By Samuel Adegoke
Residents of Iganagan, Ibarapa, Oyo State have described the rush to bring back the dislodged Seriki Fulani in the town Alh. Saliu Abdulkadri as an act that will worsen the security crisis in the community.
The Convener Igangan Development Advocates, Mr Oladokun Oladiran, who spoke for the association, said Abdulkadri should only be allowed to return after nerves have been calmed and terms of cohabitation have been signed to guarantee peace and harmony in the community.
The Fulani leader, who has gone into hiding after his house was set ablaze by angry youths, has indicated willingness to return to Igangan, saying he has lived there in the last 50 years, and, therefore, knows no other community of habitation. He claimed to have suffered a loss valued at N500 million in the attack on his house, adding that he also lost seven of his kinsmen.
But Oladiran said the community was not prepared to immediately accommodate the Filani leader, accusing him of having built a criminal record during his 50-year sojourn.
He said: “ One thing I want to ask is that, why should the Fulanis have Seriki in the first place? Let us look at it critically. If I am staying in a place, of course, we can have association. If I am staying in the North, for instance, we can have groups and associations of Yoruba but we cannot appoint Baale or king among us because a monarch has a land.
“A monarch must rule over people, not just land, that is the strategy. There can’t be a monarch without people and land. So, when you appoint monarch, a seriki is a kind of monarch, a pseudo-monarch. When you appoint a monarch, you must assign them not just their people but you must get them a land to rule.
“So, having seriki upon our land is like having a monarch. It means his people are not bound by our law, they report to their seriki and not to our own monarch. It means they have autonomy and they can begin to do whatever they want to do. That is why we can say no carrying of arms but they can say, no they will carry arms because their seriki has not ordered them not to carry arms.
“And so they come into our midst with arms and we cannot do anything about it. So, the idea of having a Seriki will have to be revisited. Although we may have the legal right to say no, but if we can have it done legally, we will fight it but I don’t know the legal aspect of that.
“But, one thing I want to say is that, if this is looked into, if Igbo people are with us, the Ijaw people are with us, the Jukuns are with us, they meet together and form family and bond together as unions to seek the interest of others without having a monarch, why should the Fulani have a monarch in our midst?
“For now, when the situation is hot, the Yoruba people say that the sea cannot be boiling and you roll violently. What I will advise the stakeholders to look into is first of all, allowing the storm to still. Decisions made during a stormy session can be a wrong decision at the end of the day. All the storm need to be still, allow time, allow everything to cool down and then look for a strategic way forward. So, this rush to bring the Seriki back will only cause more storms.”