By Huzaifa jega
There is this backhanded Chinese compliment – “may you live in interesting times” that for the world of me I couldn’t understand why anyone would take any offence to be at the receiving end of. The whole thing smirked of an ample dose of that half-full entitlement human beings are notorious for. For, what’s so great about vapid boredom? Why would anyone want to live that life?
We really do live in interesting times these days, what with the apocalypse looming – because it feels that way at least. It just feels like the Kaho has unceremoniously fallen into the hands of that one guy who’s down in the abyss and unilaterally chooses to euthanise the irredeemably diseased cesspool called earth.
It gets so interesting sometimes that you just know that scary books are going to be written about us, about the times we live in. Left, right and centre, there is no let-up – and you can rest assured that every time you thought it couldn’t get any more interesting, it does. It’s either that or just the millennial delusion of grandeur talking. Who’s to say?
We are a country that is already down in the dumps in so many respects. But apparently, that is not bad enough for us. In the past few months, I became aware of a new hot button making the rounds on social media, most especially. It is a revisionist movement being championed by people you can call “Hausa nationalists”. I honestly thought it was a joke at first, I thought it was an affirmation of that ‘comic animosity’ between the Hausa people and their Fulani brethren. That was until it was brought onto the floor of a WhatsApp group I am part of called “Contemporary Issues”, where it was debated like an actual, matter-of-fact “contemporary issue”. I brought it up the next day hanging out with friends and was quite frankly surprised that it was really out there.
Then about a week later, locked in a moving vehicle with my idiot Fulani cousin, I was forced to watch a number of video clips, some featuring people who are supposed to be Muslim clerics from whose mouthS came all manner of very hateful words – all against the Fulani!
For me, the epiphany came in the form of that documentary some media outlets, including Daily Trust, had to pay dearly for. I think we all know the one.
Now, I must disclose that like so many people from Hausaland, or what is now called the North West, I also have Fulani blood in my veins. I am what the political scientists call a Hausa-Fulani.
The sheer intellectual incongruence, from people you thought knew better, is – just so interesting. I was told that this was just healthy discourse if only to acknowledge the past no matter how unpalatable the throwback is so we can move on and that it was the malignant culture of hushing down such matters that has so emboldened the infamous Fulani-herdsmen barbarians who now have a free reign over this land and are so confident about that they are conquering it all over again in an orgy of bloodletting unseen since Gandoki.
This is the type of thing that gives me goosebumps. The sheer masochistic idiocy of it. A resident evil! But perhaps that is just the one or two litres of Fulani blood I have talking. One can only imagine just how much we must hate ourselves. It wouldn’t just be from the frying pan into the fire for us – it is going to be both all at once.
From what I could make out, most of the protagonists of this movement are intellectual contrarians. They just want to be on the outside of everything – that seems to be the only way they get their kicks. We simply do not have the luxury to so indulge in such recreational impulses.
Their arguments are as infantile as they are completely ignorant. To begin with, there was no political entity called Hausaland before the Fulani showed up. There were probably more than a dozen Hausa states locked in mortal combat for centuries. Given the fact that more than a few were particularly powerful enough to thrive while withstanding competition, most of their victims were ethnic minorities populating outlying territories. It was the Fulani who finally pacified and united the Hausa under a single roof ending the cycle of mass fratricidal bloodletting.
They don’t understand that once the glue holding us together, which was engineered by the Fulani, just, by the way, diminishes significantly or simply disappears, we’ll be back in the trenches against ourselves. I am not saying that it is okay if someone else becomes the target of someone else’s domineering instincts, but I think that is something we could get a handle on much faster and much more effectively if we stick together.
What they also conveniently leave out of the narrative is the fact that it was the Hausa commoners who sealed the fates of their own kings by rallying behind the Fulanis against them, not the Fulanis themselves. By the end of the 1700s and the beginning of the 1800s, the Fulanis had a snowball’s chance in hell successfully challenging even an underdog Hausa state much less a power like Gobir. The Fulani simply happened to be the heralds of a revolution that was really only a matter of time. Our forefathers were simply spellbound by the words spoken by a wandering Fulani mystic – that a society can prosper drowned in unbelief, but shall not move one inch under the yoke of injustice even amidst the profusion of faith. He was not out to force his spiritual philosophies down their throats, his ideas about social justice resonated so well with them that they decided he was their Messiah.
And just for the record, I am not advocating for a cover-up, if there happened to be any, of what really happened during or after the Fulani overthrow of the Hausa kings. By all means, let the truth be told. But I also have a functional consciousness of where we are, and anyone with half a brain could see that this is suicide.
This is the time for pragmatism, for dispassionate social diplomacy… and most importantly, this is the time for due obeisance to the law of survival! We will certainly, absolutely not survive a Hausa-Fulani civil war. So tame this resident evil now, before it gets out of hand.
So, yes I get it now. These are mighty interesting times. The senselessness is so unnerving someone may be forgiven if they thought life was really a death sentence.