Sep 29, 2019

BBC Pidgin and the Beauty of Pidgin English



By next month (October, 2019), BBC English will be celebrating its second-year anniversary.

As it celebrates this milestone, we consider it a critical stage when there should be stock taking, looking at the ts we failed to cross and the is we failed to dot. One thing that radio stations do, aside news, teaching and fun, is that they help hone the language fluency of their audience. BBC Hausa helped my Hausa language progress, exponentially. BBC English also helped to sharpen my English. My expectation, when BBC Pidgin was founded in October 2018, was that my Pidgin English would improve. Sadly, it is the first time I had reason to criticize the language of an international radio station.

A language, when spoken in many countries, must definitely have local variations. If an international radio station must transmit to a large population in a spectrum of countries, it must avoid the use of these peculiarities. Such words are colloquial and would not be in any dictionary from which one can find its meaning. So, it only stirs a muddle. There is no accepted dictionary for Pidgin English yet, but careful judgment should guide one to use words whose meaning he is sure would be understood in another locality other than his. I have seen BBC pidgin using the word, kerewa, to refer to sex. I think that it is hasty. That word, even in Nigeria, where it originates, hasn’t found a home in the hearts of Pidgin English speakers yet. One often sees other cases of such words in the text of BBC Pidgin. This is one of the areas where, I think, the BBC Pidgin deserves a red card.

The second issue borders on spellings. Pidgin English in Africa is a mix of English and African words. Everyone’s expectation would be that when an English word is used, it should retain its original spelling. In cases where an African word is used, the African spelling should also be retained. But what I have observed with BBC Pidgin is that there is an effort to create new spellings for English words. It is like trying to avoid a practice the language has naturally created for itself. “Pipo” instead of “people”, for instance.  “Gud” instead of “good.” I see this as a step backward. Something that would create confusion, since the spellings used to replace the English spellings are not in any dictionary.

What I have noticed about Nigerians is that each time a stranger shows interest in Pidgin English, they try to impress him, and, in so doing, end up overdoing things, distorting and contorting the language so that it loses its attraction. In the end, the stranger is not impressed. I have noticed this with BBC Pidgin as well.

I know that the BBC Pidgin is new and, like an infant, will grow with time. What we are writing here is an effort to be part of the process of shaping the future of BBC Pidgin. The language is ours, and we have a duty to nurture and preserve it. I hope that this would be understood.  

Sep 9, 2019

Bauchi State Government Releases List of Commissioners


Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State
The Bauchi State Government in the north-west of Nigeria has released a list of its commissioners. The list circulated to newsmen today, 9th September 2019, was signed by Mohammed Sabi’u Baba, the Secretary to the Government of Bauchi State. It includes the following persons.
1. Prof Adamu Ahmed--Lands and Survey
2. Dr. Aliyu Tilde--Education
3. Abdulkadir Ibrahim--Works and Transport
4. Umar Sade--Power, Science, and Technology
5. Jidauna Mbami--Cooperative, Small Scale Enterprises
6. Hajara Gidado--Women affairs
7. Dr. Aminu Gamawa--Budget and Economic Planning
8.Turaki Manga--Special Duties
9. Abdulrazak Nuhu Zaki-- Ministry for Local Governments
10. Ahmed Jalam--Religious Affairs
11. Midibbo Ahmed--Culture and Tourism
12. Ladan Salihu--Information and Communication
13. Sama'ila ibn Adamu--Agriculture
14. Yakubu Bello Kirfi--Justice
15. Usman Saleh--Youth and Sports
16. Hamisu Shira--Environment and Housing
17. Mohammed A. Sadiq--Commerce and Industries
18. Nura Manu Soro--Finance
19. Umaru Sanda Adamu--Water Resources
20. Auwal Jatau--Health

Aug 10, 2019

THE BEROM NATION

By Kelechi Oduebo

Berom Dancers
If the person is a Nigerian and has names like ‘Dung’, ‘Gyang’, ‘Pam’, ‘Kachollom’, ‘Kangyang’ or ‘Chundung’, the chances that such a person is from the Berom tribe is ninety percent. As a matter of fact, if you have five friends from the Jos Plateau, there is high probability that one out of those five is from the Berom Tribe. This is because, of the Seventeen (17) Local Government Areas in Plateau state, Four (4) are predominantly Berom inhabited. These four Local Governments include; Barkin Ladi, Jos North, Jos South and Riyom Local Government Areas.


