By Isyaku Dikko
@Katsina City News
The Yandakawa are decendants of Malam Muhamman Na-Alhaji, one of the three leading jihadists in Kasar Katsina. The father of Na-Alhaji, Malam Usman Bakaduba (one who does not engage in soothsaying), was a Fulani Islamic scholar who migrated from Malle in the present Republic of Mali and settled at Kwami, near Birnin Katsina. Bala Usman stated:
The leading family at Kwami was that of Mallam Umar Kaki of Malle origin. It was this small town about six miles South of Birnin Katsina, along the major route to the south and the south west, that another Bamalle (member of Mallawa clan who traced their origin from Mali) Mallam Usman Bakaduba came to live in the mid – nineteenth century.
Malam Usman Bakaduba went to Mecca on pilgrimage and never returned to Kwami. His son, Muhamman Na-Alhaji, therefore, took over the teaching of his father’s students. And not long after that, the Sokoto jihad broke out. Expectedly, Na-Alhaji identified himself with the jihad and became a strong supporter of Shehu Danfodio in Kasar Katsina. Bala Usman observed that: “Malam Muhamman Na-Alhaji was one of the most firmly established supporters of Shehu in Katsina. He was a highly respected scholar with a following among the inhabitants of large towns like Runka, Zakka and smaller settlements to the south – west of his town Kwami”. 2 The Malle Fulani are known as GORGAL
In any case, Na-Alhaji as Fulani, had no option but to join Shehu Danfodio because sequel to the defeat of forces led personally by Sarkin Gobir Yunfa at Tabkin Kwato in June 1804, the sarakunan Kasar Hausa became jittery based on which “orders went out from the Birnin Katsina to the sarakunan Katsina to raid and destroy everyone who followed the Shehu. Many of the followers of the Shehu in Katsina were killed or captured and others fled and were forced to unite and defend themselves”.
If you were Fulani and Islamic scholar, you were guilty until you proved your innocence. It is therefore obvious that contrary to the argument that the Jihad was a Fulani racist war of “power seekers and trouble makers, causing discord in a community in which the majority of the inhabitants were muslims” 4, the Jihadists rose in self defence. In his book titled, A little Light On The History of Hausa Land, Sultan Muhammad Bello took time to explain their reasons for attacking people who were muslims. First, the Hausa rulers:
Those kings and scholars started harming the Jama’ah,confiscating their wealth, cutting off ties of kinship and telling the outcasts to rob them on their ways and harm whoever is affiliated to them. The fact being that they were Jama’ah who could not confront them and no one could think that they would afford that because in most cases, the followers are weak people with no knowledge of war… They [the emirs] took from the acts of worship what will enable them to occupy their posts, hiding under that: performing only salat, fast and Zakat, professing the Kalimah Shahada without observing its conditions.
It was because they were mixing Islam with traditional cultural practices that Usman Danfodio wrote them letters to repent which they rejected, as Sultan Bello stated.
The Sheikh moved with his Jama’ah until he camped in Magabish, the remaining days of spring. From there he wrote to the kings of our sudan lands. Part of what he wrote explains to them what he is doing i.e supporting the truth over falsehood, reviving the sunnat and putting out innovation. He also asked them to be sincere in their worship of Allah and avoid any action and deed that contradicts the shariah… Abdurrahman, the son of the erudite scholar moved with the letters. He delivered the letters of the king of Katsina. After looking at it, he was taken by pride and tore it and Allah consequently tore his kingdom apart.
