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The bloody legacy of Usman Dan Fodio – by Femi Fani Kayode

Femi-Fani-Kayode: Usman Dan Fodio, a violent and relentless jihadist… led his people from Futa Jalon in modern-day Guinea to Sokoto in 1804; father of the Fulani Caliphate

On 19th September 2016 after the latest bombing in New York, Mr. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, said 

“In the 20th century the United States of America defeated Fascism, Nazism and Communism. Today the United States of America must destroy (radical) Islamism”.

Mr. Trump is absolutely right! Yet it is not just in America that the scourge of jihadi violence and Islamist terror must be destroyed. 

It must be uprooted, defeated and destroyed throughout the entire world, including Nigeria. 

Sadly in this respect things appear to be getting worse. 

Reports coming in suggest that no less than eight Christian worshippers were murdered in cold blood whilst their Church was burnt to the ground in Borno state just yesterday. 

One wonders when this sad and sorry tale will end. 

One wonders when this recurrent and utterly beastly bloodfest and this outrageous orgy of violence will stop. 

If it is not Fulani herdsmen and militants slaughtering southerners in their homes and farms, it is Boko Haram butchering Christians in their Churches in the north. 

Sadly our President does not give a damn and he is behaving true to type. 

Like the Roman Emperor Nero, as his nation burns, as his people suffer, starve and feel the pain of economic recession and as members of the Christian community in his country are being slaughtered he has, yet again, opted to play the fiddle and jet out of the country. 

This time he has travelled to New York and, worse still, he has gone with a record 108-member delegation despite the fact that we are facing the most terrible recession in the history of our nation. 

Yet this contribution is not about the idiosyncrasies of Buhari or the barbarity of Boko Haram. 

It is rather about their historical predecessors and forefathers and the unholy agenda that they collectively seek to purse and enforce. 

The history is clear. Let us go back to the beginning.

Sheik Usman Dan Fodio, a violent and relentless jihadist, the man who led his people from Futa Jalon in modern-day Guinea to Sokoto in northern Nigeria in 1804 and the father of the Fulani Caliphate, once said: 

“Conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it”.

I find it hard to imagine how a genocidal maniac and Islamist terrorist who killed, maimed, pillaged and burned his way to infamy in the most barbaric way and who enslaved millions in the north and took their self-respect, identity and dignity away from them can speak of “conscience” and “truth”?

The bitter truth is that he had neither of the two.

I have always found it curious that the Guardian Newspaper used his words as their motto. 

Perhaps they didn’t know who he really was and what he really stood for.

They say that there is no compulsion in religion yet this is a man who literally soaked northern Nigeria in blood and who took the lives of millions of innocent and defenceless men, women and children amongst the Hausa tribe in Gobir and other northern tribes in his quest to impose and establish Islam.

In a well-researched essay titled, ‘The National Grazing Reserve Council Bill: A Fulfillment of Usman Dan Fodio’s Dream’, Mr. Lazarus Obinna wrote the following:

“Usman dan Fodio, an Islamic scholar and an urbanized Fulani had been actively educating and preaching in the city of Gobir with the approval and support of the Hausa leadership of the city. 

However, when Yunfa, a former student of Dan Fodio’s, became the Sultan of Gobir he restricted Dan Fodio’s activities, forcing him into exile in Gudu. 

A large number of peoples left Gobir to join Dan Fodio and as a response on February 21, 1804, Yunfa declared war on Dan Fodio.

Despite some early losses at the Battle of Tsuntua and elsewhere, the forces of Dan Fodio began taking over some of the key cities starting in 1805. 

The war lasted from 1804 until 1808 and the forces of Dan Fodio were able to capture the states of Katsina and Daura, and the important Kingdom of Kano (in 1807) and Gobir in 1808.

The Caliphate was founded in February 1804 at Gudu when Dan-Fodio was proclaimed ‘Amir Al-Mu’minin’ (‘Defender of the Faithful’). 

Usman Dan Fodio then declared a number of flag bearers amongst those following him, creating an early political structure of the empire. 

In 1809, Muhammed Bello, the son of Dan Fodio, founded the city of Sokoto, which became the capital of the Sokoto Caliphate.

The jihads had created “a new slaving frontier on the basis of rejuvenated Islam.” 

By 1900 the Sokoto caliphate had “at least 1 million and perhaps as many as 2.5 million slaves”, second only to the American South (which had four million in 1860) in size among all modern slave societies.

From 1808 until the mid-1830s, the Sokoto Caliphate expanded, gradually annexing the plains to the west and key parts of Yorubaland.

It became one of the largest states in Africa, stretching from modern-day Burkina Faso to Cameroon and including most of Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic. 

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