The Beroms are also found in the border towns linking Southern Kaduna and the Jos Plateau (specifically around Manchok in Kaura LGA OF Kaduna State, Ganawuri to K-Vom axis in the Plateau). Consequently, because of their geographical spread and numbers, the Berom people are the largest indigenous ethnic group in the Jos Plateau region.
Berom; a Tribe and a Language

Berom (also spelt as Birom) refers to a tribe; the people of the Berom ethnicity. Berom also refers to a dialect; the language spoken by the Berom people. According to some historians and narrators of the Berom history, the Berom tribe migrated from Egypt and eventually settled around the Vom/Kuru axis (which is regarded by some as the Ancient Kingdom of the Beroms). The Beroms by nature have farming, mining and hunting as their profession and stock of trade. They are also warriors.

Some Aspects of the Berom Tribe
The Berom people are a people with a rich cultural heritage. This cultural heritage is manifest in their festivals, arts and culture, music and dance.

Food: The Berom people have a native food referred to as ‘Rizgah’ which is a fingerlet-type crop that is cooked, peeled and eaten (without soup, stew or any ingredient, just like eating boiled groundnuts. Just boiled groundnuts. The major traditional food of the Berom tribe however, is called ‘Acha’ (Hungary Rice). The Beroms are one of major producers of acha in Nigeria. This ‘acha’ could be eaten in a variety of ways; jollof (mixed with ingredients), plainly boiled (like white rice) and eaten in combination with stew. It is also prepared as ‘Tuwon Acha’; ‘Tuwo’ is the northern version of ‘fufu’, ‘amala’ or pounded yam, but this time made with Hungary rice and eaten with some other soup. The Berom people however have a special local ‘draw’ soup, prepared from the bark of a particular tree and eaten when the soup is almost cold. Take note: Eaten when the soup is almost cold.

Festivals: Their festivals for example stem all the way from the precolonial times, with the advent of some after the independence of Nigeria from the colonialists. Some of their festivals from the Pre-clonial times include Mandyeng, Mado, Badu, Worongchun, Behwol, Vwana, Nshok festivals,[1] while the post-colonial festivals includes the Nzem Berom, Wusal Berom and more recently the Zereh festivals. These festivals are usually celebrated with respect to the livelihood and world-view of the Berom people. Therefore, the festivals are usually farming/harvest, hunting, and belief system related. For example, the Mandyeng and Nshok festivals are celebrated to usher in the rainy season. The Mado and Behwol festivals are usually celebrated with respect to hunting season.

The advent of Christianity and Western education has served to erode quite a bit of the previous beliefs and festivals. However, some of the festivals that stand-out amongst the  

Berom festivals these days include:
Nzem Berom: The ‘Nzem Berom’ could be translated as ‘Heritage of the Beroms’. Therefore, the festival is intended to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Berom tribe. It also serves to sensitize and re-entrench in the minds of the people, the culture and the tradition of the Beroms. The ‘Nzem Berom’ is actually a montage or combination of some of the pre-colonial festivals such as Mandyeng, Nshok, Worom Chun, and Vwana festivals.
Wusal Berom: Though this festival is tagged as a ‘prayer festival’. It also serves to re-emphasize the nature of the Berom people as very accommodating tribe; accommodating of other tribes. It is a festival intended to remind the Berom people of their virtues of kindness and hospitality.


Zereh: This is somewhat a more recent festival, intended to celebrate the beauty and ‘goodly’ attributes and virtues of the Berom girl or woman. This festival spans a whole week and includes beauty pageantry in which the most beautiful girl or the ‘Miss Berom’ is identified. The festival is also spiced with cultural displays, gala-dinner etc.


