Nura Bako Zango wrote on his Facebook’s page on SOKAPU’S quest for a new state of theirs. Among other things what worries him is the indegene/settler dichotomy usually used by Southern Kaduna people. He said the Hausa/Fulani can not be considered as settlers in Southern Kaduna today. Perhaps he is right just in the sense that a person who lives in Zaria, or Sokoto, or Kano and he owns property there- both fixed and moveable and has been there for a long time,and has no intention of moving anywhere else can not be considered a “settler”, as one who is in transit and is at a place temporarily. I hate to be drawn into such discussions considering the level of my education and exposure. However, it is the constitution that has tended to draw that dichotomy in citizenship and has branded citizens in and area as either indegenous or not. States too have tended to emphasise that for the purposes of enjoying certain dividends of democracy. To build a nation from a multitude of nations, one has to do away with this dichotomy. That is being nationalistic. But so long there are discriminations on the basis of one’s place of origin, there was bound to be problems. Human migrations have been so complex to the extend most communities originated from outside Nigeria. Some came from Chad, Niger, Mali,Cameron, and Benin Republic to cite some few examples. Nigeria is so diverse so much one can count over 300 ethnic nationalities, each with a history of how and where they originally came from. But all I know is that Human life and initial habitation is from the middle-east. Through series of complex migrations we find ourselves where we are and belonging to different races. Therefore, the division is political just as are issues of race and so on. Out of diversities countries have sought to integrate their communities and they do so through integrative policies for development and progress. This requires good leadership. Where you have bad Leadership, the communities will not be integrated. Factors that work to segregate communities are race, tribe, and religion. In Nigeria, where there is bad Leadership, these factors become incendiary, tearing society apart, instead of integrating them.
Nura Bako Zango in his Facebook page says that on the issue of the dichotomy of indegene/ Settler, its use by Siuthern Kaduna people and SOKAPU exhibits hate for the Southern Kaduna Hausa/ Fulani. I am not here to defend anybody but my commentshave been made necessary by the invitation of Nura Bako for Southern Kaduna people and SOKAPU to refer to history. I would assume it will include himself , all the Hausa / Fukani and all others that reside in the southern part of the state. All should benefit from hustory, and to history, we go.
Nuru Bako claims that hate is bad. Yes, it is true. My religion preaches love for God and for humanity.
Nuru claims that the Hausa/Fulani are the only commercial and economic hub of Southern Kaduna, and that for confirmation of this claim one should refer to history. That is good. It is not a crime for being the commercial and economic hub of an area. But this not all that life is about.
That same history you are referring others to is the same history I will refer you to.
Indegeneity is about people whose origin can not be traced to any other place, than where they are. I am sure you are aware of the world reknown NOK culture. It spans to several hundreds of years before Christ ( BC). The people are known to be indegenous to the area. They perfected the art and science of iron-smelting and iron technology. Do not confuse the issue of “internal migrations” of the tribes and groups in the geographical area known as Southern Kaduna. Culturally and linguistically they are the same.That some of these tribes claim migrations from other areas is part of the internal migrations we are referring to. For instance, some tribes can remember their migrations from Bauchi and Plateau etc. These were part of the internal migrations.There were several reasons that informed these internal migrations. Some were inclement weather, unsuitable agricultural lands, inter group conflicts and rivalry as most of them were farmers and hunters. Those who were proned to frequent migrations were the hunting groups. Some of these hunters specialised on hunting on river- sides while yet others specialised in hunting on the hill-sides.That explains the spatial settlement patterns of these groups. Some settled away in the forests for internal security. There were myriads of reasons . They moved in groups or clans.
These migrations are regarded “internal” because they took place within the same culture area of the Nok Culture. It was the Nok culture area that spread several hundreds of kilometres away from the epi-center , in concentric circles, even outside the area known as Southern Kaduna to other surrounding states .
Although the indegenous tribes have lived with the Hausa and the Fulani for many years, their early contacts with the indegenous communities can be traced back to when the Islamic Scholar and Cleric, Usman bin Fodiye captured the Hausa kingdoms,in very brutal wars, that he claimed was to purify Islam. This is controversial because Islam had existed in Hausa land before he and his fellow Fulani came. It would appear political because it was the kings that were targeted for slaughter. This was done to the kings one by one, and the Fulani dynasties were established in Hausa land up to date. In fact they were not known as Hausa but “HABE”, a Fulani word for Hausa which was derogatory. Prior to that, they were the ” maguzawa” meaning ” those who reject or do not believe in Islam. Although the Fulani contact started in the late 18th century , it was only in 1804 (19th century) , that Usman bin Fodiye, launched his jihad, starting with Sokoto. I hate to recall what happened afterwards. Here you had an otherwise friendly people who did not mix with the Hausa communities in the towns and villages, but had their settlements outside, ( just as we have Sabon gari for strangers in Hausa land). The Fulani moved closer to the palaces of these Habe kings and since the Fulanis were learned islamically, they served as advisers to these Habe kings. Little did the Habe know that it was just a strategy, and was for only a time after which they would pounce on these kings, slaughter them and take over the kingship.
