Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great leaders in Nigeria's history before total colonization (part three)

Shehu al-Hajj Muhammad al-Amîn ibn Muhammad al-Kânemî (Arabic: محمد لرشيد ابن محمد الكامانی‎) (1776–1837) was an Islamic scholar, teacher, religious and political leader who advised and eventually supplanted the Sayfawa dynasty of the Kanem-Bornu Empire. In 1846, Al-Kanemi's son Umar I ibn Muhammad al-Amin became the sole ruler of Borno, an event which marked the end of the Sayfawa dynasty's eight hundred year rule. The current Shehu of Bornu, a traditional ruler whose seat remains in modern Borno State, Nigeria, is descended from Al-Kanemi.
Al Kanemi waged his war against Sokoto not only with weapons but also with letters as he desired to thwart dan Fodio’s jihad with the same ideological weapons.[2] He carried on a series of theological, legal and political debates by letter with the Sultan of Sokoto Usman dan Fodio, and later with his son, Muhammed Bello.[3] As the expansion of Sokoto was predicated upon a struggle against paganism, apostasy, and misrule, Al-Kanemi challenged the right of his neighbours to strike at a state which had been Muslim for at least 800 years.[4] These debates, often on the nature of Jihad and Muslim rule, remain points of contention in modern Nigeria

Agwu Inobia or Eze Agwu the man that was the founding father of igbo Arochukwu

Agwu Inobia or Eze Agwu was one of the founding fathers of the city of Arochukwu, the third largest city in Abia State in southeastern Nigeria. He was the descendant of Nna Uru (a immigrant from the Igbo heartland to the Obong Okon Ita area) and king of the Eze Agwu clan centered in their capital the Amanagwu city-state. As new settlers, the Eze Agwu clan was resisted by the regional power Obong Okon Ita which led to the start of the Aro-Ibibio Wars. The war initially became a stalemate. Both sides arranged a marriage between the king of Obong Okon Ita and a women from the Eze Agwu clan in an attempt for a peaceful coexistence. The marriage eventually failed to bring peace but eventually played a decisive role in the war.
King Agwu Inobia invited Priest Nnachi from the Edda group near Afikpo to help him break the stalemate and win the war. When he arrived, Nnachi and Eze Agwu allied with prince Kakpokpo Okon of the Ibibio kingdom of Obong Okon Ita. Kakpokpo Okon was the son of the marriage between the Igbo women of the King of Obong Okon Ita. The Eze Agwu/Nnachi faction decided to help Kakpokpo attempt to overthrow his brother king Akpan Okon and the coup was heavily resisted. Nnachi called on an Eastern Cross river group known as the Akpa for help. The Akpa are said to have possessed guns and are credited for introducing the weapon to the region. Princes Osim and Akuma Nnubi led Akpa soldiers to help fight against the Ibibios. The alliance between Eze Agwu, Nnachi, Kakpokpo Okon, and the Akpa eventually defeated the Obong Okon Ita forces (1690–1720) under the leadership of Osim Nnubi. As a result of the Aro-Ibibio Wars, the alliance formed the Arochukwu kingdom. Akuma Nnubi was appointed king of Arochukwu in the place of his brother Osim Nnubi who died during the end of the war. Prince Kakpokpo Okon died and the Ulu Okon dynasty was assimilated into the Eze Agwu lineage. The Amanagwu was incorporated as the first of the 19 city-states of Arochukwu and Eze Agwu became one of the three lineages of Arochukwu.

Two brothers Prince Osim and Akuma Nnubi of Akpa cross river state

Osim and Akuma Nnubi were brothers and merchant princes of the Akpa people from the east of the Cross River in the late 17th century. The Akpa people were trading allies with the Eze Agwu and Nnachi clans of the Igbo. When Nnachi called them to assist the Igbos in the Aro-Ibibio wars, they answered. Leading their people, they allied with the Igbo groups to defeat the Ibibio. Osim died and his brother Akuma became the new Arochukwu kingdom's first EzeAro or king.