It might interest you to know that amongst the Beroms, a particular historical line or lineage can be traced through the person’s name. Such names usually have the prefix ‘Lo-’. For example, ‘Lo-Gyang’, ‘Lo-Bot’, meaning from the ‘Gyang’ or ‘Bot’ descent. (This is synonymous to the use of ‘Bin or Ibn’ in Arabic {like Bin Haman/ Ibn Haman-meaning ‘Son of Haman’} or ‘Ben’ amongst Jews, {like Ben Amin-meaning ‘Son of Amin’}).


Leadership of the Berom People
The leader of the Berom tribe plays a highly significant role, not only in the co-ordination and provision of leadership for his people, but also in ensuring cohesiveness and unity within the different tribes in the Jos Plateau (alongside the other Traditional Heads). From the time Da Rwang Pam became the head of the Berom people (1947-1969) till date, the Head of the Traditional Council or Tribal Council in Jos has been, (and is still) designated to the stool or throne of the Paramount ruler of the Berom people. The Paramount ruler is referred to as the Gbong Gwom Jos.


Though it never grew to become an Empire in the historical sense, the Berom Nation had the makings of an Empire in n every sense.
Verbal history reveals that the Beroms who were by nature hunters and gatherers had from the early 13th century followed animal migratory patterns traveled from North Africa.
A renowned Berom historian who also fought for the British Empire during world war ll, Late Da Nyam Kanang says the Berom originally started from Rome and made their way southward into Africa, in search for land and glory and being led by key animals like the chwei (Leopard), Murum (Loin), Gbwin (Elephant), Kwaya (Hedjug), Bogwom (Gorilla), Gwom (Python), Kangyang (Gazelle), Yop (Bushbaby), Tok (Fish) Bot (Frog), Tsok (Toad) Gyang (Moose)...etc.
They had brief stopovers the Kanem Borno territories and then for a longer than brief stay n Sokoto (the reason for their reffering to the Buzus as playmates).
They then moved and found a new home on the plains of the Jos Plateau.
According to history, the Beroms, who walked the lands from as far as Jengre (where they had a shrine) through to Jos (Jishe), Dogon Dutse ( Chwel Nyapp...with another shrine there), Du (later) , Foron, Riyom, Gwol (Barikin Ladi also later...during the Tin mining days), met a solitary neighbour living to the East of Jishe....the Gwong or Anaguta, a small farmer population content on their land.
As the Beroms settled on these lands, a part of them moved further on to occupy the land today known as Kagoma in southern Kaduna.
As they established themselves, the Miango and Rukuba later joined them.
History shows that each of these ethnic nationalities first came to present themselves to the Berom ruler (Da Gwom Rwei), they would show him what spiritual powers they had.
The Gwom Rwei would bless them and enjoined them to use their powers for the protection and blessings of the land.
Because of the hunter/gatherer disposition of the Berom man who spent long periods in the forests going after animals, he became more in touch with nature and by key implication, the spirit world.
Like the Native American Indians, the Beroms integrated with such entities, birthing the KWIT culture (spiritism).
The spirits in turn endowed them with different abilities e.g. ( to call down rain and thunder...Mandieng, abilities to excel in hunting, war and other extraordinary feats ...Bi Toh, .etc).
They were more in harmony with nature and thus lived with each other through simple covenant rules.
It is this disposition that caused the Berom Nation to not exert control and seek empire expansion status but rather settled for a simple coexistence with neighbors.
Even before the missionaries, the Berom looked to a father in heaven... DAGWEI...the Father in the Sun.
The Berom will normally not swear by any being but by hie/her grave...
When he/she says ..mi ha sag'o..
(I am telling the truth), it also means I speak by my grave.
Sag ...means grave.
Though some will say ....ma` shira da Dagwei....(I swear by the name of God)
And those who walked by the power of thunder would say...ma` shira de gbwara...(I swear by thunder)
He believes if he/she lies or cheats, they will meet in in their graves or God will punish him or thunder will strike him/her.
Yes...those who crossed their brothers or neighbours did die ...tragically and untimely.
For those who still hold to the truth today, God and nature still fight on their behalf today.
As to if the Berom Nation had power to ascend to the status?
The Beroms were heavily fortified in their lands so much so that they have never been conquered in battle by any aggressors.
Traditional history says each time any invading armies approached Beromland for war, the grounds around such armies will open up and swallow the invaders.
Meanwhile back home in the shrine, a drum would begin to sound all by itself to warn the land inhabitants of the danger at the outskirts of the city.
This prepared the fighting men and women for the war...which hardly ever reached the city.
A favorite story told was the of the Usman Dan fodio Jihad which could not enter Beromland.
When Dan Fodio's armies reached the eastern edge of Jos from Bauchi, their marabouts as usual sent their incantations and enchantments (yasin) to go in and distabilize the spiritual cover if the land...but after some time the yasin returned with the message that the city could not be taken because the power protecting it was much.
It warned that any jihadist...including Dan fodio...that entered the land will not return alive.
Dan fodio upon receiving this warning left Beromland, ( but not before dong certain things which we cannot discourse here) went round to conquer the Nasarawa areas but was eventually defeated in Benue state...he returned to Sokoto...
Of the ethnic Nationalities on the Plateau, the Berom Nation is about the only Nationality that does not have a Masquerade or Dodo.
They strongly believe in a supreme being or creator (Dagwei) and the freedom of the human spirit to contact Him.
This was evident in their initial efforts to reach God... which resulted in spiritism and later with the advent of missionaries, their quick acceptance of Christianity.
As the Berom Nation grew, so did their rich cultural heritage, which is today encapsulated in the annual Nzem Berom cultural festival.
Today, the Berom Nation covers 4 local Government areas of Plateau state:
Jos North, Jos South, Gwol (Barkin Ladi) and Riyom LGAs and is presided over by His Majesty Da Jacob Gyang Buba, the Gbong Gwom Jos and head of the Plateau state traditional council.

