THE FULANI INVASION OF NIGERIA, THEIR HISTORY, THEIR INTENTIONS, MUHAMMADU BUHARI AND UMAR MUHAMMED LABDO (PART 2). Interview by Femi Fani-Kayode
There is something very interesting that Napolean Bonaparte, the greatest Emperor and leader that France ever had, once said about the British cavalry.
I believe it was at the Battle of Waterloo. He said that the British had “the best cavalry in Europe” but that it was “the worst led”.
This describes the Fulani very well. They are a wonderful people who are courageous in battle, fearless and disciplined. They are also deeply loyal to their friends and bitterly ruthless and ferocious with their enemies, never forgetting a favour or a slight.
However sadly their traditional institutions and poitical leadership encourages and sustains a feudal system which frowns on education for the ordinary people and which keeps them in darkness and bondage. Worst still they have a rigid class system which does not serve them well.
That is why the great Hausa leader from Kano, Mallam Aminu Kano, once said that until all the Fulani Emirs were removed the ordinary people and masses of the north would remain in servitude and would not be truly free. That is what the Fulani leaders have done to their own people.
They would rather have them herding cows or walking the streets as almajiris and begging for alms and food than lead them into a place of enlightemment, liberty and prosperity and I think that is a failure of leadership on their part.
If you cannot lead your own people right and you insist on keeping them in bondage and ignorance how can you then possibly lay claim to leading others?
Outside of that I must add this and it is important
When it comes to furthering and protecting a collective TRIBAL interest or championing the cause and interest of their own ethnic group there is no tribe that is better at that than the Fulani.And this applies to both their rich and their poor.
They are focused, courageous, patient, disciplined, tough, resilient, ruthless and able to take pain without betraying any emotion all because they think far ahead and they know what they wish to achieve for the greater good of their tribe and kinsmen.
However when it comes to furthering or protecting the NATIONAL interest in my view they are the weakest and the worst simply because, generally speaking, they see themselves as overlords and masters of everyone else and this breeds hatred and resentment.
Most of them actually believe that Nigeria was created for their benefit alone and that the country and its people is essentially their foot stool. Labdo’s words actually betrays the thoughts of most of them though they would never say it publicly.
They conquer not just by force of arms but by guile, deceit and assimilation. History proves that, particularly the way they conquered Gobir and Ilorin. And of course Buhari’s actions and style of governance over the last three years, which is basically Fulani and Muslims first in everything and to hell with everyone else, proves that.
I am very reluctant to judge a whole race of people based on the failings of their present and past leaders but generally speaking I am not impressed by their leadership abilities because it is always more about promoting a tribal and ethnic interest rather than a national interest.
They always pretend otherwise but that is the reality. Actions speak louder than words. I know the history of our country well and sadly that has always been their trait and style whenever the Fulani are in power.
To them everything is about conquest and domination. And it is not just ethnic but also religious and that makes it even more dangerous. Worse of all is the fact that they never allow their most civilised and liberal or their brightest and best to get to the top.
They fight and attempt to destroy people like Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Sambo Dasuki, Kabiru Turaki, Sule Lamido, Ahmed Makarfi, Abubakar Atiku, Shehu Sani, Rabiu Kwakwanso, Nuhu Ribadu, Mohammed Dankwabo, Aminu Tambuwal and others for being too liberal and for accomodating other tribes and faiths whilst they encourage and promote those with blood on their hands, that kill Shiite Muslims and Christians and that attempt to justify and rationalise the barbaric genocide and unconsciable ethnic cleansing of the Fulani terrorists and herdsmen. I will not mention names but you know who I mean.
They prefer the ultra-conservative feudalists, the ethnic supremacists, the religious bigots, the diehard hegemonists and the radical hardliners amongst them to lead. They do not like the liberals and the reformers within their own ranks and they view them with as much disgust and contempt as they do southerners.
In terms of former Presidents of Fulani extraction the one I can say that I have the most respect and affection for was Shehu Shagari who, in my view, is a good man.
He was a gentle and moderate leader that did not let power go to his head, that was fair to all ethnic nationalities and that had no ethnic agenda.
Another leader amongst them who was part Fulani and who I had the greatest respect and affection for was the former Head of the dreaded and defunct Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, the late Mararan Sokoto, who brought me into politics in 1990 and who taught me all I needed to know about the secret and grey world of intelligence-gathering and spying.
He was a man of unimpeachable integrity and a strong and dependable leader. He was fair-minded: a profoundly good man with no iota of racism or tribalism in his body, spirit or soul.
Sadly, when it comes to good quality leaders, he and people like Shagari were the exceptions rather than the rule.