Kakpokpo Okon ibibio prince from the Obong Okon Ita Kingdom

Kakpokpo Okon was an Ibibio prince from the Obong Okon Ita Kingdom around 1690-1720. He was the son of the marriage between the king and a Igbo woman from the Eze Agwu lineage. Kakpokpo Okon lead a successful coup against his brother Akpan Okon the Obong (king) with the support of the Eze Agwu, Nnachi, and the Nnubi dynasty in the final phases of the Aro-Ibibio Wars. Despite the fact that the coup was successful, Kakpokpo Okon was killed in combat.

Another foundering father of igbo Arochukwu Nnachi Ipia

Nnachi is the one of the founding fathers of the city of Arochukwu, one of the largest cities in Abia State in southeastern Nigeria. During the conclusion of the 17th century, he was a Dibia (priest-doctor) from the Edda group near Afikpo. The Eze Agwu clan led by King Agwu Inobia in the Aro region called on Nnachi for help during the Aro-Ibibio Wars. Unable to break the stalemate in the favor of Eze Agwu, Nnachi called some allies from the east of the Cross River known as the Akpa people. Akuma and Osim Nnubi led the Akpa people into the Aro region and collaborated with Igbo forces (and Ibibio rebels) to defeat the Obong Okon Ita kingdom. Though Osim died, Akuma survived and became the first EzeAro. After his death, Nnachi's descendants took over the throne starting his son, Oke Nnachi. They are the ruling clan of the Aro people.

Akpan Okon the last obong(king)

Akpan Okon was the last Obong (king) of Obong Okon Ita around 1690-1720. He was overthrown by his brother Kakpokpo Okon with the support of groups such as the Eze Agwu, Nnachi Ipia, and the Nnubi dynasty in the final phases of the Aro-Ibibio Wars. Akpan Okon's defeat was very significant and crucial to the alliance. The alliance between the Eze Agwu lineage and his ambitious brother Kakpokpo sealed his fate, defeated Obong Okon Ita, and laid the foundation of the Arochukwu kingdom.

Oke Nnachi the First son of one of the founders of Igbo Arochukwu

Osim Nnubi was slain in Oror city state making it the capital of Arochukwu. In Obinkita the remaining Ibibio warriors became prisoners and were judged and that is why the city state is the holder of the Ikeji festival. But at the end of the war, Osim and Kakpokpo were dead. In order to honor Osim's legacy, his brother Akuma was crowned the first EzeAro (king). After his death, Nnachi's descendants took the throne starting with his first son Oke Nnachi. The Arochukwu kingdom, was founded

Oke Nnachi was the son of Nnachi and possibly introduced the idea of bring Akpa troops to help the Eze Agwu, Nnachi clan, and Obong Okon Ita rebels during the Aro-Ibibio Wars. After the short dynasty of Osim and Akuma Nnubi of Akuma, Oke Nnachi became king of Arochukwu. His descendants still retain the throne.

Ogbeyan the founder of Ogbia kingdom

Ogbia kingdom is founded by Ogbeyan who originated from Benin.  His two sons namely Okoroma and Oloi ventured into the present site of Ogbia kingdom, after the death of their father.

Later the two children hosted other immigrants namely Obutoru, Tarabiri, Oboloma, and other miscellaneous groups to constitute sic major ethnic groups in Ogbia kingdom.

There are Oloi group, Okoroma, Tarakiri, Oboloma, Obutoru, and the miscellaneous group called Odinade.

Otoi group consists of the following villages; Oloibiri, Otnabo, Otuogidi, Otabi, Otakeme, Otuogidi, Omorokeni, Emeyal I, Emeyal II, Otuaseiga, Elebele, Otuoke, Otuaba, Ewoi and also Otuedi.

On the other hand the Okoroma villages are; Otuabagi, Kolo I, Kolo II, Kolo III, Imirigi, Otuagire II, Emadike, Owoma, Otuakpein, Otnaganagu, Okiri, Ologoghe, Aidyasara, Owuebu, Otuogori, Otwagire I and Otuokpoti.

The Taraki group migrated from Diobin area in Southern Ijaw.  The villages are; Okodi, Ologi, and Ayakoro.

