By Usama Dandare
“The year was 1965. I was an innocent starry-eyed 13 year-old and Nigeria was in turmoil. It was the era of the “wetie,” when the houses of politicians and key public-figures were burnt down in the brouhaha that was then Western Nigeria.
We lived in Oke-Ado in Ibadan and our next-door neighbour was Chief Ogundiran, a minister in the government of Chief S.L. Akintola , the Premier of the Western Region. (Ogundiran was famous for only wearing white.) In the spirit of the times, a mob came early one morning and burnt down his house. He jumped out of the window and managed to escape.
Fani-Power, Fani-igbo: I was having private lessons in Mathematics at the home of a colleague, Enitan Abiodun, when we heard the noise of a crowd outside. We rushed to the veranda to see Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (alias Fani-Power), then Deputy Governor of the Western Region, standing on the seat of a moving convertible. He was surrounded by a mob, which was shouting and hailing him. On hearing the noise,
Enitan’s mother rushed to the veranda shouting “Awo!” only to discover that the people outside were not supporters of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but those of his arch-enemies.
The shout of “Awo!” by Mrs. Abiodun brought the procession to a screeching halt. “Who said that? Who said that?” demanded the mob, enraged. “Fani-Power” turned and looked up at us. His eyes were the usual blood-shot red. At the time, many claimed it was because he regularly smoked Indian-hemp. Fani-Kayode pointed to our building and identified to his thugs that the offending shout came from our direction. We did not know that the floor of the convertible he was standing in was loaded with empty bottles. His thugs reached for the bottles and rained them down on us as we all scrambled back inside the house for dear life.” Femi Aribisala describing Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, the father of Femi Fani-Kayode.
Like father, like son: Today, Femi Fani-Kayode, the son of “Fani-Power” is gladly continuing the irresponsible tradition of his father. In recent years, he has been throwing inciting vituperations and launching venomous attacks on some ethnic and religious groups, all in an attempt to remain relevant and score cheap political points. Of recent is this his immorality, bigotry, gross irresponsibility, and sheer ignorance of history displayed in one of his usual inciting write-ups, titled “The Sons Of Futa Jalon” in which he foolishly voiced his sheer hatred against the Fulani tribe, Ahmadu Bello Saurdana of Sokoto, Caliph Shehu Usman Bn Fodio and Islam as a whole.
I have learnt a very vital lesson in life which i always tend to reflect upon in the course of my daily interactions with people of all colours on this earth: SILENCE IS THE BEST ANSWER TO A FOOL. However, in as much as one might be entitled to his opinions which he owe nobody an apology for any reason whatsoever, he must in every respect make sure those opinions remain within personal jurisdictions but in a scenario where such opinions have the tendency to influence or distort the thinking of others or affects their wellbeing, then such a person cannot and will never said to be entitle to such opinions. When people foolishly voice out their opinions to influence the psychology of the gullible few, then it becomes imperative to call them to order for the good of all and sundry.
This prompted the need to call Femi Fani-Kayode to order over his recent ethnic ejaculation against the Fulani race, because ignorance is communicable and once an ignorant person releases the pheromones of his ignorance with pride, the gullible ones could be tempted to emulate him and in no time, the spread of ignorance become imminent. Therefore it will be heinous not to call Femi Fani-Kayode to order, if nothing, to at least lower the spread of ignorance.
I read with dismay and at the same time pity the way Femi Fani-kayode’s half baked-truths and vexatious fallacies derided the great Usman Ibn Fodio, Northern leaders, Fulani tribe, and Islam. Which perhaps catalyse the adrenaline to dilute his gross verbal stupidity and educate him a little bit: but before then, permit me to use this medium to condemn the activities of some alleged Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the nation and expect all well meaning Fulani to do the same: it is inhuman, ridiculous and absolutely barbaric to find joy in taken the lives of innocent citizens for any reason whatsoever. Albeit the activities of these so-called Fulani are worrisome and disgusting to a certain extent, i however feels it’s idiotic to distort facts just to paint the entire Fulani race and Islam black as Fani-kayode has often been doing in recent time.
To me, Fani-Kayode’s piece “The Sons Of Futa jalon” is nothing but a continuation of his defeat aggressive syndrome against the northern region and northerners for the region’s refusal to return his demigod “the ineffectual buffoon” for another 2nd-term after failing to make any impact in the first period, through which medium he intends to incite some section of the country against others and plunge Nigeria into another civil war, just to make governance uneasy for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his usual hypocrisy to paint the north black, the hate-monger quoted Ahmadu Bello Sardauna’s speech of out of context and even went ahead to quote the demonic Abubakar Shekau (a non Fulani), his ethnic hypocrisy further got thicker by quoting yet another concocted hogwash against the personality of President Mohammadu Buhari – despite all apologies to the President by the fabricators of such fallacy – all in an attempt to buttress his islamaphobic points. The unrepentant bigot again publicised his ignorance of history and geography of religion by insinuating that Fulani tribe originated from Futa Jalon in modern-day Guinea, because he read that Usman Ibn Fodio came from somewhere near there. This is a clear indication that Fani-Kayode lacks every bit of history and geography of the Fulani stock. Let me for the emphasis of education, educate him and his gullible sympathisers a bit:
History has it that the ancestor of Fulani is Jacob son of Israel, son of Issac, and son of Abraham. When Jacob left Canaan and went to Egypt where Joseph was established. The Israelites prospered and grew in population while living in Egypt. Fulani people descended from them. After a long time a new Pharaoh who did not know about Joseph’s fame in Egypt, came to power. He made the Israelites work hard at slave labor. The Pharaoh oppressed the people, including Fulanis who were rich in cattle. They emigrated from Egypt, some of them went back to Palestine and Syria under Moses guidance and the other crossed the Nile with their cattle and headed west. They took the name of fouth or foudh meaning those who left. A group from the latter moved along the edges of the Sahara to Touat-Air and then to West-Africa.
