by admin
0 comment

JULY 18-19, 2019

President, Secretary and other officers of Egbe Omo Yoruba,
All Members of Egbe Omo Yoruba,
All Yoruba notables and friends gathered at this historic conference:
Wars are raging in Nigeria. The old Boko Haram war in the Northeast has been greatly magnified by the entry of ISIS into it. ISIS has proclaimed an Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP) which they, in collaboration with Boko Haram, plan to make real by conquest. As at this point, the ISIS-Boko Haram war is still limited to the Northeast, but the intention of Boko Haram and ISIS is to spread it to all parts of West Africa and Nigeria (including the Yoruba homeland).
A much wider war is raging all over the rest of Nigeria. The people who are pushing this wider war are the Fulani. Fulani cattle herders who used to herd their cows peacefully everywhere are now coming accompanied by militiamen armed with AK 47 Rifles. Some of the militiamen are from among our country’s Fulani population of the Nigerian Northwest. Experience has shown that most of the militiamen are Fulani from other parts of West Africa; some are Arabs and Berbers from as far away as Libya. Most of the Fulani herdsmen of today, and all the Fulani herdsmen and militiamen from other parts of West Africa, are exhibiting behaviour that shows that they have been powerfully indoctrinated to wage war against all non-Fulani peoples of Nigeria. The Arabs and Berbers are like mercenaries.
Since 2014, all these have been waging a determined war against the peoples of the Middle Belt and the South of Nigeria, including the Yoruba Southwest. The most notable of their earliest attacks on Yoruba people was their kidnapping of Chief Olu Falae in 2015, their killing of some of his farm workers, and their persistent attacks on his farm for a long time thereafter. Across Yorubaland, Fulani marauders have guided cows to ravage farms of arable crops, have cut down or burnt farms of tree crops, have killed farmers who protest the destruction of their farms, have attacked and killed farmers on their farms, have killed women and children on farms or on isolated paths to farms, have attacked and destroyed rural villages. They have thus forced very many people to abandon farming altogether, and are thereby increasing the severity of poverty among Yoruba people.
When these Fulani depredations reached a peak in the Yoruba homeland in 2017, the leadership of one of the major Yoruba civic organizations wanted to have a study of the whole situation, and they approached me to help do the study. At my own expense, I did an initial study that was, I would admit, not deep enough. But then, I felt compelled to do a more thorough study. And that has led me to seek deeper information not only in Nigeria but in the rest of West Africa. Reports of widespread Fulani violence are causing some countries of West Africa to take steps to push Fulani herdsmen and militias out of their countries. For instance, Ghana has taken very strong steps to push them out.
There is no doubt now that the objective for which the Fulani are waging the war is territorial conquest – at least in the case of Nigeria. And the reasoning behind their quest for territories would seem to be as follows: Spread out as thin minorities in almost all countries of West Africa, the Fulani have been finding it difficult to have political influence in any country besides Nigeria. Even in Guinea Conakry where the Fulani are about 40{ea8c11308c9c5919903708965b7b7a67d75ff567d88a1bebc318ff793fd0b309} of the population, and where many small ethnic groups share the remaining 60{ea8c11308c9c5919903708965b7b7a67d75ff567d88a1bebc318ff793fd0b309}, the Fulani have been denied political influence by a determined combination of all the small peoples. The Fulani seem in recent years to have become worried about this situation – understandably. In the process, they are widely believed to have come to the conclusion that Nigeria, where they have had much political influence since independence, is the country that Allah has destined to be theirs. The record of their political influence in Nigeria is, without doubt, impressive. Othman dan Fodio came with only a few other Fulani folks to a heavily populated Hausaland and yet he was able to conquer and subdue the large Hausa nation (because enormous numbers of Hausa Muslims flooded into his jihadist armies, and because the many cattle herders in the grasslands rose to help their town-dwelling kinsmen). Dan Fodio and his Fulani followers became the sole rulers of the Hausa people – the Sultan, the Emirs and the aristocratic officials of the emirates.
