Poverty of Yoruba Islamism and Fulani political egotism: Any Share in Muhammad’s Kingdom? (Part 3)
Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD
FULANI DIVIDE AND RULE CONSPIRACY AND THE SUNDAY IGBOHO FACTOR IN YORUBA MILITARY INVINCIBILITY
Within the context of political force majeure the Fulani ruling caste have always viewed the Yoruba nation and people as part of their vassalage in both political and religious terms. In other words the whole Yorubaland theoretically belong to the Fulani Caliphate Empire Complex which should be brought under physical political control in a matter of time. With the success and sustenance of the Ilorin experience even to the present cotemporary era, this contemptuous theory of implanting the nineteenth century jihad experience in Yoruba was seen as a possibility given the readiness of most Yoruba Muslims to play the Afonja quisling role in the name of a false contraption of one undivided Muslim umma in Nigeria.
It should be instructive to note that the Fulani had invaded and destroyed the Old Oyo Capital City of Katunga with the connivance of a man who was customarily ordained to defend it— Aare Ona Kakanfo Afonja, whose descendants have since for the same reason been confined to perpetual Fulani slavery in their ancestral land. The Fulani through the subtle infiltration of some parts of Oyo Empire as they are doing in present times in every part of Yorubaland and the greater part of Southern Nigeria had in the process succeeded in courting Afonja’s friendship who was said to be a professing Muslim, as they do today with a number of Yoruba Muslim traditional rulers, politicians and businessmen. In the process, General Afonja was encouraged to revolt against his Alafin and in order to create his own empire with Ilorin as the centre.
Afonja unscrupulously agreed and subsequently revolted against his people which consequently led to the defeat of the Oyo army by the Fulani and the eventual destruction of the Capital City of Katunga. The final consequence was the migration of the reigning Alafin of Oyo southwards with some of his people to found the present Oyo City. Against Aare Afonja’s expectation however, the same Fulani who instigated him into the revolt against his people not long after revolted against him, and after eliminating him, installed their Fulani kinsman Alimi as the Emir and Lord of Afonja’s Ilorin City, the position his descendants still occupy till date as Gambari Emirs in Yorubaland.
Before then, the people of Oyo Kingdom were engaged in a war of attrition with the Fulani over their land such that even the British explorer Captain Hugh Clapperton was shy to request the Alafin’s assistance for guides to Sokoto in 1825. As E. N. Bovil noted: “All Clapperton wanted of the Alafin was his help in reaching Sokoto but he could not say so because the Fulani were hated enemies who were at this time raiding Yoruba almost up to the walls of Katunga.”
The destruction of Katunga and the consequent southward migration of the Alafin and his people to found the present Oyo City which was followed in quick succession by the tragic perennial Yoruba civil wars presented the Fulani jihadists the impression of an easy walk-over of the entire Yoruba nation. However, such arrogant attempts were frustrated not once and not twice by the intrepid Ibadan forces. But the Fulani imperial arrogance and feudal superiority mentality over the Yoruba nation continued without restriction with their vile ambition of turbanization of all Yoruba monarchies as it is being shamelessly depicted today by the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom. S. A. Akintoye has noted this vile Fulani arrogance when, during the Ibadan-Ekiti Parapo Wars, the Ekiti Parapo requested the support of the Fulani Emirate of Ilorin to counter the powerful Ibadan forces. As the eminent historian noted:
Ilorin envoys came to Ibadan to acquaint the Are with the alliance, adding, in reference to the Ekiti, ‘If a Man’s wife deserted him and afterwards repented and came back to him, is he not the husband justified in receiving her back?’
By the wording and context of the in-set quotation it is clear that the Ekiti Parapo were in theory if not in practical terms, in the minds of the Fulani of Ilorin their conquered and subject people even before the actual conquest. The Ekiti Parapo decision to request Fulani assistance against Ibadan was therefore seen in terms of the fulfillment of that predestined master-servant relationship—the case of a divorcee political wife seeking the help of her former political husband in the face of danger.
For the Ekiti Parapo, the alliance with the Fulani Caliphate of Ilorin was a good strategy for getting rid of the high-handed domination of the Ibadan-led Oyo Yoruba at the time. On the other hand, for Ibadan it was a war of imperial integrity, fighting to protect its newly-won imperial status as the protector and defender of the Yoruba nation against the Fulani destroyers of their Old Capital City of Oyo-Ile (Katunga).