There are many Fulanis around today that would also make good leaders but those that have the mindset of total domination of other ethnic groups hardly ever allow them to emerge because they know that they will serve a national interest rather than a narrow tribal or religious one. This is my view about Fulani leadership.
Do you agree with his assertion that Fulani people were benevolent by not forcing people to convert to Islam and so on during the invasion that brought them to Nigeria and led to the conquering of some empires in the North?
ANSWER TO QUESTION 10.
He is talking absolute rubbish. He is indulging in deceit and falsehood of the worst kind and he is attempting to revise history.
The fact of the matter is that the conquest of parts of the north by the Fulani and the establishment of the Calphate empire was justified and propelled by the desire and supposed religious obligation to wipe out all other faiths, including Christianity, and spread Islam by the force of arms.
Consequently this was effected by a series of brutal and genocidal jihads in which hundreds of thousands of people if not millions were slaughtered in cold blood.
More Christians and traditional religion practitioners were slaughtered during the Jihads and during the establishment and spreading of the Caliphate than at any other time in our history.
Usman Dan Fodio offered either the sword or the Koran and he was utterly ruthless about it.
To say that Christians were allowed to practice their faith freely at that time or to stick to their religion is a lie from the pit of hell.
There was no benevolence extended towards the Christians in the Caliphate during the jihads or thereafter, only death, mass murder and slaughter for all those that were labelled as Christians, infidels and unbelievers.
The Christian faith continued to spread throughout the Caliphate and the north in spite of the butchery and persecution meted out to them by the Emirs and because of the hard work of the Church, the Christian missionaries and the immense courage and resilience of the northern Christian minority groups.
It did not spread because Usman Dan Fodio or his successors did them any favours or showed them kindness.
Are you denying the fact that Fulani people indeed have a rich heritage or history dating back to many years?
ANSWER TO QUESTION 11.
Certainly not many years. I have told you that the history of the Caliphate dates back to just over 200 years.
That is very young when you compare it to others like the Benin Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Habe Empire, the Nupe Kingdom, the Borno Empire, the Kalabari Empire, the Ashanti Empire in Ghana, the Kingdom of Dahomy and the other numerous kingdoms that were dotted all over the geographical space which later became Nigeria after the British arrived.
The Fulani do have a rich heritage and a noble history but all that came after the establishment of the Caliphate and their invasion of northern Nigeria.
Before the establishment of the Caliphate their history was very dark and there was simply nothing to it. And without Nigeria they would have remained nothing.
Until the time they came to our shores with their swords and horses they were just easy-going, nomadic and migrant cattle herdsmen from Futa Jalon who wandered all over west Africa breeding horses, rearing cattle and trading primarily with the Malians, Berbers, Arabs and Tauregs of north Africa.
They married and cross-bred with these trading partners for many years and that is how the genetic make-up and the blood lines of the Fulani was established. They are actually a hybrid race from mixed racial stock.
They are not black Africans in the true sense of the word and this explains their strange physical features. Just look at their frame, their hair, their noses and their complexion and you know they are different. Their temprement and culture is also very different to ours and it is most un-African.
I am not talking about the Hausa but about the Fulani. They are different from us. They are a cross between the black Africans of Futa Jalon in modern day Guniea and the light-skinned Arabs, Berbers, Malians and Taurags of north Afica.
There is little evidence that they had any history of an orderly, strong, well-structured, sophisticated and well-administered community like any of those that existed within the borders of what was to later become Nigeria before the establishment of the Caliphate.
And before they came to Nigeria they resided primarily between Mali, Guniea and Senegal.
You said in your essay that Fulani people were originally not part of us, does that mean you don’t agree with Prof. Labdo that Fulani people should not be called settlers in Nigeria because other tribes had also settled where they are at a point in their history?
ANSWER TO QUESTION 12.
Fulani people are best described as settlers because they came here relatively recently compared to everyone else. The rest of us have been here for 500 to 1000 years and some even more.
Secondly they are the only tribe in Nigeria that wander into other peoples ancestral and tribal lands, reside their for some time and then after some time claim that land as their own.
This always leads to trouble as they try to forcefully impose their will, religion, culture and ways and dominate the indigenous community that unwittingly took them in as guests years before.
When these conflicts start it always leads to violence and that is why the Fulani are not only regarded as setters but also there is always a huge amount of resentment channeled towards them.
Labdi cannot get away with attempting to label the indegenous communities that have lived on their tribal land for up to 1000 years as settlers. This is intellectually dishonest, disingenious and unfair.
For many generations the indigenous people have lived on that land and their right to it cannot be altered by those that have just arrived and that they originally welcomed with open and loving arms.