“In politics, an organized minority is a political majority.” – Jesse Jackson
These words from Jesse Jackson aptly captures the political scene in Nigeria, vis a vis the ethnic nationalities that make up the country.
Nigeria has more than three hundred distinct ethnic groups with their different cultures and languages. Though morphed into the nation Nigeria, they have all retained their biases. Almost all of these tribes can be identified with delineated geographical landmass, except the Fulani group. I am yet to be schooled on any geographic landmass unique to the Fulani. Rather, their nomadic lifestyle has seen them settling in other people’s lands where they found fodder for their cattle. Over years, they have claimed such settlements, intermarried and subsumed into their host’s landmass. Most often, like the Aro of the Igbo tribe, they lord it over their hosts. That is the story of Fulani in Nigeria.
Perhaps due to their nomadic lifestyle, they have developed not only an intricate web of loyalty and strong brotherhood among themselves, but a survival instinct borne out of perilous experiences in the bushes. You must mull over whatever the Fulani tells you as he is always out to outsmart. We talk about Hausa/Fulani, but who are the Hausas and how many of them have been in advantageous positions?
In Nigeria they have, despite being in the minority and of no fixed geographical landmass address, entrenched themselves into governance and total control of the politics of the country and her economy. Take for instance what played out after the unfortunate assassination of former Head of State, General Ramat Murtala Mohammed. One from the Fulani tribe, Lt. Col. Musa Yar’Adua, was given a double promotion to the rank of Brigadier and named Chief of Staff, Supreme Military Council. They needed to hold on to power, despite General Olusegun Obasanjo being the Head of State.
While they triumph, they throw crumbs at the two major tribes in the South – the Igbo and Yoruba – and like fowls they dash with speed in pursuit and scramble for the crumbs, fighting one another in the process. Meanwhile, the master Fulani has so many expendable crumbs to keep the rest of the country distracted, while they perfect and achieve their strategies. The Fulani makes an interesting case study of an organised minority is a political majority. They understand and play Nigeria politics more than all the tribes put together. Always a step ahead of the rest.
Until the two major tribes of Southern Nigeria, together with the minorities therein understudy, understand their differences and make up their minds to unite under a formidable platform, the Fulani will continue to have the upper hand in Nigeria. We have a lot to learn from them in order to be on par with them.
Don’t cry over spilled milk, they are ahead of us. I am, in this write-up, very apolitical. I am talking about Nigeria, her tribes and their involvement in politics as I see it.
In God I trust.
Senator Ehigie Uzamere
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