Fulani Suzerainty Is Incompatible with Nigeria’s Nationhood: 2019 General Elections Are Counterintuitive Before New Constitution Is Derived.
Special report by the LONIM Secretariat
Empires have been built and sustained, throughout history, by the systematic inculcation of the psychology of fear into the ruled by the ruling imperial order. The Roman Empire, for example, grew to dominate Western Europe, North Africa, Middle and Near East for centuries because the humanity of that epoch saw imperial Rome as a formidable military power that one would only dare at one’s own certain peril. Embellishing and brandishing Rome’s military power was the most preeminent tool of governance. For more than a thousand years in some locations, acknowledgment and fear of imperial Rome were considered to be the beginning of wisdom for all dwellers of the Mediterranean basin. At a later stage, the rulers of imperial Rome saw the utility of adopting a state religion as a veritable tool for wielding and portrayal of state power. The emergent Christian faith was reconfigured to become the official religion of imperial Rome. That maneuver helped in stabilizing governance from within and thus extended the empire’s longevity for centuries. But then, came the inevitable. As all empires before it, imperial Rome finally came tumbling down catastrophically.
Nigeria was created as part of the defunct British empire in early 20th Century. Imperial Britain encountered a local colonizing force in northern part of colonial Nigeria. The Sokoto Islamic Caliphate, which emerged sequel to the Uthman Dan Fodio-led jihad (1804-1808), was militarily overwhelmed by colonial expeditionary force which had already overrun many parts of Southern Nigeria. Rather than establish a uniform administrative framework for the totality of colonial Nigeria, the British approved instead to grant generous ruling powers to minders of the Sokoto Caliphate in a spurious deal that gave an undeserved lease on life to the slave-trading Fulani feudal aristocracy of the Arewa North. With this novel relationship, the Islamic Caliphate was made to believe that the Fulani imperial ambitions fostered through jihadist wars were still alive and well. Soon after the debacle of World War II, imperial Britain reached a point of inflection and therefore, had no other choice than to shed its overseas imperial possessions so as to focus full-time on redeeming the terribly battered cosmopolitan United Kingdom.
The hurried exit of colonial Britain was seen as a God-given opportunity for the Fulani aristocracy to revive imperial ambitions of their forebears and resumption of the truncated Islamization of destinations south of the Sokoto Islamic Caliphate. As Southern and Middle Belt Nigerians were celebrating the end of British colonialism, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello (great-grandson of Uthman Dan Fodio) issued this injunction to his devout followers on October 12, 1960:
“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 of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.” (Reported in the Parrot Newspaper of 12th October 1960)
Some say that the preceding serves as the battle script for the resumption and successful completion of the conquest and Islamization of rainforest belt of Southern Nigeria and parts of the Middle Belt that were yet out of the total grasp of the Sokoto Islamic Caliphate. The born-to-rule mindset of latter-day Fulani irredentist aristocrats and intelligentsia has its roots in the expressed wishes and injunction of the late Sardauna of Sokoto. The blueprint is also clear for all to see; the minorities of the North was to be regarded as “willing tools” and the South considered to be “conquered territory”. Whoever desire to be given a seat at the turbaned rulers’ courts must first meet two important requirements –
Never allow them (Southerners & Middle Belters) to rule over us (Fulani).
Never allow them (Southerners & Middle Belters) to have control over their future.
Muhammadu Buhari presidency is perceived by many to be the messianic Islamist rule envisioned for the Fulani by the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, Uthman Dan Fodio and his progeny (as epitomized in the late Ahmadu Bello). Conduct of the 2015 general elections witnessed the initial implementation of directive No 1. The GEJ presidency was mostly seen by the Arewa North as an unacceptable anathema which had to be stopped at all cost. This helps one to understand how come, overnight, members of the defeated ruling party, PDP, from the Arewa North decamped en masse and entered the newfound APC in order to justify a vote for the return of presidential power to the Fulani-controlled Sokoto Caliphate aristocracy.
