By Dele Momodu
“Everything that has a beginning must have an end.
As they say on the street:
“E fit take time, but one day, one day, Monkey go go market”
“I love this quote about injustice:
“Every person remembers some moment in their life where they witnessed some injustice, big or small, and looked away because the consequences of intervening seemed too intimidating. But there’s a limit to the amount of incivility and inequality and inhumanity that each individual can tolerate. I crossed that line. And I’m no longer alone.” – Edward Snowden.
“One day, and very soon, Nigerians will cross that line too.
For there is indeed a limit to human endurance. One day, we all shall rise to say Enough is enough. One day!”
Fellow Nigerians, I have had to shelve the continuation of the celebration of Ovation International magazine at 25 in order to address matters of pressing national importance. I have just received some new horrific videos of bestial killings in some parts of Nigeria, and it is obvious Satan himself has landed in Nigeria.
The above quotation is from my cerebral Sister-in-law, Sister T, whose brains I respect a lot and whose comportment and composure are remarkably wonderful. Not much fazes her. She simply takes things in her stride. She has several outstanding features, qualities and principles. Above all else, and germane to today’s epistle, she was a Buhari fanatic. But today, she has parted company with him, for obvious reasons. Before I continue, let me introduce myself properly. It is important and necessary to do so as we currently live in the age of cynicism and ignorance. I do not want to assume that everyone knows my antecedents. I used to wonder why Chief Moshood Abiola used to introduce himself in those good old days. For a man who was probably the most famous man of his generation, I found it strange that he still greeted people with “My name is Moshood Abiola!” He explained that one should never assume that everyone knows him. I later saw the sense in that statement because it is simplistic but true. No matter how popular or notorious you are, a lot of people will never have heard of you and even if they have, most people will not have seen your face before.
So, let’s now go to my own personal introduction. My name is Dele Momodu. I’m a man of many parts but I love to be known and described principally as a reporter and a journalist without borders. With all sense of humility and sincerity, I am bold enough to say that I’m a completely detribalized man. I come from a mixed ethnic and religious background. My Dad was from Edo State and my Mum came from Osun State. My paternal grandparents were Muslims while my parents were Christians. I was born in Yorubaland and had all my education in Yorubaland. I studied Yoruba as my first Degree in University and became accustomed with African traditional religion particularly Ifa, and its divination. I have travelled globally across five continents spanning more than 60 countries, territories, and islands. I have interacted with lumpen proletariats, prominent members of the bourgeoisie as well as top officials at the highest echelons of government. In all, I have maintained my sanity, humility and modesty. I am able to tell my friends the truth, whether they are in power or not. This is a rarity in our country where leaders of all hues and colourations are treated as Demi-gods and they also consider themselves as such, and where the lives and livelihoods of most people depend on government patronage. Let me now go to the main meat of my epistle today.
My letter today is meant for my Fulani friends. I know and have many of them as buddies. They are naturally handsome and beautiful depending on the sex. This is not a stereotype. The educated ones are mostly so sweet natured and mild mannered. The unlettered ones are mostly the exact opposite. I apologise if I over-generalise, but that is my opinion, which is shared by a lot of other compatriots including the Fulani themselves. I have undertaken some research about the origin and character of the Fulani people lately as a result of the unfortunate hoopla they have generated in many West African countries, Nigeria in particular. According to my investigations, the Fulani are largely itinerant in nature. They have the power and the stamina to trek long distances with or without their cows. They pride themselves as warriors and the advent of Major General Muhammadu Buhari – a man seen as epitomising all the virtues and vices ascribed to the Fulani, and who they see as an Icon and a Messiah – as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has really emboldened the Fulani. The result is that more than ever before, because of the manner of governance of Mr President, the Fulani now arrogantly consider themselves as being superior to other tribes that make up Nigeria including their other Northern brethren.
I used to argue that Nigeria is indivisible, and we must protect its unity with everything we have but not any longer. While I may not yet have crossed the Rubicon, I’m sufficiently convinced and reasonably assured that Nigeria is truly on the fringe of another civil war if we do not push back. I know that those in government are not likely to see or feel the heat like most of us watching from the sidelines. President Buhari has obviously driven Nigeria closer to war than any of our leaders since 1967. What is worse is his nonchalant and reckless demeanour and outlook. He just does not seem to care about whatever happens to the country he campaigned vigorously and beguilingly to lead and on which basis the unsuspecting majority of Nigerians entrusted their future to him! This is a man who appeared to wear his patriotism on his sleeve when he cried bitterly after being adjudged as having lost the 2011 Presidential elections. He cut a sorry, pathetic figure then. It now appears that this was all part of a charade aimed at wooing and ingratiating himself into the heart of Nigerians who naturally sympathised with him.