As mentioned earlier, the jihad was launched in 1804 by the Fulanis. After several years, the Habe kingdoms were captured. Thereafter, they began to spread southward. They advanced and took over Ilorin, when they played ” divide and rule” on the Yorubas. By the time the Yorubas realised it, it was too late. The Fulanis advanced southward after capturing Ilorin and was prevented from reaching the sea coast when they were stopped at Oyo, as the British had became a new factor. That was enough for that sector.
On the north-eastern sector, they could not succeed, because the Kanuris were the first in accepting Islam and had made efforts earlier to spread it into Habe land through the Kanem – Bornu empire. To date the Fulanis could not penetrate the area known as former Kanem-bornu. But the Kanuris were the first to accept Islam and even attempt to spread it to the north-west (Hausa land) .
South of the former Kanem -Bornu empire were multitudes of ethnic groups, down that line to Benue. Here the Kwararafa kingdom was thriving. Neither the Kanem-bornu nor the jihad of Usman bin Fodiye could penetrate this area. This area included all the ethnic nationalities of what is now known as the middle-belt. In this area, Usman’s flag could not be raised. All the few Emirates in the middle belt today are products of later- day politics, under the British, who chose to rule indirectly, through the centralised emirate system. That is how a lot of the hitherto, “independent” ethnic nations were brought under the emirate system for ease of administration. In this regard, if any body ever conquered the middle-belt for the Emirates at all, it was the British.
But since the launch of the 1804 jihad, they could not conquer the middle-belt. When they realised they could not, they resorted to raiding for slaves for sale in the slave trade that was thriving across the Sahara desert to North Africa. Large expanse of land in the middle-belt region were depleted under this trade. They established the famous slave centres such as Lafiya, Keffi , Suleija , Kontagora etc.All these centres were established as “slave depots”, for the captured slaves, to be transported, using the slave routes which spanned the various centres to Zaria, Kano, then across the Sahel desert.
However, these processes were halted by the conquest of Hausa land and the whole of the North which culminated to effective take over in 1904 by the British. Hitherto, the ethnic groups in the middle belt were independent. They only lost their independence when the British took over, and for ease of administration, the British decided to put these nations under emirs, where it was convenient, and where the British understood the ethnic groups to have kings or chiefs , these were recognised and uplifted.
It should be noted that when the British conquered Hausa land and stopped the trade in slaves, slave routes were already established. For instance , we had a route from Kano to Zaria to Kauru to Zangon Kataf to Unguwar-rimi,then to Kagoma and straight to Keffi and Suleija.
After the slave trade was stoped by the British, a new trade was established. It was now trade in commodities. The Hausas were trading condiments, salt, potash, onions, in exchange for crops. The former trade routes became the routes for the new and legal trade. This trade was undertaken by the Hausas. They would often travel from up north to the middle-belt and down to the south. Because routes were already available, they used them and wherever they got tired on their way to destination,they would often settle at some selected places along the routes. It then became habitual. This explains Kauru, Kataf, Unguwar-rimi, Keffi,and Suleija as “Zangos”. It was only in Kataf land that they established a Zango and named it Zangon- Kataf. Thus, we had Zangon-Kataf. “Zango”, literally means “resting place”.
Gradually, for trade, these Hausas began to spread hinterland , into the villages and the indegenous communities. But where ever they chose to settle, apart from the Zango in Kataf land, they did not call such a place “Zango”. But they asked for land and were freely given land to settle on and trade. The Fulani being herders cared so much for their cattle and settled in the bushes to avoid Fulani/Farmers clashes. But there was very high level of cooperation between the Fulanis and the indegenous people. The Fulanis did not hold the natives in disdain like the Hausas did and the Fulanis did marry from each other. However this was not the case with Hausas. They could take wives from the natives but not the other way round. This is probably because they tried to convert the natives to Islam but such efforts did not yield positive results. Therefore,the rejection of their faith by the natives hurt the Hausas sorely. But this is because the natives had not forgotten history. They had been subjected to unsuccessful Jihadic wars, only to be replaced by raids for slaves that were also brutal. The same people that subjected them to these brutalities were the same people that would later take Islam to them.
They could not, and have not, separated the people from their religion. This is essentially the problem the Hausas have with the natives. And to date, they have neither shown remorse, nor and understanding of the deep-seated grievances. Where reason and humanity fails , force can not achieve anything, no matter how strong the person is.
How long would some one live to be considered an indegene or a settler ? After staying for hundreds of years why are some people still considered as settlers and some indegene ? Apart from the Hausa/ Fulani , there are other Nigerian tribes that have made southern Kaduna their home and are fully integrated. There is a practice in Kwoi Jaba of integrating such people into their clans. I think it has to do with integration or the lack of it. It means the two groups have not been well integrated. Integration is when you so mix, to the extend one can not recognise any difference . The two become one in all respects. Then the next question follows : who should integrate with who ? It is either the indegenous group melts into the other group or vice-versa. Why has it been difficult to integrate ? To me, two factors are responsible for this : 1) tribe(culture) and ; 2) religion. These are the twine factors affecting the country at large, that make it impossible to integrate and produce a nation. Additional factor is the issue of Leadership– bad leadership .
We have lived long enough to regard ourselves as one, in order to move forward, but the factors mentioned above are ever present and responsible. Allah ya ba da ganewa, amin.
Joshua D Ephraim