Of The Tse-Tse Fly, The Scrotum And The Fulani Herdsmen/Yoruba Relationship
It is not an exaggeration to say that Nigeria has never being free from internal conflicts as it has in the recent years been fighting, or rather warding off attacks from the Boko Haram insurgents, armed bandits and kidnappers. But it feels different these days. A lot of people are feeling it, left and right. The disagreement and conflicts are getting sharper by the day. The mutual suspicion is deeper. Hostility is greater. There is a viciousness about it. Reasoned conversation seems impossible. There is a pervasive feeling that it is only going to get worse. But to what end?
With what is playing out in Oyo State at the moment, the foregoing question is likely not going to be hopefully resolved without resorting to answering it from proverbial perspective. However, before making any proverbial clarification in this context, it is expedient to recall that on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, that an activist and Oduduwa agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (also known as Sunday Igboho), insisted that Fulani herdsmen must leave Oyo State. Adeyemo, who spoke on a Yoruba programme of an Ibadan-based radio station, tasked the herdsmen to produce the killers of prominent Yoruba persons.
Ostensibly buttressing his call that Fulani herdsmen should vacate Yorubaland, he said, “One Jabele called my attention to how herdsmen are killing, kidnapping Yoruba people in the area and how their Seriki collects ransom from their victims. I intervened after the leaders called me to do so.
“When I got there, they complained of the recent killings. They expressed their helplessness and that the situation had become unbearable and they wanted the Fulani herdsmen out of their domains.
“When I asked of their head, they mentioned Seriki and that no one could confront him. They said the Seriki is so powerful that when the police arrested his sons, he threatened crisis within 72 hours and the police released them.
“But when I got to Seriki’s residence, he called a senior police officer and gave me the telephone. Just then, one of my boys alerted me that a Fulani man had pointed a gun at me, I approached him and dared him to shoot. We took the gun,” he narrated.
He added that shortly after that experience another herdsman fired a shot and that his men grabbed the pump-action gun.
I went to the Seriki and told him: “These are guns” and he apologized, adding: “At that point, I insisted that those who killed Doctor Aborode, Alhaja and others must be fished out. He responded by saying: “I am scolding the boys who did the job and I said really?
“What surprised me is that they said the President was one of them. They boasted that only President Muhammadu Buhari can order them out, but insisted that if that was the case, all of them should leave if they cannot produce the killers and abductors of Yoruba people.”
It would be recalled in this context that prior to Adeyemo’s quit notice to the herdsmen that Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu had on Monday ordered unregistered herdsmen to vacate the state forest reserves within seven days.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the notice given to the herdsmen by the governor on the one hand, and the activist on the other have been heating the polity in the state as acerbic reactions have started trailing the quit notices.
For instance, the mouthpiece of Northern Nigeria, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has asked Governors of the South West and the Federal Government, to stop the ongoing attacks on Fulani communities in the region.
ACF warned that the attacks if not immediately stopped, may lead to counterattacks in the North and even a repeat of the 1967 civil war.
In a statement issued on Saturday, titled; ‘Stop the drift in the southwest’, ACF noted that the civil war in the 60’s started with attacks and counter-attacks akin to what is happening presently in the southwest.
The ACF statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, however, said that those who carried out the attacks on the Fulani communities, including Sunday Igboho, who allegedly issued a quit notice to the Fulani in Oyo, must be apprehended and be made to face the full wrath of the law.
According to the northern socio-cultural group, the Federal and State Governments in the South West must move quickly to avert a social upheaval that may destabilize the whole country.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is not surprising that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has today Saturday, January 23, 2021, ordered the arrest of Adeyemo over the eviction notice to herdsmen. Ostensibly to ensure that the youth leader is arrested, the IGP has told the Oyo Police Command to take action over the incident.
Given how efficacious Proverbs are in explaining a situations, I have in this context employed as the genre of expressing this view, particularly as it has come to mean a lot and occupy a worthwhile position in the matrix of people’s culture as a means of interpreting and understanding several phenomenon and events around them.
In this regard therefore, the issue on ground between the Fulani herdsmen and the Yoruba people can aptly be likened to the saying that “A tsetse fly that perches on the scrotum creates a dilemma for the man”. The Senegalese put it more succinctly that the day a mosquito lands on a man’s testicle, he will know (and learn by fire by force) that there are other ways of resolving issues without resorting to violence”. Interpretatively put, it is difficult to kill either the Tse-Tse fly or the mosquito that perches on the scrotum as killing it demands extreme wisdom in order not to burst the testicles. How then can one kill a Tse-Tse fly or mosquito that perches on the scrotum. To the elderly, the best way is to make peace with it. Whatever the elders mean by “Peace” in this context!
To my view, in order not to repeat the mistake that was made, and which resulted to the civil war between 1967 and 1970, I am in this piece advocating that youth leaders, traditional leaders, opinion leaders and all peace makers should rise to the occasion, and ensure that every tribe or ethnic groups in Nigeria are at peace with one another. We are all belong to one Nigeria. United we stand, dived we fall.
By ISAAC ASABOR