The Oboloma group came from Oboloma in Nembe.  The villages are Oruma dn Ibelebiri.  The Obutoru came from the deserted town of Obutoru in Akassa Koloama area.  The villages is Epebu.  The Odinade group immigrated from different points to the deserted Ebela kingdom.   The villages are Opunde Emakaka, Akipelai and Idema.  All these groups are loyal to Ogbeyan as the founder of Ogbia kingdom.

Traditionally, the Ogbai man is an agriculturalist women are farmers practicing subsistence system of farming while the men are palm cutters.  Fishing is not a major occupation of the Ogbia man.  During the era of the slave trade, the Ogbia man mostly the Chiefs were capturing slaves in their respective domains and selling them to the Nembe traders who in-turn sold them to the white-men.  As a result of this slave trade business, the people settle in hideout in the forest to avoid raiding of the buyers.  Hence Ogbia kingdom is having scattered settlement.

With the abolition of the slave trade and establishment of the Oil trade, the Ogbia man fully participated in the trade.  They were middle men between the oil producers and the whitte-men.  Nembe middle men who ventured into Ogbia had serious confrontations with the Ogbia Chiefs and middlemen.

As a follow up, Ogbia middlemen also purchased canons and arms from the white-men at Bonney, Brass and Akassa.  Such confrontations however led to series of wars with the Nembe middlemen.  Prominent among them were the wars between the Nembe middlemen and Opume, Oloibiri, Okiki and Amyama respectively.  These wars led to the desertion of towns like Otuobhuom and Otuaki.  Unlike the Okoroma district unit, Ogbia kingdom was not colonized by the Nembe forces; only that Nembe influence affected some of the village in Oloibiri group.

Oba Esigie of Benin (ruled c.1504-c.1550 AD)
Great ruler of Benin who also commissioned great art

Oba Esigie on Horseback with Attendants, 16th/17th century

Oba Esigie ascended the throne in c.1504 and had a long and eventful reign of perhaps 46 years. He introduced a special post in the administration for his mother called the Iyoba, the Queen Mother. A Dutch chronicler would report a century later that the Oba "undertakes nothing of importance without having sought her counsel". The art of the time reflects this reality.

Oba Esigie commissioned a highly improved metal art that has since achieved worldwide distinction. Of the best-known pieces are the famous Queen Mother Idia busts. Professor Felix von Luschan, a former official of the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde, stated that: "These works from Benin are equal to the very finest examples of European casting technique. Benvenuto Cellini could not have cast them better, nor could anyone else before or after him … Technically, these bronzes represent the very highest possible achievement."

Affonso d'Aveiro and other Portuguese agents returned to Benin. They excited Esigie's interest in the possibility of acquiring firearms from Portugal for future campaigns. There was, however, a catch. Manuel, the Portuguese king wrote Esigie, explaining to him that: "When we see that you have embraced the teachings of Christianity like a good and faithful Christian, there will be nothing within our realms which we shall not be glad to favour you, whether it be arms or cannon and all other weapons of war for use against your enemies; of such things we have a great store, as your ambassador Dom Jorge will inform you."

It was not to be. In 1516 and without Portuguese arms, Esigie scored a crushing defeat on Igala to the north. They had attempted an invasion that posed a threat to the very existence of Benin. Esigie compelled the defeated Igala to pay reparations.

The Portuguese king did, however, send missionaries to Benin who successfully converted the Oba's son to the Christian faith. Bini Christians also established a few churches in Benin City at Ogbelaka, Idumwerie, and Akpakpava. The last church became the Holy Cross Cathedral. Christianity, however, remained distinctly a minority religion largely restricted to a few members of the court. It seems that the indigenous religion was just too well organised to be undermined by this foreign threat.

OONI Luwoo Gbagida (FEMALE)
21st? Ooni of Ife

Circa 1000 C.E

A great Leader, Administrator and City Builder.

According to one of the sources below;

"Professor Ekpo Eyo, a former head of the Nigerian museums system, narrates a curious oral tradition concerning Ooni Oluwo.

Apparently she was walking around the capital city of Ife when her regalia got splashed with mud. Oluwo was so upset by this that she ordered the construction of pavements for all the public and religious places in the city.

Archaeology confirms that: "Pavements … are widespread in Africa. Potsherd pavements are the most common types of pavements known in West Africa … The most consistent reports about excavated pavements in West Africa have so far come from Ife.

