Thursday, May 27, 2021


The cows are not aware that their hate has become the nexus of discordant political parties through which members could confer and issue edicts. Of course, there is hardly any difference between one political party or another in my country; it is only a means by which people who desire to rule over us shamelessly shuffle themselves from one party to another, for many of them, not for service but self-aggrandisement. The cows are not aware, for instance, that most of those who labelled one of the political parties as a Muslim party working clandestinely to Islamise Nigeria are now trooping into it like locusts. That is politics, they say, it's all about interest!

“There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peacemaking among the people..” (an-Nisaa 4:114). Doubtless, a conference that sought to impede the movement of herders and their cattle, a right vested in them by the letter of the laws of the land, was not dispensing ‘kindness and peacemaking among the people.’ If you describe this flouting of the law by the group of 17 haters as something of “questionable legality” their leader, like a wild dog, pants with his tongue out and attacks you (ask Garba Shehu) for working  “assiduously, for extraneous interests whose game plan stands at variance with the expectations of genuine lovers of peaceful coexistence…” as if he was not the one who “ordered cattle herders to leave” his state because according to him they had “encroached” his sanctuary, “government forest reserves''. That unlawful eviction was what Sunday Igboho and terrorists like him were waiting for to expel Fulani settlers from their dwellings, killing those who were obdurate and scorching their huts.  

One would expect a similar reaction from cattle rearing leaders, but their ability to make good judgement prevailed and they admonished caution. Governor Nasir El-Fufai ‘advised Nigerians not to allow the criminal actions of insurgents and bandits to tear the country apart.’ Rascals and vagabonds like Sunday Igboho, I make bold to state, are ubiquitous in this part of the country also, and the governors need not look far if they decide to recruit and goad them behind the scene into mischief and “expel settlers” from the cattle rearing areas! But cattle rearing folks are a special breed of homo sapiens. Dealing with animals makes them discern when a human being is acting like cattle or worse, and they will bring conscientiousness and sagacity to the table and they will not be like them. Many of God's emissaries were herders so they can be trained on how to relate with people of Mr Akeredolu's ilk. That is why people like Governor El-Rufai, at the peak of provocation, called for caution. They demarcate between criminals and law-abiding citizens; they do not paint all with the same brush. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

These cow-haters, who pride themselves on superior scholarship and exposure, treat all Fulani as bandits and kidnappers, therefore, they and their cattle are fair game wherever they are found. To them, all cases of kidnapping for ransom go back to one source - Fulani. Now that clergymen can contrive their own kidnap case to make their flock pay the ransom, the Fulani are taking many forms. 

I like the Malami logic: open grazing is the equivalent of spare-part business for the cow rearing areas, and if the image of one is smeared with the iniquitous acts of a few - banditry and kidnapping for ransom, the image of the other is greatly associated with armed robbery, arson, drug trafficking and internet fraud, yet, nobody paints all of them with the same brush. 

As I mentioned in the first part of this piece last week, everything centres on the persona of the President; unfortunately for the cow-haters, Buhari cannot take another form other than being a Fulani. He cannot profess another religion other than Islam. He cannot be born-again to become a member of the cow-haters enclave. All these agitations will die out when Buhari is no longer there. They hate him so much that everything he stands for is gravely affected. Cow-haters are everywhere including people within the inner sanctum of the State House who are part of whatever Buhari is accused of. Why are they so deafeningly silent in the face of these acts of sabotage and hatred directed at their principal? 

O ye who believe! Take not for intimates other than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.” (Aali Imraan, 3:118)

The cow-haters, according to the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), are encouraging “ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments” to actualise ‘their sinister motive’.

“It is now clear,” said Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, the NEF Spokesman, in a statement on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, “that elected people sworn to protect the constitution and protect the unity and integrity of Nigeria have decided to surrender to deeply divisive or outrightly irredentist and secessionist tendencies and movements.

“Governors are building ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments in a crude attempt to extract concessions no one is in a position to give or guarantee.

