By Basil Okoh
Fulani political groups in northern Nigeria are building new coalitions to cause fresh strife that may quicken Nigeria’s descent to conflict in 2023. Just as they did for Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Fulani are coaxing northern political groups to force Rabiu Kwankwaso out of the presidential contest and build a northern voting block for Atiku Abubakar to win the presidential election in 2023.
They appear unfazed by the roiling political unraveling of the north in this election cycle. 230 ethnic Christian groups across the nineteen states of the north are breaking free of northern Muslim political hegemony. Hausa are also seeking freedom and liberty from Fulani political and economic stranglehold. But Fulani, a minority scattered across the north, appear to ignore these developments and are still working on the old scripts in the agenda of outdated paradigms.
Fulani orligarchs desperate for power are mounting pressure on Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the NNPP to step down for the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar just as Tambuwal did for Atiku on the grounds of primaries which caused the split in PDP. This is without consideration of the fact that Rabiu Kwankwaso and the NNPP are holding down a large territory of the northwest, are getting more validation and have better prospects of success than the PDP at this time.
Rabiu Kwankwaso is Hausa while Atiku Abubakar is Bororo Fulani. Rabi’u Kwankwaso is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Engineers while Atiku holds a diploma in Shari’a Law. Kwankwaso is a valued professional while Atiku was a Custom officer and later a carpetbagger.
Kwankwaso is far more educated than Atiku and has been more successful than Atiku in public service. So why would the Fulani want Kwankwaso, an outstanding engineering professional to stand down for Atiku, a sponging and lowly educated with a poor record of public service even as vice president? The reason is because Atiku is Fulani and any Fulani is preferred as president. A Hausa must never be permitted by Fulani to be president of Nigeria.
Fulani do not know any other form of politics than building religious and regional conspiracies for their tribe. Fulani do not campaign on issues or make propositions for the advancement of the north or the nation but manage always to force indigenous populations out of positions of leadership and seize it for themselves as they are doing now to Kwankwaso. Fulani do not build but always immerse themselves in the indigenous Hausa populations and wheedle them out of regional and religious leadership positions to take charge themselves.
It is the same thing they are doing now to Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. And it will not be the first time they are squeezing an Hausa man out of the presidential race to bring in a Fulani to take his place. In 1979, the regal and well spoken Hausa man and a Kanawa, Maitama Sule, was forced out of an assured victory in the race for the presidential candidacy of the NPN. A scrawny Fulani school teacher Shehu Shagari who confessed to have read only two books in his life was brought in to take the place of the towering Maitama Sule as the presidential candidate of the NPN.
The subsequent victory and mismanagement of Nigeria by Shehu Shagari led to the plunder of the economy and the collapse of the second republic. Maitama Sule was posted out to be Nigeria’s permanent representative at the United Nations where he performed superlatively.
So the intrigue to force the collapse of NNPP and the Kwankwaso presidential campaign is not based on any altruistic consideration for the advancement of northern interests but to force the continuation of Fulani presidency.
It is the ploy by Fulani to keep presidential power after Muhammadu Buhari in order to continue the mayhem unleashed by the Fulani on the indigenous populations across the country and the illegal seizure of Hausa indigenous land in the northwest under the guise of banditry. Atiku is a long term sponsor of Miyetti Allah Hore. So it should be expected that the sponsorship of banditry and land grabbing under Buhari will be small chops compared to what Atiku would do as president.
Fulani Muslim irredentists do not understand that the old political conditions which gave overlordship to Fulani in northern Nigeria and the control of the federal government is changing and that the awareness of historical wrongs and brutalities done on the Hausa have created deep resentments against Fulani.
The Hausa natives, over 40 million of them, are determined now to assert themselves politically and free their people from the chokeholds wrought by Fulani. They want the world to know that they are victims of Fulani scorched earth practices and are as much political victims of the Fulani as are the rest of other Nigeria people. They want the world to understand that the entire story of banditry in Northern Nigeria is contrived by Fulani and is a grand ploy to chase Hausa indigenes out of their land and cede it to Fulani.
