This is made all the more important given the fact that history is not taught in Nigerian schools.
Let us join hands and walk down the beautiful path of knowledge, truth and history together. Our focus and subject-matter for today is the Fulani tribe of northern Nigeria.
The Fulani are only partially African and only partly negroid. They are the product of cross-breeding between the Taurags, Berbers and Arabs of north Africa on the one hand and the local black African women of Futa Jalon, Guinea in west Africa, on the other.
In those days Futa Jalon was a popular trade route between north and west Africa. After hundreds of years of cross-breeding the final product of this union was the Fula race.
If you doubt this assertion I challenge you to look at the texture of their hair, their thin lips, their slim and pointed noses, their tall and slight build and their, more often than not, light complextion and you will know that they are only partially African and only partly negroid.
Like their Tutsi cousins (who also originally came from Futa Jalon but who migrated to central and east Africa over the centuries) they are primarily and in the main gypsy-like wanderers and nomads who are deeply courageous and notoriously ruthless and ferocious in battle yet who have a strange and inexplicable attachment to and affinity and affection for their cattle and cows.
They betray little emotion, even in the most difficult times and even when going through immense and the most gruelling form of hardship and they are focused, mentally-strong, disciplined, patient, calculating, proud, ruthless, wise and totally unforgiving.
They have long memories: never forgetting a friend or a favour and never forgiving an insult or a slight. Most important of all is the fact that they overwhelm and conquer very slowly and incrementally and they do so primarily by infiltration, assimilation and guile.
It is only when they are fully entrenched and empowered and when they have totally won the confidence of their host community and infiltrated them that the sword is brought out and the most extreme forms of barbarity and violence are employed to achieve their objective.
That is how they conquered the Habe Kingdom, subjugated the Hausa and turned them into vassals and that is how they took Ilorin from the Yoruba Aare Ona Kakanfo, Afonja. In both cases they dethroned and murdered the sitting Kings that they had earlier befriended.
Some historians have argued that they value the life of cows more than that of human-beings. This may be true of the uneducated herdsmen and pastoralists amongst them but I do not believe it is entirely true of their traditional rulers and their educated and political elites.
Some have also argued that their greatest desire is to establish a homeland for themselves by grabbing the land of others because there is nowhere in Africa that they can call their own.
Even in Guniea where they originally came from they constitute a tiny minority of the population, they have never been trusted with political power and they are viewed with the utmost suspicion.
They arrived in the shores of what later became known as northern Nigeria in 1804 when they launched their first jihad, under the leadership of Sheik Usman Dan Fodio, and conquered the Habe (Hausa-speaking) Kingdom of Gobir.
That is how they got a foothold in Nigeria and they have been here ever since, imposing their Emirs over the local indigenous populations all over the north in the name of Islam.
They constitute only 7% to 10% of the 200 million-strong Nigerian population yet they wield and control more power and authority than any other tribe or ethnic natioalnality in the country.
This has been the case since Nigerian independence in 1960 by either holding power directly or wielding it through a series of spineless, cowardly, pliant, willing and loyal surrogates who do their bidding out of ignorance, fear and a pitiful inferiority complex and who consider them to be the “master race” that were ordained by God to lead Nigeria and that were “born to rule”.
Through Islam they have conquered most of the core north because the Emir is not just an ethnic overlord but he is also the leader of the Islamic faithful in his domain.
This is a powerful and dangerous mix of religion and ethnicity and it is one that the Fula’s have used very effectively in their quest to dominate, conquer and subjugate the whole of Nigeria and impose their will on the local indigenous tribes and populations that have been there for thousands of years before they came.
Other than Usman Dan Fodio, two other Fulani leaders stand out as the custodians and flagbearers of this messianic mission. The first of the two is Sir Ahmadu Bello, the erstwhile Saurdana of Sokoto and tye Premier of the old Northern Region and the second is General Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is for this reason that Usman Dan Fodio is often referred to as the First Mahdi of the north whilst Ahmadu Bello and Muhammadu Buhari are referred to as the second and third Mahdi’s of the north respectively.
You can say what you want about the Fulani but one thing you cannot take from them is the fact that they fully understand and appreciate the awesome power and beauty of ethnic and tribal unity in a wider multi-ethic, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation like Nigeria.
Despite all pretentions to the contrary and rather like the English of the United Kingdom, the Fulani will always put the Fulani interest before the Nigerian interest and this has served their tribal purpose and vision very well.
That is a lesson that other Nigerian tribes and ethnic nationalities would do well to learn.
This is the end of todays history lesson. At a later date I will go further. Thanks for finding the time to read and learn.