The symbolism of Fulani ‘cow’ in Nigeria
By Dr. Bode Steve Ekundayo
Cow is its popular name in Nigeria, meaning oxen or cattle, also known as nama, malu or melu, the number one citizen in Nigeria, more valuable than human beings, or are they not so in the eyes of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders? When oxen die or are killed these days, human beings must be killed to mourn and give them befitting burials for their souls to rest in peace. Its byproducts are beef, kpomo, cowleg, suya and kilichi. Who does not eat these meatful products? How symbolic nama is in Nigeria!
The Fulani shep)herd them all over Nigeria, the Hausa people in the main are in charge of butchering and designing suyaful sticks from them, as well as other Nigerians who are skillful in spilling the blood of oxen. All Nigerians but the Fulani eat them.
Hmmn! Beware of people who prepare foods that they forbid eating but serve them to others happily. Does a day pass by that a Nigerian does not eat beef or suya or kpomo or cow-leg at home and in restaurants and ‘food is ready’?
Ox or cow are also slaughtered to bloody the festive venues of marriage, social parties and second burial ceremonies in Nigeria, particularly in the South(West, East, and the Niger Delta.
What about giving gifts? Cow is one of the greatest gifts that the rich and middle class Nigerians exchange to say thank you, to assist celebrants and to curry huge favours from the beneficiaries who are highly placed Nigerians. In festive Decembers and during other religious and traditional festivals, visit government houses across the country and see how cows exchange hands: from politicians to governors, ministers and special advisers, among others. And at the end of the day, what do they do to the gifts of oxen? They either sell them off or gather and hand them over to Fulani herdsmen to drive around Nigeria.
Above all, Fulani cattle are now the animals of the rich by the rich and for the rich, the nouveau riche, and the upper ruling class.
This is the culmination of a well organised and executed national agenda of the Fulani ruling class who lead other ethnic ruling classes to oppress all Nigerians, including their Fulani brothers and sisters. While their children are abroad receiving first class education in Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, etc., they make their fellow illiterate Fulani youths, whom they have indoctrinated with tribal and religious fallacies, they make them trudge and drudge in the deserts, forests and savanahs of Africa, living a subhuman life.
Which of Buhari’s, Boss Mustapha’s, Sadauna of Sokoto’s, Emir of Kano’s children herd cattle across the rugged and far-flung terrains of Nigeria in the drenching rain and scorching sun?
A majority of the members of the upper class such as first class Obas, Chiefs, nobles, business men, presidents, ministers, governors, senators, speakers, commissioners, name them, all have cattle which they hide away under Fulani herdsmen. Even Vice Chancellors past and present, and some professors now own cow right inside university campus.
So, cattle rearing is the business of the upper and ruling class members who come from all Nigerian tribes and then form a cult of the ruling class which recognises no tribe, no religion. It is this tight and almost impenetrable ruling class that are behind Fulani herdsmen and nationwide violence.
The head of the Nigerian ruling class is of course the Fulani ruling class which the Buhari, Buratai, Idris, Amaechi, Oshomhole, Tinubu, Akpabio, Festus Keyamo, etc. ably represent. They oppress both the masses of their tribes and other ethic groups.
Look at the Fulani low class for instance, how impoverished, emaciated, harassed, uneducated, misguided and forlorn they look! The cows they herd do not belong to them and they look more wretched and less fed than the oxen. The true owners of the oxen they herd buy for them the expensive weapons that they wield. They give them boldness and protection to ‘kill as they go’ or ‘kill and go.’ And when they themselves get killed in reprisals, those who sent them on cow herding errand do not care for their lives in so far as they are not their children.
The Nigerian ruling class which the Fulani now lead are the evil geniuses behind violence in Nigeria.
It is their open and undercover involvement in cattle business that renders the scourge of unknown herdsmen invasion intractable. Because cattle business is their business, they drag government to it at all costs. Yet they tell us that ‘government has no business in business.’ When it comes to establishing industries that will genuinely advance Nigeria and employ the youths, they would rather privatise and deregulate, or totally auction them to entrepreneurs. However, the ‘cattle-lisation’ of Nigeria is in their interest.
For the Fulani nation, it furthers the Fulanisation of Nigeria which their Patriarch lunched in 1804 and handed over the Barton to them.
Please ask yourself, how come that the who is who, all of them in top government positions are silent on the crisis? For instance, herdsmen kill people in Benue and Audu Ogbe is silent? Herdsmen kill people in Rivers and Amaechi is silent? Herdsmen destroy farms and kill and maim people in Etsako, Oshiomhole’s backyard, and other parts of Edo, but Oshiomhole, the orator and talker that we all venerate or castigate looks the other way and pretends to be sleeping? Herdsmen kill people in Yoruba land but Tinubu, Fashola, Adesina who is Buhari and APC’s Public Address System (PAS), and their governors are quiet?
The body message of the ruling class bare it all very loudly. So, Nigerians, face the Nigerian ruling class, including your own brother or sister who is their member, who does not care whether you live or die. The wretched Fulani man herding their cow or fine Fulani selling wara and nono are not to blame. They are, like you and me, victims of the evil system of government.
If Nigerians will identify their true enemies from all the tribes in the ruling class and pluck them out of the national oak of many branches, as a farmer will treat a parasitic mistletoe, then we can live together as one people in peace and love: Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, and other nations in the Nigerian state sharing nama, suya, kola nut, akpu and edikaikong. We must live and let live. Let the eagle perch and let the kite too. Let the boa glide and let the earthworm crawl too. Whoever says the other must not live, may their backbone collapse, may thunder blast their skulls. We must remember that no group has the monopoly of VIOLENCE. Even the earthworm fragile as it is does bore holes into hard earth. The way the nationwide marauding, kidnapping and killing spree of the unkown Fulani herdsmen so-called are escalating, one of two consequences are inevitable. One, they will kill and kill and kill till they achieve their mindset. Or, two, the pogrom, ethnic cleansing or murderous criminality will infuriate other victim nations in Nigeria and mobilise them into righteous indignation and a united onslaught against innocent people, may be Fulani or any other nation that will be the victims. War is not enjoyment. It is my fervent prayers that we do not reach that point in Nigeria. It will be too horrible for both sides. Ethnic and religious wars, unlike civil and political wars, are never ending. All Nigerians can live together in peace if we deemphasize organise religions, murderous ethnicity and inordinate primitive, sadistic brand of capitalism.
Dr Bode Steve Ekundayo
writer and public speaker is on the academic staff of University of Benin