The pavements embellished the courtyards and often had altars built at the ends against walls. Peter Garlake adds that: "Many [of the pavements] had regular and geometric patterns, often emphasized by the incorporation of white quartz pebbles in their surface. Such pavements have been found on prehistoric sites from Tchad [sic] in the northeast to Togo in the west."

Metropolitan Museum article on Ife Pavements

"The categories given to the distinct periods of ancient Ife's artistic production center around the paving of the city's courtyards and passageways with terracotta bricks sometime around 1000 A.D., marking the beginning of Ife's Pavement period. This practice is thought to be associated with the urbanization of Ife. The origin of the pavement is explained in a popular story: according to Yoruba mythology, Queen Oluwo ordered the construction of the pavement when her robes were muddied in the dirt.

Artistic production at Ife predates the construction of these pavements. The minimalist stone monoliths and other works of early Ife are generally attributed to the Archaic Era (before 800 A.D.) and Pre-Pavement Era (ca. 800–1000).

The emergence of the highly specialized sculptural tradition of Ife is believed to have begun sometime after 800 A.D. and reached its height between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. These eras, from the pre- to post-Pavement periods (stretching from 800 to 1600), are marked by both an increasingly expressive naturalism in the depiction of human figures and the development of a highly abstract artistic style.

Scholars disagree as to whether the portraitlike naturalism is a precursor of the more stylized form, or whether the naturalistic and abstract styles coexisted. A ritual vessel depicting a shrine with a naturalistic head flanked by two tapering cylindrical heads suggests that the two styles were contemporaneous. They may have been deliberately juxtaposed to represent the contrast or unity of an inner spirituality depicted in an abstract form, and an outer physicality shown through realism.

A center of political and religious power, Ife has been a formidable city-state through much of the second millennium A.D. The flowering of Ife art coincided with the commercial expansion of the neighboring city-state of Oyo, a strategically placed trading center, that channeled goods coming down the Niger River from the Songhai empire to Ife and other centers.

The aesthetic style developed during the Pavement period of Ife art has been an ongoing influence in Yoruba sculptural styles since its inception. The fundamentally naturalistic style continues to be the basic form of representation of the human figure throughout Yorubaland"

Source: Ife Pre-Pavement and Pavement Era (800–1000 A.D.) Thematic Essay, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Balogun Bello Kuku of ijebuland

was an liberal and accomplished Ijebu warrior and businessman who was involved in major events concerning war and peace in Ijebuland during the latter part of the nineteenth century. He was also a controversial figure to some Ijebus especially during the state's conflict with Ibadan.
Kuku, an Ijebu man originally enjoyed commercial success in Ibadan selling arms in an age of war and iron, and had a good working relationship with the then Ijebu military leader, Balogun Onafowokan and the Awujale, Fidipote. However, during the Ekitiparapo war, the Ijebu leadership took an anti-Ibadan stand and and as a war chief, he had to join in the war and support this anti-Ibadan policy led by the Awujale Fidipote. However, the Awujale whose major policy was a blockade of the major trade routes from Ibadan to Lagos had to contend with the growing power and importance of prominent military chiefs who controlled arms, among those were the Balogun Onafowakan and Seriki Kuku, later Balogun. Both Ijebu chiefs led by Kuku sought diplomatic approaches to Ibadan during the Ekiti parapo war and were sometimes sympathetic to Ibadan, they also wanted top relax the economic blockade against Ibadan.
An alliance of Ijebu traders and military personnel opposed to the blockade later led to the deposition of Fidipote.
Between 1886-1892, Kuku found himself at variance with popuar sentiments in Ijebu. By the time, the colonial authorities had annexed Lagos and were seeking means to promote legitimate trade between the coast and the hinterland, a situation supported by Ibadan and Kuku. However, the Ijebu traders and leadership policy was the control of the trade routes between the coast and Ibadan and Oyo and exclujding strangers from profiting in their land. Kuku during the period was seen as a saboteur to the monopolistic role in the trade with Lagos and was later exiled to Ibadan.