However, to the Fulani of Ilorin, it was a mischievous friendship with the Ekiti Parapo in the colouring of Afonja-type alliance in which their ultimate objective was the extension of their imperial adventurism further into Yorubaland. Thus unknown to the leaders of Ekiti Parapo led the duo of Chief Ogedengbe and Prince Fabunmi, they were only attempting to replace brotherly imperialism led by Are Momo Latosisa with a more vicious and arrogant feudal imperialism that masqueraded in the form of a new won-friend. Against the expectation of the Fulani in their imperial conspiracy against Ekiti Parapo however, the outcome turned out to be ominous in the hands of the indefatigable Ibadan warriors.
Be that as it may, it will appear as an ignominious historical oversight if we fail to note that before the Ekiti Parapo episode Ibadan had established a tradition of continuous trouncing of Fulani-led Ilorin forces, events that proved to the Fulani leaders of Sokoto Caliphate that the people of New Oyo were not willing and ready to tolerate any act of Afonja’s conspiracy. Thus it was not surprising that the subtle attempt by the Fulani to advance their imperial jihad scheme further into Yorubaland through their ill-motivated support or rather military alliance with Ekiti Parapo met the strong impenetrable walls of Ibadan warriors on the battle field who routed them with impunity. The defeat had such a high psycho-political impact on the Fulani that the latter were to forget for near eternity any further ambition of dipping their blood-soaked Holy Quran in the Atlantic Ocean through Yorubaland, until the recent events by Fulani Herdsmen. As Professor Akintoye aptly described the last episode of Ibadan defeat of Fulani invaders at the historic battle of Ikirun referred to as the Jalumi War:
The Ilorin, fleeing from the general rout, suddenly found that the bridge on the River Otun in their rear had disappeared. Hotly pursued by the Ibadan, most of the Ilorin rushed into the flooded stream and perished. So many men and horses are said to have died in the flood that corpses clogged up the stream and made a gruesome bridge for those coming from behind to gallop across.
It is in the context of this Ibadan factor that one looks at the sudden emergence of the Ibadan-born Aare Sunday Igboho as the Yoruba counter-militant force against the marauding forces of Sokoto Caliphate sponsored Fulani Herdsmen. History seems to prove that where the Aare Ona Kakanfo failed, there the Ibadan warriors succeeded in the battle for the defence of Yorubaland against the Fulani Jihad adventurism. The emergence of Sunday Igboho is therefore in line with this Ibadan warrior tradition. It appears to be a providential reaction to the striking lethargy of the once dreaded Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) on whose leader is entrusted the much exalted yet historically demeaned title of Aare Ona Kakan.
Indeed one had expected the current Aare Ona Kakanfo Apostle Gani Adams to live up to the expectations of his office and the confidence his people reposed on him by making visible impact on the struggles against Fulani imperialism. But it seems, like previous holders of the title in our contemporary times, namely Chiefs Samuel Ladoke Akintola and M. K. O. Abiola who were infected by the virus of Afonja’s saboteur syndrome contacted through the unction of Fulani Cattle-Rituals, Apostle Gani Adams has similarly been infected in the same light.
A lot of Nigerians could still recount with clear and unadulterated memories the intrepid activities of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) both under the late Dr. Frederick Isotan Faseun and Gani Adams that gave the Yoruba ethnic nation the reputation of a no-nonsense people. Such people will agree under the present circumstance of Fulani impunity in brigandage that the present Gani Adams is quite different from the Gani Adams they knew. Most of these people will equally agree that were Dr. Frederick Faseun to be alive under the trending circumstance, the battle against the Fulani militant impunity should have been entirely different from what it is at the present state.
It is equally necessary to point out that the Fulani strategy of expansion in terms of creating division among a people or exploiting already existing cracks in order to weaken their spirit of collective resistance seems to be working among the Yoruba. As Akintoye again pointed out: “The Fulani strategy for expansion was always to cause division among a people, ally themselves with the weaker to destroy the stronger and then subdue the former.”
The Fulani being a people motivated by the manifest destiny of their historical jihad project are always quick in exploiting such existing historical cracks among a given people. Indeed one could see President Muhammadu Buhari’s invitation of the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan to Abuja in the wake of Sunday Igboho’s exploits against the Fulani in Oyo State through the same looking-glass of divide and rule technique and exploitation of historical cracks, when considered in the historical context of Ife-Modakeke conflict which Sunday Igboho was said to have played active role on the side of his Modakeke Oyo kinsmen.