On the attack on Borno, Sultan Bello stated that his father, Usman Danfodio directed him to write a letter to Shehu of Borno explaining the reasons for the Jihad and why he should not support Hausa rulers because they “were unbelievers although their appearance is of muslims. I suggested to him to beware that they are apostates. He should not be carried away by the sense of tradition of solidarity among kings” 7 But when the emissary met the Shehu he tried to kill him. However, “Sheriff Ashaheed interceded for him and he ran to the land of Bagirmi. I do not know what happened to him thereafter… The Shehu of Borno, however, has made off his mind to confront our followers. He led an army which, at first camped at Washkan from where he sent troops to attack the Jama’at of Diardim and defeated them.” 8 For Sultan Bello, ethnicity was not an issue because they fought their Fulani kinsmen who they considered unbelievers. He stated: “We spent a few nights there, moved to the west and conquered about fifty fortress in Katsina and dispersed the enemy. Among those attacked were the Fulanis, in addition to the Katsina people. There is no difference between them. They are all unbelievers.” 9 Interestingly, some of his followers like Sheikh Abdulsalam of Gobir and Yakuba, the flag bearer of Bauchi, were not Fulani. The case of Yandoto where many Islamic scholars were attacked by the Jihadists also attracted attention. Even Sultan Bello acknowledged their scholarship when he stated that, “Yandoto is a village famous for its scholars”, but they “drove out of the village whoever was affiliated to us like Al-Hajj Umar and brother Muhammad bin Ashafa.” 10 Sultan Bello said that he went to Yandoto and camped outside the village and sent a messenger to them requesting for a meeting to resolve their differences but they replied that: “We are not debating anything with him neither do we like to see him and may Allah never make any meeting between us and him or his father in this world or in the Hereafter.” 11 The Jihadists attacked and took over the village. The descendants of Muhammad bin Ashafa, who they expelled from the village, are now the ruling class in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara state. Of course, the Jihadists made peace where necessary. For example, Sultan Bello stated, “The Mujahid, Hamid, took oath of allegiance from him [Sheikh Bukhari] and declared Jihad against the people of Borno until he removed the Shehu from his royal house. He moved to Kanemi and Muktar resided in the fortress. The Shehu of Borno returned to fight and Allah repelled him.” 12 However, the Jihad in Borno took a new dimension because, according to Sultan Bello, “suddenly a letter came from Al-Haj AlAmin” Al-Kanemi requesting for peace on strong intellectual arguments rooted in Islamic scholarship insisting that the war was unIslamic because they were also muslims. 13 After addressing all the issues raised by El-Kanemi in his letter, Sultan Bello reasoned with him, in a reply to his letter, by stating that, “then know dear brother that what has passed, has passed. Making peace between muslims is good. Doing so is greatly rewarding. Moreover it is not possible to make peace except if you forebear and tolerate.” 14 The Jihadists had advantage over the Shehu of Borno because there were many Fulani in Borno territory and its surroundings, therefore, did not have to send troops from Sokoto.
THE JIHAD IN KATSINA – ZAMFARA – GOBIR AXIS
The Jihad started in Gobir kingdom. And it is on record that Shehu Danfodio wanted peaceful co-existence with Hausa rulers of Gobir. He made five demands as political concession and were approved by their leader, Bawa: 1) “To allow him call people to God 2) Not to stop anybody who intends to respond to his call 3) To treat with respect any man with turban 4) To free all political prisoners 5) Not to burden the subject with tax”15 The emergence of Nafata as the ruler of Gobir changed everything. Sultan Bello revealed the four new conditions of the new Gobir ruler as follows: 1) “That no one else admonish people apart from the Sheikh himself. 2) No one should continue as a Muslim except those who were born as Muslim. Whosoever his parents are not Muslims should go back to that which he found his forefathers doing. 3) No one should wear turban after today and no woman should wear a head cover over her bosom.”16 Sultan Bello summarised their plight as follows:
Gobir had already forced us into exile to areas without much vegetation with hope we would perish. Now they wanted to exterminate us and cut off the roots of Islam completely… war was never our intention or our goal. “War” said my teacher and uncle Shehu Abdullahi “is an evil dispute” in the course of which the worst of human conduct displays itself. Peace is infinitely better and was our desire. But tyrants fear peace and would wage war as a means of self – perpetuation and self – preservation.
However, the Jihad in the Katsina – Zamfara – Gobir axis was fiercer in Kasar Katsina because to the credit of Hausa rulers, Katsina had emerged
as a super power in the axis by 1778. 18 The capitals of the three kingdoms, who where neighbours, were not far from one another and their areas were the epicentre of the Jihad. However Katsina Hausa rulers were warriors even from their names such as Karya Giwa (break the elephant) and Tsaga Rana (crack the sun). In fact, out of the three kingdoms only Katsina survived to date with its capital and substantial part of its territory intact as an emirate. This is important because it throws some light on the challenges faced by the Jihadists in the area. Indeed, the Hausa rulers are responsible for the identity of Kasar Katsina as a land of warriors and its indigenes as humble but fearless (kunya gareku ba dai tsoro ba). Dr Garba Nadama, in his doctoral thesis, on the History of Zamfara, acknowledged the power of Kasar Katsina under the Hausa rulers:
After the defeat of the Gobir army at Dutsin Wake near Kiawa and subsequently at Dan Kashi, the Katsina went on demonstrating their influence within the disintegrating Zamfara state[not the modern Zamfara State]. Sarkin Katsina Karya Giwa (1768 – 1778), took his army as far as Mafara in middle Zamfara C.1774. In the closing decade of the 18th century, Sarkin Katsina Gozo led an expedition to Kokiya a few kilometres away from Zurmi. He went further by parading Katsina strength across Zamfara as far as Rikini and Gandi both border towns between Kebbi and Zamfara… Sarkin Katsina Gozo went south-wards as far as Gumi area.
