The recent events in our country has forced me to dive deep into the past of history of this great country called Nigeria. The Fulanis insurgency, the so-called Fulanisation agenda for Nigeria to take complete ownership of this nation and many threats other tribes have received in recent time, including the rising terrorism, banditry and kidnapping obviously being perpetuated by Fulanis tribes under a seating political Fulanis administration, with the military, intelligence, security, law enforcement and judiciary under their controls triggered my desire to know more about the evolution of Fulanis, the history of their exploit in Nigeria, and to unravel the root of their claims of ownership of Nigeria.
I must say sincerely the banning of Nigeria history education in our schools has fueled my suspicion on a great hidden attempt aimed at shielding Nigerian children from knowing the history about evolution of their fatherland. Why should there be such a draconian policy against education in Nigeria? It’s an assault against our collective historical heritage.
There is this latest Nigeria History book entitled “A Short History of Conquest and Rule” – What Britain Did To Nigeria_ written by Max Siollun. The book was first published in 2021(yes this year) in UK by C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) LTD. Please get a copy of this book to help you unravel many mysteries about Nigeria history shrouded in secrecy and untaught in our schools, even during my own time in 80s.
I will be sharing many of my findings in relation to the topic of this post.
Who are the Fulanis?
They are group of immigrants that came to Hausaland from Mauritania and Senegal with different culture and language.
They were a cattle-rearing nomadic people who had spread across West Africa. French called them “Peul”, the Kanuri called them “Fulata”, but the Hausa called them “Fulani”. Traditionally they referred to themselves as “Fulbe”.
Who’s Usman Dan Fodio and his antecedent?
This man was an Islamic cleric from the clan of Torobe Fulani. His ancestors migrated to the Hausa town of Gobir from FUTA Toro in Senegal. His father name was Mohammad Fodio also an Islamic cleric.
Now the meaning of “Dan Fodio” is “son of the learned”.
The history has it that Bawa, the sarki of the Hausaland of Gobir hired Dan Fodio as Islamic teacher for his royal house and Hausa prince named Yunfa.
The Rise of Usman Dan Fodio and Sotoko Caphilate
Then what suddenly happened?
Dan Fodio accused the Hausas of practicing idolatry and contaminating Islam with their animist rituals.
In 1804, Usman Dan Fodio declared a Jihad and invited his followers to establish Islam throughout Hausaland.
The man issued jihad directives with flags as symbols of authority from him to wage holy war.
Most unfortunately, the jihad war set Usman Dan Fodio against his own former student who’s now a king Yunfa in Hausaland.
And so about half of Hausaland was defeated and converted into a huge confederation of Islamic Emirates popularily known as the Sokoto Caliphate and became Africa’s largest pre-colonial state stretching far to western Mali and eastern Cameroon.
Usman Dan Fodio gave himself the title of Amirul Mu’minin meaning _Commander of the Believers_ and appointed his loyal flag bearers as Amirs or Emirs meaning Commanders or Rulers of the conquered territories.
By 1830s, the Caliphate had growing to almost 10millon population and extended his conquered cities to non-Hausaland including part of kanem-Borno Empire, Jukun, Nupe, and Ilorin a province of then Oyo Empire.
The Usman Dan Fodio advances into the south of then unknown Nigeria was halted by the impenetrable dense forests of the south and the dangerous insects most especially tsetse fly menaced against their horses. ( _If not, they would have conquered entire south and west by their aggression and imposed Emirs as usual_ )
Now note carefully, the rapid success of Usman Dan Fodio inspired jihads in other part of Africa. Ironically, many other revolutions took place almost about the same time including French revolution in 1799, Haitian revolution in 1804.
The Fall and End of Usman Dan Fodio Sokoto Empire
& Usman Dan Fodio Prophecy
Usman Dan Fodio legacy and proclamations were an inspiration to the Fulanis Empire and Fulanis since pre-colonial era till today in Nigeria.
It was alleged Usman Dan Fodio made a prophecy that the Caliphate would last for a century I.e. 100years. Whether that prophecy is true or not, in exactly 100years after Usman Dan Fodio declared Jihad in northern Nigeria in 1804, the British northern invasion led by Lord Lugard and conquest of the Sotoko Caliphate and it’s Emirates effectively put on end to the Usman Dan Fodio old and original Sokoto Empire and the regime conquest agenda.
The Britain conquest of northern Nigeria is not based on any overriding commercial interest in the north but a pre-emptive move to block their European rivals from gaining control of it’s northern protectorates. According to the history, France and Germany have shown interest in the area and would have conquered if Britain had not made that move.
However, it turned out to be an act of providence to restrict the occupational agenda of Usman Dan Fodio. The occupational agenda from Fulanis stock against Nigeria was real from their ancestors.
That agenda has been re-birthed severally since demise of the original Caliphate, it has continued to shape their political agenda and aspiration before and after Nigeria independence.
But now, is there any historical validity that the whole of Nigeria belong to Fulanis? Capital NO!
The last Amirul Mu’minin of old Sokoto Caliphate, Sarkin Mohammadu Attahiru initially survived the war against the British and fled.
