Fulani Herdsmen: A Panacea For Southern Solidarity, By Elias Osaghae




Fulani herdsmen
Fulani herdsmen

Followers of Nigeria’s political development since the amalgamation of the North and South to become one nation will attest to the imbalance of political power in favour of the North. The geographical boundary; the composition of legislative representatives in all colonial legislatures; the military formation; the census, etc., tilted advantageously toward the North. Today the British colonial administration is heavily blamed for bequeathing such imbalance, which constitutes a huge political problem in present day Nigeria.

 

The British officially created Northern Nigeria in 1900, and Southern Nigeria in 1906. The separate colonial administrations of these two entities were amalgamated in 1914 on the alleged explicitly stated principle that Northern Nigeria, “the husband”, would financially live off the dowry/revenue/resources of Southern Nigeria, “the wife”. It is also an accepted view in some quarters that during the process of decolonization, between 1955 and 1960, the British made the Caliphate the successor to their colonial power by rigging the Caliphate’s political party, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), into office. The Caliphate, i.e. the sarkuna or feudal ruling class of the North [the Caliphate-equivalent of the British aristocracy], has ever since made that amalgamation principle an article of faith and has enforced its “husband” rights as Allah-given, permanent and unamendable. They have even publicly declared their readiness to commit genocide to enforce their presumed right to plunder and squander the resources of the South, by proposing to kill off 20 million (i.e. 1/7th or 14% of their) fellow Nigerians who live in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

According to The Guardian newspaper of Thursday, May 28, 2009, a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Bala Ibn N’Allah of Kebbi State, called in an unprovoked statement, for the extermination of 20 million Niger Deltans in order to allow the rest of Nigeria to live in peace. His harrowing words were the following:

 

“What is happening in the Niger Delta is pure criminality of the highest order, arising from total disregard for constituted authority. In Iraq, thousands of people lost their lives because of an insurrection against the government during the reign of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. We can do away with 20 million militants for the rest 120 million Nigerians to live”

That unprovoked tantrum by Bala Ibn N’Allah was (and is) in pursuance of the Feudal-theocratic stance articulated by the Late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, who in 1960 told his Caliphate constituency:

“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather,  Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a 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.” – published by Parrot Newspaper on October 12, 1960 and Tribune Newspaper, on November 13, 2002 respectively.

The inspirations of an average Hausa/Fulani politician have been birthed on Feudal-theocracy version of “united Nigeria” from the 1940s but which were shrouded in political coalition smog to the detriment of non-Hausa/Fulani Nigerians. From the era of the Late Sarduana of Sokoto till now, Caliphate politicians’ comments have resonated with “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather, …” Nigeria, to them is their preserved heritage which no other Nigerians have equal shares. In 1992, Maitama Sule, a renowned 1st republic Northern politician detailed the Caliphate view of the caste system they deem proper for the relationship between the peoples of Nigeria in an address which was written and spoken in Arabic during the launching of ‘The Power of Knowledge’ authored by Alhaji Isa Kaita, at Durbar Hotel, Kaduna:

 

“In this country, all of us need one another. Hausa need Igbos, Igbos need Yoruba and the Yorubas need the Northerners. Everyone has a gift from God. Northerners are endowed by God with leadership qualities. The Yoruba man knows how to earn a living and has diplomatic qualities. The Igbo is gifted in commerce, trade and technological innovation. God so created us individually for a purpose and with different gifts. Others are created as kings, students and doctors. We all need each other. If there are no followers, a king will not exist, if there are no students, a teacher will not be required, etc.”

That speech was a succinct way to inform his listeners of the Caliphate’s feudal version that Nigerians have been divided into castes, or hereditary occupational classes: Hausa rulers, Yoruba diplomatic messengers and Igbo traders and all other professionals called to serve their hamlets. In other words only those “created to rule” should remain rulers and all others of the caste should never be allowed to rule over those “created to rule”, and “never be allowed to have control over their future”.

The concomitant effect of the Caliphate’s feudal version of Nigeria has resulted in the fact that out of the 15 administrative regimes Nigeria has had since 1960; only 5 were headed by Southerners and all of them got there by circumstances rather by design. The distribution of Federal portfolios and national cake has never been equitable – key ministries have always been seen as the preserve of Northerners and as well as the lion share of the national wealth.

Of a truth, the minorities of the North were used as willing tools to conquer the dis-united territories of the South, until the Tivs, the Idomas, the Igalas etc, began to smell the rat. But still, religion played dominant role to keep the fire of Feudal-theocracy burning until the creation of states in 1960s. The creation of states no doubt weakened the might of the Feudalists but never the less softened their grip on the national purse. The discoveries of oil in the South heightened their schema on how to covet a larger portion of the oil revenue. Developmental infrastructures from the national oil revenue are unarguably more visible in the North than in the South. And the Niger Delta region where the oil is explored is laid bare, with nothing to show for its natural endowment, because the Feudal authorities in the North do not recognize Niger Delta as owners of the oil wells. On this premise, some Feudal politicians came up on television last year to publicly argue that the oil in Niger Delta belongs to the North.

