Saturday, 6 July 2019

Growing up in Igbo Land in the early 80s: Twitter user Reminisces fond memories with Fulani herders


L-R: @mcginger22, Fulani herder with herds, Muhammadu Buhari 
@mcginger22|6 July 2019

Growing up in Igbo land in the early 80s, we were excited to see herds of cattle and their Fulani handlers. It was exciting and the whole village would come out to cheer them on.

The post-war Igbo communities could barely afford meat. We only admired cows so much that seeing them run through our community was in itself a hope giver. Old and young would troupe out to hail in admiration. 

My dad spoke Hausa and would engage them in fiery Hausa for as long as the thousands of cattle move by.

The community would pray the one or two could fall ill cause usually they would discard them and it would be delicacy to the starving community. 

We called them Aboki and they called us Nyamiri and we would all laugh in goofy friendliness. There were no tensions nor hostilities. They don't wander into farms and we don't harass them. 

In the very rare occasions that cattle would stray into a farm, they by themselves would seek for the "Sariki" to help find the owner and they'd pay the cash in exchange. 

A lot of times the herd would trample to death wild animals of all kinds and they'd just give them out to the next lucky person since they don't eat them. At times they come all the way to my dad who spoke their language to give him big antelopes and grass cutters. 

Life was simple. Everyone was happy. Everyone was peaceful.

I remember a particular Fulani settlement in our farmland that has been there since early 70s and stayed for over 30 years. Large community of Fulani. Many of them born and groomed there. Several generations of Fulani. 

There was never a conflict. They knew us and we knew them. We exchanged pleasantries and shared spring water and all. 

But politics happened. Buhari happened and everything changed. It was while Buhari ran for president that strong feelings and restiveness began to creep into our relationship. In his campaigns he poised as a persecuted fellow who was on a mission to right a wrong and naturally he stirred strong feeling of isolation and nationhood in Fulani. 
Gradually the erstwhile friendly Fulani and receptive hosts began to see each other from the prism of victimhood and hostility. The infamous dogs and baboons stirred the post election violence that claimed hundred of lives. 

A terrible precedence was then set in our polity, communalism was once more introduced into elections, same things that caused the first war. He continued with this style, always quick to identify strongly with a group. 

Ya Radha was a Fulani President but Nigerians never detested him as a Fulani, we called out his failings as a president but never identified him from the prism of his tribe.

Yaradua was also statesmanlike and always balanced things. Smoothly navigating the intricate webs that weaved the country together. 

However on the other hand, Buhari body language shows so much bias, from his appointments to his response to national discuss, his infamous 97/5 % comments and even tacit endorsement to a group or loud silence when they commit atrocities. 

The Fulani gradually began to act and talk like untouchables. Stirring fresh fears of Jihad and ethnic cleansing. So many communities have suffered violence and massacre which are ignored largely but he would be quick to respond and act each time Fulani was affected

The so called RUGA was billed to fail woefully since the regime never bothered to resolve mistrust and sooty the angsts of the people.

This attitude of the government has done enormous harm to the Fulani race. A once widely accepted population is now disliked and mistrusted by most people. Nobody wants the Fulani near them even if they were gonna buy the land. The damage is enormous. How are the Fulani gonna live post-Buhari? How are they gonna continue to thrive? Especially when most of them do not have ancestral settlements?


@mcginger22





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