Queen Idia (Mother of Oba Esigie)

The kingdom of Benin (in present-day Nigeria) was plunged into a state of turmoil at the end of the fifteenth century when oba Ozolua died and left two powerful sons to dispute succession. His son Esigie controlled Benin City while another son, Arhuaran, was based in the equally important city of Udo about twenty miles away. The ensuing civil war severely compromised Benin's status as a regional power and undermined Benin City's place at the political and cultural center of the kingdom. Exploiting this weakness, the neighboring Igala peoples sent warriors across the Benue River to wrest control of Benin's northern territories. Esigie ultimately defeated his brother and conquered the Igala, reestablishing the unity and military strength of the kingdom. His mother Idia received much of the credit for these victories as her political counsel, together with her mystical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of Esigie's success on the battlefield. To reward and honor her, Esigie created a new position within the court called the iyoba, or "Queen Mother," which gave her significant political privileges, including a separate residence with its own staff.

As mother of the king, Idia and later iyobas wielded considerable power. Until recent times, the iyoba, who bore the oba's first son, had no other children and devoted her life to raising the future ruler of the kingdom, a role she was destined to play even before her own birth. Queen Mothers were therefore viewed as instrumental to the protection and well-being of the oba and, by extension, the kingdom. Indeed, obas wore carved ivory pendant masks representing the iyoba during ceremonies designed to rid the kingdom of malevolent spiritual forces. An especially fine example of such masks in the Metropolitan Museum's collection dates from the sixteenth century and is believed to depict Idia herself. Two vertical bars of inlaid iron between the eyes allude to medicine-filled incisions that were one source of Idia's metaphysical power. Within the court, the iyoba's political status was equal to that of a senior chief, and she enjoyed the right to commission precious works of art for personal and devotional use. Images of the iyoba found on the cast brass objects with which she was associated, such as ikegobo (altars to the hand) and urhoto (rectangular altarpieces), portray her in a shirt of coral beads flanked by attendants bearing symbols of political and spiritual power. These attendants, also depicted in carved ivory, were women under the tutelage of the iyoba destined for marriage to her son, the future oba. As with ancestral obas, deceased iyobas were venerated with cast brass memorial heads fitted with carved ivory tusks and displayed on royal altars.

Madam Efunroye Tinubu

Nigerian businesswoman and patriot, after whom a prominent Lagos landmark, "Tinubu Square," is named. She lived in the 19th century and was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Western Nigeria, to a trading family.

After a period of trading apprenticeship under her mother, Tinubu went to Badagry, an important trading post on the outskirts of Lagos, where, despite her lack of formal education, she soon established a flourishing trade in tobacco and salt. The entreprising Tinubu was later to expand her trade, which brought her into contact with the European slave traders, with whom she dealt as a middleperson.

In 1846 Tinubu, now a successful businesswoman, played hostess to the exiled King Akintoye of Lagos who sought refuge in Badagry; she used her influential position to inaugurate a pro-Akintoye movement dedicated to the eventual return of the king to the throne in Lagos. Thus commenced her involvement in the politics of Lagos, which was dominated by men of wealth and education.

In 1851 Akintoye regained his throne and Tinubu was invited to Lagos where she soon transfer her business activity. She strengthened her position as an intermediary in the trade between the expatriate community and the indigenous population of Lagos on the one hand and the interior which include her birthplace, Abeokuta, on the other.

Her influence in the court of Akintoye grew to such an extent that she was often accused of beign the power behind the throne, a belief which in 1853 led to the rebellion of two prominent chiefs. By 1853, when Akintoye was succeeded by Prince Dosunmu, Tinubu's influence grew even more.

In 1855 she led a campaign against the Brazilian and Sierra Leonean immigrants in Lagos for using their wealth and power against the King and for subverting the ancient customs of the island, thus displaying a degree of nationalism which worried the British. The latter retaliated with mass arrests of the organisers, followed by explusion from Lagos. Tinubu and her followers were deported to Abeokuta in May 1856.

In Abeokuta Tinubu expanded her business activities to include a wide range of wares such as gunpowder and bullets. In time her influence began to be felt also in Egba politics in which she played two important roles; her contribution to the successful defence of Egbaland during the Dahomean invasion of 1863 following which she was awarded the title of Iyalode (First Lady) in 1864.