Those who came to Masina (in present day Mali) spread to the neighboring regions where they were rejoined by Fulani groups from Morocco. It has established that about 700AD, Fulani groups from Morocco, moved southward, and invaded the regions of Tagout, Adrar, Mauritania, and Fuuta Tooro. The cradle of the Fulani group is situated in the Senegal River valley, where Fulanis established kingdoms. Until the beginning of the IX th Century. Around that period they continued their migration in the regions of Bundu, Bambouk, Diomboko, Kaarta, and Bagana. Finally those who were concentrated in the Ferlo from the XI to the XIV century moved in various groups to the Fuuta Jalon, to the Volta river basin, to the Gurma, to the Haussa land, and to the Adamawa, Boghirme, and to Ouadai. See (Tishkoff SA, et al. (2009) The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans, 1035–1044).
At the time of their arrival to Hausa land in the early fifteenth century, many Fulani settled as clerics in Hausa city-states such as Kano, Katsina, and Zaria. Others settled among the local peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the seventeenth century, the Hausa states had begun to gain their independence from various foreign rulers, with Gobir in present day Sokoto becoming the predominant Hausa state.
The urban culture of the Hausa was attractive to many Fulani. These Town or Settled Fulani became clerics, teachers, settlers, and judges—and in many other ways filled elite positions within the Hausa states. Soon they adopted the Hausa language, many forgetting their own Fulfulde language. Although Hausa customs exerted an influence on the Town Fulani, they did not lose touch with the Cattle or Bush Fulani. See (Ehret C (2008) The Early Livestock Raisers of Southern Africa, 7–35.)
In his drug induced elucidation, Fani-kayode thought Sokoto was where the Fulani settled first when they came to Nigeria as claimed in his mischievous piece, not knowing there were Fulanis scattered allover parts of the northern region even before the birth of Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio. And to say that it was from “Sokoto that the Fulani waged a bloody islamic war led by their spiritual father, infiltrated and conquered all what is known as Northern Nigerian today” isn’t only hypocritical of him but a sheer ignorance of history. Sheik Usman Ibn Fodio came and met established Fulani towns/kingdoms in Adamawa and several other places across the North, what Ibn Fodio did was to only call them to order.
Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio, a Fulani of the Torodbe clan migrated to Gobir, in present day Sokoto, many generations before. He was born in 1754 into a scholarly family and he and his younger brother Abdullahi, were given a broad Islamic education. At that time of his youth, Gobir, as have seen, had become the most powerful of the Hausa states, particularly in Zamfara and Kebbi, but Gobir’s domination was hated. The people generally resented the heavy taxation that was used to maintain the armies and to make the big men in society greater and richer than before. The weak feared enslavement by the strong. Though the kings at that time thought of themselves as Muslims, they did not always follow islamic principles and often tolerated and even participated in ‘pagan’ practices. The Muslim communities of Hausaland deeply resented the ‘paganism’ of their rulers and their failure to do justice to the poor. When Usman dan Fodio, at the age of twenty, returned to Gobir from Agades, where had has been taught by a Muslim revolutionary teacher, Jibril, there were many who were willing to listen to someone who would challenge their rulers. Usman dan Fodio held the attention of large crowds when he criticized the Hausa rulers for their bad government, he found eager response from his listeners. In such circumstance, many flocked to join Usman dan Fodio who was becoming a major political force in Gobir.
At a time when Shehu was oblivious of the potentials of his growing companions, the Hausa rulers were certainly not. For Shehu, the growth of his followers may only mean an end to the ignorance that propelled him into action in the first place and a hope for a more enlightened and therefore peaceful Muslim community. But for the Hausa rulers, every growth of Shehu’s followers represent a shrink in their power base and more seriously it represents a threat to their tyrannical and corrupt status-quo, where the rulers did as they pleased. As early as 1797 or so, following the rise to power of a new king in Gobir, Napata, in 1796, Shehu’s companions started to face organised state persecution, in the form of physical attack, arrests and imprisonment. Having sensed danger, Shehu started to prepare the community for a confrontation that turned out to be inevitable. The tension continued to heighten and Yunfa who took over from Napata as the king of Gobir in 1803 only made matters worse. The mood of the community had changed and the followers grew restive. Following skirmishes and a threat for an all-out attack on the community from Yunfa, Shehu called for a migration to Gudu, a place on the boarders of Gobir just to maintain peace and avoid violence.