Another instance of this strategy of exploiting apparent cracks among prospective opponents is the appointment of Major General Leo Irabor—a West Niger Igbo to the Office of Chief of Defence Staff. Although to those who are well acquainted with military rank and command structures quite know that the office of the Chief of Defence Staff is as militarily impotent as the President in a parliamentary democracy is politically impotent.
To state the fact, it is a command without troops and thus toothless in terms of Nigeria’s military power equation. Yet it was an appointment expected to generate unhealthy condemnation by the Igbo of the Southeast who were likely to describe General Irabor a non-mainland Igbo; hoping that such action would then widen the already existing cracks between the two geographical divides of the same ethnic group. By so doing the West Niger Igbo would then see the Fulani as their mentor and possible ally. Although this strategy failed in the case of Ibadan-Ekiti Parapo War mainly by the act of Providence, it was nevertheless the strategy employed to destroy Oyo-Ile with the connivance of Afonja the Quisling.
In 1962, Chief Obafemi Awolowo—the Leader of Action Group (AG) and Opposition at the Federal level was accused of treason, tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment by the Fulani-led Federal Government. He was consequently sent to far away Calabar Prisons for a ten-year jail term. This was coming on the instigation of Sir Ahmadu Bello, who had sponsored a rebellion against Chief Awolowo’s leadership by his Deputy and successor as Premier of the Western Region, Chief Samuel Akintola.
The result of this Fulani-sponsored rebellion against Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a catastrophic disorder in the Region in 1962, which continued until its climax during the 1964 Regional elections. It led to what became popularly known as Operation Wetie—a situation of total disorder and break-down of law and order in Western Region, in which inflammation of political opponents, their supporters and their property became daily occurrences in the once economically and industrially pace-setting Western Region of Nigeria. The Western Region sooner became known as the “Wild-Wild-West. Operation Wetti subsequently snowballed into the January 15, 1966 coup d’etat led by the patriotic Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu that consequently consumed Chief Samuel Akintola and Sir Ahmadu Bello, among many other civilian and military leaders. In his poetic description of Operation Wretti and the emergence of the January 15, 1966 coup, the renowned poet Professor J. P. Clark in his “The Seasons of Omen” wrote:
When CALABASHES HELD petrol and men turned faggots in the streets
Then came the five hunters
When mansions and limousines made bonfires in Sunset cities
Then came the five hunters
When clans were discovered that were not in the book and cattle counted for heads of men
Then came the five hunters
When hoodlums took possession of police barracks in defiance of bullets
Then came the five hunters
When ministers legislated from bed and made high office the prize for failure
Then came the five hunters
When wads of note were kept in infant skulls with full blessing of the prelates
Then came the five hunters
When women grew heavy with ballot papers delivering the house entire to adulterers
Then came the five hunters….
The overall consequences of the Akintola-Fulani conspiracy against Chief Obafemi Awolowo were therefore series of destruction that moved in a spiral fashion from Operation Wettin to the the demise of the First Republic through the January 1966 coup, then to the July 29, 1966 counter-coup, followed by the October 1966 Igbo pogroms, from which point session emerged, culminating in the 30-month civil war.
As in the case of Aare Ona-Kakanfo Afonja who conspired with the Fulani agent Alimi to revolt against his Oyo Empire—the same nation he was commissioned to defend and protect, Chief Akintola as the Premier of Western Region and having been adorned with the same toga of Aare Ona-Kakanfo of Yorubaland took the same step by aligning himself with another Fulani Jihad protagonist Sir Ahmadu Bello to form an alliance called Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) with the objective of sustaining himself on power as a Fulani political pawn. Equally in the same fashion Afonja’s conspiracy led to the collapse of the much celebrated Katunga-based Oyo Empire, which subsequently degenerated into what became known as the Yoruba Civil Wars of the nineteenth century bringing untold catastrophe on the people, Akintola’s conspiracy brought a state of civil disorder in what might equally be referred to as the Yoruba Civil War of the twentieth century. And again, like Afonja, he finally lost out in the course of the crisis generated by his inordinate bid to dine and wine with an irredeemable ideological enemy.
Like the case of Akintola and his consequent tragic end in his unholy collaboration with the Jihad-tasty Fulani political oligarchy of the North, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was to replay the same spectacle of calculated quisling role against not only his Yoruba people, but the collective interest of Southern Nigeria. Lured by his inordinate lust for political power to crown his already built-up sprawling economic empire, he became a willing instrument of the Fulani scheme of perpetual domination of the Nigerian nation. Adorned with the limbless office of the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria—titular second-in-command to the Sultan of Sokoto, he no sooner than later developed a paranoiac urge to undo what he termed as the domineering status of Christianity in Yorubaland.