No 2 directive helps one to better understand the hardline response by the Fulani aristocracy to the escalating demand for self-determination and or Restructuring by pro-Biafra agitators, in particular, and other disaffected constituents in Southern and Middle Belt Nigeria. Making vassals of the Fulani Arewa North resident in the South and Middle Belt not to “have control over their future” is in strict compliance with Ahmadu Bello’s 1960 injunction.
Fear as Tool for Dominance & Enforcement of Fulani Suzerainty Over Rest of Nigeria
The Buhari presidency is paradigmatic in the unrestrained use of coercive force to inject fear into the psyche of subjects to the Fulani imperial ruling order. Nigeria is deemed erroneously to be a democracy. But in real practice, the country is run as a vassal state under the firm grip of Sokoto Islamic Caliphate. The Nigerian Army was founded by Frederick Lugard as an expeditionary force designed to protect and foster the core interests of a colonizing force, at expense of the subject population. This mantra is still dominant in the Nigerian Army leadership echelon today. The Fulani aristocracy stepped into shoes of colonial Britain in post-colonial Nigeria at the earliest opportunity to do so. The Fulani have historical and cultural experience of rule through forceful imposition by coercion. In order to best prepare the Buhari administration for the task ahead of its protagonists, the incumbent presidency went on the limb to first consolidate all security agencies in Nigeria and the judiciary arm of government under the direct oversight of the tribalistic Fulani. With this setup, it becomes very easy to wield and ruthlessly deploy coercive forces of the Nigerian state to serve presaged tactical and strategic agenda of the Fulani aristocracy.
The Nigeria Army, for example, has effectively been stopped in its confrontational engagements with the Boko Haram Islamist terrorists and then, redeployed instead in Southern Nigeria for engagement in murderous escapades like Operations “Python Dance II” and “Crocodile Smile” to kill unarmed pro-Biafra groups and others engaged in self-determination agitation being organized in a peaceful nonviolent manner. The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), of which President Buhari is its Life Patron, equips and sponsors the AK47-wielding Fulani herdsmen terrorist militia to engage in murderous ethnic cleansing in states of the Middle Belt and parts of the South without any fear of arrest or being checkmated by the security forces. The brutal attacks that slaughtered more than 70 Benue state indigenes on 2018 New Year Day, for example, were aimed at instilling fear across the target area so as to cow the citizenry into obeisance to the unchallenged will of the Fulani hegemonic rule nationwide. Those who flee their ancestral communities to seek refuge in the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps have their farmland hijacked and converted into fresh pastures for grazing Fulani-owned cattle herds.
Eliminating Fear Among Constituents Is Job One
Individuals and groups in Nigeria have different ways of understanding and expressing their fears for the ruling Fulani aristocracy. For a ruling order that has demonstrated no aversion, whatsoever, for recourse to deadly violence, avoidance of bloodshed keeps many Nigerians from either asserting their civil rights or even demand accountability from the government as the case should be in a true democracy. Tolerance for and connivance with perpetrators of violence, especially through extrajudicial means, by the government of the day make the average citizen to voluntarily restrain self or to opt for muteness since there are no official conduits for seeking redress if one’s human rights are abridged while engaging in any form of protest against the status quo.
Some in the elite corps fear that being perceived to be a troublemaker by the powers that be can translate into forfeiture of access to governmental largesse in forms of contracts, employment, provision of socioeconomic amenities etc. With Nigeria being a polity in which patronage through parochialism, partisanship, and religious affiliation are veritable means of getting ahead in society, even a modicum of social activism is avoided like plague, even in presence of glaring social injustice or maladministration.