The Jihad in Katsina remained an ongoing project for over 30 years even after the Hausa rulers were conquered and expelled from the capital. The attacks from Maradi and Damagaram especially the rebellions (bore) led by Dan Mari and Dan Baskore remained a nightmare to the Fulani rulers for long. According to Bala Usman, “Dan Mari fortified himself at Karofi and the seige [he laid] in both Matazu and Karofi lasted for several month of 1843.” 20 In the case of Dan Baskore, he carried out “83 expeditions against the caliphate”. 21 Specifically, in Kasar Katsina he attacked many settlements including, “Makurdi, Wurma, Matazu, Koda, Jani, Benye and Kurmin Danranko.” 22 In fact, in one of the expeditions, “Dan Baskore even succeed in burning Dallaji and making a camp on tudu (hill) close to the tomb of Abdulmumini, father of Umarun Dallaji. The site of his camp is now marked by a tree known as kanyar (African ebony) Dan Baskore”. 23 In the attack against Kusada he moved out “swiftly from Maradi” and “surprised the inhabitants, plundering and burnt this large town on the border with Kano, spreading fear and threatening the security of the densely settled plains.”
YANDAKAWA AND SOKOTO JIHAD
As we have stated at the beginning, Muhammad Na – Alhaji was the founder of Yandaka family. Therefore, it is important to examine his contributions to the Jihad because although the Yandakawa were muslims long before the Jihad, the family was largely defined by the Jihad based on which it has been a factor in Kasar Katsina since the emergence of Fulani rulers and the emirate system. Sultan Muhammad Bello acknowledged the contributions of Muhammad Na – Alhaji in his book on the history of Hausa land. On the battle in Zamfara, he stated: “Muhammad bn Al – Hajj retuned with his group from the west, catching up with those who remained behind them. The king of Katsina kept a sustained policy of sending troops to attack us, but Allah helped us to defeat them several times.” 25 On the battle of Duba he stated that, “Muhammad bin Alhaji planned for another onslaught”. There is a need to address a popular oral tradition that Ummarun Dallaji emerged as Emir of Katsina because when the three flag bearers from Kasar Katsina visited Sheikh Usman Danfodio, he directed them to visit Sultan Muhammad Bello on their way back home and they complied but Muhammad Na – Alhaji and Ummarun Dumyama got tired of waiting for Bello and left. When Bello came out, according to the tradition, he gave Ummarun Dallaji a flag and appointed him the leader of the Jihad in Kasar Katsina. If you know the culture of Fulani and Islamic Scholars, there was no way Na – Alhaji and Dumyama could have been rude to Sheikh Danfodio or his son, Sultan Bello. But the truth, as revealed by Sultan Bello, is that it was he, Sultan Bello, that gave Na – Alhaji a flag:
I gave Muhammad bin Hajj the flag to take to Runka. They moved, conquered and lived there. When the leader of Katsina’s army was defeated, he went with the army and camped at Janadak. From there he fought the people of Ruma and Attacked the suburbs of the Jama’at. He was defeated by the Ruma three times; then when he heard of the place of Muhammad bn Al – Hajj and his Jama’at he moved towards them and Allah defeated them and he returned a loser to the fortress of Katsina and it was the cause of their weakness. He returned to the fortress of Katsina and the people of Jihad overpowered them. Muhammad Ibn Al – Hajj had moved and camped close to their fortress while Umar Dallaji moved and camped close to the right flank, attacking them from there. He put them under siege and Muhammad bn Al – Hajj fought them.
Most likely the Fulani became rulers in the emirates because that was the only way they could eradicate unIslamic practices and improve the practice of Islam. In any case, historically, hardly people feel safe to allow the people they have conquered to continue as ruling class. In fact, the Jihadists were not focused on land or power.
Na – Alhaji was the oldest among the flag bearers and died in 1807 before the final conquest of Kasar Katsina in 1808. His son, Muhammad Dikko, succeeded him as the leader of the contingent. This paved way for the emergence of Ummarun Dallaji as the emir of Katsina.
However, based on an in-depth study using many sources, it was Bala Usman who projected the contributions of Malam Na – Alhaji to the Jihad in wider perspective. For example, he stated:
A section of this jama’a led by Mallam Muhammad Na-Alhaji continued with hijra across Zamfara, encountering many difficulties on the way until they finally reached the Shehu at Kirari, by about September – October 1804. Their arrival and that of another group led by Malam Agali from the Adar – Gobir borderlands, strengthened the Shehu’s jama’a and it was with them that raids in the neighbourhood of Birnin Alkalawa, which preceded the battle of Tsuntsua were begun.