After the conquest of the northern region and the Seat of the Old Caliphate, on 21th March 1903, Lugard assembled Sokoto’s leading officials and released aloud a proclamations, which was interpreted in Hausa, verified word for word. He made it unmistakably clear that independent Fulani rule had ended. The excerpt below;
” _The old treaties are dead, you have killed them. Now these are the words which I, High Commissioner, have to say for the future. The Fulani in old times under Dan Fodio conquered this country. They took the right to rule over it, to levy taxes, to depose kings and to creat kings. They in turn have by defeat lost their rule which has come into the hands of the British. All these things which I have said the Fulani by conquest took the right to do now pass to the British. Every Sultan and Emir and the principal officers of State will be appointed by the High Commissioner throughout all this country_ “.
The next day in a public ceremony, Lugard appointed another Attahiru II, son of a former Sarkin Musulmi, Aliyu Babba, who reigned from 1842 to 1859, as the new Sarkin to replace his fugitive namesake Mahammadu Attahiru I who fled away.
Lugard gave Attahiru II a letter of appointment which outlined his powers, and made him swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. Thereafter, the British started referring the new Sarkin Musulmi in English as the “Sultan of Sokoto”.
Every Sultan since then knows very well their alligiance to Britain till today.
All the Sultans since then are fully aware of this Lugard proclamations and effective end to Usman Dan Fodio directive on conquest and occupational agenda.
What then happened to the run away Attahiru I and other leading members from the old Sokoto Caliphate, including magaji of keffi?
They were exterminated at the second battle of Burmi. The British forces subdued and overthrown a century-old Caliphate and the independence and powers of the Sokoto Caliphate ended within few days of fighting at Burmi.
However, the Attahiru I son Mahammed Bello with over 25,000 survivors fled to Sudan and established Fulani settlement on the Blue Nile called Mai Wurno. Their descendants still reside there in Sudan till today.
The British installed generations of Sultans are the ones ruling and their political elites in the present day Nigeria. Perhaps, the generations of the disposed leading members of old Sokoto Caliphate are busy planning over several decades waging wars from outside against Nigeria to take back what they claimed “belong to them” and to continue and complete the Usman Dan Fodio occupational vision of the territories in Nigeria.
You now know, as the British invaded and conquered Southern territories so also they invaded and conquered the Fulanis Sokoto Caliphate and the Emirates.
Who then are the real founding fathers of Nigeria?
How did Nigeria come into existence? You will be surprised they are not those figures we’re taught in the schools.
We are told Nigeria’s formation started at 1914. But when digging deep, the foundational framework and principles of our existing as a country started in 1898 when the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury established a Niger Committee to advice him on the future administration of the conquered the three territories. Guess who were the members of those Niger Committee? (It’s not Sultan Sokoto or Oyo Empire king and co oooo…! or Awolowo, Saudana, Tafawa Balewa, or Oga Zik were not born then ooo…!!).
It is very unfortunate this _Niger Committee_ is not taught in the schools and even during my time like I said earlier in the 80s.
Who then are the members of this Niger Committee? They included the following:
1. Sir Henry McCallum – Commissioner for then Niger Coast Protectorate.
2. Sir Ralph Moor
3. Three senior officials from the Colonial and Foreign offices
4. Sir Clement Hill, head of the African Department of the Foreign Offices
5. Reginald Antrobus – Permanent undersecretary for the colonies, who served as the committee chairman
6. Mr. George Goldie – the real big man and founder/owner of Royal Niger Company.
(Please read about Goldie’s leading role and real influence in the conquest and formation of the territories known as Nigeria today. There’s no nation called Nigeria without him.)
Please do your own research to find out about the recommendation of the Niger Committee. It’s mind blowing!
The committee did not care about who is who opinions in our ethno-linguistic territories.
We are taught mostly that Lugard’s wife Madam Flora Shaw invented the name Nigeria. This is not true!!
The madam only suggested the name Nigeria in a newspaper article published anonymously in the “The Times” on 8 January 1897. She only echo the name which had been informally used for decades for territories and people in the River Niger area managed by Royal Niger company. And guess what? That territory included north west, north central and north east of the present day Nigeria. No Fulani man, Sultan or Emir had any contribution to the naming of that territory. She’s not the inventor of the name.
However, Sir. Goldie also used that name in paper delivered at the London Chamber of Commerce also entitled “The Future of Nigeria” and spoke two Southern and northern sections. He rejected the idea of naming territories after his name Goldesia due to his vast knowledge and influence on the territories.
Amazingly the country was named Nigeria by the British Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain. Why? Because the name simply sounded better to him than other funny funny names suggested. Chamberlain’s handwritten note gave birth to the name of a new nation. No Fulani leader or other tribes contributed to the naming.
By implications the territories being contemplated by Usman Dan Fodio and his Empire to be conquered have gone forever and disappeared into a new country called Nigeria.
The foundation of Nigeria has been fully laid by a British man. And that man who died in 1925 at the age of 79 and father at least three children from a Nigeria woman and many other women as well in Nigeria, and on whose gravestone reads:
“Sir George Taubman Goldie: Founder of Nigeria”
Usman Dan Fodio did NOT found Nigeria. Nigeria as a nation did not exist during the time of Usman Dan Fodio.
His Empire and Occupational agenda were effectively destroyed, and the old Sokoto Caliphate was replaced and renamed Sultanate by the British.
(Please note, a huge credit must be given to the Author of book earlier referenced at the opening section of this post. While many of the historical references used in this post are drawn from the book, the context based on the topic of this post is entirely mine, not that of the author)