WHEN NIGERIANS SEE THE FULANI AS THEIR PROBLEM
I always do not like to generalize. To attribute one behavioural pattern or characteristic, whether good or bad, to one group of people, or to an entire ethnic group, may not be very logical or entirely correct. This is because within that particular group, there will still be some rules of exception.
Since the past four years, particularly with the ascension to power of the Nigerian President of Fulani extraction, Muhammadu Buhari, out of the over 250 ethnic groups in the country, the Fulani ethnic group is currently being seen as the country’s problem. The Fulani have been on the lips of most Nigerians, not for good, but for their notoriety.
This is particularly so since the Fulani herdsmen who wield AK47 rifles were seem to have been let loose, as they rape, maim and kill people in many parts of the country. There are also some reported cases of banditry and kidnapping in several parts of Nigeria, which were equally attributed to the Fulani.
This has made some Nigerians begin to conclude rightly or wrongly, that the Fulani people were sadistic who have little or no regard for human life, and that the hoodlums who perpetrate those heinous crimes were drawing their power and strength from their brother, who is now on the seat of power as President of Nigeria.
Several theories have been put forward as reasons for the resurgence or increase of the Fulani attacks in Nigeria, in recent years.
Number one is that the current Fulani attacks is a continuation of the jihad which was started in 1804 by the great Fulani leader, Othman Dan Fodio, whose aim was to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean, meaning to Islamize everybody in Nigeria.
That jihad was somehow halted in the middle belt, when it met with greater force and resistance, particularly with the entry of the European colonial adventurism. Now that a Fulani man who appears to have the same zeal as the great Othman Dan Fodio, is in power in Nigeria, it was decided to resume the onward match to the Atlantic Ocean.
The second reason is that throughout history, the Fulani, particularly those in West Africa, have no homeland. They are nomadic people, who move from one place to the other. Now, they seriously desire to have a country of their own, and Nigeria, which has their brother as President, is their ideal country, their place of destination.
They started with Boko Haram. Almost the entire North East was overrun. Not content, they came in as herdsmen, and began to terrorize most parts of the country. Another group came in as cattle rustlers, gunmen and kidnappers. Now they are everywhere, maiming and killing people at random.
Interestingly, the Nigerian President who is a Fulani, appears to be sympathetic to their cause. He had appointed his Defence Minister, who is a Fulani; his Director of State Security (DSS), a Fulani; his Chief of Army Staff, a Kanuri-Fulani; his Inspector General of Police, a Fulani; etc. They all had been looking the other way, while their kith and kin were terrorizing the country.
We have had other Fulani Presidents in the past. We had Alhaji Shehu Shagari and we had Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. They were all decent men. There was no trace or manifestation of Fulanization or domination by the Fulani ethnic group during their regimes. That is why it is not always good to generalise.
President Buhari may not have any ill-feeling against anybody or against any ethnic group in the country, but his failure to rise, like an Army General, to the challenges of the current security situation bedevilling the country, may not be a very good testimonial. It speaks volume.
It is either that the President is not willing to do anything or that the situation has overwhelmed him. Either way, he is to be held responsible.
Our President should not give room to situation where all the other ethnic groups in the country would bearing grudges against the Fulani or come to develop morbid hatred for the entire Fulani race, while only a few of them were bad. This could lead to ethnic war or genocide as former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his latest letter to President Buhari, had propounded.