Some Berom festivals include:
Festival Span Period of Celebration in the year
Mandiyeng From Pre-colonial times March–April
Nshok From Pre-colonial times March–April
Badu From Pre-colonial times March–April
Worong-chun From Pre-colonial times April–May
Vwana/Bwana From Pre-colonial times August
Mado (Hunting festival) From Pre-colonial times October/November
Behwol (Hunting festival) From Pre-colonial times March–April
Nzem Berom Postcolonial March–April
Wusal Berom (Prayer festival) Postcolonial Monthly
Festivals in Berom culture are primarily related to agriculture and hunting, which have been the main events revolving around Berom livelihood and cosmology.
Nzem Berom
The influx of Christianity and western Education paved way for many socio-cultural changes in Berom culture. The changes devalued the rich culture of the people bringing serious predicament of a severe social and cultural crisis.
In order to avoid the danger of losing the socio-cultural practice of the ancestor, and the overall pre-colonial activities such as the Mandyeng, Nshok, Worom Chun, Vwana, ceremonies were brought into a single umbrella festival called Nzem Berom.
Nzem Berom is held within the first week of April, to coincide with the period when Mandyeng, Nshok and Badu Festival was held. The Nzem is a period when different cultural displays are exhibited from different parts of Berom land, especially in music, dance, arts and culture.
Mandyeng
Mandyeng is a major festival celebrated in Berom land to usher in the rainy season. The festivals normally take place in March/ April. In the past the Berom regard Mandyeng/Nshok (they are very similar) the most vital festivals which ensured a good farming and hunting period and harvest. Not all the Berom communities celebrate Mandyeng and Nshok. Those that perform 'Mandyeng' claim their roots from Riyom, they include; Vwang, Kuru, Zawan, Gyel, Rim, Bachit, Bangai, Lwa, Sop, Jol, Wereng Kwi, Gwo, Kakuruk, Kuzeng, Kurak, Kuchin, Rahos and Tahoss. Nshok: Nshok slightly varies from Mandiyeng due to the fact that it also associates hunting with the rainy season farming. It is also held once a year around the months of April and May, to usher in the new season just as the Mandyeng.
Names
In the pre-colonial era the Berom regarded hunting as both an occupation and a sport. Although economically it was not as important as farming, hunting was regarded as a show of skill and bravery. So much so, that most Berom names are derived from game animals, most importantly duiker [...due to their perceived beauty.
Names such as Pam, Dung (Racoon), Chuwang, Gyang (Moose), Badung etc. for boys are most common, while girls answer to Kaneng, Yop (Antelope). Chundung, Vou, Kangyang (Deer),. These are names for different species of duiker. Others, such as Bot (frog) Tok (fish), Tsok (toad) etc. are names for other animals that are non-domesticated, but not game. These names clearly typify how important game was in pre-colonial Berom society.
Nshok was not the only hunting festival in Berom land. Festivals such as Mado and Behwol existed but are not as important as Nshok
Music
Some of the musical instruments among the Berom include:
• Yom Nshi: a two-string banjo made with calabash and skin as resonators
• Yom: a straw string instrument
kwag or Gwashak: a scraper made from dry cactus played with a stick slid across the sawed body of the dry cactus to produce a scraping sound
Kundung: a xylophone made of cattle horns and cobwebs
Leadership
The Berom have a paramount ruler called the Gbong Gwom Jos.
