“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”- Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Saurdana of the Sokoto Caliphate and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Parrot Newspaper, 12th October, 1960, recalled by Tribune, 13th November, 2002.
These are interesting words from the most reverred, prominent and powerful Fulani leader in the history of modern Nigeria. The Saurdana's world-view, vision and intentions are well-encapsulated here and they are self-evident. They need no further explanation or analysis.
To add to the Saurdana's contribution and to butress his point, in August 2001 President Muhammadu Buhari, a proud and ascetic Fulani man whose mass appeal, popularity and following has reached cult-like proportions amongst the working class Fulani population in Nigeria said the following: "God-willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of sharia throughout the federation".
Finally to emphasise the point, on January 27th 2013, Mujahedeen Ibrahim Shekau, the young and brash leader of the most dreaded, most powerful and most deadly islamist terrorist organisation on the African continent called Boko Haram said "By Allah, we will not stop fighting until every Nigerian is living by sharia law. If you don't abide we will kill you".
When one hears and reads some of these things one can only look up to heaven and say ''may the Lord deliver the people of Nigeria''.
Here you have a classic case of anything and everything, including religion, being used to effect an ancient ethnic agenda of conquest and subjugation. It is not even subtle: it is brazen and real. Worse still most Nigerians are fully aware of it but they find it difficult to voice it let alone resist it.
Yet despite our awe and trepiidation at least a few questions must be asked such as the following. Who exactly are the Fulani? Where did they come from? What is their story and what is their history? What is their purpose and what are their intentions for the rest of Nigeria? I shall attempt to answer some of these questions in this two-part essay.
Futa Jalon is an area made up of beautiful plateaus and breathtaking mountains which is situated in modern-day Guinea. It is a confluence that is known as the "bitter waters" and it is the location of the Vulture mountain where, up until today, thousands of vultures gather. It is also the source of no less than five major African rivers including our very own River Niger.
The people that live in that area are known as the Fula Jalons and it is from that ethnic stock that the Fulanis evolved. From there they migrated to other parts of West Africa and settled down in what was originally known as Sakkwato but what is now referred to as Sokoto in northern Nigeria.
The Fulanis were actually the product of a beautiful racial mix and generations of cross-breeding between the Arab-like and nomadic north African Berbers and Tauregs on the one hand and the local black indigenous Fula population of Futa Jalon on the other.
That explains their unusually light complexion, their well-chiseled and refined visage, their height, their unusually slight frame, the soft texture of their hair and their essentially non-negroid features. If the truth be told, generally-speaking, they are a physically attractive people. In terms of temperament they are proud, patient, calculating, subtle, courageous and they have very long memories.
They are capable of masking their thoughts and emotions very well but they will never forget a sleight. Most importantly, unlike most, they are capable of recognising a common group cause and consequently they are in a better position to further the political and economic interests of their people more than any others