He went further to assume the title of Aare Ona-Kakanfo in the manner of Chief Akintola, with the addition of the Muslim title of Baba Adinni of Yorubaland, paradoxically assuming the title of Amir al-Muminin of Yorubaland as well. Having been appointed as the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria by virtue of which he saw himself as the Deputy Commander of the Muslim Faithful in Nigeria—Amir al-Muminin, he went to sleep with the mirage that such zeal will attract the unequivocal support of the Sokoto Caliphate for his exalted ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Indeed Chief Abiola’s experience needs a bit of recounting as a way of revealing how a people’s refusal to learn from their history could often lead to a repetition of the same history often at their detriment.
The second Republic saw a band of Yoruba chieftains of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) playing Judas-Iscariot to their kinsmen in order to please their Fulani masters in obedience to the hope of the implementation of the Presidential zoning system. One of these Chieftains was Chief M.K.O. Abiola, whose tenacity in subservient obedience clothed with the zeal of Islamic propagation among his people, embarked on wholesome anti-Christian activities among his kinsmen. With his sprawling economic empire, he single-handedly sponsored many anti-Christian activities, including instances of outright conflict, as in the case of the breaking of the Cross Symbol at the University of Ibadan.
He went further to build Mosques, donated several millions of naira without rival to several Muslim outfits in the North, and was given several honorary Chieftaincy titles by several Emirs in Northern Nigeria that were never given to non-indigenes. On account of his zeal, he was elevated to the exalted office of Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, second only to the Sultan of Sokoto in terms of ceremonial status and authority. Thus, in terms of work, M. K. O. Abiola excelled more than any other person in the advancement of the stealth jihad objectives of the Fulani oligarchy. But as the Bible puts it “Not of works, lest any man should boast”, he was soon to receive one of the early shockers of his life in his political ambition.
The first shocker came when President Shehu Shagari’s first term of office was about to end and Chief Abiola and his high-ranking NPN Yoruba kinsmen Chiefs Olu Akinfosile and Richard Akinjide decided to inform their Party that after President Shehu Shagari’s second term it would be the turn of the Yoruba under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) zoning prescription to produce the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But they were politely informed by the dominant Fulani political force in the party in clear humiliating terms that the Presidency was not for sale. Alhaji Umaru Dikko was to openly inform Abiola that “the Presidency is not for sale to the highest bidder.” What an irony for the man who tirelessly contributed his time, energy and money in building up the same political party under which he was eventually denied the fundamental right to contest for the position of his ambition?
In spite of this humiliation, Chief Abiola proceeded with his ambition to lead his country. Coming late into the arena of the Third Republic politics, after a spate of disqualifications of some notable political hard-nuts by President Ibrahim Babangida, he succeeded in clinching the Presidential ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in a keenly contested Party Primary. He thereafter contested the main Presidential election which he was presumed to have won with a landslide.
Indeed the June 12 1993 Presidential election was an epoch-making event and a far-cry from previous electoral experiences of the nation. Its outstanding nature is well attested by the following statement credited to Newswatch magazine:
Unlike previous elections in Nigeria, last week’s Presidential election witnessed a major innovation: the introduction of an election monitoring group. A total of 3,000 observers took part in the exercise nation-wide. One hundred and thirty-five of them were foreigners. Britain, Nigeria’s former colonial master, topped the list with 24 observers. The team led by the country’s High Commissioner in Lagos, included four Parliamentarians. The United States of America, USA, sent eight Observers while France and Denmark had five Representatives include Canada and India with four men each, China, Italy, Jamaica and Ethiopia with one representative each. All the foreign observers were led by their Country’s Ambassadors or High Commissioners in Nigeria.
However, the end was to become a different matter altogether; a catastrophic end indeed for Chief Abiola.
Mid-way into the announcement of the results, the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida unilaterally annulled the election, thereby denying Abiola the chance of fulfilling his ambition. It is obvious that M.K.O. Abiola was denied his hard-earned victory on account of being first, a Southerner, second, a Yoruba and third, a non-Fulani Muslim. In all these respects, his Islamic identity was down-played as an insignificant factor.
This has remained the Fulani formula of dealing with those Yoruba Muslims who think that by claiming to be as Islamic as the Fulani, the latter will consider them devout Muslims enough to lead them politically under normal political circumstances. But since Yoruba Muslims have subsumed their legitimacy under the authority of the Sultan of Sokoto, they are bound to accept every rule put forward by him.