Malam Muhammad Na-Alhaji was lucky to have survived the battle of Tsuntsua. The jihadists recorded heavy casualties. According to Sultan Bello,”the cream of jama’a was almost wiped out” at the battle. He summarized the experiences of the jihadists at the battles, thus:
Sometimes we won. At other times we lost. In two Particular instances, our loss was grave and far-reaching. At any time throughout the period of our jihad, we stood the risk of annihilation, by war, by hunger, by thirst or by diseases. In the battle of Tsuntsua the cream of the Jama’a was almost wiped out. Two thousand of our men were martyred – at least two hundred of them knew the Quran by heart – as well as the Chief Justice and our Imam, our standard bearer, and several other venerable scholars and saints. But in jihad, victory or defeat, do not make much difference. Allah grants them as He deems fit, both serve the same purpose in His unfathomable transcendental scheme.
Later, around March 1805, Bala Usman further argued, “Malam Muhammad Na-Alhaji who had taken an active part in the fighting in Gobir and Zamfara moved back into Katsina and established himself at a place in western Katsina, from where he managed to beat back the expeditions sent against him.” 30 He also argued that:
With the Yandoto region effectively conquered and no longer posing a threat from the rear, the contingent of Malam Na-Alhaji in the west immediately launched an expedition against the town of Runka. The town fell easily and an expedition sent by the Ubandawakin Katsina to retake it was beaten back. About this time, in the late bazara of 1806, the Battle of Farfara took place in Zurmi. Muhammadu Namoda severely defeated a combined attack on Zurmi…the victory of Namoda improved the position of the jama’a at Ruma who, with the assistance of this mujahid and in concert with Malam Na-Alhaji, were able to put sufficient pressure on the Ubandawakin Katsina based at Yandaka [the Hausa ruler of Kasar Yandaka] to force him to move back to the Birni. This enabled Malam Na-Alhaji to move in to take the town of Zakka, which became his main base up to his death in C.1807. The retreat of the Ubandawaki back to the capital is seen by Muhammad Bello as marking an important stage in Katsina campaigns. With the victory at Yandoto, and then Zurmi, the abandonment of Yandaka and the fall of Zakka the mujahidun became effectively in control of the major settlements of Western Katsina, enabling Malam Na-Alhaji to start sending expectations to Abukur and Batagarawa and other settlements close to the capital.
The conquest of Katsina was made possible by the untiring efforts of many sympathizers of Danfodio’s mission of fighting kufr and injustice in
Hausaland. The sympathizers were led by the three flag bearers, namely; Malam Muhammad Na-Alhaji, Mallam Umarun Dallaji and Malam Umaru Dumyama as we have stated earlier. And the size of the land conquered by each of the three groups can be understood by the territory inherited by their descendants because a system of “diffused authority” was introduced in administering Kasar Katsina, after the jihad. Ummarun Dallaji became the amir al-mu’minin but with limitations, as Bala Usman stated:
What seems to have happened was that the general distribution of authority and territory that had emerged out of the campaign was observed. Mallam Umarun Dallaji recognized as amir, was responsible for the main Juma’at Mosque in the Birni and meetings were held at his place; while he did not attempt to interfere in the running of affairs of the territory controlled by the other leaders, which might have even been seen to include the quarters they inhabited in the Birni. The appointment of people to govern the settlements, the collection of jizia and kharaji; the regulation of commerce and manufacturing; the establishment of new settlements; and it is said even the appointment of qadis were left to each leader.
After the death Na-Alhaji, the leadership of his contingent fell on his son, Muhammad Dikko. And by Muharram of 1223/February-March 1808, when Mallam Umarun Dallaji settled as amir almu’minin and “the bulk of the contingents had dispersed back to their homes”, Dikko settled in the Birni at the palace of Yandaka, one of the Sarakunan Kasar Katsina (Katsina Hausa rulers) after driving them out of the city. Many of them fled to Maradi and Damagaran in present Niger Republic. 33 For instance, in 1971 Bala Usman interviewed Galadima Muhamman, 75, who was born in Maradi, Niger Republic, but his father Ali, “comes from the family of Yandaka Muhamman,” one of the Sarakuna of Katsina who followed Dankasawa into exile in Damagaram.
Actually, before the British administration, there were no District Heads. They are the creation of British administration. Before then, there was only an emir with masu gari (Village Heads), and the Sarakunan Karaga (King makers) who were coordinating the areas ruled by masu gari. This is the origin of Maigari which is used to refer to a Village Head.
