Of the thirteen Prime Ministers, heads of state and Presidents that have either ruled or led Nigeria since her independence from Great Britain in 1960, not one of them have been Hausa by tribe. Tafawa Balewa, our first prime minister was from a small minority tribe called Gere in Bauchi state, known in the singular form as Bagere. Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi was Igbo by tribe from Abia state. General Yakubu Gowon is Angas by tribe from Plateau state. Murtala Mohammed was Fulani from Kano state and President Olusegun Obasanjo is Yoruba from Ogun state. President Shehu Shagari is a Fulani from Sokoto state.
President Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani from Katsina state while President Ibrahim Babangida is a Gwari from Niger state. Ernest Shonekan is Yoruba from Ogun state and Sani Abacha was Kanuri although he claimed Kano as his state because he was brought up there.
Abdulsalami Abubakar is the only Hausa leader we have ever had. Yet was he a dictator? Was he domineering? Capital NO.
In office, he was a God-fearing ruler who treated every part of Nigeria equally and ushered in the Fourth Republic which has been our longest democratic experience ever. Abdulsalami is, and was a good man. Does his image fit the stereotype of the mean and monstrous Hausa man? No! Abdulsalami is more humane than some people who even call themselves clergymen! If he had wanted to stay on in power, you and I would not have been able to stop him. More than President Obasanjo, General Abdulsalami Abubakar is our own Mandela!
After him we had the second, Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration which was succeeded by the Umaru Musa Yar’adua administration. President Yar’adua was a Fulani from Katsina state. He was succeeded by President Goodluck Jonathan, a minority Ogbia (a minority clan within a minority tribe). He has been succeeded by President Muhammadu Buhari who is a Fulani from Katsina as previously noted.
From the above, some persons may want to adjust Hausa domination and make it Fulani domination, but that again is another Myth! Of the four Fulanis who have either ruled or led Nigeria, two of them were reluctant Presidents.
President Shehu Shagari, whom I have met physically, never wanted to be President of Nigeria. That is what he meant by the title of his own autobiography, ‘Beckoned to Serve’. All he wanted was to be a Senator. He was prevailed upon by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) to run as its flag bearer. He was a reluctant President.
Ditto for the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. He never wanted to be President. He wanted to retire as a chemistry lecturer in Katsina. He was persuaded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and even during the Presidential campaigns of 2007, President Obasanjo campaigned for Yar’adua more than Yar’adua campaigned for himself! Now of the remaining two Fulani leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari tried three times to be Nigeria’s President and three times he failed because he largely depended on the Hausa-Fulani