By Douglas Anele
Northern (that is, muslim Fulani) political domination would not have been possible without the northernisation of the military which began in earnest after independence.
It was implemented by the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, and other northerners who occupied the four most senior posts in the ministry of defence: Inuwa Wada (defence minister), Ibrahim Tako Galadima (minister of state for the army), Sule Kolo and Ahmadu Kurfi (permanent secretary and deputy permanent secretary ministry of defence respectively).
These officials,encouraged by the laid-back attitude of southern politicians regarding skewed recruitments into the army,lowered the educational qualifications for enlistment into the officer corps of the military and introduced quota system which guaranteed northern region over fifty-percent of all new recruitments.
Moreover most of the major military institutions and installations have always been located in the north. In his book, The Nigeria Revolution and the Biafran War, Alexander Madiebo notes that before the first military coup of January 15, 1966 sixteen of them were located in the north, three in the west, while the east had only one, a situation that jeopardised the chances of Biafra successfully defending itself against Yakubu Gowon and his jihadist army.
Focusing attention on the present, President Buhari is not only the most divisive occupant of the highest political office in Nigerian history he has also put the continued existence of the country into question due to malignant nepotism made worse by his pachydermatous and obstinate refusal to catalyse the birth of a new constitutional framework that addresses the genuine concerns of Nigerians, especially the major ethnic nationalities in the southern part of the country.
In fact never before in the history of Nigeria has Usman Dan Fodio’s Islamisation and Fulanisation project gained more traction than in the current presidency of Buhari. Keep in mind that in every public position he has occupied at the federal level, Buhari wears favouritism of the north(particularly Islamic Fulani north) as a badge of identity without qualms.
When he was military dictator, his supreme military council and the most consequential military positions were occupied by northern muslims. Also as Chairman, Petroleum [Special] Trust Fund (PTF), about 75% of the projects executed by the organisation went to the north. To start with, Buhari publicly supported Boko Haram and scathingly criticised Jonathan’s government for the onslaught against the sect.
He encouraged muslims to vote for only those that would promote their religion; he equally expressed his unflinching support for the spread of sharia across the country. Now, Ndigbo have always been at the receiving end of Buhari’s ringing nepotism. Notwithstanding vaporous denials and hot air about his integrity and sense of fairness by the president’s bootlickers, particularly useful idiots from the south-east, Buhari probably dislikes Ndigbo more than members of any other ethnic group in the country.
Shortly after his inauguration as president six years ago, he made it clear that his administration will treat different parts of the country to reflect the quantum of votes he received from them in the election, a veiled indication that Ndigbo who have always rejected him during elections for very good reasons should not expect much from his government.
From all indications, the Buhari government seem to be implementing the muslim Fulani subjugationist vision of Dan Fodio and Ahmadu Bello. Think about this: for the first time in any civilian dispensation since independence about sixty-one years ago the three arms of government are headed by northern Fulani muslims; over 90% of the topmost positions in the military and agencies of government responsible for security are occupied by northerners many of whom are Fulani muslims.
Now,the four principal sources of revenue for the federal government are headed by the Fulani, namely NNPC (Buhari is the minster for petroleum while Mele Kyari is the GMD of NNPC); FIRS (Muhammad Mamman Nami); NCS (Hameed Ali); and NPA (Mohammed Koko who is currently in acting capacity because another Fulani, Hadiza Bala Usman, is suspended). Fulani dominate the zenith of major ministries and agencies to which the bulk of the revenue is allocated.
These include: Defence (Bashir Salihi Magashi); FCT (Mohammed Musa Bello); Aviation (Hadi Sirika); Communication & Digital Economy (Isa Pantami); Humanitarian Affairs (Sadiya Umar Farouk); NYSC (Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim); FAAN (Capt. Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu); AGF (Ahmed Idris); Water Resources (Hussein Adamu); Power (Kwagyang Saleh); Police Affairs (Maigari Dingyadi); AGF & MJ (Abubakar Malami); Finance (Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed); PTDF (Bello AliyuGusau); and NTA (YakubuIbn Mohammed). What about the most powerful anti-corruption agencies? The story is the same: EFCC (Abdulrasheed Bawa); NDLEA (Muhammad Buba Marwa); NFIU (Tukur Modibbo).
It is not surprising that Buhari closed Nigerian borders in the south whereas northern borders remained open to allow the influx of Fulani from all over West Africa and the Sahel into the country. That is why the topmost officials in charge of Immigration Service and Boundary Commission, Mohammed Babandede and Adamu Adaji respectively had to be Fulani. Several critical agencies in the education sector and specialised institutes are in the hands of Fulani as well: NUC (Prof. Abubakar Rasheed); NERDC (Prof. Ismail Junaidu); NTI (Garba Dahuwa Azre); UBEC (Hamid Boboyi); NNRA (Dr.Yau Usman Idris); NAEC (Prof. Yusuf Ahmed); NASENI (Prof. M.S. Haruna); NASRDA (Dr.Halilu Ahmad Shaba); RMDA (Ibrahim Hussaini Doko); NERC (Sanusi Garba) and SON (Farouk Salim).
Even if, as some buharimaniacs argue, President Buhari inherited some of these appointments from his predecessor, why does he almost always prefer northern muslims whenever a position occupied by a southerner becomes vacant whereas he tends to appoint northerners into posts vacated by northerners? Moreover Buhari claims that his appointments are based on merit.
Merit with respect to which criterion? Education, experience or what? In terms of education, for instance, the south outperforms the north by far despite decades of quota system, as indicated by the cut-off marks for different states in qualifying entrance examinations at all levels and performances in tertiary institutions here and abroad. The fact is: by his deeds Buhari sees himself first and foremost as the champion of Fulani interests and only secondarily as a Nigerian.
That is why he enjoins communities to accommodate Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen who destroy their farms, rape their women and kill those defending their ancestral lands whereas he sends the military to destroy and kill IPOB members agitating for self-determination and defending their homeland against marauding terrorist herdsmen.
Even in the south-west, the geopolitical zone whose votes helped him become president in 2015 and 2019, Buhari still sides with his Fulani kinsmen who seem determined to extend their annexation of Yorubaland beyond Ilorin.
The latest public remarks of Buhari during the heavily edited boring interview by irritatingly genuflecting and overly patronising staff of Arise television shows that Ndigbo supporting Buhari sheepishly did not suck their mothers’ breasts to the full.
Buhari thinks that IPOB is a dot in a circle and that the Igbo have nowhere to go even if they succeed in pulling out of Nigeria. He also bragged that leaders of non-Igbo communities in the south-south had assured him that they were not interested in seceding.
All this shows that the President(or more appropriately, “the presidency) is operating with a rusty conquistadorial mindset that served Gowon and his Fulani caliphate puppeteers well in the middle and late 1960s. He does not realise that 1967 to 1970 is quite different from the present circumstances in which certain sections of the country that ganged up to defeat Biafra are coming to terms with the negative consequences of their egregious mistake during the civil war.
Apparently, Buhari cannot envision a complex democratic society governed by a truly secular constitution: his negative triumphalist promotion of Fulani supremacy will take Nigeria to the Omega Point of dismemberment. If that happens he would have confirmed the core principle of the law of unintended consequences in that in trying to extend Fulani hegemony he ends up destroying the colonial amalgam created by British imperialists. I am sure millions of people will welcome such an outcome.