Only Obafemi Awolowo of all Yoruba political leaders in particular and Southern Nigeria in general seemed to have understood the political wave-length of the Fulani religious frequency modulation. On his part, Obafemi Awolowo had, in the course of his treason trial, before reclining at the old Oil Rivers Protectorate Prisons in Calabar, where he was bewildered with sumptuous Efik hospitality dressed in tasty Afang and Edikang-Ikong soups, realized that the only means of constructing a viable and stable Nigerian nation was the formation of a functional political alliance between his Yoruba people and their mutually competitive Igbo brothers of Southern Nigeria supported by the mainly minority Christian ethnic groups of the Middle Belt. In his words:
I believe that the problem of Nigeria cannot be solved until that Northern Nigeria has been solved.… If the Action Group and the NCNC, both of which have a monopoly of political power in the South and at least one third then of the political followership in the North, could come together then they would serve as a catalyst to the political situation in the North to entrench liberal democracy in the country and infinitely increase the tempo of progress in the Federation.
The result of this call was the formation of the short-lived United Peoples Grand Alliance (UPGA) a coalition between the NCNC and AG with the UMBC and some other minority political parties like NEPU; which functioned as a formidable political force against Ahmadu Bello-driven Nigerian National Alliance (NNA), consisting of the Ahmadu Bello’s NPC, Akintola’s NNDP and other smaller parties. By way of history repeating itself, this same scenario replayed itself in 1983 when both Dr: Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo decided to forge a common front in order to counter the Fulani-driven Shehu Shagari civilian Federal Government of the Second Republic under what was known as Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA).
In his Allocutus before his sentence to ten-year imprisonment on September 11, 1963, Chief provided us with his unequivocal position on the menace of the Fulani oligarchy to the progress of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the following evergreen words:
I have also fought against anything which savours of injustice. It is thus an irony of history that, as one of the architects of Nigeria’s independence, I have spent almost half of Nigeria’s three
years of independence under one form of confinement or another. Since 1957 I have fought, as your Lordship remarked, with vigour against the feudal system in the Northern Region and for its
eradication. I have also fought to prevent the spread of this evil political system to other parts of Nigeria. During the same period I have strongly advocated the breaking up of Northern Region into more states in order to have true federation in Nigeria, to preclude the permanent subservience of the people of Nigeria to the autocratic ruling caste in the North, and to preserve peace and unity in the country.
In 1999, as the country prepared for the Fourth Republic this same concept of Igbo-Yoruba Political synergy was re-echoed by Dotun Okeleye in the following words:
It is better for us to face the future so that we can avoid the mistakes of the past. It is in this light that I assure you that a combination of forces from the East and South West is the surest way towards enduring that a southerner emerges President of Nigeria by May 1999.
In 2003, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu had clandestinely used President Olusegun Obasanjo to destroy the Awoist Alliance for Democracy (AD) which brought him into political lime-light, in other Southwest States except Lagos State. He thereafter used the enormous resources of Lagos State to bury the party and on its epitaph constructed the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) from which platform he subsequently built himself up as the dominant political leader of the Yoruba nation to the point of even claiming to be greater than Chief Obafemi Awolowo. This explains why he did not see the reason to offer the Ooni of Ife his deserved customary homage as a foremost monarch of Yoruba nation in line with Yoruba customs and tradition.
The primacy of the Ooni of Ife in traditional political terms in Yorubaland cannot be questioned by any patriotic Yoruba citizen. History recounts how during the 1962 State of Emergency in Western Region the Inspector General of Police handed a list of forty prominent politicians who should be arrested and put under restriction to the Administrator Dr. Moses Majekodunmi among whom was the Ooni of Ife Sir Adesoji Aderemi. Dr. Majekodunmi’s response to the Inspector General of Police was instructive:
Immediately I was appointed, I was given a list of names (of people) by the police whose movement they wanted me to restrict. We called it restriction order in those days, not detention. Now this list had up to 40 names, and the first name on the list was that of the late Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife. I called the Inspector-General of Police and told him that I could not sign a restriction order on the Ooni, but that he should go back to Ibadan, and talk to the Ooni, and advise him to go back to Ife, and also that I will come and visit him as soon as I got to Ibadan.