The various Berom groups of Du, Gyel, Vwang, Foron, Bachit, Ryom and Fan among others were semi-autonomous and each had their individual Be-Gwom (High Chiefs)...these formed the council of Berom chiefs representing the entire Nation and were presided over by a Da Gwom (High Chief)at Riyom.
However, a traditional stool that would converge the entire Beroms into the British system of government through tool of the Hausa-Fulani rulership was created in 1935 by the British colonial administration of Northern Nigeria.
Northern Nigeria was composed of over 600 completely different linguistic and cultural features between the ethnicities on the Plateau and the other groups.
This ignorance of ethnic differences had initially encouraged the formation of vassal Hausa heads to oversee the created Jos Native Authority, which proved tumultuous with the Berom due to conflicting views and interests, given that during the Fulani Jihad of the 1800s, the Berom Nation were never be penetrated or conquered by the Jihadists.
Through a circular; No. 24p/1916[JOS PROF NAK 473/1916], dated 15 August 1917, the Resident at Bauchi Province was instructed to send potentials from various native authorities including district and village heads to be elevated as chieftains by the His Excellency the Governor General.
In response to the circular, the Resident wrote back to the secretary Northern Province Kaduna via a memo No. 24/1916 [JOSPROF NAK 473/1916] dated 27 October 1917, recommended a paramount ruler to superintend the native areas.
In the pre-colonial period, the Berom were divided into autonomous political groups based on regions, but the colonial authority merged them under the Gbong Gwom in 1952 to help coordinate the activities of the natives.
Leaders
During this period, Da Gwom Dachung Gyang was the then supreme ruler of the Berom at Riyom, reigning from 1935 to 1941. Under Dachung Gyang, the traditional institution was designated as the Berom Tribal Council comprising of local chiefs within the Jos Native Authority.
Its authority then only included mainly the Berom and excluded the chiefs of Buji, Naraguta, Jos and Bukuru. However, the government, in a Gazette of 7 February 1918, modified the list to include the Buji, Naraguta, Jos and Bukuru
The emergence of Da Rwang Pam (1947 to his death on 14th July 1969) saw the elevation of the head of the Tribal Council to the stool of the Gbong Gwom Jos.
He, along with a Catholic seminarian Da Patrick Dokotri and a Business-man from Mangu/Panyam Mr. Sylvanus Lot founded the movement for the Middle-belt, which later became the Middle-belt forum.
Da Rwang had 11 Children namely
1) Prince Bitrus Rwang Pam - He became Commissioner for Health Benue-Plateau State and a strong driving force of the Middle-belt forum.
2) Princess Vou Rwang Pam - she became wife to one time COCIN General-Secretary, Mr. Bitrus Pam
3) Princess Chundung Rwang Pam - She married Mr. Dung Ballang a tin miner tycoon from Zawang
4) Princess Hwonghei Rwang Pam - She married Mr. Maurice P Davou ( of NTC Zaria) from Gyel
5) Princess Kangyang Rwang Pam - she married Mr. Choji Zang Tot, a businessman from Gyel.
6) Princess Yop Esther Rwang Pam - She married Mr. Bulus Gyang Botsha, a civil servant from Kwang
7) Princess Kachollom Rwang-Pam – She married Mr. Gwom Tsok Reng, a customs officer from Foron
8) Prince Pam Rwang-Pam - A Broadcast marketer/Businessman
9) Prince Davou Rwang Pam- A career Musician (one time leader of the CACTUS BAND)
10) Princess Phwachom Rwang Pam- she married Mr. Adamu Zi from Heipwang, an SSS officer
11) Prince Chwang Rwang Pam – A Businessman/ Pastor who now resides in the USA
Since 1969, the stool has been held by the following:
Da Fom Bot, 19th August 1969 to his death on 1 December 2002
Da Victor Dung Pam, 17 April 2004 to 7 March.