Thus, the contingent of Muhammad Dikko, son of Muhammad NaAlhaji, controlled “the territory which included part of the Birni extending from Sagi in the centre of the Birni through Darma, Rafin Dadi through Kofar Kwaya southwards to the border with Pauwa which was then part of Zamfara. Westward, also extending from Sagi through Tudun Yanshanu, Masanawa, Gafai, Kofar Yandaka to Yandoto and to the border with Zamfara in the West”.
The map of Kasar Yandaka produced by the colonial administration in 1932 at the end of this work seems to support this assertion. But the map was drawn after the death of Malam Na-Alhaji in 1807 (i.e after 125 years), a period that witnessed many changes, especially the creation of new Districts out of Kasar Yandaka whose District Heads are not Yandakawa, during the reign of Yandaka Mani (1894 – 1928). The Districts are: Ruma, Batagarawa and Safana (including Zakka where Na-Alhaji was burried). 36 The role of NaAlhaji in the conquest of these three areas have been explained by Bala Usman in the previous page. Also, after about 100 years, four additional districts were created out of Kasar Yandaka. They are: Yantumaki, DanMusa, Kurfi and Zakka In fact, both Umarun Dumyama and Muhammad Dikko, son of Muhammad Na-Alhaji, aspired to succeed Umarun Dallaji as emir because they considered him first among equals, with equal flag. They rejected hereditary succession, according to Bala Usman:
Ummarun Dumyawa and Muhamman Dikko, openly aspired to the office themselves. Amir al-mu’minin Bello’s choice of Saddiku to succeed Umarun Dallaji was a great disappointment to these mujahidun. They seemed to have hoped that Bello would adopt the same policy he had followed earlier in Kano where, after the death of the emir Suleiman in 1819, he appointed Ibrahim Dabo, who was not related to Suleiman. A Similar policy had been followed in Zazzau in 1821 when after the death of the emir Malam Musa, Bello appointed Yamusa who was a leading Mujahid but no relation to Musa.
The descendants of Na-Alhaji took the title of Yandaka in 1842 when Abubakar, a son to Dikko, succeeded his brother, Abubakar Namoda. Both Dikko and Namoda were known by the title of Magajin Mallam (heir to the teacher). To distinguish them from Hausa Yandakawa they are referred to as Fulani Yandakawa. They ruled their territory from Birnin Katsina until 1844 when they moved out of the city and established a new headquarters at Tsauri. A total of fifteen Yandakawa leaders (although some of them did not use the Yandaka title) were recorded from Muhammad Na-Alhaji to Sada Muhammad Sada, the current Yandaka.
The change of title from Magajin Malam to Yandaka was not unconnected with the fact that Na-Alhaji came into Birnin Katsina through the Yandaka gate and took over the house of the traditional Hausa Yandaka who fled to Maradi. It has been serving as the official residence of Yandaka in Katsina till date. In fact, before they moved to Tsauri on the instructions of Sultan Muhammad Bello, they were controlling their territory from Birnin Katsina, with the reigning Yandaka occupying the house. Prior to the colonial conquest, the autonomy of Yandaka was guaranteed as he was appointed and removed by the Sultan of Sokoto. For instance, a memorandum by the District Officer of Katsina Division to Resident of Zaria Province dated 3rd November 1928 revealed that “Usman (Yandaka Mani) the present Yandaka was appointed by Sarkin Musulmi Abdurrahman”. The same memo recommended the appointment of Sada as the new Yandaka:
Usman the present Yandakka was appointed by Sarkin Muslumi Abdurrahman about 1894. He is now 89 years of age and has reached an advanced stage of senile decay. In 1920 Dansannabi, eldest son of Yandaka was appointed Wakili. He died in 1925 and since that date the affairs of the district have been managed by Yandaka’s second son Sada who is living in Dutsin-Ma. Yandaka has continued to receive the official salary of £720 per-annum. I consider and the Emir agrees that the time has come when Sada should be appointed Yandaka and his father retired on pension. Sada is 45 years of age. He was educated at Nasarawa School and at Katsina Provincial School. He is active and intelligent and has acquainted himself creditably during his term of office (as wakili).
The recommendation was approved in a memo dated 15th November 1928 and signed by John H. Carrow. 40 With the approval of the appointment of Sada, he became the first Yandaka to be appointed by the British Administration. It is important to note that the headquarters of the district was in many places, but within the district, as Dr. Yahaya observed:
The Yandakawa rulers settled and ruled first in Katsina, and then they transferred their headquarters to Kwami and Batagarawa. It was in C.1844 that Yandaka Hassan founded the town of Sauki (later renamed Tsauri)… Yandaka Hassan was also said to have built walls at “Tsauri, Barawa, Tsanni, Batagarawa and Chilawa”. Five Yandakawa ruled and stayed at Tsauri; Yandaka Hassan (C.1845-1869); Yandaka Sulaiman (C.1870-1871); Yandaka Sada I (C.1872-1877); Yandaka Zubairu (C.1878-1894) and finally Yandaka Mani (C.1894-1928). Thus, Tsauri was the headquarters of Yandakawa for about eighty four years… During the reign of Yandaka Mani the district headquarters was temporarily moved to Kurfi in 1925…However, in November 1928 the district headquarters was finally moved from Kurfi to Dutsin-Ma.
