We have been innundated with the word North – Northern Elders, Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Governors Forum, etc. But really we are asking , “who are these Northerners?”
Let us borrow a bit from History. When Obasanjo as President gave Non-Fulanis sensitive positions in his regime, the Sultan of Sokoto went with some Fulani irredentists like Ango Abdullahi , and confronted him, and made allegations that the North was being marginalized. Baffled , Obasanjo querried them, “Are Non-Fulanis in the North , not Northerners?” The sultan said, “NO, they are not.”
Obasanjo nodded his head to learn what he probably had not known before.
So we ask, ” Who really are these Northerners?”
We have not finished excavation of the historical precedences on this pyhrric question.
Cast You mind back to December 1979, if you are wise enough then, to the very night of primary party elections of NPN. Clearly, Ambassador Maitama Sule, the erudite Hausa man emerged as NPN flag bearer. Some islamic – Fulani juggernauts led by Sultan Attahiru of the Sokoto caliphate, said clearly that the choice of Maitama Sule was not acceptable to the North. Parallel meeting was held that night to substitute Maitama Sule with less known and hardly outspoken Alh. Shehu Shagari, a muslim Fulani, and the said North was after all, pacified. So we ask , “who really is a Northerner in Nigeria?”
In 2015 , the North rallied round and confronted President Goodluck Jonathan that power must shift to the North, to Buhari in particular, being a Fulani, in order to maintain a Democracy supposed to be founded on Justice and fairplay. After seven years of the (mis)rule by the same Buhari, the same North said that zoning of Presidency to the South is undemocratic, condemning zoning entirely as being anti-democracy. And some of them like El Rufai are telling us that it not about religion but competence!
In 1953 when Aminu Kano , a typical Hausa man, upstaged the mysticism of the North to found Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), Sir Ahmadu Bello, a Fulani , who had founded Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) clearly condemned Aminu Kano, calling him an Anti-North propagandist. Until Bello died in 1966, both were sworn enemies. So we ask, “who really are these Northerners?”
Maybe we should exploit the indelibility of history to proffer solution. On October 12 , 1960, just eleven days after independence, the National Parrot Newspaper gave the beeline answer to the poking question by quoting Ahmadu Bello who said, “This new nation called Nigeria is the inheritance of the Fulanis given to them by their great grand father , Uthman dan Fodio. We shall use the Northern minorities as Conquered people, and the South as willing tools, until we dip Koran into the Atlantic ocean.”
The fact that you cannot re – write history, is a fact of life. Here in this similitude of a treatise, Ahmadu Bello, the Fulani maestro of the North, who prided himself as the great grand son of Uthman Dan Fodio, defined in no unclear terms who a Northerner really is. So, I am very sorry for unsettling your peace and peaceable mien to be asking the convoluted , but clearly answered question.
We are not making a detour , neither is it a decoy to say that North is Fulani , and Fulani is the North.
Recall that when one Governor of Kaduna State , a Fulani, was selected for the post of Vice President, whose Deputy was a Southern Kaduna man, it was a tug of war for the Fulanis to allow for a Non-Fulani to govern Kaduna State, and could have had their way if not the seeming immutability of the constitution.
Recall that in the same Kaduna State in 1979, Alh. Balarabe Musa, a staunch talakawa politician and an able follower of Aminu Kano, a Hausa muslim, was impeached on frivolous reasons to paveway for another muslim, this time a Fulani , to be the authentic Governor of Kaduna State, as if Balarabe was not authentically elected. This was done to please the North.
The vexatious cloud of contortion in the whole scenario is the cultural vulnerability of the so called Northern minority politicians to be used willy-nilly to dash the hopes of their own people. Some Northern Non-Fulani Governors and politicians from the North can die for Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar respectively, but they cut the tails of their fellow Northern tribesmen to please their feudal masters – the Fulanis – in order to do so.
Now let us place the Biafran war on the slaughter slab vis a
viz the so called Northern minorities. It was these same Northern minorities that really fought the war for their overlords called Fulanis.
Yakubu Gowon, Martin Adamu, Theophilus Danjuma, Zamani Lekwot, David Mark, Joshua Dogonyaro, and host of others, were used to prosecute the war. When “real Northerners” were done with Gen Gowon , they removed him for their own in Murtala Ramat Mohammed. That coup was used as step-up to launch an ethnic cleansing of Non-Fulanis in the Nigerian military, which ideological obscenity has persisted till date in Nigerian military and paramilitary.
The sobriquet of One North, One Destiny, One People is a lie from the pit of hell.
Is the North monolithic? How porous is this dictum as a catch phrase. “Arewa” is Hausa word for North. Recall , it is not a Fulani word. Why ? Hausa is by far, the most populous in the entire North, but they are voiceless.
The Fulanis are very few , not more than 6 million, but they are in control politically and economically even though they are not aboriginous Nigerians. So, a Hausa word must be used, not a Fulani word, to galvanize support for the whole North, so as to consolidate on their power. This is the racket of cultural nudity in Northern Nigeria from Uthman Dan Fodio time which has served its purpose very well.
And they would call all Non-Muslims, including those from the North as pagans, “Kafiris”. Well, I am not a Kafiri. I am Child of God. A pastor and a Prophet. Not a pagan, Kafiri or even Arne.
They have their north, and we have another North.
Davidson Rotshak Lar JP