Kingdoms that accommodated Fulani herdsmen in the past were eventually overthrown by the Fulani. In all situations, these herdsmen took up arms and fought for a Fulani leader to overthrow the kingdoms that accommodated them and their cattle. Examples in history:
The first Fulani Jihad was at Futa Jallon. Fulani pastoralists migrated here in large numbers from North Africa in the 1600’s (they migrated in smaller factions earlier). Futa Jallon was a mountainous rich agricultural land. Shortly after the Pastoralist migrations, Fulani clerics migrated as well. they were called Ulamas. In 1726, the Fulani community elected one of their own by the name Ibrahim Musa as their leader and gave him the title of Al – Imam (Leader of the Muslim community). Shortly after his election he proclaimed a jihad against the local rulers of the region and enlisted the herdsmen as soldiers in his Jihad. His successor after his death and new Al- Iman, Ibrahim Sori completed the Jihad in 1776. The new Fulani aristocracy drove out many of the natives. Those they did not drive out, they enslaved. Slave trade thrived in the region after the Jihad, this was when the slave castle at Goree Island (Point of no return) was built. They captured mostly the people of the Mandika tribe (this was the tribe of Kunta Kinte)
Another region not far from Futa Jallon was Futa Toro. It was rich in Agriculture and the stretch of the Senegal river passed through it. By the banks of this river was fertile farmlands. This region was of great important to the Fulani pastoralists who migrated to the region around the same time they migrated to Futa Jallon. They could have the cattle feed and drink by the banks of the river. shortly after the herdsmen arrived, clerics migrated as well. They formed the majority of the Torobde clerics. A Fulani cleric called Sulayman Bal was nominated by the clerics as the spiritual leader. in the year 1776, Sulayman Bal launched a Jihad against the Denyanke dynasty and enlisted herdsmen into his army of the faithful. They were overthrown and replaced with a new aristocracy of Fulani leaders. He died while trying to expand the empire to the regions of Trarzas. His successor, Abd al- Qadir completed the expansion and expanded the empire Southeast.
In our own Nigeria, the Fulani migrated as herdsmen and lived in communities. As at the time Dan Fodio arrived, they had Fulani leaders in almost all the Hausa City states with a large concentration in Katsina and Kano. These leaders included Moyijo at Kebbi, Mohammadu Namoda at Zamfara, Salihu and Mohamadu Dabo of Kano. Very much like the previous Jihads, Dan Fodio was recognized as the leading cleric and given the title of ‘Sarkin Musulmi.’ (Leader of the Faithful). He formed a community after his confrontation with the authorities at Gobir and called on the faithfuls to join him, from the community he lauched his Jihad. Majority of his soldiers were herdsmen and another faction natives that fell for his charismatic leadership. Dan Fodio would eventually give flags of leadership to the Fulani leaders of the various Hausa cities. By far, the Dan Fodio’s Jihad was the most successful and all Fulani Jihads in West Africa. He would also replace the Hausa kings with Fulani aristocrats, and like the previous Fulbe leaders, the new empire was hostile to the natives. Their lands were taken from them and they were relegated to second class citizens in their ancestral homeland. Many of them were forced into slavery under an oppressive feudal system and others sold to Arab slave traders.
At Ilorin, the shortsighted rebel Afonja made it so easy for the Fulani to get rid of him. Unlike the other kingdoms where they migrated on their free will and chose their spiritual leader, Afonja personally wooed the Fulani to his kingdom and appointed Alimi as the cleric of the province. Both vital foundations for a fulani takeover was given on a platter of gold by warlord. very much as in all cases, the Fulani got rid of him and ensured the throne of Ilorin for their kinsman.
So Far, they have not been able to invade beyond Ilorin. The warriors at Ibadan fought them back as well as Benin warriors. To conquer the south, it is important to have Fulani herdsmen and clerics stationed in the land. It is important to indoctrinate natives who profess same religion with them to trade ther ancestry for a religious theocracy of a divine cleric. (among the Yoruba people, they will succeed as they did in the old Ilorin emirates when many natives of old Oyo empire enlisted in the army of Alimi’s descendants to invade villages under Oyo and capture their fellow kinsmen as slaves to be sold to the Portuguese)
All observations of history prove beyond doubt that giving colonies and settlements to Fulani people under the guise of land for grazing is very dangerous. The Fulani is obsessed to conquer the South and take it from the ancestral owners like they did to the Hausas. The South owns the Ports and oil. It owns the best companies and rainforests. That is what they secretly want and not grazing land for cows. With scattered Fulani settlements in the south, they will bring their clerics and launch a new phase of Jihads from our base…. Cattle colonies is a plan to conquer the South. Herdsmen are foot soldiers of Fulani empire and the demand for lands in the South is a first step in future to take over the ancestral lands of the Southern people.
By Gbonka Ebiri
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