When Yandaka Sada was appointed in 1928, there were only 10 – 20 houses. But by “1940, it had 2,600 inhabitants living in 464 compounds, situated at the foot of “dutsin” Dutsin-Ma as well as to the South-West and east of the rock. And by 1952, there were 6,640 inhabitants in the town”. 42 Dutsin-Ma was chosen because of administrative convenience as it was at the centre of the district and located along the major Kankara-Katsina road. Also, it had good water at Hayin Gada river, and a very promising market especially for cotton and groundnut.
At present, the Yandaka is the District Head of Dutsin-Ma and Kingmaker (hakamin karaga) in Katsina Emirate Council. The large area ruled by the Yandakawa has now been reduced to Dutsin-Ma Local Government by changes that witnessed the breaking of areas into more manageable administrative units for rapid development.
For long, the Yandaka was the most Senior District Head in Kasar Katsina. This is reflected in the protocol of the speech of Resident of Katsina Province at the installation of Alhaji Usman Nagogo as Emir of Katsina on May 19th, 1944. 44 Also, traditionally, the Yandaka is the only District Head who shake hands with the emir of Katsina. This is because he is considered “comrade at arms” during the Sokoto Jihad. One of the praise singers of
Yandaka used to say that even in Katsina, “Yandaka aboki ne ba bara ba” (Yandaka is a friend not a servant).
There are towns ruled by Yandakawa outside Dutsin-Ma local government such as Dan-Musa whose District Head took the title of Magajin Malam. Other towns are: Tsauri in Kurfi local government and Dan-Ali in Dan – Musa Local Government. There are also Yandakawa in diaspora. For example, when Yandaka Abubakar went on expedition he was captured by forces of Sarkin Damagaran, and after his release, he discovered that Yandaka Hassan had been appointed, therefore, decided to go on exile to a place called Goge near Kwatarkwashi, present day Zamfara State.
The Yandakawa Fulani are Mallawa, like Mallawa of Zaria. The founder of the latter dynasty Malam Musa, was also a flag bearer of Usman Danfodio like Malam Na-Alhaji. The biographers of Alhaji Shehu Idris, Emir of Zazzau, revealed that: “Malam Musa was a Fulani man from Malle (Mali) an ancient town in the region of Timbuktu. He was in time to witness the victory of Shehu at Tafkin Kwatto in June 1804.”46
Malam Musa became the first Fulani ruler in Zaria (1804-1821) and for historical reasons his descendants retained their Mallawa identity and tribal marks (eleven). Although the Yandakawa are not known as Mallawa but they have also retained eleven (11) as their tribal marks.
The Mallawa came to Katsina because it has been a center of learning for long as revealed by Alhaji Abubakar Koko, Sarkin Yakin Gwandu, who enrolled in Katsina Teachers College in 1952:
My father went to the extent of telling me that even his elder brother went to Katsina for his education, and his own father, Mallam Musa had to go there for his Islamic education. Even my great grandfather, Mallam Muhammadu Dan Gindi, went to Katsina, Gobir and Zaria, among other places, in his quest for education… Father indicated to me that he too would have wished to go there to further his education like some of his class mates at Birnin Kebbi. Without much ado, I accepted to go to Katsina.
The attraction to Katsina made it a cosmopolitan city whose inhabitants became the most conscious and assertive “yan birni”, as Bala Usman argued:
The inhabitants of the cikin birni quaters of the Birnin Katsina saw themselves as not only distinctly more cultured and civilized than the inhabitants of all other cities and towns, but also distinct from the princess, slaves, and other mutanen fada (men of the palace) inhabiting the palace complex. Opposition between these two main sections of the city was often expressed in rivalries among samari (young men) in games, dances and the courting of girls; an opposition which seems to have sharpened in the late eighteenth century.
