Sunday Igboho: The face of anti-Fulani imperialism

On January 15, 2021, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, a private but concerned Nigerian, responded to the S.O.S of the people of Igangan in Ibarapa North local government and other parts of Oke Ogun in Oyo State of Nigeria with a visit to the area. Sunday Igboho, being one of the worried indigenes of the area himself, was armed with the reports of many atrocities being committed daily against the people by the Fulani imperialists under the guise of herding cattle in the area. Many of the people had been murdered in cold blood, many women raped, and many kidnapped, and released only after the payment of huge amounts of ransom which were not easily accessible by the poor and hapless people in the agrarian area. Even some of the kidnap victims were still killed despite the payment of huge amount of ransom by their family members.  Sunday Igboho’s visit was a kind of “enough is enough” and therefore gave one week ultimatum to the Fulani imperialists to leave the area since their presence had proved to be inimical to the peaceful existence of the people. The people of Igangan, like others in Yorubaland and other parts of Nigeria in the South-South; South-East and Middle-Belt of the country, have for long been victims of Fulani imperialistic tendencies.

The situation in the Yorubaland became glaring under the present regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General of Fulani descent. The so-called Fulani herdsmen, armed with sophisticated weapons, carry out their nefarious activities against the people daily with unreserved impunity. The pertinent question many reasonable Nigerians ask is why should herdsmen be carrying A.K.47 and other sophisticated weapons around in modern day Nigeria? Do we have lions, leopards and other dangerous animals around that constitute threat to them and their animals to warrant such weapons? Why is it that no serious efforts by the Federal Government to disarm these bandits who openly go about with such weapons under the guise of herding cattle? How many of the Fulani murderers have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted for their heinous crimes in Nigeria? It is as if the laws of the land are not meant for the Fulani herdsmen also. After all, it has been said that those who make peaceful change impossible will automatically make violent change inevitable.

The traumatic experience of the people appears to have conditioned them into embracing the Machiavellian approach that the end would normally justify the means. Let’s just try to imagine the harrowing experience of the late Dr. Fatai Aborode at the hands of the crude, stark illiterate Fulani bandits before they actually murdered him in cold blood. This is someone who had spent many years and resources acquiring education within and outside the country only to be gruesomely murdered by the crude illiterates to whom modernity has no meaning. The ordeal of the people had become perennial for many years now, especially in the Middle-Belt making them hopelessly vulnerable to the parasitic relationship with the Fulani dangerous guests in their areas. This evil foothold is what they have been trying to extend to the southern parts of the country in the last few years.

At the expiration of Sunday Igboho’s one week ultimatum, the emergent Yoruba activist (or freedom fighter as many of them see him), at the risk of his own life and those of his followers, went back to the area as promised on January 22, 2021 and forced the recalcitrant parasitic Fulani people to flee the area. Yoruba people will say omo ina ni won nje ko koju ina. Going by the traumatic experience of the people at the hands of the Fulani, most of the people cared less about the method being employed by Sunday Igboho or anybody else to achieve the desired end for them. It is really a truism that those who make peaceful change impossible will automatically make violent change inevitable. Sunday Igboho’s action had since raked up many issues that touch on the nation’s fragile unity. Most voices from the northern part of the country as expected, called for the head of the Yoruba activist. Some northern groups are even threatening war overtly and covertly. One of the Fulani leaders was even quoted as arrogantly saying that every land in the country belongs to them. The acme of Fulani arrogance could again be seen in a group of them insisting that if the governors in the South want peace they must provide gracing land for the Fulani herdsmen, the Akure so-called peace meeting notwithstanding. Their arrogant demand is the same as if the cocoa farmers in the South West should insist that unless the northern governors provide land for the planting of their cocoa business, they should not expect peace in the area. How ludicrous a demand!

But voices from the southern and Middle-Belt parts of the country have been hailing the man Sunday Igboho as the face of the long expected anti-Fulani imperialism in Nigeria. Some of them are even not ready to tolerate any untoward thing happening to the man they now see as freedom fighter staking his own life and convenience for the inalienable rights of the oppressed. It is quite unfortunate that the situation makes room for generalization that combines patriotic, peaceful and reasonable Fulani people with their kith and kin who choose to be kidnappers, rapists, bandits and terrorists under the guise of herding cattle. There is no doubt that there are many likeable Fulani, people who are ready to cooperate with others to live in the 21st century unlike their kith and kin who still prefer to live in the antiquated age. The present Buhari government has not been helping matters with various suspicious policies like the so-called “Ruga” settlement aimed at making the Fulani people more comfortable at the expense of other Nigerians. As seen by many people, the ill-fated “Ruga” policy and some others like it are tantamount to Fulani colonialism through the back door. But can Nigerians afford to replace the yoke of British colonialism with Fulani colonialism? The emphatic answer is no! As detestable as British colonialism was to the colonized people, no one can deny some gains that accompanied it, especially in the area of Western education and other benefits of modernity to the colonized people. But what can anyone expect from Fulani colonialism other than clear unmitigated retrogression?

The communists in those days made us to understand colonialism by the Western powers as the last phase of their imperialism which communists believe must inevitably be ruthless as it was in those days. Can Nigerians afford to accommodate the ruthlessness of Fulani colonialism which is definitely the last phase of Fulani veiled imperialism as already manifesting in some parts of the country? Resistance to the imperialism of the Western powers was costly before the colonized people could be free. Though it was said to be on platter of gold in Nigeria, but people in Algeria, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa and some other parts of Africa know how costly it was. Resistance to the highly detestable Fulani parasitic lifestyle is therefore a task that must be done. How can people who prefer to live in the Stone Age be dragging others who are ready to live in the 21st century back into their unenviable antiquated lifestyle? We all know how people in other climes carry out their kind of business profitably. If we may ask the Fulani: Hitherto, what is the contribution of their cow business to the nation’s G.D.P? We should not be surprised when very soon more Sunday Igbohos begin to emerge in the South East; South-South; Middle Belt and other areas in the country where the detestable veiled Fulani imperialism is already a serious burden. Then, it will be clearer that Sunday Igboho has become the real face of anti-Fulani imperialism in Nigeria.

 

  • Adesua is a former MD/E-I-C, African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc.

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