Jul 29, 2019

Pauline Tallen Again


Pauline Tallen. Source:https://dailypost.ng

After my daughter was born, I would lift her, bounce her and joke that she will achieve what Pauline Tallen could not achieve. That was my wish for my daughter. Just about two weeks after my daughter was born, Tallen’s name appeared again in the ministerial list submitted to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari. I freaked; it seemed Tallen was not done lifting the hurdle and, it may end up becoming too high for my daughter. 

Pauline Tallen is unarguably the most politically prosperous woman in the political past and present in Plateau State, where she hells from and, perhaps, the whole of northern Nigeria, in recent times. She seems to be the phoenix of Nigeria politics that will always rise from her ashes to start a new life. Even among men, there are only a few with this political stamina in contemporary Nigerian politics.  

After an obscure political life at the grass-roots, Tallen became a junior minister in the Ministry of Science and Technology, during the Obasanjo Administration, lasting up till 2007, when Jonah Jang became the Governor of Plateau State and made her his Deputy. It is one of a few such cases across the length and breadth of the country.  As the end of the Jang’s first tenure neared, though, the duo fell apart, with Jang accusing her of being dangerously ambitious. She moved to a rival political party and contested against him in the 2011 Plateau State Gubernatorial Elections. She lost. She, however, made a huge imprint by defeating her ex-boss in Jos North, a locality where Plateau’s political energy is most spent.

Tallen spent the four years that followed in quietness, plausibly waiting for the right moment. With the onset of the Buhari Administration, she found that moment. She was often seen in the delegation of First Lady, Aisha Buhari. 

While Nigerians waited for the promises of President Buhari to mature, the younger, politically na├»ve First Lady shocked Nigerians by openly criticizing her husband for failing to include, in his cabinet, Nigerians who actually worked for his election. The President in his frustration condemned his wife’s comment and claimed that, “she belonged in the kitchen, the sitting room and the ‘other room’.” For Nigerians who see below the surface, there was a strong feeling that political veterans like Tallen actually pushed the First Lady to openly criticize her spouse and were actually turning the administration’s door knob so they can get in. 

It did not take long before President Buhari submitted Tallen’s name to be screened for a diplomatic role in his government. It was ill-timed, happening when her husband was hospitalized.  She told newsmen that her only option was to give up the role, since it required her to travel abroad. She made it clear that, should her husband get well, she would take any position President Buhari was willing to offer her, even if it were the position with the modesty of a street cleaner. She ended up with a double heartbreak: missing the job and losing her husband. 

By the time she finished mourning her husband, her metaphorical street-cleaner job came when she was made a member of the governing board of Nigerian AIDS Control Agency, in addition to her membership in the ruling party’s board of trustees.  