The Yandakawa dynasty has gone through many challenges like other dynasties. Surely, no people remain the same for long. In the case of
Yandakawa, they have been influenced by the culture of integration in Kasar Katsina in particular, and Northern Nigeria in general. This explains why distinct ethnic groups, that do not even belong to the same language group (Hausa and Fulani), are now identified as one i.e. Hausa-Fulani, based on which a Yoruba proverb in Ilorin is translated as: “If Hausa person kills Fulani, there is no case”, implying that “the Hausa and the Fulani are indistinguishable and that their internal strife is no outsiders business” 49 Also, one of the best writers in Nigeria, who throughout his life considered Katsina his hometown, Abubakar Imam, the author of legendary Magana Jari Ce, said: “If somebody asks you about my history and origin, say that my family history is traceable in Borno, my origin is Sokoto, my town is Katsina and my place of residence is Zaria”.
Verily, the history of mankind is full of movements and migration. When people say they are indigenes of a place, it means they were possibly the first settlers at a particular time, and some people may have settled and left the place thousands of years before them. In other words, “indigenes of today are settlers of yesterday”. Undoubtedly, no people “have fallen from the sky, sprouted out of the soil or emerged out of water”. These movements affected the family of the founder of Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usman Danfodio and also shaped the history of the families of Danfodio’s flag bearers, including the Yandakawa. Most of the descendants of the flag bearers no longer speak the Fulani (Fulfulde) language and have substantially adopted the Hausa culture. There seems to be nothing sad or unfortunate about this. It is the nature of history. As people keep moving from one area to the other, they keep influencing, and are influenced by others. They assimilate and sometimes are assimilated by others. This is the history of all races, including the Europeans, especially the Germans, French and English. It is the same with Asians and Arabs. For example, most Egyptians were other races assimilated by the Arabs. The same thing with North African Berbers, who are substantially assimilated by the Arabs.
In his classic book titled “Civilization Before Greece and Rome”, Saggs H. W. F, argued that for long, discussions on civilizations were centered on four great Empires of the world; “the Assyrians, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman”. But there were others before them. And Ancient Mesopotamia was one of them. 52 He narrated how the Sumerian Civilization of Mesopotamia emerged:
Although we speak of civilization of the Early Dynastic period as Sumerian Civilization, there were people of language groups other than Sumerian who contributed to it… the fact is that, what for convenience, we call Sumerian civilization was a joint creation of peoples who had met and mixed in South Mesopotamia, and who after centuries or millennia in the same geographical background, differed in little other than their mother tongue”. 53
Perhaps more than any other people in Hausaland, Katsina people have been adventurous; visiting, settling and even establishing ruling classes in Nigeria and West African communities. They are the ruling class in places like Keffi, Jere, Kagarko and some Nupe areas such as Lapai and Agaie. 54 Also, the 47th Emir of Yauri, Dr. Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi, said in an interview that the town is over 600 years old and the two indigenous groups “united to provide one leader who originally, was from Katsina”.
From the foregoing it is obvious that the Yandakawa dynasty has gone through radical changes like any other dynasty and the important lesson about the changes is that all people have the same origin; they are separated by time and space, as Bala Usman argued:
The tribal groups themselves were formed through history. You use your territorial structure to build things for those who are living there, the inhabitants. People who live in an area doing such occupations that link them up and have a common interest. This goes beyond what you call blood. In any case, even you and your mother don’t have the same blood. People don’t seem to know that. Don’t they know that if you are group A, and somebody has AO, or one other group, you can’t even transfuse? But you bring a stranger – a Chinese or bring an Eskimo who have the same blood group, they can transfuse.
It will be sad if the ongoing banditry in North West is allowed to endanger the legendary integration between Hausa and Fulani in Nigeria. The leaders of the Jihad were very clear in their vision and mission as quoted extensively in this work. The challenge in Kasar Katsina and other emirates created by the Jihad is for the people to consider the Jihad a phase in a historical development in which communities experience conflicts and consensus with their neighbours who may later play important roles in creating large communities based on ethnic integration. This integration created cosmopolitan centres in the emirates that became popular for learning and civilisation. The development is not unique to the emirates. For example, Professor Okelli Oculli revealed that Egypt became a centre of one of the most important civilisations in the world through this process;
The imperial legacy of Ancient Egypt drew labourers and slaves from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Saudi Arabia in its east. Those who brought sweat in building pyramids and irrigation agriculture were later followed by those seeking a better life as well as military conquest.
Conquest and its consequences are historical realities of all societies in the world. It is a phase in the progress of all societies, full of lessons, but enmity to eternity is not one of them. The history of Hausa states especially Kano,Zaria, Katsina, Daura, Gobir and Zamfara witnessed many wars among them which are now source of joking relationship rather than enmity for eternity. More importantly, historical wars between neighbours are not unique to Hausa land.
Isyaku is a former editor at Daily trust newspapers and former Permanent Secretary MDGs Katsina State and member Daily Trust newspapers editorial board, write this for Katsina City news magazine and online newspaper.