Hausa insist that they cannot continue to be held vicariously responsible for the misrule of Nigeria by the Fulani who use their name and numbers to manipulate the Nigerian system and gain access to power.
As the vice chairman of the ObiDatti campaign in Abuja said in a recorded interview, this election is a fight for freedom and liberty for the Hausa.
Atiku Abubakar has never been a friend of the Hausa, he is a desperate politician they insist, with no contributions to northern development to show for his long years of presence in Nigerian public life. Other people cite the pillaging of Niger Delta assets, which include the Ikot Abasi Aluminum Smelting Company, Aladja Steel Company amounting to over $5 billion and the forced inactivity in all the ports of the Niger Delta coastline as examples of Atiku’s pillaging mindlessness.
Atiku has brought no fresh thinking into this presidential campaigns and there’s nothing so far to endear him to the voting populations. His ideas of building voter acceptance and loyalty still depend on ethnic and religious catch phrases and jaded concepts of Arewa solidarity that only benefit the Fulani.
He was unashamed to announce to the Northern Elders Forum in Kaduna recently that northern voters should vote for only a northern candidate. Atiku thrives on these tribal and religious conspiracies without bringing fair recompense to the same Arewa. It is the reason why Hausa youth are now asking the unnerving question of what benefit the control of government has brought to the north.
Atiku has abused every public responsibility entrusted on him, from the National Privatization Council as Vice President under Obasanjo to the mismanagement of the ports of the Niger Delta by INTELS for nearly thirty years. How did any of those which gave Atku tonnes of money benefit the Arewa?
Nigeria was corralled into the control of the Fulani and their ethnic entitlement politics, using the name and populations of the north to win unyielding political influence and benefits for themselves.
Fulani bid for power will always be surfeit with deep intrigues and the capacity to upend the nation. In 2014, Atiku Abubakar along with a retinue of mostly northern politicians broke from the PDP to form the New PDP (nPDP) and defected to the APC in order to deny Goodluck Jonathan a second tenure as president and pave the way for Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani to emerge as president.
By asking Rabiu Kwankwaso to step down for Atiku in this presidential election, the Fulani oligarchy has intervened again with their disruptive influences to take Nigeria further back from where Buhari is leaving it. Kwankwaso is a far more formidable candidate than Abubakar Atiku whose foggy diploma in Shari’a Law and quota driven promotions through the Customs speaks more of undeserved privilege than competitive growth. The north obviously is not considering the quality of the two candidates, the only consideration being that a Fulani must rule over the Hausa and other Nigerians.
Fulani are also not considering that their choices of leadership has been the reason for the historical backwardness of Nigeria and that the north has being the sorrier case as one of the poorest places on earth today.
Kwankwaso so far, has locked down Kano State for this presidential election. The Kanawa have a reach and influence that extends to Jigawa and Katsina states. Atiku on the other hand is not holding down any state so far in this election cycle. He has no winning presence in any state north or south of Nigeria presently.
The last poll in five states of Lagos, Rivers, Abia, Kwara and Kano clearly shows that Atiku and PDP have no strong presence in the coming presidential elections. PDP came a distant second in Lagos, a distant third in Kano, second in Abia and nowhere in Kwara. Only in Rivers, under the influence and control of Nyesom Wike did PDP lead. Rivers presidential votes we all know, are not for Atiku but for Peter Obi.
Every successful move that the Fulani have made to take over power in Nigeria has resulted in a giant leap backwards for the country. If Kwankwaso is prevailed upon to step down by the overbearing Fulani, NNPP will lose its hold on Kano, but the state will not embrace the PDP or Atku Abubakar.
Kano is a highly radical and independent state that will not accept dictation even from a Kwankwaso. The state will be open for grabs by other political tendencies, APC or Labour Party. Radical Kano can never again submit to a conservative party like the PDP and it’s floundering candidate, Atiku Abubakar.