But Alhaji Tinubu did not see it in that light but through the linear spectacle of a supreme political leader. In 2015, having seen himself as an unchallengeable political leader of the Yoruba nation it became his turn to be used by the Fulani as the Southern political instrument to undermine the second term bid of President Goodluck Jonathan. Dangled with the salivating but untenable Fulani political carrot of Nigeria’s Presidency in 2023, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his political cronies, supported by one clandestine Islamic Fundamentalist group that calls its Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) but which in reality should properly be referred to as Muslim Religious Imperial Conspirators (MURIC), felt that an alliance with the Fulani oligarchy will give the Yoruba Muslims the needed political edge over their Christian kinsmen through Ahmed Bola Tinubu. However, the first sign that he would face the similar catastrophic fall like Afonja, Akintola, and Abiola emerged when he was denied his planned ambition of contesting alongside President Muhammadu Buhari as his Vice President.
He had envisioned the exploitation of such situations as those of Muhammadu Buhari-Tunde Idiagboon—two Muslim Fulani and, Moshood Abiola-Babagana Kingibe—two Muslims from North and South respectively, but he was met with a solid concrete wall of opposition. In his place he then suggested Professor Yemi Osibanjo— one of his political stooges who served him as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State during his tenure as Governor of Lagos State, who subsequently emerged as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari.
It is indeed this weak political background founded on Ahmed Tinubu’s untenable conspiracy that had stalled the Vice President from taking the reins of authority as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when all circumstantial indications prove he should rightfully occupy the position. But since Osibanjo was there as Tinubu’s protégé there is no way he could advance his rights as did President Goodluck Jonathan under President Umaru Yar’Adua. As a man who never dreamt of attaining such a position in life he felt contented to enjoy the wealth of the office at his disposal. But he forgot as a Pastor that every step of a righteous man is ordered by God within a given time space and for a purpose in line of his destiny.
Like most Nigerian politicians who are ideologically bankrupt and spiritually corrupt, Vice President Osibanjo believes that having been made politically by Alhaji Tinubu since his first appointment as his Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Lagos State, his first mission is to obey him as his mentor, and second: acquire and accumulate as much mundane wealth as he could from his office. Thus the issue of the moral questions surrounding his acquiescence to the destructive political conspiracy currently pushing Nigeria to a state of political precipice does not seem to arise before him, even as he adorns the toga of a Pentecostal Pastor. It is equally in line with this conspiracy that both Ahmed Tinubu and Osibanjo are willing to turn blind eye, deaf and dumb to the reckless and arrogant rampaging Fulani Herdsmen in their ancestral Yorubaland.
There is no gainsaying the fact that one of the weapons of institutional conspiracy under which cover the Fulani maintains its grip on power is Islam. Without the conspiratorial manipulation of Islam there is no reason why the likes of Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Rauf Arigbesola, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Igala, Nupe, Kanuri, Ebira, Kanuri, and above all the Hausa will always see the Fulani—a recent past foreign immigrant group, as their better kinsmen than even their ethnic kinsmen of the same historical origins.
Indeed the Yoruba used to be the only people in Nigeria who try to live above the divisive tendencies of religion among even people of the same nuclear family. But the situation seems to be moving gradually to extinction since the arrival of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the political scene of Yorubaland. Since his arrival on Yoruba political scene beginning with the Governorship of Lagos State, Tinubu has copiously exploited the religion of Islam with impunity for the actualization of his political ambition in collaboration with the Fulani Jihadists of Sokoto Caliphate against the collective interest of Yoruba people. This was coming against the background of the commonplace Fulani discrimination against Yoruba Muslims in matters of religious leadership as well.
It is instructive to note that under Chief Obafemi Awolowo there was no distinction between a Christian and a Muslim. Alhaji D. S. Adegbenro who Chief Awolowo appointed to take over from Chief Akintola was a Muslim. This explains whey it is difficult to identify the religious inclinations of such Awoists as Bola Ige, Ayo Adebanjo, Segun Osoba, Bisi Akande and Bisi Onabanjo among others. Both Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Adeyemo Alakija in their construction of the aims and objectives of Egbe Omo Oduduwa believed that the blood of ethnicity is thicker than the water of religion, hence the Yoruba were made to place the bond of their ethnic identity over and above that of religion, including of course their Traditional Religion which paradoxically serves as their spiritual ideological base.
The present writer then as an associate member of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) under Dr. Frederick Isotan Fasehun was quick to notice that one strict instruction among the members of OPC is the exclusion of religious identity and sentiment in every part of their activities. Indeed the most fanatical anti-Fulani OPC members are found among the Yoruba Muslims. An example was the one time Baba Oodua of OPC from Saki in Northern part of Oyo State who was a devout Muslim always clinging to his tisibi, who was abducted and murdered by the Gani Adams faction during a peace meeting between the two factions at the Ooni’s palace at Ile-Ife.