In the Alake succession crisis of 1877 her chosen canditate was installed. The conferment of the title of Iyalode placed her in a position of power, which she was denied in Lagos, for, by virtue of it, she not only acquire d a constitutional right to participate in Egba affairs but was also accorded honour and esteem in the community.

She died in 1887 when she was at the height of her popularity. Today in Abeokuta, a monument stands in the town square named after her, Ita Iyalode (Iyalode Square).

Nana Asma’u

Nana Asma’u (full name: Nana Asma’u bint Shehu Usman dan Fodiyo, Arabic: نانا أسماء بنت عثمان فودي‎; 1793–1864) was a princess, poet, teacher, and daughter of the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, Usman dan Fodio. She remains a revered figure in northern Nigeria. Nana Asma’u is held up by some as an example of education and independence of women possible under Islam, and by others as a precursor to modern feminism in Africa.


Nana Asma’u was born some eleven years before the Fulani War, and was named after Asma bint Abi Bakr, a companion of the Muslim Prophet. The daughter of the Sufi-inspired and Fulɓe-led Sokoto Caliphate's founder and half sister of its second leader, she outlived most of the founding generation of the Caliphate, making her an important source of guidance to its later rulers. From 1805, members of the Caliph's family came to great prominence, including the Caliph’s female relatives. While Nana Asma’u became the most prominent, her sisters Myram and Fatima, and the Caliph's wives Aisha and Hawwa played major literary and political roles in the new state. Like her father, she was educated in Qur'anic studies, and placed a high value upon universal education. As exemplars of the Qadiriyyah Sufi school, the dan Fodio and his followers stressed the sharing of knowledge, especially that of the Sunnah, the example of the prophet Muhammad. To learn without teaching, they thought, was sterile and empty. Thus Nana Asma’u was devoted, in particular, to the education of the Muslim women. Like most of the rest of her family, she became a prolific author.
Writer and counselor

Well educated in the classics of the Arab and Classical world, and well versed in four languages (Arabic, the Fula language, Hausa and Tamacheq Tuareg), Nana Asma’u had a public reputation as a leading scholar in the most influential Muslim state in West Africa, which gave her the opportunity to correspond broadly.[1] She witnessed many of the wars of the Fulani War and wrote about her experiences in a prose narrative Wakar Gewaye "The Journey". As the Sokoto Caliphate began as a cultural and religious revolutionary movement, the writings of its leaders held a special place by which later generations, both rulers and ruled, could measure their society. She became a counselor to her brother when he took the Caliphate, and is recorded writing instructions to governors and debating with the scholars of foreign princes.

Amongst her over 60 surviving works written over 40 years, Nana Asma’u left behind a large body of poetry in Arabic, the Fula language and Hausa, all written in the Arabic script. Many of these are historical narratives, but they also include elegies, laments, and admonitions. Her poems of guidance became tools for teaching the founding principles of the Caliphate. Asma'u also collaborated closely with Muhammad Bello, the second Caliph. Her works include and expand upon the dan Fodio's strong emphasis on women leaders and women's rights within the community ideals of the Sunnah and Islamic law.[2]
[edit]Women's education

Others of her surviving written works are related to Islamic education: for much of her adult life she was responsible for women's religious education. Starting around 1830, she created a cadre of women teachers (jajis) who traveled throughout the Caliphate educating women in the students' homes. In turn, each of these jajis in turn used Nana Asma’u's and other Sufi scholars writings, usually through recited mnemonics and poetry, to train corps of learned women, called the ’yan-taru, or “those who congregate together, the sisterhood.” To each jaji she bestowed a malfa (a hat and traditional ceremonial symbol of office of the pagan Bori priestesses in Gobir) tied with a red turban. The jajis became, thus, symbols of the new state, the new order, and of Islamic learning even outside women's community.[3] In part this educational project began as a way to integrate newly conquered pagan captives into a Muslim ruling class. It expanded, though, to include the poor and rural, training teachers who traveled across the sprawling Caliphate.
Contemporary legacy

Nana Asma’u continued legacy rests not just on her literary work and role in defining the values of the Sokoto state. Today in Northern Nigeria, Islamic women's organisation, schools, and meeting halls are commonly named for her. She re-entered the debate on the role of women in Islam in the 20th century, as her legacy has been carried by Islamic scholars and immigrants to Europe and its academic debates.[4] The republishing and translation of her works has brought added attention to the purely literary value of her prose and poems.