The predicament of the Igbo ethnic nationality is worth a special mention here. The Igbo have the dual attributes of being the most business-oriented and itinerant of all ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Igbo base is in the eastern half of Southern Nigeria. But Ndiigbo are widely dispersed through the length and breadth of the country, including violence-prone parts of the Northeast where terrorist Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen militia operate freely without constraints. As a matter of routine, the Igbo tend to acquire landed properties and other investments that are relatively immovable. This sort of exposure makes the typical Igbo who belong to the business elite corps prefer to abstain from comments and acts which can be interpreted as being antagonistic to constituents where the preponderance of their investments are. Fear that their valuable investments and landed properties may be seized or destroyed has been an effective means to cow and intimidate an important component of the Igbo elite corps. This is the class that openly countermands the intense self-determination agitation and quest of by Igbo youths. The elite Ohanaeze Ndiigbo leadership often initiate public statements that detract from the overall strategic interests of their own people because of fear of instigating the hostile response from constituents where the itinerant Igbo businessmen are heavily vested, for example.
As illustrated by preceding examples, the reasons for fearing the wrath of minders of the status quo are so varied, even among a given ethnopolitical group as homogenous as the Igbo. Deriving an acceptable consensus position for Ndiigbo, for example, is often even as contentious and far-fetched as one encounters at the national level. Since the Igbo are compelled to dialogue among themselves based on fear as a primary driver, acrimony beclouds the mindset and thoughts of just one out of the more than 350 ethnic nationalities inhabiting the vassal nation-state ruled by the irredentist Fulani aristocrat at the pinnacle of centralized power at the Aso Rock Villa. All things considered, there is cause to adduce that the fear of the Fulani is grossly out of step with the group’s intrinsic capabilities as one would anticipate from a control-conscious tribal group of its ilk. Fulani population in Nigeria are estimated at less than 10 million thereby making them one of the ethnic minorities in the country. But the nomadic group had acquired cultural instincts, over past centuries, that have enabled them to effectively deploy the smokescreen of Islam in scheming local alliances with larger ethnic nationalities who they skillfully manipulate and utilize to effectuate their imperial agenda.
Fulani Overreach & Resultant Inevitable Downfall
Before the creation of Nigerian state, the Fulani were able to dominate parts of the Old North by exploiting whatever relative advantages they had over their target populations in the Middle Belt and South. In times of yore, a cavalry of a few tens of thousands of armed horsemen were more than enough to conquer and police a wide expanse of territory inhabited by the widely dispersed subsistence-farming communities as was the situation in the pre-colonial Middle Belt region. Control was strictly maintained through Islamic theocratic rule delimited under turbaned Fulani emirs at the helm. The administrative structure is still feudal in configuration where authority is concentrated and handed down in hereditary monarchy. Colonization had detracted immensely from the Fulani hegemonic rule because the turbaned emirs are currently subsumed under state governors at whose pleasure they now serve on their respective thrones. For all practical purposes, the Fulani emirates are now mere shadows of what they used to be in eyes of their subjects. As a visiting Washington Post correspondent who recently visited the Emir of Kano mused, the Fulani ruling houses of today come across as anachronistic relics from a bygone era.
The burden of contemporary Fulani society in Nigeria is that there is little to no opportunities for upward mobility for the ordinary folks in a post-colonial Nigeria. Perhaps, adherence to Islamic traditions includes the repudiation of a wholesome embrace of secular norms and Western education. Fulani aristocrats, however, ensure that their privileged children are properly educated in both Western and Islamic schools. The Fulani ethnic mannerism is often still full of pomp and pageantry with nothing much of substance to show for it. The typical Fulani tends to have immense self-pride which often is not commensurate with individual’s ability to produce or contribute to mainstream society. The Fulani control a disproportionately high percentage of leadership positions in societal leadership in Nigeria’s central government where they are perceived to be mere parasites because of the ethnic group’s overall minuscule contribution to the nation’s commonwealth. Bizarrely enough, the Fulani still pride themselves as exceptionally endowed with leadership qualities which are far above those of fellow compatriots. Suffice it to say that such bogus claim is unsubstantiated; President Buhari, a Fulani blueblood, is uniformly rated today as the worst president that Nigeria ever had.
