KWENU: Our Culture, Our Future

Hausa like Igbo & Yoruba are indigenous African first, not Arabs

FAROUK MARTINS ARESA

 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

 

We are not famous for violent crimes outside. Hausa history and their relationship to their brothers and sisters in Africa are richly documented, but they (Hausa) have embraced Islam regardless of their union with their fellow brothers and sisters. Those who cannot have productive heart-to-heart talk with their brothers for fear of recrimination risk candidness. A brother exclaimed that all the atrocities committed by the few Fulani at home are blamed on Hausa majority. Here we go again! Where lays Nigerian loyalty?

 

The best time to know who your friends are is durre is during trying times. This is it for Nigerians generally and Hausa in particular at the world stage. The shoe is on the other foot, since Northerners have been complaining about drug mules and 419 Southern brothers giving Nigerians a bloody black eye internationally. Most Nigerians living below 300 naira a day could not care less whether those who could afford to travel are profiled or stripped naked. Nix medical trips, money laundering, and visits abroad. Boy, there is no place like home!

 

It is a fact that the Hausa majority have come to terms with their Fulani minority in the Muslim brotherhood. They have the blood of each in most families, so it may be difficult to find a full-blooded Fulani today in Nigeria. What is left is the one drop rule as used by Caucasians to deny blacks any relationship to them. Therefore, the usual criticism that most of the royalties and political leadership positions remain in the hands of the Fulani is subject to a fault. Even many Nigerians are mixed but we snap off on religious ground.

 

What has never died is the repression of Hausa religion as Sun worshippers like other ancient Africans. There was Hausa Maguzawa before Mohammed, just as there were Yoruba Oduduwa and Igbo Chi before Christ. No matter how much they tried, the world will never be conquered by one religion. Crusade never did; Jihad will never succeed. Any religion that is sure of itself will attract people by its goodwill, not by sword in one hand and Bible or Koran in the other. This belief that some minds can be captured all the time ignored the fact that you cannot indoctrinate everyone all the time.

 

There is no better opportunity to seize than this international shame by one misguided soul who should have wasted himself on our vultures. If we need to cleanse our Hausa Maguzawa, Igbo Chi and Yoruba Oduduwa religions to save us from using religion to kill one another or as recruits for foreign religion, this is the time to think deeply in heart to brain discussion. Some may even suggest elimination of foreign religion altogether,  but by who? Punishment based on religious belief only suppress behavior on the short run, encouragement of our own religion in modern sanitized form may be the way to go.

 

Consequently, religious riots are more common in the Northern part of our Country while ethnic violence consume the Southern part of the Country. Violence is violence but the causes must be tamed. Others have argued that it is the religious solidarity in the North that has reduced ethnic conflicts which are more prevalent in the South. A land that breeds ethnic and religious conflicts cannot stand. The truth in each of these is that while ethnic conflict can be settled within, religious conflicts command foreign power. The Hausa say ba gagarare sai barare: we encourage few outlaws by our actions.

 

Hausa history as Yoruba or Igbo history indicates instances where we all meet, intermarry and our children moved to reestablish elsewhere. Some of us, in spite of reality of that evidence today, blatantly deny ever coming across one another until colonialism. On our way from our so-called foreign relatives to Nigeria, since nobody shipped us here, we must have met somewhere or somehow in a land this small but not as big as Africa!

 

Some Africans do have this clumsy complex even in the Diaspora amongst North or South Americans and West Indians about relating to people who are outside of their ethnic group, color, or culture as their ancestors with one drop of blood in them. The fact is there is hardly any group in the world today without African blood. Yet they never relate back to it. So it is not uncommon to find East or West Africans blacker than coal telling us about their Arab forefathers or conquerors. That is why others have the guts to claim ancient Egypt or Zimbabwe as the great work of Europeans or Arabs while denying the work of Zag-giga and Sumer Africans in Mesopotamia.

 

Our experience of slave trade in Africa with Europeans and Arropeans and Arabs have been so debasing that the vestige of that scar still remain from one generation to the next. Sony Ali of Songhai Empire was not Muslim enough and Moroccans later destroyed one of our greatest world empires. Our names and regretfully those of our children, in this day and time, still indicate evidence of archived foreign mentality like that of this writer. While it is no more by the force of slavery, it is by religion, culture, and economic subjugation. Each is equally powerful in a continent devastated by poverty.

 

If a single unprecedented act of a boy, who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, can bring so much shame internationally to a country as diverse as Nigeria, it is much easier to indoctrinate poor souls that have to beg to survive from day to day. In Somali and Sahara Africa, we are still killing one another in the name of religion. Any religion as the Christian crusade, the Muslim jihad or the Jewish/Arab conflict that pride itself on the number of converts and non-converts killed, has lost its appeal to many of us.

 

Though Hausa are spread all over West Africa, majority of them are still in Nigeria where they exhibit a culture that is authentically African but a religion that is so foreign in its adaptation, mischief makers made it easy to deem them more Arab than African. Many leaders are just as guilty since they would rather recruit some foreign doctors, clerics and, more important, teachers, when Nigerians of different faiths are obtainable. Indeed foreign preachers laugh all the way to the banks after their visits to any part of Nigeria.

 

Moreover, there are divisions within each of these religions as we see various forms of Muslims in the North as Maitatsine or Boko Haram. In the South, branches of various Christian seers fly in private jets. Differences between Shiites and Sunni in Iraq differ to Catholics and Anglicans in Slovakia. The Christians has violence in their midst in the past while violence within Muslim and between converts and non-convert, however few, has become repulsive and counterproductive. It has given peace loving faith a bad name.

Simply surprise yourself yonder