Yunfa the hausa king when Hausaland was without Islam

Yunfa (r. 1801 - 1808) was a king of the Hausa city-state of Gobir in what is now Nigeria. He is particularly remembered for his conflict with Islamic reformer Usman dan Fodio.
Nephew and designated heir of Bawa, Yunfa appears to have been taught by Fulani religious leader Usman dan Fodio as a young man. Though dan Fodio helped Yunfa succeed Nafata to the throne in 1801, the two soon came into conflict over dan Fodio's proposed religious reforms. Fearing dan Fodio's growing power, Yunfa summoned him and attempted to assassinate him in person; however, Yunfa's pistol backfired and wounded him in the hand. The following year, Yunfa expelled dan Fodio and his followers from their hometown of Degel.
Dan Fodio soon called for help from other Fulani nomad groups, and declared himself the imam of a new caliphate in jihad against Gobir. A widespread uprising soon began across Hausaland, and in 1804, Yunfa appealed to rulers of neighboring city-states for aid. In December of that year, Yunfa won a major victory in the Battle of Tsuntua, in which Dan Fodio's forces were said to have lost 2,000 men, 200 of whom knew the Koran by heart.
However, dan Fodio soon launched a successful campaign against Kebbi and established a permanent base at Gwandu. In October 1808, the jihadists seized the Gobir capital of Alkalawa and killed Yunfa.

Usman dan Folio the Great Jihadist that introduced Islam to Hausa, Yoruba, Nupe etc

Shaihu Usman dan Fodio (Arabic: عثمان بن فودي ، عثمان دان فوديو‎), born Usuman ɓii Foduye, (also referred to as Shaikh Usman Ibn Fodio, Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye, or Shehu Usman dan Fodio, 1754–1817) was the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate in 1809, a religious teacher, writer and Islamic promoter. Dan Fodio was one of a class of urbanized ethnic Fulani living in the Hausa States in what is today northern Nigeria. A teacher of the Maliki school of law and the Qadiriyyah order of Sufism, he lived in the city-state of Gobir until 1802 when, motivated by his reformist ideas and under increased repression by local authorities, he led his followers into exile. This exile began a political and social revolution which spread from Gobir throughout modern Nigeria and Cameroon, and was echoed in an ethnicly Fula-led Jihad movement across West Africa. Dan Fodio declined much of the pomp of rulership, and while developing contacts with religious reformists and Jihad leaders across Africa, he soon passed actual leadership of the Sokoto state to his son, Muhammed Bello.
Dan Fodio wrote more than a hundred books concerning religion, government, culture and society. He developed a critique of existing African Muslim elites for what he saw as their greed, paganism, or violation of the standards of Sharia law, and heavy taxation. He encouraged literacy and scholarship, including for women, and several of his daughters emerged as scholars and writers. His writings and sayings continue to be much quoted today, and is often affectionately referred to as Shehu in Nigeria. Some followers consider dan Fodio to have been a Mujaddid, a divinely inspired "reformer of Islam".[2]
Dan Fodio's uprising is a major episode of a movement described as the Fulani (Peul) hegemonies in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It followed the jihads successfully waged in Fuuta-Ɓundu, Fuuta-Jalon and Fuuta-Tooro between 1650 and 1750, which led to the creation of those three islamic states. In his turn, Shehu inspired a number of later West African jihads, including those of Masina Empire founder Seku Amadu, Toucouleur Empire founder El Hadj Umar Tall (who married one of dan Fodio's granddaughters), and Adamawa Emirate founder Modibo Adama.