The Federal Character which is principle and applicable in every aspect of our national existence had never been applied in the distributions of Nigeria’s oil blocks. Find below Senator Enang’s list of the major oil blocks in the country and the identity of their owners, unless this list had been reviewed:

Seplat/Platform Petroleum, operators of the ASUOKPU/UMUTU marginal field has Prince Sanusi Lamido (not CBN Governor) as a major shareholder and Director.

South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO), was established by Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, who is also the Chairman of ENI Nigeria Limited. SAPETRO partnered with Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Limited to become operators of the OPL 246.

AMNI International Petroleum and Development Company is owned by Alhaji (Colonel) Sani Bello of Kotangora, Niger State. They are operators of OML 112 and OML 117.

A former Petroleum minister and former OPEC chairman, Rilwanu Lukman, another northerner, manages AMNI oil blocks and with very key interests in the NNPC/Vitol trading deal.

Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a company owned by Alhaji Indimi, runs three oil blocks: OML 15, the Okwok field and the Ebok field.

 

Alhaji Aminu Dantata’s Express Petroleum and Gas Limited operate OML 108. OML 113 allocated to Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Limited is owned by Alhaji. W.I. Folawiyo.

OPL 291 was awarded to Starcrest Energy Nigeria Limited, owned by Emeka Offor, which was sold by Starcrest to Addax Petroleum. Emeka Offor still has a stake in Addax operations in Nigeria.

Mike Adenuga’s Conoil is the oldest indigenous oil exploration industry in Nigeria with six oil blocks.

Alhaji Saleh Mohammed Gambo’s Petroleum Limited is the holder of the OPL 215 licence. NOREASTER Petroleum was awarded blocks OPL 276 and OPL 283 and closing thereupon a Joint Venture Agreement with Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited and CCC Oil and Gas.

INTEL is owned by (Abubakar) Atiku, Yar’Adua and Ado Bayero and has substantial stakes in Nigeria’s oil exploration industry, both in Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe.

OML 110 with high yield OBE oil fields was given Cavendish Petroleum owned by Alhaji Mai Daribe, the Borno Patriarch in 1996 by Sanni Abacha.

NOML 112 and OML 117 were awarded to AMNI International Petroleum Development Company owned by Colonel Sanni Bello in 1999. Sanni Bello is an inlaw to Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State of Nigeria.

OML 215 is operated by Nor East Petroleum Limited owned by Alhaji Saleh Mohammed Gambo.

OML 108 is operated by Express Petroleum Company Limited is owned by Alhaji Aminu Dantata. (cool OML II3 allocated to Yinka Folawiyo Pet Ltd is owned by Alhaji W.I. folawiyo.

ASUOKPU/UMUTU marginal oil fields is operated by Seplat Petroleum. Seplat is owned by Prince Nasiru Ado Bayero, cousin to the Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi.

Intel owned by Atiku, Yarádua and Ado Bayero has substantial stakes in Nigeria’s oil exploration industry both in Nigeria and Principe and Sao Tome.

OPL 289 and OPL 233 was awarded during Obasanjo era to Peter Odili fronts, Cleanwater Consortium, consisting of Clenwater Refinery and RivGas Petroleum and Gas Company. Odili’s brother in law, Okey Ezenwa manages the consortium as Vice Chairman.

It is a well-known fact that almost all former Heads of State, dead and alive have juicy oil blocks operated on their behalves by fronts.

The list above are the published owners of oil blocks in Nigeria, there is no doubt that there are names of owners not mentioned on the list. But all the same Northern owners of oil blocks on this list constitute over 80%. Analyzing the lopsidedness of Nigeria’s wealth distribution in favour of the North is huge and as it is not the objective of this piece to elaborate, so the issue be left to posterity to judge.

The South cannot be exonerated from the blame of why the present situation was allowed to fester. The Southern political founding fathers did not only create political polarity within them, but also lacked the foresight of Northern domination as a result of their continued disunity. There was able opportunity to position the South for equal take in the Nigeria’s project but the founding fathers destroyed the political ideal of Late Herbert Macauley, the presumed father of Nigeria nationalism. From the archive, Macauley formed the first political party in Nigeria – Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1923 and the party successfully mobilized interest groups of all Southerners into a single group that was able to compete politically. The party continued to dominate politics in Lagos until 1938, when the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) led by the Late Owelle of Onitsha, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe overtook it in elections. Rather than see the tribal differences or selfish competition, Macauley and Azikiwe built an altruistic ideal to further Nigeria nationalism by jointly forming the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1944.  Herbert Macauley was the first president and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first secretary of NCNC, respectively. More information from the archive has it that:

