Stephen Kenechukwu, The CableNG
Olutayo Adesina, a professor of history at the University of Ibadan, has called on Yorubas to endeavour to understand the Fulani well.
Speaking during his feature on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio, a show anchored by Olayinka Agboola on Oluyole 98.5 FM, Oyo state, Adesina claimed that Fulani people have remained the most pampered in the history of Nigeria.
The don said it shouldn’t be surprising that some tribes are against Fulanis, because of the perception that the group is being “favoured and pampered”.
Adesina stated that this was not created by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, but as a result of the administrative deficiencies on the part of Nigeria’s British colonial masters.
He said it started when the colonial masters created cattle routes from the north to the south, which led to the “grabbing” of lands from the owners, causing disaffection between those affected and the Fulani.
According to Adesina, the British colonial government also pampered Fulanis via the indirect rule system it practised in the north.
“The British did not take away their privileges. And when you retain certain privileges, you appear invincible while in the south. Some of our traditional rulers were roughly handled by the colonial administrators,” the professor said.
Adesina described the relationship between Fulanis and the Yoruba as “age long”, dating back to years before 1800, adding that Fulanis migrated across the Sahara to settle down among the Yorubas.
He also said there was an existing symbiotic relationship between Yoruba farmers and Fulani herdsmen that was bilateral, where goods and products were exchanged.
The professor added that the significant point of the relationship was the period when the Yoruba farmers invited Fulanis to their farms after the harvesting of their products, in exchange for manure via cow dung.
“Over the centuries, we have seen the relationship between the herdsmen who came from across the Sahara to Yorubaland. At the beginning of the raining season, they moved back to the edge of the Sahara,” Adesina said.
“It was the farmers that used to invite the Fulani herdsmen after harvest to come to their farms so that the cattle dung will serve as manure for the farmers.
“Our people in the south-west of Nigeria really need to study their neighbours and understand them. Specifically, I do not think we Yorubas understand the Fulanis.
“They look fragile, harmless and friendly. But we really need to understand them. I will not say more than that.”