The Oasis Reporters
January 21, 2018
I love History so much for many a reason . First, it’s contents are sacrosanct and well beyond the reach of any manipulation. Second, if understood, History is a huge storehouse where almost everything is available conditioned on how diligent a researcher is. From the bowels of History distills all the solutions to most of the problems of humanity.
In today’s menu, let’s undertake a survey intent on dredging to the surface some of the man made problems that have stunted Nigeria’s march to greatness. The starting point is that the geographical space called Nigeria is largely built on a false or some would say weak foundation. Let us also agree that the various kingdoms which later morphed to become Nigeria largely through the coercive force of the colonial enterprise were doing very well politically and economically. This is not to say that there were no instances of friction between and amongst those. Such frictions History has recorded were resolved by envoys of sort and rarely was there a recourse to war. But wars were fought any way thus giving strength to Clausewitz who posited that ” War is a continuation of politics by other means “.
Our greatest undoing as ethnic nationalities remains the disruptive influence of the colonial enterprise. The experience of British adventurism in climes far from ours has now shown clearly that they were not there to help the colonies make progress. No, they were out there purely in the pursuit of their mercantilist interests. Subjugation was an important plank in their strategy which was why as they departed, they made sure they left behind those they had given a level of training to not only behave as themselves but also to continue to serve and protect their interest.
Examining the British experience in the former Indian subcontinent as they were leaving they left behind turmoil. In former Sudan the British made sure they aligned their everall interest with that of the Arab north and against that of the mainly pagan and animist south. Animosity and conflict became the outcome but had they known that there was oil underneath the soils of now South Sudan, it would have been the other way round.
On the whole did Britain not mortgage the collective interest of the countries of the upper Nile to protect that of Egypt ?
What about the experience of the Persian Gulf region where they carved out Kuwait from out of Greater Iraq and by so doing planted the seed of discord which in due time resulted in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and subsequent Gulf War?
Coming home did not the same British ensure they handed power to those who were least prepared for it in what was to become an independent Nigeria back in 1960 ?
The Usman Dan Fodio politically motivated uprising of 1802 only used religion as a veil to put the Hausa States under, which was beautifully executed. Had the Hausa States not collapsed like a house of cards the influence of the Fulani foreign invaders would not have metamorphozed into the madness we are confronted with presently in Nigeria. It is the feudal lords who without due process decreed people’s ancestral lands and gazzeted them as grazing reserves for their cattle. Technically, the moment the British colonialist handed power to them, they took the territory called Nigeria as their property where they could act as they wished.
The arrogant manner in which Miyeti Allah and the herders are behaving lends credence to this assertion. If the foreign imvaders have a sense of History at all, they should not have any difficulties retracing there steps back westwards to the foothills of the Futa Djallon mountains.
In what was then Northern Nigeria during the colonial enterprise the worst thing to have happened to all the ethnic nationalities in the North was the policy of indirect rule. Indirect rule ensured that the feudal lords who held sway retained their enormous influence and power. As long as taxes were extorted sometimes violently from the subjects to serve their megalomania, it was fair and square. The colonial overlords never cared what level of brutality was going on as long as they systematically bled the region of her resources. When eventually they had to pack their bags and leave, they made sure they had drawn up a plan that was to ensure their good boys were the ones to whom they handed over power to.
With external colonizers gone, internal colonization began. The colonies being the ethnic nationalities in the North. The military enterprise only applied a balm on the situation as feudal interests were protected with keen interest. Whenever a change of guard took place, the status quo was maintained. Creation of States which should have ameliorated the utterly bad situation as it related to the northern ethnic nationalities ended up compounding the plight as the architects of State creation ensured that wherever the ethnic nationalities were deserving of a state, they were instead split and made minorities within the States they found themselves.
The Nigerian Civil war which was fought largely by foot soldiers from the same oppressed ethnic nationalities did not in the end benefit anything. As soon as victory was won, the interest of the feudal class was uppermost in sharing the booty. They have been made so comfortable by successive governments military or civilian that any move to reexamine the entire structure with a view to enhancing efficiency is usually resisted.
This brings me to the current debate on restructuring. Anybody thinking that the unity of this country is not for negotiation deceives himself to that extent. Those opposing restructuring are essentially those who have been benefiting handsomely from the current flawed structure. The feudal class have every reason to be wary of restructuring as it wll set some of the captives free.
As it were, the journey to the last bus stop has since begun with the Fulani and their agents declaring war on other Nigerians without regard to where they live. Given the atrocities thus far committed by the Fulani and or terrorists acting an agreed script, no sane Nigerian will wish to be part of the Nigeria which the Fulani are trying to recreate. The current government is clearly elavating the interest of the Fulani and their cattle well and above those of other people’s. The saddest of developments is that most of the Fulani are foreign nationals whose interest our own government is promoting well and above those of other Nigerians.
Otherwise on what grounds would any sane government prioritize the interest of terrorists while neglecting those of its citizens?
We are now having to compete for space with cows on our streets, walk ways and even overhead bridges as photographs recently posted on Social media have shown. Governments at both State and Federal levels have for long been promoting the interest of the Fulani well and above those of other Nigerians. This is what has emboldened the Fulani and Miyetti Allah into deploying incendiary rhetoric in daily discourses. It is quite absurd for our government to have brought up the nauseating idea of cattle colonies on other people’s lands. Since cattle rearing is private business, the owners of the cattle should acquire land from whichever community is willing to undertake the risks of having them around as neighbours. The Fulani and their sponsors in government have flaunted their powers so much that virtually no community will be willing to trust them again. With the likes of the impish dictator of Kaduna State masquerading as Fulani and playing the spokesman of Miyetti Allah spewing hate speeches about, we do have a long way to go with the Fulani. The government as well as the Fulani must know that Nigeria is not captured territory. They must never be misled into interpreting the current advantages they enjoy to mean capitulation. The steps the government of Ghana is taking by ensuring that no herdsmen can unilaterally settle anywhere they wish is the best way of addressing the same problem Nigeria is faced with.
Written by Gora Dauda.
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria.