Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister and a leading opposition figure in Nigeria, granted an explosive interview to a national daily. Below is the full transcript of the interview which took place against the backdrop of the killings by Fulani herdsmen militia.
The People’s Democratic Party chieftain blamed the Muhammadu Buhari-led government for its complacency and indifference in the face of the genocide and warned the Middle Belt and the Southern States of accepting the “cattle colony” policy of the Buhari regime. He called it a cover for colonisation of Nigeria by the Fulani and says that they are deliberate about “enslaving” the rest of Nigeria.
How is your health now?
We give thanks to God. It was tough and I was out of circulation for about three weeks but I am much better now and I am getting stronger by the day.
I praise God for healing me, for preserving me and for protecting my life. The counsel of the ungodly shall not stand.
How would you rate the handling of suspected Fulani herdsmen attacks in the country by the government and security agencies?
Shameful and unacceptable. I believe that the fact that the security agencies have not been able to apprehend and bring to justice even one terrorist herdsman means that they are complicit in it. Buhari has no interest in protecting the Nigerian people from the Fulani herdsmen.
Thousands of innocent people have been butchered and slaughtered under his watch and under his very nose genocide and ethnic cleansing is waxing strong.
I don’t know how he can possibly sleep well at night. History and God will judge him harshly for his indifference to and complicity in this great evil.
Q: The Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, recently blamed the killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen on anti-open grazing laws and the blockage of grazing routes. Do you agree? What do you think about his comments?
He is a Fulani man himself and he has spoken up and stated a case for his Fulani herdsmen brothers. His comments simply confirm the view that many have that the Buhari administration are supporting the terrorists and they don’t care.
I think that his comments are reprehensible.
Trying to justify genocide and ethnic cleansing and blame it on the victims rather than the perpetrators is unacceptable. The Minister of Defence should bow his head in shame, apologise to the people of Benue state and ask God for forgiveness.
Do you the killings going on in places like Benue and Taraba are resulting from clashes as the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, once said?
No, I do not agree with him. What is going on there are not clashes but carefully orchestrated mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide of the indigenous Christian population by well-armed and well-supplied Muslim Fulani militias which are being supported and funded by very powerful people.
A number of states have passed anti-open grazing laws and some others are in the process of passing such a law. Do you think that will solve the problem of attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen or not?
It is a good step in the right direction and it will certainly go a long way in returning sanity to the situation. However, given the determination of the terrorists, the herdsmen and those behind them far more needs to be done.
For example, Miyetti Allah should be proscribed and declared a terrorist organisation and its leaders ought to be arrested and charged for murder.
The Federal Government, through the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, talked about the need to have cattle colonies in states. Some states have said they are not interested and some have shown interest. Do you think the states that are opposed to it have good reasons to do so?
Yes, they have a very good reason to oppose it and I am glad they have done so. The whole idea of cattle colonies is unacceptable and there is far more to it than meets the eye.
It is a subterranean and covert attempt to establish not just cattle colonies but Fulani colonies all over the south and the Middle Belt.
10 years from now any state in the south or Middle Belt that accepts cattle colonies will wish they had never done so.
Find out what the root cause of the problem in Jos and Plateau State is between the indigenous Berom people and the Fulani settlers.
They will not just come with their cows but also with all their people. They will multiply like rabbits and after some time they will not only outnumber you but they will also claim the land as theirs.
Next, they will insist on having an Emir then they will impose their faith, their ways and their culture on you and try to dominate and control your everyday life.
They will arm themselves very well and after some time they will insist on political control of your entire community, act as if they are no longer guests and settlers but rather the original owners of the land and everyone else will be treated like second-class citizens and filth. And if you attempt to resist them they will threaten you and kill you.
That is where this cattle colony thing will all end and that is what it is designed to achieve. It is simply a handy and subtle vehicle for Fulani expansion, assimilation and conquest and it is being promoted and encouraged by Buhari’s Fulani Government.
I say shame on this government and particularly on Audu Ogbeh for trying to introduce such a repugnant idea even when those that asked him to do so are slaughtering his own people in Benue state.
The proposed introduction of cattle colonies is a rubbish suggestion, of a rubbish idea, from a rubbish Minister, who serves a rubbish Government.
Audu Ogbeh was a federal minister in 1983. He is clearly too old for the job now, he has lost touch with reality and he no longer knows what he is doing. He needs to resign.
Saturday PUNCH recently had an interview with Professor Umar Labdo of Maitama Sule University, Kano in which he described the Fulani people as being destined to rule Nigeria. What are your views on that? Do you think the Fulani were destined to lead?
May God guide and lead me by His Spirit and may He cause me to courageously speak nothing but the truth no matter how hard, painful or bitter that truth may be.
Not only is what Professor Labdo said false but it also an insulting view and a deeply offensive assertion. I say this because what he is in essence suggesting is that the rest of us are nothing but slaves that must bow at the feet of the Fulani and serve them in perpetuity. Such views are unacceptable. They have no place in a civilised society and they must be condemned by all men of goodwill.
If, as Labdo has suggested, the Fulani are “destined to lead” or are “born to rule” the logical deduction and clear implication is that every other ethnic nationality in the geographical space called Nigeria including the Yoruba, the Ijaw, the Igbo, the Tiv, the Hausa, the Kanuri, the Berom, the Idoma, the Urobo, the Isetkiri, the Isoko, the Efik, the Ibibio, the Kalabari, the Nupe, the Gwari, the Bachama and everyone else were “destined to slavery” and “born to serve” and that they were “born to BE ruled” by others.
I reject that notion and I find it deeply repugnant, obnoxious and offensive. I do not believe that that is God’s plan or purpose for any Nigerian or any of out numerous nationalities and such views are the closest things to the Nazi philosophy and way of thinking that I have ever heard.
The Nazis believed that God gave the white ‘Aryans’ of Germany the earth and all of humanity to dominate and rule over in perpetuity and Adolf Hitler enunciated those dangerous views very well in his famous book titled ‘Mein Kampf’ (meaning ‘My Struggle’).
In a similar way, Labdo believes that God gave the Fulani the nation and the people of Nigeria to lead, rule and dominate in perpetuity and he has enunciated those views in his famous interview with the Saturday Punch Newspaper.
Both Hitler and Labdo and indeed all those that think like them are deluded and dangerous and they must be confronted and exposed for what they are: self-serving racists and ethnic supremacists of the highest order.
The white Afrikaans-speaking Boer settlers and farmers of apartheid South Africa, who were originally from Holland, also had those views and a few of them still do.
They believed that God had given them South Africa to rule over and dominate in perpetuity and that the black Africans that they met there when they arrived in the Cape in 1604 were, in Van Riebeek’s famous words, nothing but “stinking black dogs” who were destined to be treated as the biblical “carriers of water and hewers of the wood”.
In other words, they were nothing but slaves and even close to being sub-human. That is how people like Labdo see the rest of us that are not Fulani in Nigeria.
No matter how well-educated or prosperous we are and no matter what we may have achieved in life they see us as underlings, serfs and slaves that were ordained by God to live, serve and die for them.
They believe that we live for their leisure and at their pleasure. I believe this is unacceptable and that such thinking has no place in a civilised society. It is wrong, it is false and it is ungodly.
My full response to Professor Labdo was articulated and documented in great detail in my official rejoinder to him which is titled ‘The Dangerous Delusions Of Umar Muhammed Labdo”.
It was published in the Punch Newspaper itself and in numerous other mediums. I would urge all those that are interested in to google it and read it so that when other Fulanis make such bogus claims they know exactly what to say to counter them and shoot down the reckless rhetoric and dangerous propaganda.
We must not allow Labdo’s lies and delusions to go unanswered and we must not make the grave error of assuming that he speaks only for himself or that his view is a minority view.
The truth is that he speaks for many of his people and his views are widely held even if not voiced out publicly by many Fulani leaders. That is the bitter truth and we must accept it.
We must also expose it, confront it, discredit it, overwhelm it, overcome it and finally bury it. We refuse to confront it or shy away from doing so at our own peril and at great risk to our collective future and the future of our children and generations unborn.
Unlike Labdo I believe that all men and women, regardless of their tribe, ethnicity, race, faith, colour, gender or nationality were created equal before God and I believe that anything outside of that is evil.
He said that Fulani people are saddled with the burden of leadership and that they have to shoulder that responsibility because they are more educated and qualified for it than anyone else. He also said that the Fulani were reading books and ancient transcripts 500 years ago before any other nationality in Nigeria could read or write. What do you think about these assertions?
Again this is false. Qualified how? As a matter of fact, some would argue that in terms of history they are the least qualified and the least deserving to lead and rule. If it was simply about qualifications and not a brutal show of power and the force of arms they would be nowhere because there are many nationalities in Nigeria that are far more qualified to take the lead than they were or are.
The Fulani are not amongst the most educated in Nigeria and if the truth be told education came to them very late.
They were so uneducated and unenlightened that they were terrified of Nigeria gaining her independence from the British in 1953 when the first motion for Nigeria’s independence was moved because they knew that they could not compete with ANY of the southern ethnic nationalities in a newly independent Nigeria.
That is why they said 1953 was too early for our nation to have independence. Imagine someone saying it was too early to be free and to break the yoke of bondage and colonialism.
That is what the north, led by the Fulani, said in 1953. They walked out of Parliament when the motion was moved because they knew that they were not qualified or capable of leading and managing the affairs of a newly independent nation and they made it clear that they did not want southern leadership or domination and that they would rather have British rule than a southern rule.
That is why the British loved them so much and favoured them. Because of their fawning and servile attitude towards the British, because of their resentment for and aggression and hostility towards the better educated, more successful and more qualified south and because of their morbid fear of southerners, southern rule and southern domination they held up our independence for 8 years.
And even then the understanding and deal between them and the British were that the system would be rigged, the census figures would be cooked and the Armed Forces would be skewered all in their favour so that an independent Nigeria would be led by them and not by the far more qualified and far better educated south.
What the British did to us by giving them power and leadership and protecting and favouring them for all these years just to keep the south in bondage and to spite us was cruel and unprecedented and we have been paying the price and suffering the consequences of that cruel act ever since.
Labdo talks about education and I wonder what he and his people know about it? If not for Federal Character and the quota system where would he and they be today?
Would he even be a professor? What were his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather in life? Were they educated or were they qualified in any way to lead?
I doubt it very much and I don’t want to say the sort of things they may well have been doing. Compare that to the southern experience and their southern counterparts.
The Yoruba, for example, had people in the best universities in the world like Oxford and Cambridge as far back as the early 1800’s when Usman Dan Fodia was still learning to ride a horse and planning his jihad.
The Igbo also had many educated and enlightened people then. Do you know how many southern Nigerians were at the great Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone which was part of Durham University in the late 1800’s?
What do people like Labdo and his progenitors and forefathers know about that? Do you know how many people in the south were educated by the great Christian missionaries and the Anglican Church, including my great grandfather Rev. Emmanuel Adebiyi Kayode who was one of those that first brought Christianity to Ile-Ife after finishing at Durham University?
Do you know that his son, my grandfather, Justice Victor Adedapo Kayode was at Cambridge University just as his son, my father, Chief Remilekun Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode was many years later?
Where were their forefathers that were so qualified to lead educated and what was the nature of that education?
Does he know of places like CMS Grammar School in the late 1800’s and the great Kings College when it was really King’s College in 1901?
Does he know of great educated men in our history like Bishop Ajayi Crowther, Herbert Macaulay, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, Justice Coker, Justice Adetokunboh Ademola, Justice Fatayi-Williams, Chief Rotimi Frederick Alade Williams, Chief Bode Thomas, Chief Sobo Sowemimo, Chief Ayo Rosiji, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and countless others who went to Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, London and many other great universities all over the world?
What about Wole Soyinka, the Ransome-Kuti brothers, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, Bola Ige, Abraham Adesanya, Ayo Adebanjo and so many others that came in the later generation of great educated minds and that went to the top Nigerian Universities when they were amongst the best in Africa?
How many of such people do the Fulani have? Not one. They knew nothing about western education till many years later. The first northern lawyer was called to the bar in 1955 which was over 100 years after the first Yoruba lawyer, Sapara Williams, was called to the bar.
And even that northerner was a northerner of Yoruba extraction by the name of Ganiyu Abdul-Rasaq from Ilorin. Where was the Fulani throughout these years in terms of education? Even the Hausas who they conquered, the Kanuri and much of the north were far ahead of them.
The earliest and most educated family in the north were the Atta’s and they were Ibiras from Okene and not Fulani. The earliest and best-educated family in the far core north were the Wali’s of Kano but even they were well behind the Attas and the Abdul Rasaq’s.
Most of the northern tribes, like their southern counterparts, had thousands of years of rich history, empire and kingdoms in their present locations long before the Fulani came and when they were still plying the trade routes with their camels to north Africa from Futa Jalon in Guinea and herding cattle.
The Fulani did not even appear in northern Nigeria until 1797 and the jihad was launched in 1804. They met us all here. They came from elsewhere and they came with the sword.
What they got in northern Nigeria they got by the power of the sword and through violence, bloodshed and conquest and not as a consequence of any qualification or education that they never had.
They conquered parts of the north, toppled old dynasties, destroyed ancient empires and imposed their Emirs by force on their new-found slaves and vassals. It was by force and not by qualification or superior knowledge and education as Labdo would have us believe.
And when they talk about education and you point these facts out they will say “oh we are talking about Islamic education and not western education”. But yet again they are wrong there because even in that they were very far behind most others.
I say this because Islam came to the Yoruba tribes primarily through the Turkish traders 400 years before Usman Dan Fodio put his foot in northern Nigeria and attacked the Hausa Habe Kingdom and fought King Yunfa of Gobir.
The Hausa had already accepted Islam as their faith then just as the Kanuris had done too. However, in the whole of Nigeria, no tribe knew Islam or was better educated in Islamic literature, the Koran and the hadith than the Yoruba Muslims.
So when Labdo talks about the Fulani being better qualified or better educated than anyone else it is simply a manifestation of his ignorance, his delusion and his arrogance of power.
He said that other tribes did not know how to read and write when the Fulani were reading transcripts 500 years before.
The truth is that the opposite is the case. They are the ones that knew nothing whilst others were far ahead of them and well advanced in matters of civilisation and governance.
He is wrong and we must set the record straight so that those in the younger generation are not misled. The Caliphate has only existed for about 220 years and before then the Fulani were barely educated, they were nothing and they knew nothing.
In terms of qualifications and education, they are very far down the line when compared to the numerous ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria. As painful as it may be this is the bitter truth.