The current brand: suspected Fulani herdsmen, is the creation of a failing state, of leadership failure, and of irresponsible citizens…
When I returned to LASU in the 1991/1992 session to commence my Law degree program, I fought strenuously against being called by the nickname that had defined my person, and time, during my earlier life in the same institution. I was not proud of the name by which I was known, or the person that I was.
I had entered a Coaster bus going to Oyingbo from in front of the school gate, and sat next to me was another student, a Jambite, fine girl, beautiful enough for me to be interested in knowing her without much by way of good intentions. I struck up a conversation, and after exchanging pleasantries and names, (I was simply Dele.) we got talking about her impressions of her new school.
Everything was going swimmingly, and I was on what appeared a home run, and then the dog got hanged with a bad name. She’d been stalked in the SUB by a notorious never do well called “Black Moses”! Ha! I exclaimed, that guy? I asked disguising my shock. She proceeded to tell me all about the notorious Black Moses, a career gambler masquerading as a student, been in LASU since it was found she said.
Babatunde Odulana, Odlan Gee it was that coined the name, and it was when I as a prank, ran for some post in the English Students Association. I ran as a lark, the candidate of the Abe-Igi Fraternity, a motley crew of layabouts, gamblers, and generally unprofessional students, and lost kids like me. We were the ones parents warned their children against. Mine was the second set in LASU, and cults had no place in the school at the time, we were the closest LASU came to the cults that proliferated by the time I returned to read Law.
My experience with the lady in the bus, led me to take the extreme measure of serving someone knuckle sandwiches, and earned some other person a kick in the groin. That done, only a few would in jest, call me Black Moses to my face, by the time I exited LASU, and when called, few did so remembering the irreverent, irresponsible, and unhinged young pup, that I was. I reinvented myself, and refused to live up to my past reputation, be it justified or not.
Fulani herdsmen, suspected Fulani herdsmen. These are important labels, and they are also dangerous labels. There was a time in Nigeria, when the herdsman was just a herdsman, few attached any importance to his ethnicity, and he was just another Nigerian from the northern part of Nigeria. The current brand: suspected Fulani herdsmen, is the creation of a failing state, of leadership failure, and of irresponsible citizens.
The primary function of the state is security. It should not matter who the criminal is, when the laws of the land are breached, the state fails, when it finds any excuses for its inaction, and or inability to deliver justice to the accused, and the victim. When the leadership of the state, promotes ethnic considerations above the corporate good, it leaves itself open, not only to the conclusions of its abject failure, but to charges of its complicity.
The Fulani herdsmen, suspected or known, have acquired a reputation for bloodthirstiness that is attested to by foreign bodies that have made it their business to measure madness, and the Nigerian state and government, under the current president, have proven themselves shamelessly inept, and incompetent. To worsen matters, this government has made itself appear complicit in the inability of the security agencies to deal with security challenges involving the Fulani. The Fulani have become the bogeymen of Nigerian ethnic impunity.
It does not matter, be the murderers of Mrs. Olufunke Olakunrin Fulani, or Yoruba, she was a Nigerian. She was somebody’s wife, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s mum, and grandma, she was my friend, and hers is one death too many.
Nigeria is in the grip of a well armed, well funded, and well organized destabilization plot. What began on the plateaus have traveled down the Benue troughs, and have now snaked its way into the southern part of Nigeria. It began in the hill countries of the Ekiti people, and wound its way down to Akure axis. Chief Olu Falae’s accounts of his experience in the hands of his Fulani abductors are not the stuff of fantasies, and TY Danjuma is not an alarmist.
If Buhari, who as a private citizen, found the time to travel to Ibadan to chastise Lam, without having informed himself, and to take side with his Fulani kin who had been involved in a skirmish with the Iseyin people, has shown any haste in coming to the aid and protection of the Nigerian citizens who have borne the brunt of the herdsmen scourge, perhaps he wouldn’t have made the herdsmen a rod for his own back. The best anyone may say in Buhari’s defense, is that he is merely incompetent, and a malevolent and subterranean force, is out to discredit him.
I do not expect to ever see Auntie Funke’s killers apprehended, and I have no respect for the Nigerian state’s capacity to give justice to the dead, whoever is accused, or to we the survivors. Fulani herdsmen is merely a byword for a failing state, not be today Fulani dey rear cattle, why na now malu begin drink blood?
First published 13 July, 2019.