Biafranist Ideology In Lieu of Fear
Uncertainty about what future prospects portend tends to compound the dilemma of whoever are paralyzed by fear. Since fear is mostly a psychic reaction to the unknown, illuminating the dark recesses of someone in fear has tremendous curative and salutary effect. The human intellect is better fortified to deal with fear by the provision of knowledge, particularly the type that further elucidates one’s object of fear. Fear of the Fulani hegemonic design for Nigeria, for example, can best be ameliorated by providing a full exposé on the ethnic nationality in as much a comprehensive manner as humanly possible. The most appropriate place to start is with Fulani history. Elucidating the history of the Fulani, especially within the boundaries of Nigeria, must be seen as the most potent tool for eliminating the inordinate fear that some individuals and groups of non-Fulani ancestry have regarding this ethnic nationality. It is quite amazing that overwhelming majority of contemporary Nigerians have no clue, whatsoever, that the Fulani currently domiciled in the Arewa North are not indigenous to the geopolitical space called Nigeria, for example. As long as many still perceive the Fulani hegemonic rulers over Nigeria as innately more patriotic than the rest, the fear for this rthnic group shall persist indefinitely. Could this be the reason why the teaching of history subject was effectively excluded from Nigeria’s educational curriculum since the Civil War?
Ahiara Declaration & Nation Building for Redemption of Black Africa
Out of absolute bewilderment that rest of the civilized world opted to look the other ways while millions of innocent children, women and the infirm are being starved to death and murdered in droves with the weapons freely given by the United Kingdom government of Great Britain, USSR and the international alliance assembled for sole purpose of suffocating and extinguishing the self-determination quest of Biafrans, General Ojukwu and the Biafra leadership decided to formally proclaim the Ahiara Declaration on June 1, 1969. The historic document was written by a team of the Biafran intelligentsia, the National Guidance Committee, headed by the late Prof. Chinua Achebe of Things Fall Apart fame. The document clearly asserted that the Biafran genocide was not ruffling any feathers on the international scene simply because the victims were Black Africans. Fewer killings of non-Blacks elsewhere had attracted widespread opprobrium to the extent that conflicts were hastily stopped through direct intervention by the United Nations or other international bodies. Those responsible for perpetrating and enabling crimes against humanity were promptly brought to book and appropriately sanctioned. But not in the Biafran case.
Ahiara Declaration posits that “Our struggle has far-reaching significance. It is the latest recrudescence in our time of the age-old struggle of the black man for his full stature as man. We are the latest victims of a wicked collusion between the three traditional scourges of the black man – racism, Arab-Muslim expansionism and white economic imperialism. Playing a subsidiary role is Bolshevik Russia seeking for a place in the African sun. Our struggle is a total and vehement rejection of all those evils which blighted Nigeria, evils which were bound to lead to the disintegration of that ill-fated federation. Our struggle is not a mere resistance – that would be purely negative. It is a positive commitment to build a healthy, dynamic and progressive state, such as would be the pride of black men the world over…”. The nation which the Black African aspires to build today, therefore, must assure “social and economic justice and the rule of law” for all its peoples.
No Reason to Fear the Consequences of Nigeria’s Demise
Many Nigerians, especially within the society’s elite class, tend to be afraid of what shall follow if Nigeria, as rickety as it is today as a nation, is allowed to crumble under its own weight. Fear of the unknown would make this important segment of the Nigerian polity to acquiesce to the unacceptable status quo and at the same time, to regard the motives of self-determination agitators with deep suspicion and a sense of foreboding. In an environment ruled by fear, the manipulating leaders at the helm have a field day exploiting popular anxieties and subtle cleavages that exist among the exploited.
The Ahiara Declaration has articulated the ways and means of rebuilding the geopolitical space of today’s Nigeria after the total demise of the current unitary-governance contraption that has maneuvered itself to a dead-end. The principles of the Ahiara Declaration offer the quintessential architectural design for building the nation-state(s) that shall replace unitary Nigeria which has become the playground where the Fulani aristocracy and their hangers-on play their deadly game of self-enrichment, ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Biafranist ideology, as embodied in the Ahiara Declaration of June 1, 1969 is our sure path to the future. (http://www.lnc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/AHIARA-DECLARATION.pdf)
From the LONIM Secretariat April 6, 2018.