When the British came soon after that, they gradually chose the Fulani as the “friendly people” whom British officials believed they could depend on to uphold British interests in Nigeria, and whom British power must therefore be used to build up. This happened even though the Fulani were the least educated people in Nigeria. In fact, their being little educated and their obviously having little desire for education were major parts of the reasons why the British chose them. And when the British prepared to leave Nigeria, they manipulated everything to make the Fulani the controllers of independent Nigeria. And so the Fulani can count a long line of Fulani men and Fulani proteges who have held leading positions in the territory that is now known as Nigeria – Dan Fodio and his successors as Sulatans of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Murtala Mohammed, Shagari, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha, Yaradua, and now Buhari. The Fulani regard all this history, from Dan Fodio to today, as the work of God. The Fulani leadership depends very heavily on guidance by large numbers of purveyors of occultic power (the Marabouts from all over West Africa), for whose service they regularly spend large amounts of money (billions of Naira). Largely from such influences, they now have reached the mindset that Allah has indeed destined Nigeria to be their country, and that to own Nigeria they have to conquer the many peoples of Nigeria. As some of their ideologues put it, they have to “kill, maim, destroy, and banish” the indigenous peoples of Nigeria from their homelands.
In their widespread attacks on the peoples of Nigeria, the Fulani are pursuing what they deeply believe to be their manifest destiny. They believe that they will encounter serious opposition in their quest, and that they will even suffer serious setbacks, but that they must persist resolutely, and that they will win in the end.
Obviously, some of the Fulani persons in the federal government of Nigeria belong to this mindset – and that is the explanation for the persistent federal efforts to help the Fulani herders to establish cattle rearing enclaves in all parts of Nigeria. Though these federal officials would deny it, the enclaves being sought by the federal government are meant to be the beginning of Fulani conquering outposts wherever they are established. To supplement these, large numbers of Fulani poor youths are being sent as Okada operators to towns and cities in the South. It has been definitively documented that groups of these youths are arriving often in truck loads in Lagos and Ibadan, sometimes accompanied by the Okada bikes that have been bought for them in the North. It is well known that well organized networks of these Fulani youths exist today in many Yoruba towns. We also know that armed Fulani outposts exist now in many Yoruba forest areas, and that it is from such outposts that little groups of armed men go out to attack farms and villages, to kidnap people, and to hold up highways to kidnap and kill travellers. Their kidnap-for-ransom escapades are causing enormous outrage now among Yoruba people.
We have very reliable information from some of our Obas about major belligerent Fulani locations and forest outposts in some areas of Yorubaland. I have found through cautious personal investigations in some of the forest areas (especially in the Yewa area of Ogun State and the Oke Ogun area of the Oyo State) that most of the Fulani in these places are not Nigerian Fulani folks. They do not understand any Nigerian language (such as Hausa or English); and sometimes they are willing to reveal that they are from Mali or Niger or Senegal, etc.
Most Yoruba people believe and fear that the intention of the Fulani is to use a combination of these rural and urban Fulani units someday in the near future for a massive disruption of Yorubaland – towards a take-over of Yorubaland, similar to the 19th century take-over of Hausaland, the total elimination of Hausa traditional rulers, and the complete reduction of Hausa people to a subdued lower class in their own homeland. In letters of threat to people in various parts of Nigeria, the leaders of the Fulani groups themselves say confidently that their objective is to seize territory by killing, maiming, destroying, and banishing people from their homelands.
Countless Yoruba civic organizations have sprung up to confront this danger. Each has its own kind of method for the struggle. Many are growing manifestly stronger in their various ways in the fight. In addition to what else they are doing in Yorubaland, Afenifere has joined hands with others beyond Yorubaland to create political groupings that can be useful to the fight. The most important of these groupings now is the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF). This SMBLF now seems likely to become one of the most major forces for the collaboration of the peoples of the South and the Middle Belt in the face of the Fulani danger.
I must not forget to add that some criminal gangs of youths from Yoruba and other Southern sources have recently been taking advantage of the Fulani invasion of the Southwest to organize kidnap-for-ransom gangs of their own in parts of Yorubaland. This situation is very similar to what happened in the Southwest under the murderous dictatorship of Gen. Abacha in the 1990s. In those years, federal authorities sent assassination squads to hunt down certain prominent citizens – and criminally inclined youths took advantage of the situation and organized assassination and robbery gangs of their own. We are seeing a repeat of that now.
