The Bible says, “knowledge is power”. It also says “know the truth and
it will set you free”.
This is made all the more important given the fact that history is not
taught in Nigerian schools.
Let us join hands and walk down the beautiful path of knowledge,
truth, and history together. Our focus and subject-matter for today is
the Fulani tribe of northern Nigeria.
The Fulani are only partially African and only partly Negroid. They
are the product of cross-breeding between the Taurags, Berbers, and
Arabs of north Africa on the one hand and the local black African
women of Futa Jalon, Guinea in West Africa, on the other.
In those days Futa Jalon was a popular trade route between north and
west Africa. After hundreds of years of cross-breeding the final
product of this union was the Fula race.
If you doubt this assertion I challenge you to look at the texture of
their hair, their thin lips, their slim and pointed noses, their tall
and slight build and their, more often than not, light complexion and
you will know that they are only partially African and only partly
Like their Tutsi cousins (who also originally came from Futa Jalon but
who migrated to central and east Africa over the centuries) they are
primarily and in the main gypsy-like wanderers and nomads who are
deeply courageous and notoriously ruthless and ferocious in battle yet
who have a strange and inexplicable attachment to and affinity and
affection for their cattle and cows.
They betray little emotion, even in the most difficult times and even
when going through immense and the most gruelling form of hardship and
they are focused, mentally-strong, disciplined, patient, calculating,
proud, ruthless, wise and totally unforgiving.
They have long memories: never forget a friend or favour and never
forgiving an insult or a slight. Most important of all is the fact
that they overwhelm and conquer very slowly and incrementally and they
do so primarily by infiltration, assimilation, and guile.
It is only when they are fully entrenched and empowered and when they
have totally won the confidence of their host community and
infiltrated them that the sword is brought out and the most extreme
forms of barbarity and violence are employed to achieve their
That is how they conquered the Habe Kingdom, subjugated the Hausa and
turned them into vassals and that is how they took Ilorin from the
Yoruba Aare Ona Kakanfo, Afonja. In both cases, they dethroned and
murdered the sitting Kings that they had earlier befriended.
Some historians have argued that they value the life of cows more than
that of human beings. This may be true of the uneducated herdsmen and
pastoralists amongst them but I do not believe it is entirely true of
their traditional rulers and their educated and political elites.
Some have also argued that their greatest desire is to establish a
homeland for themselves by grabbing the land of others because there
is nowhere in Africa that they can call their own.
Even in Guinea where they originally came from they constitute a tiny
minority of the population, they have never been trusted with
political power and they are viewed with the utmost suspicion.
They arrived on the shores of what later became known as northern
Nigeria in 1804 when they launched their first jihad, under the
leadership of Sheik Usman Dan Fodio, and conquered the Habe
(Hausa-speaking) Kingdom of Gobir.
That is how they got a foothold in Nigeria and they have been here
ever since, imposing their Emirs over the local indigenous populations
all over the north in the name of Islam and turning the children of
the conquered Hausa into almajiris.
They constitute only 7% to 10% of the 200 million-strong Nigerian
population yet they wield and control more power and authority than
any other tribe or ethnic nationality in the country.
This has been the case since Nigerian independence in 1960 by either
holding power directly or wielding it through a series of spineless,
cowardly, pliant, willing and loyal surrogates who do their bidding
out of ignorance, fear and a pitiful inferiority complex and who
consider them to be the “master race” that were ordained by God to
lead Nigeria and that were “born to rule”.
Through Islam, they have conquered most of the core north because the
Emir is not just an ethnic overlord but he is also the leader of the
Islamic faithful in his domain.
This is a powerful and dangerous mix of religion and ethnicity and it
is one that the Fula’s have used very effectively in their quest to
dominate, conquer and subjugate the whole of Nigeria and impose their
will on the local indigenous tribes and populations that have been
there for thousands of years before they came.
Other than Usman Dan Fodio, two other Fulani leaders stand out as the
custodians and flagbearers of this messianic mission. The first of the
two is Sir Ahmadu Bello, the erstwhile Saurdana of Sokoto and the
premier of the old Northern Region and the second is General Muhammadu
Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is for this reason that Usman Dan Fodio is often referred to as the
First Mahdi of the north whilst Ahmadu Bello and Muhammadu Buhari are
referred to as the second and third Mahdi’s of the north respectively.
You can say what you want about the Fulani but one thing you cannot
take from them is the fact that they fully understand and appreciate
the awesome power and beauty of ethnic and tribal unity in a wider
multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation like Nigeria.
Despite all pretensions to the contrary and rather like the English of
the United Kingdom, the Fulani will always put the Fulani interest
before the Nigerian interest and this has served their tribal purpose
and vision very well.
That is a lesson that other Nigerian tribes and ethnic nationalities
would do well to learn.
Mr. Obadiah Mailafia, who is a former deputy governor of the Central
Bank of Nigeria and a former presidential candidate from Southern
Kaduna said the following on August 25, 2019, “Loyalty, honour
respect, integrity are defining features of the Yoruba leadership
tradition. Fulani leadership traditions are rooted in feudalism,
pretence, hiding one’s thoughts and taqquiya.
“The game plan is to exploit to the fullest the political and
financial capital of Tinubu. They will keep him onside until they’re
able to destroy him. To turn Nigeria into a Fulani Caliphate they will
happily sacrifice social progress for ambition. They understand that
hungry desperate people would be too broken to raise their heads.
“To assist they continue to allow murderous and terrorist hordes from
Central and Western Africa to take over ancestral lands by force. They
are ruthlessly imposing total control over culture, mass media, public
administration, and the economy. They govern by fear and are willing
to plunge us into another civil war.”
Obadiah is an old friend of mine. He studied at Oxford University and
he is one of the brightest stars and most formidable intellectuals in
Judging from his words he appears to know the Fulani very well indeed.
I do too. How? Because even though I am a proud Yoruba man, my
maternal great grandmother was a full-blooded Fulani woman and
consequently 1/8 of the blood that runs through my veins is Fulani.
I have never hidden this and I never will. As a matter of fact, I wear
it as a badge of pride and honor because it proves that I cannot
possibly hate the Fulani because I cannot possibly hate myself.
Criticism is different to hate. The former is healthy whilst the
latter is not. That is the point that many of my Fulani brothers and
sisters fail to appreciate and find it difficult to comprehend.
In any case, not all Fulani are bad and not all non-Fulani are good.
What I hate are not the Fulani people but the callous, barbarous and
unspeakable atrocities that the Fulani herdsmen and terrorists are
perpetrating in my country and the racist, hegemonist, ethnic and
religious agenda that the Fulani leaders are seeking to impose.
What is also clear to me is that the history, the disposition and the
ignoble intentions of the Fulani ruling elite raise concern and has
serious implications for the peace, welfare, and unity of Nigeria.
If the Fulani do not retrace their steps, change their ways and
moderate their actions and if they do not reign in their vaulting
ambition of conquering the Nigerian space and becoming Nigeria’s
“master race”, they can be rest assured of the fact that history,
posterity and the Nigerian people will be very harsh on them.
Worse still they may plunge our nation into a second savage, barbaric
and fratricidal civil war which would make the first one look like
child’s play and which would shatter the very foundations of the West
African sub-region and tear the African continent apart. Let us pray
that it never comes to that.
This is the end of today’s history lesson. Thanks for finding the time
to read and learn.