Dan Fodio was well-educated in classical Islamic science, philosophy and theology and became a revered religious thinker. His teacher, Jibril ibn 'Umar, argued that it was the duty and within the power of religious movements to establish the ideal society free from oppression and vice. His teacher was a North African Muslim alim who gave his apprentice a broader perspective of the Muslim reformist ideas in other parts of the Muslim world. Dan Fodio used his influence to secure approval to create a religious community in his hometown of Degel that would, dan Fodio hoped, be a model town. He stayed there for 20 years, writing, teaching and preaching.
In 1802, the ruler of Gobir and one of dan Fodio's students, Yunfa turned against him, revoking Degel's autonomy and attempting to assassinate dan Fodio. Dan Fodio and his followers fled into the western grasslands of Gudu where they turned for help to the local Fulani nomads. In his book Tanbih al-ikhwan ’ala ahwal al-Sudan (“Concerning the Government of Our Country and Neighboring Countries in the Sudan”) Usman wrote: “The government of a country is the government of its king without question. If the king is a Muslim, his land is Muslim; if he is an Unbeliever, his land is a land of Unbelievers. In these circumstances it is obligatory for anyone to leave it for another country”.[3] Usman did exactly this when he left Gobir in 1802. After that, Yunfa turned for aid to the other leaders of the Hausa states, warning them that dan Fodio could trigger a widespread jihad.[4]
[edit]The Fulani War

Usman dan Fodio was proclaimed Amir al-Muminin or Commander of the Faithful in Gudu. This made him political as well as religious leader, giving him the authority to declare and pursue a jihad, raise an army and become its commander. A widespread uprising began in Hausaland. This uprising was largely composed of the Fulani, who held a powerful military advantage with their cavalry. It was also widely supported by the Hausa peasantry who felt over-taxed and oppressed by their rulers. Usuman started the jihad against Gobir in 1804.
The Fulani communication during the war was carried along trade routes and rivers draining to the Niger-Benue valley, as well as the delta and the lagoons. The call for jihad did not only reach other Hausa states such as Kano, Katsina and Zaria but also Borno, Gombe, Adamawa, Nupe and Ilorin. These were all places with major or minor groups of Fulani alims.
After only a few short years of the Fulani War, dan Fodio found himself in command of the largest state in Africa, the Fulani Empire. His son Muhammed Bello and his brother Abdullahi carried out the jihad and took care of the administration. Dan Fodio worked to establish an efficient government grounded in Islamic law. After 1811, Usman retired and continued writing about the righteous conduct of the Muslim belief. After his death in 1817, his son, Muhammed Bello, succeeded his as amir al-mu’minin and became the ruler of the Sokoto Caliphate, which was the biggest state south of the Sahara at that time. Usman’s brother Abdullahi was given the title emir of Gwandu, and he was placed in charge of the Western Emirates, Nupe and Ilorin. Thus, all Hausa states, parts of Nupe, Ilorin and Fulani outposts in Bauchi and Adamawa were all ruled by a single politico-religious system. From the time of Usman dan Fodio there were twelve caliphs, until the British conquest at the beginning of the twentieth century.
[edit]Religious and political impact

Many of the Fulani led by Usman dan Fodio were unhappy that the rulers of the Hausa states were mingling Islam with aspects of the traditional regional religion. Usuman created a theocratic state with a stricter interpretation of Islam. In Tanbih al-ikhwan ’ala ahwal al-Sudan, he wrote: “As for the sultans, they are undoubtedly unbelievers, even though they may profess the religion of Islam, because they practice polytheistic rituals and turn people away from the path of God and raise the flag of worldly kingdom above the banner of Islam. All this is unbelief according to the consensus of opinions.”[5]
In Islam outside the Arab World, David Westerlund wrote: “The jihad resulted in a federal theocratic state, with extensive autonomy for emirates, recognizing the spiritual authority of the caliph or the sultan of Sokoto.”[6]
Usman addressed in his books what he saw as the flaws and demerits of the African non-Muslim or nominally Muslim rulers. Some of the accusations made by him were corruption on various levels of the administration along with injustice regarding ordinary people's rights. Usman also criticized the heavy taxation and obstruction created in the business and trade of the Hausa states by the legal system.

Nafata of Gobir the hausa king when Hausaland was without Islam

Sultan Nafata of Gobir (r.1797–98), one of a series of rulers of the small Hausa state, today in northern Nigeria. Best remembered for his opposition to Fulani Islamic reformer Usman dan Fodio, who later led a popular uprising against the Gobir rulers, and established the Sokoto Caliphate

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