Expansionist Push comes to Shove

By Anthony Chuka Konwea, PhD, PE

Many people may not have realized it yet, but just like his staunch backer before him, British Prime Minister Theresa May did, Nigeria’s tribal expansionist President, Muhammadu Buhari may have finally met his political waterloo. And believe me, Nigeria is much the better for it. President Buhari met more than he bargained for in his quest to implant and embed his ethnic Fulani cattle herdsmen in all the 36 states of the Federation with the instrumentality of the now “suspended” Ruga settlement scheme.

The ferocious and unanimous opposition which the hastily and little thought out expansionist scheme met in the southern States as well as Benue State, all of who constitute its true targets, caught the Government off-guard and threw it off-balance. The Buhari Administration may never recover from this self-inflicted political humiliation.

For this tactical victory of the indigenous peoples of Southern Nigeria and Benue State, which may yet turn out to be strategic in the long-term scheme of things, all Glory must go to God Almighty above. It was indeed God, who inspired former President Olusegun Obasanjo to alert a nation living in denial of an impending “Fulanization and Islamization” agenda.

If President Obasanjo had not issued that public warning, few perhaps none of Nigeria’s Southern Governor’s especially those who belong to President Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress would have had the temerity to publicly disassociate themselves from the ill-fated Ruga scheme. Under Nigeria’s Land Use laws, only the State Governors have the constitutional authority to acquire and cede land to the Federal Government for public use.

The Ruga Debacle exposed President Buhari’s expansionist ambitions over southern Nigeria and Benue state very badly and gave him no room for maneuver or saving his face. Even though many northern States to which the Fulani herdsmen belong, expressed their willingness to go ahead with the scheme and indeed provided hundreds of hectares of land for it, the scheme was “suspended.” The suspension proved beyond any doubt that the Ruga scheme was a Trojan Horse for Fulani expansionism into the South.

In the wake of the suspension, and despite the Buhari Administration’s pretense that it was to buy time for more consultations, frustrated Fulani youths who are not herdsmen issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to acquire lands for them in the South or else they would kick out all Southerners living in the north, badly exposing their expansionist intentions. The million-dollar question is this, what really lies behind the Fulani’s desperate covetousness for other tribes’ lands?

The short answer to this critical question, is that it is a quest for the perpetual political, economic, cultural and spiritual domination of all the tribes of Nigeria, much as has already been done to the Hausa tribesmen. The long answer is that the expansionist Fulani believe that they are far superior to all their Bantu neighbors and should perpetually lord it over them and be carried on their backs.

Having belatedly come to the realization that their nomadic lifestyle is an aberration in the modern world, and that they have not yet established any form of enduring control over the unruly Southern tribes, Fulani expansionists believe it is now or never. Indeed, the shoddy roll-out of the Ruga Resettlement scheme was a desperate act inspired by uncertainty over what would be fate of the expansionist-in-chief President Buhari, whose controversial re-election is facing a stiff challenge in the law courts from his closest rival, the so far non-expansionist fellow Fulani, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

Not all Fulani are expansionists of course. The richest black man on earth Aliko Dangote is an ethnic Fulani. He could not have made his billions had he been a tribal expansionist. The afore mentioned Vice President Atiku Abubakar is also a billionaire, a shrewd business mogul and a hard-nosed political operative. Both men could not have made their fortunes had they sat back looking for other peoples’ backs to climb and ride roughshod in perpetuity.

Clearly two diametrically opposed models of self-actualization are open to the Fulani. On one hand the non-expansionist Fulani, or the ‘Aliko Dangote/Atiku Abubakar model’ emphasizes hard work, education, business acumen and political savvy as the route to conquering the world. On the other hand, the expansionist Fulani, or the ‘Muhammadu Buhari model’ emphasizes nepotism, laziness, cruelty, barbarism as the route to conquering neighboring Bantu tribes.

It is anybody’s guess which model better serves Fulani interests in the long run.

Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.

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