While it is very convenient for our Fulani compatriots to play the victim and blame everyone else for the woes they have brought upon all of us for no justifiable reason, they need to be told the gospel truth. Many of us do not hate the Fulani but they obviously hate us non-Fulani people especially those of us who are south of the Niger. They hate many facts about us. They hate our liberal nature and our psychedelic and glamorous lifestyles, but we do not concern ourselves with how they live their own lives. It is their choice that they decide to live a spartan almost ascetic existence out of suppression and subjugation. We are very tolerant and do not even mind that this tends to draw us back. Many of the Fulani who are not astute enough view us as arrogant, but this is not true. What they call arrogance is a product of our Western education and robust knowledge of the world which is in stark contrast to the Arabic education that most of them possess and embrace. We do not begrudge them their education which is steeped in religious mores because we recognise that we live in a secular nation. We appreciate that Arabic education is itself of a high standard and encompasses almost all facets of human life and endeavour whereas Western Education may sometimes be narrow and limited in certain aspects. What is not in doubt is that Western education breeds in us a degree of confidence which is seen as a threat by our fellow Fulani citizens.
The Fulani have been over-pampered in Nigeria. We have ascribed to them humongous mythical powers which they do not possess. Because of our conciliatory nature and disposition, we have been complicit in elevating their status and position in the country. For this reason, it has been easy for them to manipulate us into the position where we find ourselves today. Based on this false premise on invincibility, we have allowed the Fulani to hold power for periods much longer than all other ethnic groups in our country. They have almost erroneously come to consider it their birthright to lead Nigeria to the detriment of other sections of the country. Yet, despite all this extended leadership periods, their people remain almost irredeemably pauperised. The reason is simple, lack of proper education (Western or Arabic) and, more importantly, vocational training have rendered many of the Fulani youths unemployed and unemployable. The Northern politicians who chose to use the Almajiris as their slaves and thugs particularly during elections have shot themselves in the foot. They have murdered sleep. Restless and restive youths will eventually turn on their handlers. It has always been a disaster waiting to happen. Feudalism could never work for too long and certainly the opening of eyes occasioned by various forms of social media has meant that these youths can see how they have been repressed and oppressed. Many of the Fulani oligarchs and nouveau riche can no longer visit their villages and sleep with their two eyes closed. Their leaders refused to take a cue from Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose main legacy was the investment in free education.
Therefore, my first suggestion to our Fulani friends is that they should abolish their wasteful investments on unproductive ventures like foreign exchange trading and ill-thought projects like building a railway to Niger Republic or the rehabilitation of moribund refineries with a whopping billions of US Dollars. Let them embark urgently on compulsory Western education mixed with Arabic norms and teachings. In this way, they will produce stellar citizens who will develop their cattle rearing methods, if indeed they must continue to rear cattle. I am certain though that they will realise that the world does not begin and end with cows!
Next is the overbearing Fulani attitude of cornering every important position in the government. This will always be a major source of friction. It is not feasible or sustainable in the long term and the Fulani being in the minority will eventually be the losers. They should realise that their champion, Buhari, has over-acted and overreached himself by his apparent Fulanisation agenda. Neither he nor them can or will last. The more the Southerners protest against clear acts of division, oppression and suppression, the more Buhari provokes them recklessly with more insulting appointments for Northerners. It will all lead to tears for them in the end because when you push people to the wall and there is nowhere else to go, they will come out fighting with all guns blazing.
The Northern Hausa-Fulani irredentists should also understand that Southern Nigeria is too cosmopolitan and globally influential to be conquered by any invading Fulani bandits and terrorists. This is what is playing out now. The Government may be turning a blind eye to their atrocities but those being pillaged, raped and murdered will not do so. Their home is their castle, and they will stoutly and robustly defend it. This may ultimately be what makes the downfall of Nigeria.
What Buhari has succeeded in doing is to unite the Southerners in the face of common tribulations. I have never seen the level of anger I see today in our country. Only God through our youths can possibly avert the monumental collapse of a once beautiful and powerful country brought to its knees by the myopic vision of a bigot. The truth is Nigeria is greater than all this and I believe that as the Fulani youths achieve their emancipation through qualitative education, they will join their Southern brethren in creating a Nigeria based on equality, fairness and justice. This is not a pipe dream. Our country’s youths may well save us.
GOOD NIGHT, YINKA ODUMAKIN
We lost our very dear friend, the social activist, Mr Yinka Odumakin. Words have failed me ever since I heard the news and as I told his wife, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, during my condolence visit, I’m still too shocked to know what to write simply because I am torn by grief and there is so much to say about this indomitable, dogged and spirited freedom fighter. A patriotic Nigerian par excellence. May his soul rest in peace.
AND THE PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH, TOO
I cannot help but also mention the reverberating news of the death of The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The accolades have been pouring in for this genial, gentle giant who served his adopted country in a remarkably uncompromising selfless way. His is a lesson in true service to one’s country. May his soul rest in peace.