By: Femi Fani-Kayode
“I am the leader of Uthman Danfodio dynasty. I have never seen where in
the hundred books that Uthman Danfodio said Nigeria belongs to the
Fulani. What he wrote was the role of Islam in leadership, governance
etc. He never mentioned of conquering any particular land or claimed
ownership of any territory. People make comments that Jihad is to
Islamise every country, but I said no. Danfodio never came to Islamise
any country, he preached against bad government. That fake write-up was
by those who don’t want peace in this country and we had denounced
that. I am the National Patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders
Association (MACBAN). It has been in existence for 44 years. There are
two other organisations that I know, but others I don’t know. Please
verify from us before you put blame on us”- Muhammadu S’aad Abubakar,
the Sultan of Sokoto, February, 2020.
I commend His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto for attempting to do damage
control and douse the tension that was generated in the aftermath of the
explosive statement by the Fulani Nationalist Movement (FUNAM).
However I respectfully disagree with him on his assertion that his
highly esteemed ancestor and forefather, Uthman Dan Fodio “never
conquered or claimed ownership of any land” or that “he did not come to
Islamise any country”.
I also beg to differ with him on his tacit implication that Miyetti
Allah, an organisation that can best be described as the biblical and
modern-day “troubler of our collective peace” are respectable and
I believe that given what we have suffered in the hands of the local
Janjaweed known as the Fulani herdsmen and murderous terrorist militias
who have come under their protective umbrella over the last five years,
the opposite is actually the case.
Permit me to focus on Uthman Dan Fodio in this contribution and leave
the insidious activities and sinister agenda of Miyetti Allah for
another day. The facts are as follows.
In 1804 one of the most savage and bestial wars and bloody jihads in
African history was waged against the Hausa Habe Kingdom and people of
the area that later became known as “northern Nigeria” by Sheik Uthman
He was primarily an Islamic scholar and the spiritual and military
leader of the Fulani people who came in their hundreds of thousands from
Futa Jalon and Futa Toro in modern-day Guniea to northern Nigeria and
established Africa’s most powerful and ruthless Islamic Caliphate.
For anyone, no matter how respected or highly placed, to suggest that
Dan Fodio was just a scholar and teacher that only wrote books, that
never waged war and violent jihad and that never laid claim to and
conquered parts of Nigeria is most unfortunate.
Such an assertion can best be described as being, at best,
intellectually dishonest and patently false and, at worse, historical
revisionism in its most brazen and repugnant form.
The truth is that Dan Fodio and his Fulani army not only indulged in
merciless acts of pure barbarity in battle and committed what can only
be described as genocide against defenceless and innocent civilian
populations but he also imposed his own extreme, hardline, purist,
wahhabist and salafist version of Islam on the people of core northern
Nigeria with a scimitar and a sword and forcefully imposed Fulani Emirs
The only ethnic nationality that successfully warded him and his Fulani
armies off in the north were the strong and proud Kanuris of the El
Kanemi dynasty and empire in modern-day Borno state who warned him to
steer clear of their territory and he did.
Finally the only race that ever defeated the Fulani in open battle and
thereby put a halt and full stop to their attempt to march down South
and “dip the Koran in the Atlantic ocean” were the gallant sons of
Oduduwa, led primarily by the Ibadan generals and military commanders,
who defeated them in battle at Osogbo in 1840 and drove them back north.
They not only defeated them but they also slaughtered and ate their
horses and publicly executed their allies and military commanders from
The Fulani have never succeeded in conquering the people of the South
West militarily and I make boast to say that they never will.
The recent statement credited to the Fulani Nationalist Movement known
as FUNAM who said that every inch of Nigeria belonged to them “from
Sokoto to the banks of the Atlantic ocean”, that “Nigeria is the only
inheritance we have in Africa and anywhere in the world” and that “this
was the destiny bestowed on Uthman Dan Fodio which would have been
fulfilled since 1816 if not for the obstruction of this great assignment
by the British” was simply an accurate and honest reflection of the
mindset and ultimate vision of Usman Dan Fodio and other great Fulani
leaders and Mahdi’s through the ages like Sir Ahmadu Bello and lately
President Muhammadu Buhari.
FUNAM went further to say,
“It is no longer time to play the ostrich. Our men are waiting. We are
eager to fight. We are boiling with the zeal to actualize our dream;
enough of double dealing and ambivalence by FULANI political leaders who
unfortunately think the FULANI can only take back what belongs to us
through appeasement and elections destined to reflect cultural values
antithetical to the preaching of Uthman Dan Fodio”.
We ignore and play down these incendiary words at our own peril.
I speak for millions when I say that the indigenous and oppressed people
and ethnic nationalities of Nigeria have had enough of these open
threats of tyranny and violence and neither are we interested in being
vassals and slaves.
Had we listened to Colonel Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and the Biafrans in
1967, considered their terrible plight and aligned with them during the
civil war things would have been very different today and we would not
have been subjected to these infantile and provocative insults from the
likes of FUNAM.
The bottom line is as follows: we either have a Nigeria where all men,
regardless of ethnic nationality or faith, are regarded as being equal
before God and the law or we shall have no Nigeria at all. No-one can
impose their will on us and neither can anyone intimidate us.
We do not seek war and neither do we relish or endorse any form of
violence. We want peaceful co-existence and mutual respect. We want
love, prosperity and progress for all and we offer it to those who wish
us well and seek to do us no harm.
However if in a moment of madness we are ever attacked we shall stand
firm and stand strong. We shall never retreat and neither shall we
We shall defend our people, we shall defend our land, we shall defend
our honor and we shall defend our heritage.
We are not cowards and we shall never bend the knee or bow our heads to
the tyranny of foreign invaders who erroneously believe that they were
born to rule and that we were born to serve.
Permit me to conclude this contribution with the following.
Given what is going on in our country today and despite the laudable
efforts of moderates such as the Sultan of Sokoto to diffuse the tension
and reign in the more radical and hardline elements in the ranks of the
Fulani I am convinced of two things.
Firstly that the call by many southern and Middle Belt leaders for
restructuring is not only outdated but also too little, too late.
Secondly that if care is not taken there is every likelihood that
Nigeria will break into two or more pieces within the next five years.
Mark my words and remember them! The only way to prevent this from
happening is for these vicious threats of gratutious violence and Fulani
adventurism and expansionism to stop and for the oppressors to start
seeing the oppressed as equal partners and stakeholders in the Nigerian
project. Without that Nigeria is truly finished and will soon be