Our people in the Diaspora, when they hear these things, will surely ask, what are our State Governors doing? At home in Yorubaland, many people are snapping at our governors and accusing them of doing nothing to defend our people. Some are even calling them traitors. But this is a matter in which we need to show understanding of our state governors’ situation in this great trouble. What exists under the present Nigerian constitution is a unitary system of governance very heavily underpinned by impunity. What that means is that no state governor in Nigeria can lead his state with any success without, at least, a rapport with the controllers of the Nigerian central establishment in Abuja. It is well known that the controllers of the Abuja establishment are pressurizing the governors of all states to cooperate with the agenda of creating Fulani enclaves all over Nigeria. That puts our governors under enormous pressure – first, pressure from Abuja, and secondly, pressure from the citizens of our states. Since the Land Use Decree vests the land of each state in the state’s governor, Abuja wants our governors to use their official power to grant land for the Fulani cattle enclaves; but our people are warning that granting any land for Fulani cattle enclaves will lead to very serious trouble.
I am sure that the duty of Yoruba leaders in this situation should be to come close to our governors, and to give them confidence so that they may be able to resist the Abuja pressures. I humbly suggest that our notable citizens in the Diaspora should participate in this task of encouraging and empowering our governors to stand up bravely to protect our homeland.
I humbly propose too that we Yoruba must strive hard to ensure that this Fulani menace will not leave our nation badly divided. Those of our men and women who belong to APC, the party of President Buhari, are not doing anything strange or wrong in generally supporting the government of their party. They are doing what members of political parties do in an elective democracy. Rather than castigate them and call them ugly names, we need to help them to reach the mindset that though they may keep supporting the government of their party, they need to distinguish between the policies and programmes of their party and those other things that their party’s men in government are doing that are not party policy, especially things that they are doing that threaten the welfare of our Yoruba nation. I know it cannot be easy for us, in the heated atmosphere of today, to pursue such careful and constructive approaches to those who are members of APC among us and who are supporting all things that the federal government is doing. But it is a job that we must try seriously to work at. And again, I humbly urge our leaders in the Diaspora to contribute their efforts to this. No matter what happens, we must hold the unity of our nation as a paramount priority.
For us Yoruba nation, the demand that we should give room to Fulani cattle rearing enclaves in our homeland is a hideously insensitive demand. Our Yoruba homeland has been a copiously urbanized nation for over one thousand years. We have been easily the most urbanized nation in the history of Africa and one of the most urbanized nations in the history of the world. How can we possibly now allow primitive cattle rearing enclaves to be inculcated into our homeland? Why should anybody demand of us to move back civilization in order to make space for this barbarism? Well, they have demanded that of us, and it is our duty to join hands as a nation and say No. To do this effectively, we need our nation’s unity.
Fortunately, I can say for sure that I have never met any Yoruba person who sincerely thinks that our Yorubaland is suitable for nomadic cattle rearing enclaves. Some may say it in the course of political party activity or in the course of defending their party. But, in intimate contacts, in conversation between brother and brother, I have never met any Yoruba man or woman who has said we should allow Fulani nomadic cattle rearing enclaves or Ruga (Rural Grazing Areas) in our homeland. In private, there is a very solid unity among us Yoruba on this matter. In fact, I have met leading APC members who are among the most radical opponents of Ruga, and of Fulani killings, kidnappings and destructions in Yorubaland. I am sure that if we handle this situation with family love, we can easily unite to clear our homeland of today’s Fulani menaces and threats. We can do it; so, let us do it.
It would be wrong, and even dishonest or cowardly of me, if I do not touch on an important point that is increasingly constituting part of the massive debate that is going on now in the Yoruba homeland. Very many of our Yoruba youths, and more and more of the mature and experienced adults among us, are wondering whether we Yoruba people are doing ourselves honour and justice by remaining in the Nigerian construct in which all these inter-people viciousness, violence and hatred are forever an inescapable feature of life and relationships. Even the most knowledgeable of Nigeria’s statesmen are warning that a Rwanda-type storm of violence, pogrom and genocide against the Fulani people seems to be gradually approaching now in Nigeria, as a possible outcome of generalized self-defence resistance against the Fulani. Knowing how deep and fundamental the principle of hospitality and helpfulness to foreigners is in our Yoruba culture, mythology and history, many Yoruba people are asking the troubling question whether we Yoruba should let ourselves become part of such a storm, and whether we ought not now to begin seeking peaceful, mature and diplomatic outlets from the field of the coming storm. In short, there is going on a conspicuous growth of the view that we Yoruba should seek for ourselves the ultimate construct in which we can fully work out our inherent qualities as a civilization-building people. More and more are saying that we have surrendered and abandoned our nation to Nigeria’s culture of chaos, conflicts and retrogression for too long, and that we should now brace ourselves for change. This view is not informed by any hatred of any Nigerian people or peoples. Rather, it is informed by a sense of duty – the duty of a nation like the Yoruba to show to the world that a Black African nation, or better still, that Black African peoples, can indeed take leading positions in the modern world’s march of civilization – in the sciences, the technologies, the literary arts, the humanities, the visual arts, etc. This is worth pondering among leading Yoruba people, and the Yoruba Diaspora contains a very major part of leading Yoruba people.
