobir (northeast of Sokoto) quarreled with its rulers. Accusing the Hausa kings of being little more than pagans, he encouraged the Hausa people to revolt. Joined both by Hausa commoners and by Fulani pastoralists alike, the jihad, or holy war, swept through Hausaland and, repulsed only by the eastern empire of Kanem-Bornu, engulfed Adamawa, Nupe, and Yorubaland to the south. After the invasion by the Fulani of the northern provinces of the Oyo, the emirate of Ilorin to the northeast became the base from which Islam was to spread among the Yoruba. Usman, who was more a scholar than a statesman, ceded the practical direction of the eastern part of the empire to his son Muhammad Bello, who settled in Sokoto, and the western (with its capital at Gwandu) to his brother Abdullahi. All three continued the Fulani denunciation of Bornu. The empire reached its zenith under Muhammad Bello, who, like Usman, administered it according to the principles of Muslim law. The decay of this system was to aid the establishment in the late 19th century of British rule over what was later to be known as Northern Nigeria.
HOW THE FULANIS INVADED NIGERIA
Many people have argued that the basic cause of the Fulani invasion of the Northern Nigeria was basically religious but events in the last few decades in the country have revealed a more serious and alarming reason. The basic causes of the Fulani Jihad of 1840-1810 have continued to generate controversies among scholars. While some have advanced religious reasons for the outbreak of the ‘holy war’, others have identified political, socio-economic causes, as well as the influence of Islamic reforms elsewhere in West Africa.
The Uthman dan Fodio jihad eventually started in 1804 and lasted till around 1810. Perhaps the most remarkable thing to note about the Jihad was its success in Gobir and most parts of Northern Nigeria. By 1810, the Jihad had succeeded in the old Habe states of Katsina, Daura, Kano and Zaria. Although it failed in Borno, three emirates: Gombe, Hadejia and Katagum, were nevertheless established. The establishment of new emirates continued till 1859. And afterwards, Fulanis emerged as the political leaders in Hausa cities and states. In the Nigeria of today, all the presidents and head of states from the northern part of the country have been of Fulani from the first to the present.
THE FULANI MAN BELIEVES HE IS BORN TO RULE
The Fulani is as unpretentious as unapologetic, no matter his status, either as cattle boy or the patron Myetti Allah, intellectuals or cabal in government. He panders not to Nigerian nationalism, where leading lights of other groups, especially the Yoruba, will never want to make statement that might seem to suggest the defence of their own ethnic nationality, even if that is the truth. For instance, when recently, Professors Atahiru Jega and Gambari, in spite of their position in Nigeria and internationally wrote, bemoaning blockade of grazing routes and justifying Fulani cattle colonies all over Nigeria, the Fulani intellectual hawks are, no doubt now, on the prowl. In an old video on the 1960 elections, the Premier of the North and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, reminded the people of Kano, in a rally, that their forefathers were the soldiers of the Sultan of Sokoto and they were thus his own soldiers as the Sardauna of Sokoto. The crowd yelled in agreement.
From the days of Uthman dan Fodio till now, the message of the Fulani remains the same, occupy the entire west African coast from the north till the rod touches the bottom of the sea in the South. And despite civilization, this group has not stopped its desire to conquer West Africa and make a home for itself.
THE FULANI ALSO NEED A HOME
History has been generous to us in revealing that the Fulani traditionally do not have a home. A few days ago, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) urged Fulani herdsmen to return to the northern region if their security could not be guaranteed in their host communities in the southern part of the country. NEF also told northern governors to commence preparation to receive the Fulani communities being ejected from southern states. NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement, said the relocation advice became necessary following alleged attack on Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the south.
However, there is a school of thought that argued that the Fulani nation in West Africa has an agenda of making Nigeria its home country; hence, the reason for the different violence triggered by herders across the country.
International spectators and analysts also point to the recent convergence of the Fulani from Chad, Cameroun, Mali, Ghana, Togo and the rest of West and Central Africa, into Nigeria, with the aim of constituting the tribe with the most population in the country.
It also believed that President Buhari being an unapologetic Fulani man to the core has been silent because he is also a part of the agenda and his emergence as Nigeria’s president was to ease this agenda before he hands over power in 2023.
–DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152