The Oasis Reporters
July 8, 2021
While browsing on the internet, I came across a poignantly beautiful essay by Dr. Aliyu Tilde, a gentleman that I have been acquainted with on social media. If I had known him closer, then I should call him a friend, being a state commissioner notwithstanding.
He’s one man who allows me to make extensive comments on his page, and he’ll loyally read without chasing me out, just as his numerous Fulani followers would take a cue, with no one harassing me over my views on the difficult topic of the Fulani herdsman in the modern context, and how the entire country can come out as winners, because we all want peace, and peaceful coexistence.
Read his breathtaking essay first :
“This morning I was blessed to enjoy breathtaking scenes of pure and exclusive herds of Sokoto Guadale (Bokolo) breed on the move, between Zing and Mayo-Belwa along theTaraba-Adamawa axis in Nigeria’s north east. They easily and instantly stole my heart, tempting me to abandon the city and return to the roots.
As I put them behind, my soul was drowned in a sea of nostalgia for so many things which are engendered by a lifelong relationship between us and our reliable master—the cow:
An atmosphere filled with the sweet scent of grasses and shrubs;
The fresh air and clean stream water;
The unique smell of the cow’s body and its milk;
The long cow’s nipples that served direct into our mouth an unadulterated lunch of hot, fresh milk in the afternoon as the cows rest on the sand by the river;
The bright colorful days and the quiet, shining nights;
The hospitality of the surrounding landscape of planes, rivers, hills and mountains:
The bond of familiarity, friendship and common identity between the cow and us;
The covenant for one to nurture adequately and the other to provide abundantly that is attested and supported by nature itself;
The republican orientation it accorded the two of us through economic independence, solitude and abundance;
The affinity of clan sociology that ensured DNA sharing and mutual protection;
The constant kinetics that led to discovering new places and peoples and establishing new settlements and orders;
The life of universal citizenship without the encumbrances of borders or fixation to a piece of land.
After dropping out in pursuit of the worldly amenities of the city, all one could say as he bid farewell to scenes as the one in this picture is a prayer for the safety and protection of the nomad who is up against the confederation evils of hate, envy, rivalry, robbery, ethnic violence and administrative neglect—forces that combine to strip him of the fine cloth of love, shame and altruism.
Allah reena lawol.
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
7 July 2021″
Moving essay there, that tugged at the heartstrings, but unfortunately tells a one sided Fulani story.
The moving essay talks about the “republican” ethos that governs the herder and the cow, bound “through economic independence, solitude and abundance”.
But I did wonder on the sidelines where the economic independence is, or where the abundance can be found, if the Fulani would own over 30 million cows, yet there’s no single Fulani tinned milk, now Fulani powdered milk, in all of 200 years of history !
Something must be wrong somewhere!
The small nation of The Netherlands had about 5 million cows as at the time I conducted a little research five years ago and saw the billions they haul in in dollars yearly, at a time Nigeria was harvesting bullets on the bloodied plains of Nigeria.
Not even adding that peaceful The Netherlands supplies the world with hygienic milk all year round.
In that report which I wrote after my little social research five years ago, which revealed that the South African cow yields 50 litres of milk per day, while the nomadic Fulani cow that moves from North to south destroying crops on the way, delivers just one litre of milk per day.
And its parturition rate is the least, per year. It yields two calves in three years, compared to other breeds that bring forth a calf in less than one year!
Dr. Tilde talks about “the affinity of clan sociology that ensures DNA sharing and mutual protection”. Just the protection between the herder and the herd.
But what about the onlooker or crop farmer ? How about his protection as well?
Hear again, for the next statement reminds me of the song by John Lennon “Imagine… there’s no country ” (hope I’m right lol).
But for real ?
“The constant kinetics that led to discovering new places and peoples and establishing new settlements and orders”.
Little wonder Mungo Park was said in history that he discovered the source of the River Niger, whereas he met indigenous Nigerian people there!
Was he for real ?
So the Fulani are still discovering new places ?
Well, before I cap it all on the essay, I must say that Dr.Tilde is a very fine gentleman. He knows how to give friendship and also give love. He may have a PhD alright, but he still learns, even from neophytes. He’s a great guy if ever there was one.
In the aftermath of the ethnic massacres in Plateau State especially around my birthplace of Bisichi years back when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was President, a man who decided to take steps against the banditry in the area, I tiptoed to Dr. Aliyu Tilde and met a largely Fulani crowd practically baying for blood, and I promptly announced my presence, tearing held views apart.
Amazingly, I was given the space to post comments extempore, without interruption. People were reading! Not even one single Fulani man or woman hurled any insult towards me. And that was the age of rudeness on social media. At a point, I thought no one was reading. I started to tell my own nativity story in the environs of Jos, how life was for me growing up in the area before 1966.
Surprise surprise, Dr. Tilde corrected one of my statements. Oops, so they were indeed reading !
I said to myself.
I did make some suggestions on the way forward as regards cattle rearing. Less than a year later, I saw Dr. Tilde’s post advertising his farm fresh hygienic yoghurt. I blessed the man in my heart. And he said something about my “advocacy”.
I knew then that I had a friend.
Later again within the year, Aliyu Tilde was growing his own sweet grass for cattle. One thing was clear: Within the Fulani herdsmen community, these gentlemen have the blueprint for the way forward, away from the anarchical state of cow herding in Nigeria and the entire value chain of the business.
Dr. Aliyu Tilde’s nephew just had a PhD in animal husbandry ?
Something like that. The time to heal the business and save the nation is now, Ardo (means chief in Fulfude) Tilde.
Let me end this essay with a comment from Salihu Garba
“Only a caring heart of a nurturer of life, caregiver, companion and appreciator of nature’s beautiful endowments can relate to this beautiful musings of a Herder by Dr. Aliyu Tilde.
But times have changed.
We must put on the hijab to conceal the envious assets that we possess by confining them to a good, secured location we can call our own. Thus, avoid the eyes of the envious (hasideen iza hasad), or the enemies, and or running into their enclaves accidentally. The doors of Hijra are still wide open till the last day”.
Written by Greg Abolo.
With Dr. Aliyu Tilde