Dr. Junaid Mohammed and The Trouble with Fulanis

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo
11 min readJul 18, 2021

“All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” — Alexandre Dumas

I learned everything that I needed to learn about Nigeria within the first few weeks I started writing for Nigeriaworld. It was the early days of the Internet. At that time, a majority of those connected to the World Wide Web were the elite. Which meant that they read more than the headlines before they fired a barrage of abuses as their responses.

I was young and innocent, then. I did not know that “all generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” But those few weeks changed my perspective on Nigeria forever.

I started what accidentally became a series with “The Trouble with Igbos.” The bombardment of responses that came in my mailbox shocked me. While the Igbo attacked me from all corners of the globe, the rest of Nigeria, Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani(as we used to call them), Urhobo, Ijaw, and others declared that I was the best thing since kulikuli. One Igbo professor sent me three epistles in one day, where he lectured me on Nigeria and the place of the Igbo in it. He is a very good friend of mine today.

In subsequent weeks, I wrote “The Trouble with Yourbas.” Almost the same people who hailed me the weeks before landed on me with prime and premium abuses. Their central argument was that going to school in Yoruba land did not give me the impetus to claim that I understood the Yoruba people and their troubles. A Yoruba professor fired a rejoinder that was three times longer than my original piece. He mentioned my name thrice in every paragraph. I didn’t know that was possible before then. He also became my good friend.

And then came, “The trouble with Fulanis.” By the time I wrote that piece, there was nobody left to defend me. These were the early years of President Obasanjo’s first term. I do not recall the people who responded to my piece. I had become seasoned, too. By then, raining attacks on me was more like pouring a bottle of sunrays on an eagle’s feather. But I recalled that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was still engaged in public discourse then, before becoming the CBN governor and an Emir. I remember one Haruna Muhammad was active then. It was, however, Wada Nas that I subsequently connected with. His satire brought us together. I miss Wada Nas and his spectacular bad…

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo is the author of "This American Life Sef."