A widely circulated video shows the then leader of the Hausa/Fulani dominated Northern People’s Congress (NPC) and the premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, in a 1960 newspaper interview, saying, “The new nation called Nigeria should be the estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent the change of power. We use the minorities in the north as willing tools, and the south as conquered territory, and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to rule over their future”. His statement was disgustingly hegemonic. It was a nauseating exposé of Fulani stratagem for absolute domination of Nigeria.
The estate of Ahmadu Bello’s great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio, was limited to parts of northern Nigeria that Dan Fodio and his band of Fulani freebooters defeated and Islamized in their 19th Century jihad against Hausa and other tribal kingdoms. After Dan Fodio’s conquests, his followers continued the jihad, and would have taken it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. In another instance, Ahmadu Bello said that: it was the British that interrupted the jihad to the Atlantic Ocean. As such, once the British leaves, they will continue their jihad, and ultimately, dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. President Mohammadu Buhari is a Fulani fanatical Moslem and unabashed irredentist. Not surprisingly, his presidency has emboldened and empowered the Fulani, and provided them the enabling environment to advance Ahmadu Bello’s dictum. So, unlike, at no time, since the British interrupted their religious thrust towards the Atlantic, the Fulani are heartened, determined and poised to continue their jihad. It is imperative that the other peoples of Nigeria, especially, the Igbo and Yoruba defeat the Fulani planned 21st Century jihad.
Thus far, many Igbo and Yoruba leaders have not demonstrated the commitment and resolve needed to defeat the spear-head of the jihad: the killer herdsmen. In his first term, President Buhari, in his toxic nepotism, was totally indifference to the federal character in his political appointments; disproportionately, he appointed the Fulani to head the most powerful security agencies. His brazen anti-Igbo bias in these appointments elicited the usual Igbo outcry of marginalization. Secondly, the Igbo and Igbo communities have suffered enormously from his administration tacit support for Fulani herdsmen’s murderous binges across parts of Nigeria. Therefore, the Buhari presidency is antithetical to Igbo political interests. Paradoxically, most Igbo governors campaigned for his re-election. .
According to villagers living in parts of Ondo State, Fulani herdsmen had taken over their area, and converted the Ondo State Government forest reserve in Odigbo Local Government Area into a militia camp. They insist that the herdsmen terrorizing the area reside in the forest and their other hide-outs tucked deep in the bush. They graze their cows by the road, and then, strike to kill and/or kidnap, and run back into the bush. It is a narrative corroborated by different newspaper accounts. In addition, newspaper reports and eyewitness accounts buttressed widespread allegation that Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, was killed by herdsmen that sneaked out from the bush to kill and kidnap along the Benin/Ore road. Lamentably, for unfathomable reasons, some Yoruba leaders are holding briefs for the killer herdsmen.
Contrary to overwhelming evidence, the Ondo State government denied the presence of Fulani herdsmen in its forest reserve. A government spokesman dismissed it, “It is a lie; herdsmen are not in the reserve”. And, in his desperation to exculpate the herdsmen from the murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the foremost Yoruba political leader, Ahmed Tinubu, said, “I will ask where are the cows”. It was an insincere and hypocritical question that incensed many Nigerians. To insinuate that the only discernible feature of Fulani herdsmen is a throng of cows is hogwash.
The killer herdsmen kill and rape, torch and raze down entire communities, and seize, occupy and rename villages. Their excessive brutality and criminality debunk the pretext that their concerns are limited to grazing routes and space; they have a hidden agenda: total subjugation of the peoples of Nigeria. These herdsmen are not renegades or lawless adventurers randomly kidnapping, killing and stealing. They are the foot soldiers of an orchestrated Fulani expansionism, with the precise goal, as articulated by Ahmadu Bello in the video, to take over Nigeria politically, economically, and religiously. The master-minds of this irredentist design have the resources, resolve and ruthlessness to attain their goals. The other ethnic groups of Nigeria, especially, the Igbo and Yoruba must forestall their nightmarish design. It demands our organizing, training and arming ourselves to engage Fulani hegemony fire for fire. It is only after they have been beaten to a bloody retreat that the absurdity of their planned 21st Century jihad will crystallize to them.
It is horrifying to image the triumph of a Fulani jihad in 21st Century Nigeria. It will reduce us to a defeated, broken and battered lot, on our knees and in trepidation of our new masters, watching helplessly, as the triumphant jihadists gleeful dip their Korans into the Atlantic Ocean.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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