On the eve of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the departing British colonizers manipulated the system for the Hausa/Fulani to hold the reins of the nation’s political power. The British wanted Nigeria tied to their apron string and they didn’t trust the well educated and savvy Southerners.
The calculation of the British tallied with the aspiration of Usman Dan Fodio, the great grandfather of Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), who led the Sokoto Jihad of 1804. Dan Fodio had established the Sokoto Caliphate after a bloody crusade. His eyes were set on overrunning the terrain as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but resistance slowed him down until the colonial enterprise halted the march of his descendants when the Sokoto Caliphate capitulated in 1903.
So when the British manipulated the Hausa/Fulani into power on October 1, 1960, the latter saw it as the restoration of an ancestral mandate. Ahmadu Bello the great grandson of Usman Dan Fodio was in the vanguard of the Caliphate resurgence.
Dan Fodio’s Jihad and Ahmadu Bello’s speech are agenda setting phenomena. The ongoing brutal subjugation perpetuated by Fulani herdsmen all over Nigeria received impetus from them. Much of the tension that gripped post-colonial Nigeria can be traced to the Dan Fodio agenda and Ahmadu Bello’s mission. The Western Region crisis of 1962 was a direct consequence of the Ahmadu Bello led Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) avowed determination to overrun the West. The United Middle Belt Convention (UMBC) led by Joseph Tarka also tried to resist the supremacist agenda of the North. This led to the Tiv riots of 1964 and its brutal quelling by the military. Both events were cardinal to the fall of the First Republic through the January 1966 coup.
The coup dismantled the Hausa/Fulani hegemony, but their soldiers resisted the change in political power. They launched a pogrom against the Igbo and brought a puppet made in their own image, Lt. Col Yakubu Gowon, to power. A Civil War followed.
By 1975, the Hausa/Fulani clique was fed up with Gowon. They kicked him out and brought in their own, Murtala Mohammed. As part of the resentment against Hausa/Fulani fascism, Middle Belt soldiers killed Murtala in 1976. Another puppet-soldier was found in Olusegun Obasanjo who acted according to instruction and handed over power to the Caliphate anointed Shehu Shagari.
When it became clear that power would leave the North after Shagari’s tenure, Hausa/Fulani soldiers removed him and put Muhammadu Buhari in office. Ibrahim Babangida, a middle Belt soldier of fortune used guile to shove Buhari aside and became the nemesis of Hausa/Fulani power mongers. Although he was beholden to them, he kept them at bay for eight years.
When M. K. O. Abiola, a Yoruba was set to succeed Babangida having won a free and fair election, the Hausa/Fulani would have none of it. Sani Abacha seized power. Circumstance brought Abdulsalami Abubakar to power and he handed over to the old puppet-soldier Olusegun Obasanjo at the behest of the Caliphate. Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua took over from Obasanjo. After him came a Southern minority Goodluck Jonathan.
The Northern oligarchy intimidated him out of power and once more brought in Buhari the supremacist per excellence. Under Buhari’s watch Hausa/Fulani irredentists disguised as herdsmen, to whom he is patron-saint, have taken up the mission of Ahmadu Bello. They are taking the Jihad everywhere in Nigeria. There is hardly any state in the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria that has not been dehumanized by the marauding neo-Jihadists.
The most recent killing field is Benue State. Sadly, the Nigerian security forces have not been able to apprehend even one of the killers. Yet, it took the Army only six days to kill the mastermind of the New Year day’s killings in Rivers State! The Nigerian military has in recent times tormented the South with such frightening military actions like Operation Crocodile Smile and Operation Python Dance, yet it has not found it imperative to launch an operation to halt the rampaging sons of Dan Fodio.
Nigerians must find a way of putting an end to this looming internal colonialism. The solution lies in restructuring, a concept the Caliphate colonialists loathe. Caliphate hegemony is enjoying great impetus under Buhari. Let the clamor for restructuring liberate Nigeria the way nationalism did in 1960. The new proposal of building cattle colonies across Nigeria is a ruse to evolve Caliphate colonies and accomplish Sardauna’s mission. Nigerians must stop it.