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Four Questions

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Four Questions - Emir

Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

“If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.” – PS Buck (1892-1973)

According to Muazu Maiwada, onetime ASUU chairman ABU Zaria chapter in the concept note of his Hausa History Project;

 “The delineation of the Hausas has undertones of anthropological, archeological, rational-empirical, and mythopoetic constructs. These narratives of Hausa history, in the light of contemporary reality, highlight Hausa identity as a paradox and compound of identity that invokes a hierarchical presence (Hausa-Islam/Fulani-Islam) and an absence (Hausa-Christian, non-Christian, non-Islamic).”

In Gobir, the most northernmost of the Hausa states the crucifix known as, “Sak’andami” is used as an icon of their Coptic origin and as a symbol of royal authority.

First question: How did Gobirawa iconology end up with Fulani aristocracy?

Second question: What is the historical background of Yandoto where recently a wanted terrorist was turbaned Sarkin Fulani by a now-suspended Hausa monarch?

The Hausa citadel, Birnin Yandoto is claimed to have been established over 1000 years ago though Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman in his, Transformation of Katsina, 1400-1883 claims, “We do not know when Yandoto was built.”

The Katsina angle is important because Muhammadu Korau was originally from Yandoto where he migrated to Katsina to seize the crown from Sanau in the 1450s. Yandoto then came under Zamfara before the Gobirawa seized it. It then returned to Katsina before Sokoto seized it as we shall later see.

KT Odofin, an archeologist with ABU writes in, A Preliminary Report on An Archaeological Survey of Yandoto Abandoned Settlement;

 “In the course of the reconnaissance survey, we were able to roughly determine the site of the abandoned settlement of Yandoto. The reconnaissance survey carried out indicated that the abandoned settlement was fairly large, about 1.6 sq km in size.

Evidence of pottery production, iron smelting, and dyeing activities at the site indicates the awareness and ability of inhabitants of Yandoto site to exploit resources of their natural environment for their benefit. It also indicates how diversified the technologies of the people were at the time Yandoto abandoned settlement was occupied.”

Why was Yandoto razed down and completely destroyed by Muhammadu Bello in 1806 before ascending to be the first Sultan of Sokoto between 1817 and 1837?

The Yandoto scholars openly challenged and defied the authority of Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio but also religiously questioned the legality of the Fulani jihad that is why.

According to SA Albasu of the History department at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS);

“When the jihadists asked for their allegiance the scholars of Yandoto could not understand the basis for such beyond the naked display of political opportunism. The scholars, therefore, viewed Shehu’s call for submission with disdain and totally rejected it.”

One time governor of the former Sokoto State (now Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara), Garba Nadama in his doctorate thesis puts it that;

“At the earlier stage of the jihad, the support of the Sarakuna (nobility) of Zamfara had proved crucial in the trying days of 1804. However, by the end of 1805, some of the towns were becoming increasingly hostile, raising the banner of tawaye (rebellion) against the jihadists. If the action was not taken against Yandoto in good time, the whole movement would be endangered.”

 See details in, Rise and Collapse of a Hausa State: A Social and Political History of Zamfara (1977)

Albasu goes on in his, Islamic Learning and Intellectualism in Katsina outside the Birni: The Yandoto Experience (1997);

“Towards the end of 1805, Bello led an expedition to Yandoto, but first camped close to it in order to talk with its scholars. The unyielding Yandoto scholars who had never accepted Shehu’s superiority and were now provoked by an army on their doorsteps determined to fight them sent a reply to Bello through intermediaries:

‘We will not talk to him at all, we do not even wish to see him, lest God joins us with him and his father Shehu in this world and the next.’

This rebuff proved too much for Bello’s tolerance and so, he marched against Yandoto. Most of the scholars were reported to have fled during the attack and thereafter Bello camped in the town for several days.”

The burning and looting of Yandoto including the complete destruction of its priceless library that has today made it a bandit epicenter attracted the attention of the Shehu of Borno who wrote to Bello;

“We see among you a thing which every Malam rejects. You are destroying books; you are scattering them on the roads; you are throwing them in the dirt. But the name of God is on these books and you know that he who throws the name of God in the dirt is heathen.”

Bello replied;

“You say you see among us a thing which every Malam is opposed to; let me inform you, el-Kanemi, I went out on an expedition and captured one of the Katsina towns. I saw papers being blown about by the wind. They were falling into the dirt. I endeavored to pick them up, till I was weary for they were so many.”

Third question: Whose report should we believe, that of Shehu el Kanemi or that of Sultan Bello?

Fourth question: Is the recent gentrification of Ada Aleru the continuation of ethnic triumphalism by other means?

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