Abdullahi Bello Bodejo is the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore, a Fulani sociocultural association.
In this interview, he declared the unflinching support of his group for the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is coming on the heels of earlier purported endorsement of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Cattle Breeders Association.
There is a report that Miyetti Allah has endorsed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its preferred candidate for the 2019 presidential election as against President Muhammadu Buhari who some people often refer to as the grand patron of your association. Is that so?
Let me explain this to you. We have two associations namely Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore Association. Everybody rearing cattle, whether Fulani or not Fulani, belongs to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, while Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore is exclusive to the Fulani alone. Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore is a Fulani sociocultural association. If you are a driver, a journalist, or cattle rearer, you are under our association. If you are not a Fulani, whatever you are doing, we can’t have relationship with you. It is a pure Fulani group. If you go to Taraba, and you see any member of the Cattle Breeders Association saying he is supporting Atiku, he is not a Fulani man. So, if Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders has endorsed Atiku Abubakar, you cannot say it is Fulani association that is supporting him. About a week ago, we held a press conference in Abuja where we condemned Atiku Abubakar for supporting the amnesty report accusing Fulani herdsmen of being responsible for the continued killings in the country. Because of that, we have launched campaign against him that no single Fulani man should vote for him in this election. Even if you are related to the Fulani in one way or the other, our campaign is that you should not vote for Atiku. We are also making every effort to see that the title of Waziri Adamawa conferred on him is withdrawn. That kind of a person does not deserve that type of title. Any holder of that title is supposed to work for the Fulani not to tarnish their image.
In order words, your association is against election of Atiku as president?
Yes, we are totally against him. We have instructed all our association members not to vote for him. And no single Fulani man will vote for him. If you see the pictures of those who are claiming to be supporting Atku, look at them very well, they are not Fulani people. They are either Tiv, Birom, or other tribes. They are only pretending to be Fulani. I tell you my brother; Atiku cannot win election in this country.
But he has a strong hold in the Northeast, including Adamawa. Doesn’t he?
Are you saying that the people from Borno and Adamawa are more in number than the Fulani? The Fulani have a huge population in this country. And already, we have sensitized our people to have their voter cards ready ahead of the election. If we don’t have voter cards, there is no way we can vote Atiku out. So, we are determined to see him woefully defeated. Anybody who thinks Atiku will win this election is day dreaming. Forget about the crowd you see in their campaigns. You can give people small money to be part of the crowd, but you can’t force them to vote for you. I am saying all this because I know what is happening among the Fulani. I know how they are feeling with this amnesty report and what Atiku said against them. Those who claimed to be supporting Atiku are not Fulani, they are hired people.
With all the support you are giving President Buhari, do you think he can secure enough votes to win another term of office in this election?
Everybody is behind him. And we are doing our best to make sure that nobody plays with Buhari’s vote. Go to Katsina, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Abuja, Minna, you will see the kind of support people are giving him. Go to Anambra State where Peter Obi is from, most of the people there are for Buhari. Go to Atiku’s local government in Adamawa, how many are ready to support him there? Nobody! Thank God, Adamawa is populated by the Fulani. We can’t allow any single Fulani man to vote for him. We have already launched our campaign against him. By now, all the Fulani are supposed to know their way. Again, people don’t know that Fulani are plenty in number. It is very clear that Buhari will win this election.
By the way, I don’t see any serious contender with Buhari. We are creating a serious awareness among our people to get their PVCs ready to vote out Atiku and ensure that Buhari gets the volume of votes no president has ever got before.
Do you know that some people in the South are also working hard to see that Buhari does not win again because of his alleged support to your group?
There has been a false propaganda against the Fulani since the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Some people believe that they cannot win election unless they bring in propaganda. Those people are very intelligent. They know the numerical strength of the Fulani; they know they are a very big tribe in the country. So, what they do is to raise propaganda against the Fulani and label them as killers. The kind of hatred people have for Buhari is because he is a pure Fulani man. There were farmers/ herdsmen clashes during Obasanjo and Jonathan regimes, but nobody used it against them. Even Atiku who was Obasanjo’s vice president did not pay any solidarity visit to the Fulani. That was why we were blaming Obasanjo for making him the vice president. Miyetti Allah is not the ones masterminding the killings. We are only an association working to protect the economic interest of the Fulani. If you observe very well, in the recent time, the propaganda against the Fu- lani is gradually going down because since I took over as the President of the association, I have been talking to correct some of these impressions. So, anybody you see now trying to use Fulani/farmers clashes to win votes is a desperate politician. Who is praying for crisis? Crisis is not a good thing for the country. If you are a pastor or you are an Imam, all of us must pray for this country. We must discourage desperate politicians from capitalizing on Fulani/Farmers clashes to canvass for votes. No fewer than one million cows were lost by Fulani in Taraba, Benue, Nassarawa states. But nobody is saying anything about it. There is an agenda by some people to finish Fu- lani in Nigeria.
What then are you people doing to separate those suspected killers from the genuine members of your association so as to correct some of these impressions?
Anybody who addresses Fulani herdsmen as killers deserves to be charged to court straight. We can file a case against such a person. Whoever is caught killing somebody should face the full wrath of the law. But to call that person Fulani herdsman is propaganda. Even if that person is a Fulani man, he is just an individual. I believe that person has a name and so he should be charged in his own name and not in the name of Fulani herds- men. That is why we agreed in our last annual meeting that any person who is trying to spoil Fulani’s image would be taken to court to prove his case.
As concerned stakeholders in Nigeria, are you making any move to work with other sociocultural groups like Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the Arewa Consultative Forum to promote peace in the country?
We are trying to do that. Right now in my office, I have Afenifere’s letter with me. We are ready to collaborate with any interest group to ensure that there is peace and security in the country. We are ready to work hand in hand with other groups to erase some of the propaganda against the Fulani. We are trying to approach them to ensure peace and stability, especially during this coming election.
President Buhari is the president of all Nigerians regardless of differences in languages and tribes. Now, what do you think Buhari has done to deserve a second term?
This is a very good question. One, since Buhari became President, have you heard of any bomb incident in Abuja? Before Buhari became president, there was kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed rubbery everywhere in this country. Thank God, people can now sleep with their eyes closed in their houses. But then, there are still some remnants of the people in the last administration who are working against this government. For us on own side, we are very much pleased with the peace in the country. As Fulani, nothing concerns us about electricity, what we need is grazing area. And thank God, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, is now trying to approach Fulani’s problem through his proposal for ranching.
All my life, I knew nothing about corruption until Buhari came into office. Now, you can see how he has been able to expose the level of corruption in this country and how people have been sharing public money. That alone is enough for people to vote for him. People who are saying Buhari is not doing enough seem to forget that Buhari is just one person. He alone cannot man all the sectors of the administration. Some of those people working with him are doing well, some are not doing well. All those who are not doing well in their states should be voted out. All the governors should bring back our grazing reserves. Some have sold the land, farmers have occupied some. We need those grazing reserves. Let them bring back our grazing reserves.
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