“…The NCNC was made up of a rather long list of nationalist parties, cultural       associations, and labor movements that joined to form NCNC. The party at the time was the second to take a concerted effort to create a true nationalist party. It embraced different sets of groups from the religious, to tribal and to trade groups with the exception of a few notable ones such as the Egbe Omo Oduduwa and the Nigerian Union of Teachers… Organizations that joined together on August, 1944 to form the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons: T.U.C. of Nigeria, National Democratic Party, Associated Press (Zikist), Demobilized Soldiers Union, Calabar Improvement League, Lagos Market Women Union, Ebute Butchers Union (Lagos), Tailors Union of Nigeria, Bamenda Improvement Association, Nigerian Union of Students, Yaba Estate Social Club, Ahoada District Union, Council of Ijebu National Societies, Ekpoma Progress Union, Ezi Welfare League, Igbotako Progressive Society, Igbanke Union, Ijebu Igbo Patriotic Society, Ila Patriotic Union, Ipetu Improvement Union, Kwale Improvement Union, West African Union of Seamen, Nigeria Reconstruction Group, Youths Literary Improvement, Association of Master Tailors, Commercial Biz League, Farmers Committee of West Africa, Akure Federal Union, Council of Ijesha Societies, Enugu Divisional Union, Ishan Progress Union, Egbado Improvement Union, Parapo Society, Mbaise Union, Edo National Union …”

It can be authentically claimed that the NCNC of the pre-Eastern Region was the true Southern solidarity movement than the tribal of the regional era. A browse through the formative associations of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) show Southerners of different tribes, religion, culture and traditions coming together under one umbrella for a common course. Never has there been a political movement that would have given Southerners equal opportunity in Nigeria like that party; and if it had been allowed to nurture, perhaps it would have given the ideal leeway to successive political generations. The disunity among Southern politicians would have not been at its worst. It is so bad today that while Northerners know how to shield their own wrong doers the Southerners perfect in exposing and destroying themselves. While Northern leaders like President Buhari is arguing that Late Gen. Sani Abacha was never corrupt, former President Obasanjo is screaming loud that former President Jonathan should be sent to the gallows for corruption.  Look at the issue of Fulani herdsmen’ invasion, Mr. President told the whole world that the invaders were Libyans, in his bid to exonerate his Fulani kith and kin, but the facts just emerged as published by The Punch:

“Some chilling details have emerged on the April 25 massacre of residents of Nimbo community in Enugu State by Fulani herdmen following the arrest of a 24-year-old suspect,  Mohammadu Zurai, by the Inspector-General of Special Intelligence Response Team. Zurai, who was arrested alongside four other suspects – Ciroma Musa (30), Sale Adamu (33), Suleiman Laute (43) and Haruna Laute (24) – told the that at least 100 Fulani herdsmen from seven states took part in the massacre. According to the suspect, Fulani leaders rearing cows in Taraba, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Katsina, Niger and  Kaduna States contributed representatives to take part in the attack. Zurai, a Fulani herdsman living in Kogi State, said he was born in Enugu State even though his families are from Garba Shehu town in Taraba State.”

The above confession of one of the Fulani herdsmen marauders show that the President of Nigeria is a barefaced liar and a prime suspect of the grand plan to unleash mayhem on the innocent people of Southern Nigeria by well-armed Fulani herdsmen . For a very long time the Northern political strategists have explored and exploited the disunity of Southerners to their advantages and they know how to use the “conquered” Southerner to outwit his “conquered” brother.

Be it as it may, should Southerners remain in this status quo for ‘till Thy kingdom come’? Southern political leaders should ask themselves what their generations yet unborn stand to gain in a nation where they would not have equal rights? And with the on-going sponsored militancy of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen, what would be the stability of those generations? And above all what is the Southern leaders’ preparation against wholesale invasion of Hausa/Fulani Jihadists, which now seems imminent? To sit passive and theorize that such invasion will not happen is to commit self-genocide.

The hand writing is on the walls; while Fulani herdsmen are on the rampage – butchering innocent Southerners; their Northern sponsors are agitating for grazing lands across territories in the South. Southern leaders should see and read with all seriousness the pictures of the herdsmen butchery, some of which are posted below:

Would you want your , siblings, parents, friends or “co-conquered” Southerners to suffer such carnage in the hands of Hausa/Fulani blood-thirsty marauders? If your answer is no, then it is time to unite and stand together. It is the view of this writer that situation has never presented its best for Southern solidarity than this threat of the Jihadists. While there may be no need to call for militant mobilization across the South for now, there is the urgent need to stand against all strategies to enable the marauders a foothold on Southern territories. Southerners should unity in their stand against the ‘grazing land bill’ now in the National Assembly. That bill should be vehemently opposed by all Southern leaders both in and outside the National Assembly.

Let Southern solidarity start from this action; then it can be consolidated from there. And as a matter of exigency, Southerners should mobilize effective protests, civil disobedience, conferences, and delegations of natural rulers to Aso Villa, etc., to register disapproval of such obnoxious bill. Like their counterparts in North, governors of Southern States should intensify regular non-partisan meetings.  Please do something that we, in the Diaspora can be proud of and contribute our support. And for those who want to sit on the fence, I have these 13 words for you: “those who ride on tiger’s back would soon end up in its belly”

LONG LIVE SOUTHERN SOLIDARITY

Elias Osaghae, Toronto  Ontario, Canada.

 

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