President of Aka-Ikenga, Goddy Uwazurike, has insisted that Fulanis never conquered the Tiv, Junkun and Kanuri people.
Uwazurike made the remark while dismissing statement credited to Prof. Umar Labdo that Fulani people were destined to rule Nigeria.
Labdo, who is a Professor in the Faculty of Humanities, Northwest University, Kano had recently alleged that Benue State belongs to the Fulani by right of conquest.
Uwazurike said the Fulanis could not conquer the Tiv, Junkun and Kanuri people because they were fighters
According to Uwazurike, “No, it was in the name of religion that they killed those they killed and captured the areas, and installed themselves as Emirs. Each one of those emirs got a flag and the first thing they did, which was wise, was to adopt the commercial language of the empire they conquered – Hausa language.
“Hausa language was also the language of the palace but the Fulani retained their language, which is called Fulfulde. Even on radio, they listen to Fulfulde. If you ever get close to any herdsman, it is Fulfulde he listens to on radio. So, even as he is in the bush, if you think he is not aware of what is going on, then you are wrong.
“There has been a lot of mixture of Fulani and Hausa and Fulani-Kanuri through intermarriage but there will always be distinction. If you asked a Fulani man to make Hausa man his leader, it will be difficult. In those days, the Sardauna of Sokoto (Sir Ahmadu Bello) appointed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from a tiny tribe in Bauchi and made him Prime Minister of Nigeria.
“He (Sardauna of Sokoto) preferred to stay as the Premier of Northern Nigeria. In simple language, the man who was calling the shots was in Kaduna and the man who was ruling was down South and nobody ever looked at Balewa as the real ruler of the North. He was never that, he was the man sent by the ruler of the North to rule Nigeria.
“But in today’s world, there are a number of emirs who are neither Hausa nor Fulani. They have their titles and the Fulani did not conquer the Kanuri Empire. They couldn’t continue their attack against the Kanuri people. The Kanuri, who had an empire called Kanem-Borno Empire, were fierce fighters. The Fulani fighters could not get into Tiv land; Tiv people resisted them.
“The whole of the Junkun Kingdom from parts of Nasarawa, Kogi and down to today’s Benue and Taraba, the fighters there were very fierce and they resisted Fulani. And the skirmishes still going on can be traced in history to what happened. And when you begin to insult the Tiv man, saying he is your servant, you’re a Fulani man, you own his place or insult a Benue man, saying it is your place and so on, he will look and wonder what you are talking about.
“He will just tell you what his own father told him. That is why it is difficult to find Muslims among the Tiv today, except only few who practise it for political purposes. They are very fierce and proud people. The same goes for the Idoma people. The Igala have many Muslims and you may live comfortably with them, but they also maintain their identity.”