“A desperate but futile attempt is being made to split the North along lines that suit people who ignore its complexities and plurality when it is convenient to lump all northerners and submit them to humiliation or attacks,”

“In the South-East, governors are yielding their political turf and mandates to secessionists, criminals and subversives who think they can exterminate federal presence and Northerners from the region and achieve dubious political goals related to 2023, or break away from the country.

“In the South-West, elected leaders and pampered ethnic bullies are closing ranks to provide a front that apes the do-what-we-want-or-we-leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South-East.

“The South-South is squeezed between fear and uncertainty and its leaders are gambling that they can benefit from further weakening the federal administration and the North if it rides along with the rest of the South.

“The forum supports a citizen-driven national dialogue and a campaign to get the government to accord its outcome the respect it deserves.

“The forum extends its hands to groups that genuinely believe that Nigerians should demand and design the type of country we want and should not wait for people we elected to set the boundaries and conditions of our existence.

“The forum restates that the North will not be cowed and stampeded into escorting political ambitions of politicians at the cost of its rights, security and dignity,” the statement said.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Cow-Haters (1)

All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.

I don't like looking back; I absolutely adore cows.

Moo may represent an idea, but only the cow knows.

The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other milk.

Ogden Nash

If Ogden Nash, in the above epigraph, adores cows, some people in my country hate them with passion. But, wait a minute; is it the cows that they hate or the one that herds them? It is a triangle of hate: the hate of the President because his genome has the herder’s blood, a Fulani; the hate of the cow-owner, the herder because of, largely, his affinity to the President; and the hate of the cow. The cow is oblivious of who is the governor of a state it inhabits or the president of its country of residence, but nevertheless, the cow bears the brunt of acrimony and rancour lurking in the hearts of people who see, in every cow, the personification of Fulani or Aboki who has usurped in vanity what is rightfully theirs through one of their kinsman who happens to be President Buhari. This hatred does not stop at the tribe or race of the Fulani-Aboki, it encompasses the religion they profess.

The evil augury of the cow-haters on the outcome of the 2019 general elections came to naught. What was hidden under the façade of fighting police brutality was exposed in the aftermath of the EndSARS protests. The cows and those who herd them bear the brunt of what the cow-haters failed to achieve by the ballot and the EndSARS protests, while perpetrators of arson, murder of security personnel, and internet fraud claim innocence and compensation in Judicial Panels within the cow-haters enclave.

The cow-haters took strong exception to the image of the cows on the 200 naira note and that of a herdsman shepherding his cows on the new International Passport. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said recently on the speed of the Abuja-Kaduna train, that “We are doing 90km/h with Abuja to Kaduna, the reason we are doing 90km/h is because there are cows everywhere, and we don’t want to kill cows.” The Minister was undeservedly criticised and ridiculed for making that statement. And yet the cow-haters love to hamper cows by all means and further exacerbate the problem. Recently, some rail track vandals were arrested; anything that favours the cow must not be spared even if it involves the destruction of critical national infrastructure.

They proscribed open grazing (on which more later); they are opposed to cattle ranching or colonies and called it land-grabbing (whatever that means), and they rejected RUGA settlements as nothing but ‘Militia Barracks’ for the herders, as they belied the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). They are shamelessly opposed to every solution to the problem!

One of the bitterest opponents of any move by the government to proffer a solution to cow-hating is the Governor of the-food-basket-of-the-nation, followed by his brother-governors in the cow-haters territories. In a Nollywood-style dramatisation he claimed to have been attacked by his bête noire, Fulani herdsmen who shot at him, thanks to his fitness, he “ran for more than one and a half kilometres without stopping.” The Governor ended the fairy tale of his attack by armed herders anticlimactically without evidence of gunshots on his person, his security details or any car in his convoy. The Miyetti-Allah-sponsored hitmen were so meticulous in the way they conducted their mission that no harm touched the Governor or his retinue.

