Before the famous 1804 Jihad by Uthman Dan Fodio, the Fulanis were a band of herdsmen scattered across Africa with no cohesive leadership. They were a band of nomads known with their cattle and could trek for kilometers unending in search of pasture and water for them.
The jihad brought them under one leadership and for the first time, they had something akin to a homeland in the present day Nigeria. They bonded seamlessly with the Hausas by doing something unusual — They took on the language of the conquered — Hausa instead of imposing Fulfulde on them. This way, it will be hard to differentiate between a Hausa and a Fulani man making them acquire the complex title of Hausa-Fulani. This was a masterstroke in colonization as it made the inferior acquire an equal status with the conqueror.
Their new found status as land owners made them acquire large tracts of land as cattle rearers for their cattle. Everywhere they settled, they were given land for their cattle to graze. This made them less nomadic as it was more comfortable for their cattle to be in one place than to move up and down in extreme weather conditions.
This led to their settlement in more territories like Ilorin when Afonja enlisted them to fight the Old Oyo Empire and they refused to leave afterwards and in places like Jos and other parts of the north. The smaller traders amongst them or the ones who don’t own the cattle are the ones that are nomadic among them.
They have the predisposition to want to dominate or conquer any given territory that they find themselves in. their conquerous nature has led to the deaths of many of the indigenes in the towns that they find themselves in. The settler vs indigene clashes didn’t just start today. It has its deep roots in history. The main reason is the desire of the Fulanis to create an emirate system in the areas they have settled in which causes a lot of resentment from the indigenes.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo raised a lot of flak last week when he said there was a fulanization domination agenda in the country. His comment raised a lot of dust as critics and supporters fought over one another to further drive home his message. Just as the dust was about to settle, there was an announcement by the Federal Government on the granting of a Fulani radio license to be given to the Nigerian Fulani radio community. Knowing the power of the radio among the Hausa community, this was bound to raise eye brows and suspicions. Also, why should the government run a tribal radio station that is best run by the private sector more especially as it is the radio station of the tribe in power? It will raise a whole lot of needless and unnecessary dust which is not palatable for the nation at the moment when she is facing attacks from boko haram and the Fulani herdsmen. The patron group for the Fulani herdsmen, the Miyetti Allah recently proposed to the government that they will be needing the total of 100 billion naira to clean up the north east. The Federal Government is even considering an amnesty program for the killer herdsmen if they can lay down their arms. How tragic! So the reward for killing innocent lives and destroying property thereby internally displacing people will now be a wanton load of free cash for doing next to nothing. The Niger Delta Militants were fighting a genuine cause in their battle for resource control and more responsibility by the international oil companies as well as for restructuring. What really is the cause of the Fulani Herdsmen when they burnt down villages, hacked innocent people to death and made their fellow countrymen internally displaced persons and refugees in their own supposed motherland? The herdsmen have allowed their bestial human nature to take over their entire constitution and they are heartless to even their tribesmen whom they now abduct and exchange for ransom killing some of them who fail to comply with the terms. Why should such heartless beasts qualify for the amnesty program? Is it not a mockery of the program and what the aims and objectives should stand for? Why should murderers be shielded from facing the full wrath of the law? Why should they be allowed to smile all the way to the banks laughing in full glare of all the atrocities they have committed against the state and humanity?
The Fulani domination of Nigeria has been predicted at independence when the then Northern Region Premier and the leader of the Northern Peoples Congress, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello said the northern agenda was to dip the Koran into the sea. The rest of Nigerians have always lived in the fear of a possible northernization and fulanization agenda. The attempted registration of Nigeria by the then President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida as a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in 1986 is a pointer to that legitimate fear.
The cattle ranch proposal of the Federal Government where large tracts of land will be given to the Fulani cattle rearers in exchange for nothing also points to their sinister domination and hegemonic agenda.
Nigerians should vehemently resist all forms of subtle and overt forms of the fulanization of the country. We should stand firm so that posterity will not judge us too harshly and our actions will be able to speak for us in our hallowed graves.
Ademiluyi writes from Lagos.