The migration itself started in February of 1804, and before Shehu and his folowers could finish assembling at Gudu, they came under attack, first by Yunfa and consequently by other kings of Hausa states, and this was what prompted the war between Shehu and the Hausa rulers. Until April of 1806 when Shehu’s loyalists captured Kebbi, they had no base and had to be constantly on the move, carrying their families as well as their libraries, often pursued by their enemies. It was here that Shehu wrote a letter to all Hausa rulers calling them to accept good governance according to Islam principles, those that accepted Shehu’s request were subsequently issued with flags symbolising his endorsements while others who refused to accept declared war on him (Usman Ibn Fodio), Shehu with help of other kingdoms under his control fought them and eventually conquered their kingdoms. Thus forming what is today the Sokoto Caliphate.
Going by the aforementioned, one must concur with the fact that all what Fani-kayode have been saying about Shehu Ibn Fodio was a mere blackmail to portray the great Danfodio as violent and non-peaceful.
To further upgrade his gross ignorance and hatred towards the fulani tribe, Fani-Kayode went ahead to draw ethno-physical and postural similarities between the Tutsis of East Africa and the Fulani of Nigeria, tactically calling on other tribes to apply the ”Hutu solution” on the fulani. Thus advocating for an ethnic cleansing of the entire fulani race in Nigeria.
Worst still is Fani-Kayode’s double standard and his hypocritical support for Igbo tribe and Biafra, a tribe he once waged verbal war on with all manners of fabricated blackmail against the great Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, calling him an ethnic bigot and describing the agitators of Biafra as terrorists. For Fani-Kayode to insinuate that “a Fulani-led Federal Government and Fulani-led Armed Forces are killing thousands of young igbos in the east simply because of their support for Nnamdi Kanu and their call for the establishment of the independent state of Biafra”, he’s clearly indicating his support to a group he once called a terrorists group. Should one be wrong to call him a terrorist sympathyser? It is not surprising that the hate-monger has now became an Igbo friend, and so also not surprising to see the gullible Igbos accepting him back as a friend. This is a man who always changes colour when it serves his purpose, he’s always changing identity to go in line with his hypocritical way of life.
Fani-Kayode even cited the Zaria fracas between the military and the members of the shiite islamic movement as a move by President Buhari and Gen Tukur Burutai to implement the Fulani agenda of Islamizing Nigeria. All in his quest to demonise Islam, Muslims, the Fulani tribe(s) and the present day leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari. What a hypocrisy!
What Femi Fani-Kayode and his likes need to understand here is that the ongoing crisis involving Fulani herdsmen in some sections of the country has no religious affiliation neither ethnic, the Fulani herders feel victims of injustice because their cattle are killed or stolen and are not compensated for losses incurred, the anger resulting from this situation thus drives them to behave in the terrible way they have been behaving so far. As one can see, the problem is primarily economic not religious or ethnical contrary to how the agents of ethno-religious division have been pointing out in recent times. I am not trying to justify the actions of these so-callled Fulani herdsmen, what I am not contend with is making their atrocity a communal crime rather than individual, the point I am trying to make is that persecuting Islam or the entire Fulani tribe for the actions of some demonic few or aligning it to the struggles of Shehu Usman Ibn Fodio is absolutely an injustice to Islam and the Fulani clan in general. Crime knows no tribe, region or religion, we have criminals from all races and beliefs who are involved in various acts of crimes worldwide. Is it fair to demonise the Yoruba tribe for reasons that their kinsmen are involved armed robbery or demonise the Igbo for the actions of kidnappers and baby factory operators? Then why Fulani? Why Islam?
Sincerely speaking, Fani-Kayode with his write-up has only substantiated the fact that he is an unrepentant ethnocentric and eccentric, who view all races apart from his as inferior and second-class, he has only succeeded in displaying his unrefined and undiluted mediocre and ethnic stupidity. I pity those who see him as a role model, because all they will be gaining from their role model is gross ignorance, hypocrisy, irresponsibility, and a large chunk of dedicative immorality. At a time when Nigeria continue to heal gradually from the blatant rape on its national treasury and outrageous pen robbery supervised by Jonathan and co. (Femi Fani-Kayode inclusive), the unrepentant son of an ethnic miscarriage continue to heat up the polity and ignite violence in continuation of his commitments to see Nigeria fail under the stewardship of President Mohammadu Buhari.
Sincerely, Fani- Kayode’s article under reference is the most idiotic, pitiful, hypocritical, devilish and watery article I have ever read. He is indeed all a graduate of Cambridge University should not be – a loose, unpatriotic and an ineffectual buffoon. He has so much degenerates himself into an ethnic nuisance, a political liability and a religious jackass. Calling anyone Femi Fani-Kayode in Nigeria today, is a cool and polite way of saying that person is an IDIOT.