1.Yusufu Bala Usman, The Transformation of Katsina, 1400 – 1883, A book published from the PhD thesis of the author, ABU Press, Zaria, 1981, p73
- Ibid p102-103
- Yusufu Bala Usman, The Transformation of Katsina C. 1796 – 1903, The Overthrow of the Sarauta System and the Establishment and Evolution of the Emirate System, PhD thesis, ABU Zaria, 1974, p252
- Ibrahim Suleiman, Beyond the Caliphate, Towards a Vision for the Future, Weekly Trust Newspaper, April 23-29, 2005, p11
- Sultan Muhammad Bello, Selected Writings (Volume I), Iqra publishing company, Gusau, p237
- Ibid p250,
- Ibid p286,
- Ibid p286,
- Ibid p273,
- Ibid p272 – 273,
- Ibid p273,
- Ibid p287,
- Ibid p287
- Ibid p303
- Ibrahim Suleman, Weekly Trust, April 23-29, p11
- Sultan Muhammad Bello, p238
- Ibrahim Suleman, Weekly Trust, May 28-June 3, 2005, p14
- For the details see Garba Nadama, The Rise and Collapse of A Hausa State: A Social and Political History of Zamfara, PhD thesis, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, 1977
- Ibid p237
- Yusufu Bala Usman, ABU Press, Zaria p152
- Ibid p165
- Ibid p165 18
- Ibid p165
- Ibid p164-5
- Sultan Muhammad Bello p258
- Sultan Muhammad Bello p256
- Sultan Muhammad Bello p262
- Yusufu Bala Usman, PhD thesis, 1974, p253
- Quoted by Ibrahim Suleman, Weekly Trust, May 28 – June 3, 2005, p14
- Yusufu Bala Usman, ABU Press, Zaria, 1981, p108
- Ibid p117
- Yusufu Bala Usman, PhD thesis, 1974, p295-6
- Ibid, Introduction
- Ibid, Introduction
- The Speech of Yandakan Katsina, Alhaji Balan Goggo, at his Silver Jubilee Celebration, Dutsin-Ma, August, 2004 p8
- For example, in the biography of Danwaire, the founder of Ruma dynasty, published by Katsina State History and Culture Bureau, titled, Danwaire-Muhammadu Sani, it is documented that the Emir Muhammad Dikko directed Yandaka Mani (1894-1928) to carve Ruma area for Danwaire (see page 104). The details are also provided in, Lawal Yahaya, History of Dutsin–Ma, published M.A History dissertation, Sa’ab Printers Kaduna, 1988 p38.
- Yusuf Bala Usman, PhD thesis, 1974, p295-6
- See the memorandum at the end of this work, adopted from Lawal Yahaya, History of Dutsin-Ma, Published M.A. History dissertation, Sa’ab Printers, Kaduna, 1988, Page 50
- Ibid p50
- See the memo on page 19 as adopted from Lawal Yahaya, History of Dutsin-Ma, published M.A. History dissertation, Sa’ab Printers Kaduna, 1988, P51
- Lawal Yahaya, History of Dutsin-Ma, published M.A History dissertation, Sa’ab printers Kaduna, 1988, p26. The four memos on pages 18, 19, 20, 21 and the genealogy on page 16 were also adopted from this book. Also, the map on page 17. The geneology can also be found in Rilwan Charanchi, 19
Katsina Dakin Kara – Tarihin Katsina da Garuruwanta, NNPC publishers, Zaria, 1999, p88
- Ibid p39
- Ibid p39
- Usman Nagogo, Emir of Katsina file No. Katprof 3399, page 57, National Archives Kaduna.
- Yusufu Bala Usman, ABU Press, Zaria, 1981, p155
- Usman Dalhatu and Musa Hassan, “ALHAJI SHEHU IDRIS”, The 18th Fulani Emir of Zazzau, Books Africana, Kaduna, 2001, P11
- Abubakar Koko, A Genius in his Generation, Straight Channel Publication, 2009, P83
- Yusufu Bala Usman, ABU press, Zaria, 1981, p59.
- Farooq Kperogi, Tribune Online, December 28, 2018
- Abdurrahman Mora (edt), Abubakar Imam Memoirs, NNPC Ltd Press, Zaria, Introduction
- Saggs, H.W.F, Civilization Before Greece and Rome, Yale University Press, USA, 1989, Page 1
- Ibid P40
- This history is known to people of these communities who narrate it with pride
- Daily Trust, Sunday December 23, 2018, P36
- Interview with Weekly Trust Newspaper, May 11-17, 2001
- Okelli, Oculli, Thisday Newspaper, Thursday, January 27, 2022 p14
culled from Katsina City News Magazine