A Fulani professional group, Coalition of Fulbe Professionals in Africa, Monday, distanced itself from a statement credited to one Alhaji Alhasan Salah, said to be National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, embarking on a campaign of calumny against the 2023 presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi. The group described the move as “politically sponsored.”
The organisation called on Nigerians to disregard any statement from Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, saying it did not speak for Fulani ethnic group or represented the Fulani in any way. Alhasan had, in an interview with a national newspaper, said the Fulani nation would not support the candidature of Obi, describing him not only as a tribal bigot but also as someone who did not like the North, and by extension, the Fulani tribe.
“As far as Miyetti Allah is concerned, Obi is out of the options of persons to be voted for in the forthcoming elections. As far as we are concerned, we know those we cannot vote for. You see the one that they call Obi or OBIdient, any Fulani man who votes for him must be questioned because he may not be a true son of the soil. Obi represents the Biafran interest. So, we know those we cannot vote for and those that cannot be President of Nigeria. He is a tribal bigot,” he said.
But, COFPIA, in a statement signed by its National President, Prof. Mohammed Gidado, and Secretary, Hajiya Mairo Modibo, said while it acknowledged their right to freedom of expression and opinion, it would say “they don’t have the right to speak for the entire Fulani in Nigeria, especially when they had not lived up to expectations.” COFPIA said Fulbe people all over Nigeria “will not be bound by that politically sponsored statement of Miyetti Allah.”
“Our attention has been drawn to a sectional, unpatriotic, ungodly and senseless statement credited to one of our brothers, Alhajji Hassan Saleh, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, the most controversial Fulani group in Nigeria, which no doubt, is responsible for the bad name Fulani nation has been branded with in Nigeria.
“The Fulbe all over Nigeria will not be bound by that politically sponsored statement of Miyetti Allah anymore. The Fulani people are wise now and cannot be used as tools of extortion and religious sentiment anymore. We will enlighten our people to vote for competence and capacity come 2023. We will never vote for any candidate who has nothing to offer. We have gone far beyond religious and ethnic sentiments.
“We will vote for a President that will tackle poverty and acute hunger that has held our people, hostage, for so long. We will vote for a President that will fight insecurity with every commitment and unbiased mind, no matter who is involved. Our respected tribal group, Miyetti Allah, should channel their campaign to redeem the bad image they have created for Fulani people in Nigeria rather than casting aspersions on Peter Obi, who has demonstrated capacity to rescue Nigeria from the current hopelessness.
“We wish to also make it categorically clear that we have not endorsed Obi or any presidential candidate in the forth-coming general election and we are not Obi’s mouthpiece, but it is wrong for our people to continue to brand Peter Obi as a tribal bigot and that he doesn’t like the North. Available data has shown Obi as an ardent nationalist that believes in the unity of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call on our brothers in the Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore to only speak for their group, rather than misleading Nigerians that they are speaking for the entire Fulani people. They lack the moral, spiritual, and religious rights to speak for the entire Fulani people in Nigeria, especially when they have reduced themselves to tribal bigots that have no regard for other tribes and faiths.
“Nigerians have taken a position in the forthcoming elections to vote for the best man for the job and cannot be distracted by any selfish agenda and blackmail. As campaigns start, we shall mobilise and enlighten Fulani, young and, old to every ruga’s and town to sensitize our people so as not to be deceived by Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore and its like.”