Unfortunately this noble principle of mutual religious tolerance and accommodation seems to be undermined by the likes of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has inveterate hatred for Christianity. He did this first through the activities of the Muslim NASFAT whose members were enjoined to regard their non-Muslim kinsman as enemies, since enemies of Islam are enemies to all Muslims even if it included one’s parents. He went further to Islamize the political leaderships of all the entire South West except Ondo and Ekiti States whose walls of zeal for Christianity proved impenetrable for his Islamization schemes.
In Lagos State he totally Islamized the entire State Civil Service making it mandatory for one to be a Muslim to be appointed a Director, Permanent Secretary, Vice Chancellor, Provost, Principal of a Government Secondary School, and Headmaster or Headmistress of a Government Primary School. The policy was sustained by another Yoruba Muslim fanatic Alhaji Babtunde Raji Fasola who was his Chief of Staff and successor as Governor of Lagos State. It took a long and concerted protest and threats by some Yoruba Christian leaders of Lagos State to have a Christian as the Governor of Lagos State— Akinwunmi Ambode a Pastor from Epe, one of the neglected areas of Lagos State as Raji Fasola’s successor.
It should be noted that Alhaji Tinubu’s refusal to support Akinwunmi Ambode’s second term bid was based on the accusation that the Epe-born Pastor was gradually undoing Tinubu’s Islamization policy in Lagos State by appointing his fellow Christian Brethren into sensitive positions in the State. That clearly explains why President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention did not matter to Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu since the former was duly informed of the anti-jihad implications of having an Akinwunmi Ambode as the Governor of Lagos State. The second fundamental reason for Akinwunmi Ambode’s denial of second term was Tinubu’s strategy of avoiding a situation where a Christian Governor of Lagos State is allowed to stay in office long enough to enable him to accumulate a enough resources and support base which could pose a threat to his maximum political supremacy.
People should not be deceived by the act of prominent Yoruba Muslims marrying Christian wives and permitting them to continue with their religion as their wives, as in the cases of Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Raji Fasola. The marriage of a Christian woman to a Muslim is permitted by the Quran, but not the other way round. In other words, while it is lawful for a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman, it is unlawful for the Christian or Jew to marry a Muslim woman. Sura 5:5 of the Quran is explicit on this injunction:
Lawful to you are the free believing woman and the free women from among those who were given the Book before you, provided that you give them their dowries and live in honour with them, neither committing fornication nor taking them as mistresses.
Most people are not aware that his official political wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu who claims to be a Pastor is not only an Itsekiri from Delta State but a niece to the legendary former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Papa Pastor Ayo Joseph Oritsejafor. But because Ahmed Bola Tinubu believed that it was due to Pastor Oritsejafor’s influence that Senator Oluremi Tinubu refused to convert from Christianity to Islam, as the Governor of Lagos State he revoked Pastor Oritsejafor’s right of occupancy and ownership over the land he bought for the Lagos branch of his Church and thereafter instructed successive Governors of Lagos State to maintain the revocation order. Indeed it was reported that when Senator Oluremi approached her husband over his action against her uncle, she was walked out and threatened with divorce. Thus the poor woman had no choice than to live under an oppressor of her blood uncle.
Beyond the vile political manipulation of the religion of Islam among the Yoruba by Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu and his political cronies which he does in connivance with the Fulani oligarchy of Sokoto State, the average Yoruba Muslim is patriotic to the core towards his collective Yoruba interest, free-minded among his non-Muslim kinsmen and above all, amenable to innovation and accommodation to novel ideas. The present writer—a an Igbo and Christian from Delta State had had the opportunity to enter the Mosque in Surulere Lagos frequently to discuss with his Muslim Yoruba colleagues just because of this inherent culture of accommodation, an experience very difficult to see among the Fulani. Likewise, it is not uncommon to see Yoruba Muslims attending Church services for one reason or the other without the slightest sense of being in enemy spiritual territory.
To the Yoruba ethnic nation therefore, the basis of unity is the spirit of Oduduwa and not the spirits of Jesus Christ and Muhammad; and since Oduduwa was neither a Christian nor a Muslim, every patriotic Yoruba sees his foreign religious identity only as a secondary spiritual intervention which should not undermine their collective religious and cultural root. To do otherwise is therefore to undermine that fundamental pristine time-tested basis of their national unity.