My summary of all these pictures of the Nigerian and Yoruba scene today is that we, the present generation of Yoruba leaders, have great duties that urgently demand our responses. A great American once said, “To some generations much is given; of other generations much is expected”. It is my profound belief that we of today’s generation of Yoruba people are called upon to give much to our Yoruba nation and to the world, and that we do have much to give. How else do we explain the various manifestations of Yoruba significance and strength that are showing up these days across the world? Late last year, in the great country of Brazil, where some 54 million citizens are officially identified as Yoruba descendants, there suddenly popped up an official indication that the Yoruba language will be given official recognition and be taught in Brazilian schools. In January this year, the Yoruba people of Benin Republic organized a mammoth conference at which they inaugurated a movement named Egbe Omo Oduduwa of Benin Republic. The conference was attended by many of the Yoruba Obas of Benin Republic, many leading politicians, many public officials, many university academics, and large crowds of excited citizens. From Nigeria, by invitation, the Ooni of Ife, the Alaafin of Oyo, and President Olusegun Obasanjo (former president of Nigeria), sent representatives, and many leaders of Nigerian Yoruba business, professions and academia came. Some months later, large Yoruba demonstrations filled the streets of many Yoruba cities in Benin Republic, carrying placards featuring pictures of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Ori Olokun, and chanting songs which said that it was time for the Yoruba of Benin Republic to go and join the major part of their Yoruba nation that is in Nigeria. Among scholars and observers of world religions today, one of the greatest wonders is that indigenous Yoruba religion is spreading throughout the world. One scholar wrote in his book that Yoruba religion is one of the few largest religions today in expanse across the world, and the fastest growing religion in the world.
Confronted by these awesome changes and advancements of the Yoruba nation worldwide, some Yoruba intellectuals and professionals of Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo Republic, and Brazil have started to work towards creating an international Yoruba organization under the name ‘Yoruba Heritage International’ which is designed to bring Yoruba people and Yoruba descendants worldwide together for the purpose of accentuating Yoruba strength in the world. The plan includes that the Yoruba Heritage International will hold a periodic Yoruba Heritage World Congress. These plans are still at the level of conception. They will soon be brought to all of us for our contributions – especially to great bodies of Yoruba people like Egbe Omo Yoruba United States and Canada which will, without doubt, provide much of the strength of the Yoruba Heritage International.
I must now bring this message to an end. You of the Egbe Omo Yoruba have been doing a great service to our people in Nigeria by regularly sending financial assistance to your families and friends. The Nigerian situation has seriously impoverished our people, and your assistance has become perhaps the surest means of saving many of our people from abject poverty, and from becoming beggars in the streets. I bring you the gratitude of all our people, and their prayers for your continued safety, success and prosperity in your foreign places of abode.
From a succinct consideration of the total situation of our Yoruba nation, I also want to repeat now something that I have said to your president, Dr. Duro Akindutire, when he came to Nigeria recently. It would be a great service to the Yoruba nation now and in the future if you would start a Yoruba National Fund, similar to the famous Jewish National Fund that has served the Jewish people greatly. I do not need to spell out the many ways in which the existence of this fund can uplift the Yoruba nation in the world.
I thank you all.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Our Company

The vision of Voice of Reason revolves around young people and the ability they have to change the world for better if they have the right mind-set and tools.


Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

Laest News

© 2022 | Voice of Reason Nigeria | All Rights Reserved