This Governor-dramatist merits garlands as the best actor in the 2020-2021 Fulani-hater film festival. His neighbour, Kauran Bauchi, Governor Bala Muhammed blamed his ‘lack of foresight’, ‘controversial utterances and policies’ as reasons ‘for the negative perception of Fulani herders in the country.’

"If you don't accommodate other tribes,” said Bala to the dramatist in a public function held recently in Bauchi, “there will be challenges because we also accommodate other tribes in Bauchi and other places. We have many Tiv people farming in Alkaleri, Tafawa Balewa, and Bogoro in Bauchi State. Has anybody told them to go? No, because they have inalienable rights to be here.

"We have people living in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody is talking to them to go and some of them have risen to become Permanent Secretaries in the governments of Bauchi, Borno, and so on."

"You have seen what our colleagues in the southwest and southeastern states are doing. We have told them with all modesty that they are wrong. But the person that is most wrong is my brother and colleague Governor of Benue State, Governor Ortom," he said.

The Bauchi State Governor ‘further lamented that pastoralists in the country, particularly Fulani are being maligned even though most of them have become victims of cattle rustlers who have dispossessed them of their commonwealth and they’ 'have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them.'

“Some herdsmen wrote me a letter,” the dramatist responded, “that they will kill me from the way and manner my brother and Governor of Bauchi spoke in support of herdsmen carrying arms, I suspect that he is one among the Fulani who wants to kill me and should anything happen to me they should not look far…”

The dramatist missed the point or has conveniently chosen to impute blame to his brother. Bala said herdsmen suffered a loss of their commonwealth at the hands of cattle rustlers and thus ‘have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them.' But the point has been made; our governor-dramatist is the architect of ‘the negative perception of Fulani herders in the country.’

Their political party has brought about a rapprochement and the two governors have buried the hatchet, but I think, with the handles sticking out for future engagement because the dramatist still indulges in his favourite pastime; you cannot teach an old dog new tricks!

The SNGF, a body that ‘has long been moribund’, goaded by their hatred for the cows, 17 of them converged, after years of irrelevance, to discuss security issues as they affect Nigeria presently. In the Communique (which was actually a summary of proceedings for that is not how to write communiqués) issued at the end of the conference, the leaders legislated “the ban on open grazing in the South (including cattle movement to the South by foot);”. By foot? Why not by truck which is faster? The ban should be total. The movement of the much-hated cows should be stopped by all means of transportation to places that do not need them. The poor docile animals are inhumanely transported daily by trucks to the South in their thousands to consumers that begrudge naught save hatred. As I write this piece, innocent wayfarers who look like Fulani are intercepted, lynched and burnt alive, especially where they travel with locally made hunting guns as is their custom in recent times. The SNGF conference was conveniently blind to this reality as it was to daily attacks on settlements and expulsion of Fulani from their dwellings.

God has ways of exacting retribution….

Now that police stations are attacked daily with many officers losing their lives, correctional facilities are scorched and dangerous inmates let loose, and INEC offices burnt to ashes, the cow-haters are not agreed on the proper nomenclature for the perpetrators of these crimes - arsonists, armed criminals, unknown gunmen and whatnot. They are not described as terrorists. Why not christen them Fulani herdsmen that you have expelled from your enclave? Nnamdi Kanu said God has given him a new assignment. Will this be it?

A National Publicity Secretary of a party on Wednesday, (who needs to work on his elocution; he even confused the pronunciation of kiosk with chaos), was accusing the FG of not saying anything on these burnings especially of INEC offices, but if the President had spoken (and I believe he should) such people would nevertheless have said Fulani herdsmen, who, according to them enjoy the tacit support of the President, are more deserving to be addressed than the perpetrators of the crimes. Nonsense!

The cow-haters will not anoint any Fulani for the presidency except he be a wolf in sheep's clothing to devour, in their stead, the cows they severely abhor. Cow rearing folks should be wary of accepting any Fulani candidate in whom the cow-haters are well pleased!