This goes to explain why it is difficult for the likes of Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu and his Islamic fundamentalist cronies to stigmatize Aare Sunday Igboho of the Warrior City of Ibadan as a Christian Crusader. It further explains why the same Fulani jihadists chose to approach and court the Ooni of Ife who is a Christian, instead of the Alafin of Oyo who is Muslim and Sunday Igboho’s closer kinsman. Since it is difficult for the Caliphate to find a suitable Sura in the Quran to quote to Sunday Igboho in submission to Fulani Imperial jihad adventurism, as much as it is difficult for the Ooni of Ife to find a suitable chapter in the Bible to convince Sunday Igboho to support his unsolicited intervention, the dimension of the battle for Yorubaland has proved to the Fulani oligarchy that the Yoruba Muslims are ready to prove that they are first Yoruba before being Muslims, hence their allegiance must go to their first port of identity. This is a fundamental historical and political lesson to the Igbo, the Hausa, Nupe, Igala, Ebira, Kanuri, and the Nigerian legion of ethnic nations North, Middle Belt and South. If ethnicity as practiced by the Yoruba is to place their collective national interest over and above every external divisive element, then ethnicity is sweet and should be adopted by other ethnic groups as their fundamental basis of unity and group consciousness.
This is indeed the secret of Fulani national consciousness and unity of action. To the Fulani religion does not matter to the object of their unity and group consciousness. It does not matter to them if you are an Imam at the National Mosque at Abuja or the pagan Bororo herdsman kidnapping and killing innocent Nigerians. All they understand is that you are a Fulani no more no less. To the Fulani therefore, religion, especially Islam only comes into play as an instrument for the advancement of their political objectives through the instrumentality of Jihad.
This explains while the Fulani have constituted the bulwark of opposition in both the Republics of Guinea-Conakry and Guinea-Bissau where the majority Madingo and Soso ethnic groups have alienated them from the political leadership of the country, citing their origin from Senegal as the basis of their exclusion. In both Senegal and the Gambia where the Fulani are currently their Presidents, it had been a long drawn battle between them and the majority Wolof ethnic group and their Sera allies, until the Sera and other minor ethnic groups were bought over by the Fulani through the discreet support of President Muhammadu Buhari, thereby paving way for Presidents Makkey Salley and Adama Barrow of Senegal and the Gambia both of Fulani origin respectively.
In Republic of Sierra Leone, the Fulani who paradoxically were immigrants from the neighbouring Guinea Republic and have no Region as their traditional homeland were able to manipulate their way into the position of the Vice President of the country. In Mali Republic they are engaged in a perennial battle of supremacy with the majority Bambara ethnic group for the control of the National Government; in the same way they are in a state of war with the majority Mossi and Dagomba ethnic groups of Burkina Faso for the control of the National Government.
In Central African Republic they constituted the back-bone of the Muslim Seleka Rebels and for that reason most of them were expelled from the country, with majority of them in Refugee Camps in Adamawoa Region of Republic of Cameroon, from where many of them are being resettled secretly in Southern Nigeria as part the Ruga Settlement Scheme, while others degenerated into kidnappers and armed bandits. Indeed only the Republic of Ghana has been capable enough to deal with the Fulani menace through the strict policy of expulsion of immigrant Fulani herdsmen in their country.
The present writer in stating the above facts does that with accurate sense of personal experience, having been among these people in the course of his travails as an asylum-seeker in Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal with instructive transit experiences in Republics of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde. It should be instructive to further point out that majority of the Fulani bandits and marauding armed herdsmen constitute bands of militants from Republics of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Adamawoe Region of Cameroon who have no fixed border with Nigeria from the present writer’s personal experience, and those from Central African Republic who were driven away by the Christian Anti-Balaka militants.
This explains why not only the Yoruba Muslims but other non-Fulani ethnic Muslims of Nigeria should timely re-evaluate their places in the Kingdom of Muhammad as being subtly and clandestinely advanced by the Fulani Caliphate of Sokoto under the cover of one North and one united Nigerian Muslim umma. It is ridiculous to note that these myopic ethnic Nigerian Muslims have not been able to ask the Fulani leadership at what point Miyyeti Allah ceased to be part of the collective Arewa umbrella organizations of the North? Why has Nigeria’s problem so quickly transformed in a matter of four years from that of Christian-Muslim conflict to that of Fulani against the rest of Nigeria? These are questions whose answers are fundamental to the solution of the Nigeria’s national question.
Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD
Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Director, Nigerian Civil War and Genocide Research Network
Odogwu of Ibusa Clan, Delta State, Nigeria
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