During the 2019 General Elections, Tallen returned home, contesting and losing the senatorial seat of Plateau-South constituency to Ignatius Longjan, her successor as Deputy Governor. Unbowed, she went to Abuja to meet with her powerful political friends, resulting in her name appearing in the new ministerial list of the Buhari Administration.  
Critics aren’t pleased. They criticised the administration in Abuja for nepotism, preferring to give cabinet positions to friends rather than resting its decision on merit. They claim she is part of the dirty history of the last two decades of Nigeria’s political journey and that it is indicative of the ineptitude and hypocrisy of the Buhari Administration, which promises accelerated prosperity to Nigerians. President Buhari had, after being sworn for his second tenure of four years, regretted working with people he had “hardly known” during his first tenure. This is an indication that Tallen is someone he had known and proof, critics say, of his government’s nepotism and incompetence. 

In part, the success of Tallen’s adaptation rests on her use of political parties like bread wraps, often thrown away after the bread has been eaten.

We congratulate Tallen on her new role and hope that, rather than just sitting in the boat and enjoying the cruise, she will be seen tirelessly carrying the oar and pushing the boat ahead.

Jul 20, 2019

In the Eyes of Dr. Nura Alkali

How ironic that, today, it is the Fulani who lack leaders to guide them and pursue their interests through legal ways. Please, do’n’t mention “Miyetti Allah”, which is a cattle-breeders’ association. I have never owned a cow in my life, and I don’t intend to, meaning I have no business with Miyetti Allah. (“Mi Yetti Allah” means “I thank God” in Fulfulde. I’m referring to the group here, not the literal meaning).

Miyetti Allah claims to represent the Cattle Fulani who live as nomads. That is their opinion. In my opinion, it is the blind leading the blind. Only the blind will insist on living a 17th century life in 2018. 50 years ago, humans conquered space to land on the moon. Others decoded DNA, which advanced the science of animal breeding to levels never before imagined in history. But we still have people pursuing an impossible nomadic lifestyle to raise cattle.

Please, when you travel from Bauchi to Yola, look on both sides of the road during your journey. All you will see are farmlands up to the horizon. The few vacant spots are the rocky hills around the Gombe-Adamawa border, and between Dindima and Kangere, near Bauchi. Farmers avoid them because plants won’t grow there, meaning cattle too cannot graze. And no doubt, beyond the horizon are villages and more farmlands.

Keep in mind that Adamawa and Bauchi are among Nigeria’s largest states. Toro LGA in Bauchi State (6,932 Sq. Km) is larger than each SE state except Enugu (7,161 Sq. Km). The whole of Ebonyi State (5,533 Sq. Km) – which welcomes the proposed cattle ranches – boasts of only 80% of the land area of Toro LGA. And Ebonyi is now in the news for a deadly fight over farmlands with a community in neighbouring Cross-River State. So, is a cattle ranch more viable in Toro or in Ebonyi?
It is northern states that have land for cattle ranches, which by their nature, have enough grass and water all year round – thus removing the need for a herdsman from Jigawa or Sokoto journeying to Ebonyi and Delta states in the dry season in search of pasture. So, why a cattle ranch in Ebonyi, unless Igbos also want to raise cattle? This is what I’m talking about. Beside being blind, Miyetti Allah also thrives on conflicts.

In any case, Town Fulanis like me are in limbo. “Tabital Pulaaku” is solely about Fulani culture, unlike “Afenifere” and “Eze Ndi Igbo” that champion Yoruba and Igbo causes. For the Fulanis, neither the Sultan of Sokoto (who heads JNI) nor the Lamido of Adamawa (who heads Tabital Pulaaku) is an overall Fulani leader; nor indeed, any group.

Sadly, a group of riff-raffs called Miyetti Allah are now mistaken as Fulani leaders.

 
Dr. Nura Alkali is of Fulani ethnicity and a physician at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Kaduna State, Nigeria.           

BBC Pidgin and the Beauty of Pidgin English

By next month (October, 2019), BBC English will be celebrating its second-year anniversary. As it celebrates this milestone, we c...