A Fulani professional group, Coalition of Fulbe Professionals in Africa, COFPIA, has distanced itself from a statement by Alhaji Alhasan Salah, National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which claimed to be against the candidature of former Anambra State governor and the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, in the 2023 presidential election.
They said Fulani will no longer be used for violence and extortion, as tackling the country’s issues and election matters have “gone far beyond religious and ethnic sentiments”.
COFPIA enjoined Nigerians to disregard any statement from Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, saying the group did not speak for Fulani ethnic group or represent the Fulani in any way.
Alhasan, who is the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, had in an interview with a national daily, said the Fulani nation would not support the candidature of Obi.
Alhasan had described Obi as a tribal bigot, someone who hates the North and, by extension, the Fulani tribe.
He said the leadership of the group had instructed every Fulani in the country not to vote for Mr Peter Obi, because “Obi is a tribal bigot and represents the Biafran interest which would not favour the Fulani nation in Nigeria.”
The National Secretary-General of the Fulani socio-cultural group, had noted that “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 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.
Alhassan claimed that when Obi was the governor of Anambra State, he “destroyed the businesses of northerners and chased plenty Hausa and Fulani people from entering Anambra.”
Fulbe Professionals react
But the Fulani group, operating under the umbrella of Coalition of Fulbe Professionals in Africa, picked hole in Alhasan’s claim.
The Fulbe professional group, in a statement, Monday, by Prof. Mohammed Gidado, its National President and Hajiya Mairo Modibo, National Secretary, countered Miyetti Allah.
While the group acknowledged everyone’s right to freedom of expression and opinion, it reminded “them that they don’t have the right to speak for the entire Fulani in Nigeria, especially when they have not lived up to expectations.”
In a statement to this effect, 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 any more.
“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 have 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 in involved,” the statement read.
The group said, “Our respected tribal group, Miyette 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 Peter Obi or any presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections and we are not Peter Obi’s mouthpiece.
“But it’s 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 Peter Obi as an ardent nationalist that believes in the unity of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call on our brothers in the Miyetti Allah Kautal 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 has no regards for other tribes and faiths.
“Nigerians have taken position in the forthcoming election 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 in every RUGA and town to sensitize our people so as not to be deceived by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and its like,” the statement added.