Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former Oyo State governor Rashidi Ladoja has warned that the alleged plan of the Federal Government to “Fulanise” Nigeria will lead to a serious crisis that could consume the country.
Ladoja gave the warning during an interview with journalists at his Bodija residence in Ibadan, the Oyo capital, on Tuesday.
The former governor urged South West governors, regardless of political party affiliation, to come together and jointly tackle kidnapping, armed robbery and other security issues bedevilling the zone.
He noted that there has been controversy over allegations that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government plans to Islamise and “Fulanise” Nigeria. He said it is not possible to Islamise the country, but if the allegation of Fulanisation is true, there would be problems.
Ladoja, who backed Governor Seyi Makinde over the dissolution of local government executive councils and proscription of activities of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said: “In Nigeria, we should be grateful to God. Religion has never been a problem for us until recently. Even Boko Haram insurgents did not start with Islam. Boko Haram started by saying ‘Western education is a sin.’ They never called themselves an Islamic group. But at times, if it is what people live on, you will see some extremists there. There are extremists in Islam and also in Christianity, as well as traditional religion.
“I don’t think any government, no matter what it does, can Islamise Nigeria. Will I say a child of mine, who married a Christian should be killed in the name of religion? No. We have mixed up more than that. The plan cannot stand.
“But if you are talking about Fulanisation, that is where the problem might come from. What is happening now is unprecedented. The Yoruba and Fulani have been living together from time immemorial. But as the population is growing, the consumption of meat is also increasing. And the number of people in agriculture is going down. Many places that used to be forested have become farms.
“We need to find a way out. The Fulani have been saying how they rear their cattle has become a tradition. But we need to make them realise that the population of people nowadays is more than what we had then. There are better ways of rearing cattle these days, than sticking to the old tradition of grazing them all around and from one place to another.
“If it is all about giving food to the cattle, we can solve it. But if the Federal Government has ulterior motives that it wants to Fulanise Nigeria, I don’t think this will be possible. What we know the Fulani for is they always want feeds for their cattle. If we find a way they will be feeding their cattle, and the farmers are also cultivating their farms beside each other, there will be no crisis.
“When I was young, there was no way you could find cows in Ibadan. If you wanted to buy cheese, you had to go to Oyo or Iwo. Nowadays, however, hardly would you find an area where there is no ‘Gaa’ (Fulani settlement). So, if it is true that the Federal Government plans to Islamise Nigeria, they should discard such plans with immediate effect,” Ladoja advised.