THE HAUSA BAKWAI-BANZA BAKWAI LIE
In recent historical times, after the Fulani Jihad have come and wiped away the real history and prehistory of ancient Nigeria, the Hausa people came up with a propaganda story known as the ‘Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai’ history.
Before the advent of the Fulani Jihad the history of Hausaland and KinNupe were completely and totally different from the nonsense the colonial historians have fabricated as our histories today. But the Islamic Revolution, wrongly so-called the ‘Fulani Jihad’, in ancient Nigeria came and wiped out the true history of ancient KinNupe and ancient Hausaland such that after the Jihad little, if anything at all, was known about the original and true histories of both KinNupe and Hausaland.
The Jihadists and Islamic missionaries were so averse to our ancient cultures, religions and histories that they simply destroyed everything – our ancient cultures, religions and histories. They destroyed and banished our true and real histories and replaced them with their own idiosyncratic condemnation of our past histories. By the time people like Sultan Bello, the writers of the Hausa city chronicles, the Nupe sheikh historians, etc, eventually sat down to recapture the true histories of KinNupe and Hausaland the damage has already been done and what they were able to collate as the histories of ancient KinNupe and Hausaland were nothing but seriously watered-down reflections of the true histories.
Lady Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Lugard also noted, in this context, that, “records were purposely destroyed at the beginning of the nineteenth century by Fulani conquerors in Haussaland, and by the new dynasty of the Kanemyin in Bornu. The new rulers had in both instances the same object, to obliterate as far as possible the trace of their predecessors, and they have been so far successful that the materials of local history which have survived are extremely scanty.”
The lost of the true histories of both ancient KinNupe and Hausaland gave the charlatans and court propagandists the opportunity to come up with all sorts of skewed histories of ancient KinNupe and Hausaland. That was how came about the propaganda called the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai Story
According to the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story there were, in the beginning, seven real or legitimate Hausa states called the Hausa Bakwai and, another, seven false or illegitimate Hausa states called the Banza Bakwai.
The story is that a prince, called Bayajida or Abu Yazid, came all the way from Bagadaza or Baghdad, some say Medina or Mecca, in the Middle East to Borno. The story goes this Arabian Prince first settled at Borno where he became a friend and guet of the king of Borno. So close was Bayajida to the king of Borno that even married Magira the dauther to the king of Borno. But Bayajida was eventually pursued out of Borno by the king of Borno who became scared and jealous of the growing power of Bayajida.
On flight from Borno Bayajida came into Hausaland and sojourned at the city of Daura. It was at Daura that, as the story goes, Bayajida killed a hideously giant snake that lived in a well. The python, called Sarki, had prevented the people of Daura from drinking water from the well.
Bayajida was rewarded by the Queen of Daura with the consummation of marriage between the Queen Digera and the Prince Bayajida. This way Bayajida became the King of the Hausa people since Daura was more or less the capital city of the Hausas in those days.
Bayajida went on to sire seven legitimate sons, the Hausa Bakwai, and seven bastard sons, the Banza Bakwai, all of who became the kings of the respective seven Hausa city states of Hausaland and the seven non-Hausa city states of the Nigerian Middle Belt.
Seven legitimate Hausa sons were the children of Digera or Magajiya the Queen of Daura while the seven bastard Banza sons were the children of Bagwariya the slave-maid of the Queen of Daura.
The seven Hausa states are variously said to be Daura, Katsina, Kano, Rano, Garun Gabas, Kano, Zaria, Hadejia, etc, etc. The seven Banza Bakwai are variously said to be the Nupe, the Kororofa, the Yoruba, the Igala, the Igbira, the Benin, etc, etc.
This story then goes on to say that the seven Hausa states were the real and true masters and racially superior of the Hausa Nation while the seven bastard states or Banza Bakwai were the inferior states which were slaves to the Hausa Bakwai.
With this hegemonist flair the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was used by the Hausa city states to justify their supposed superiority and paramount position in ancient Nigeria.
Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai Debunked by Researchers
But all the authorities who have investigated the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story have unanimously concluded that it is a capital lie. These include world renowned professors like Professor Abdullahi Smith, Professor A.H.M. Kirk-Greene, Professor S.J. Hogben, Professor M.G. Smith, Professor J.S. Trimingham, Professor W.K.R. Hallam, Professor Robert Smith and Professor J.E.G. Sutton – all of these authoritative professors have insistently demonstrated that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is a capital lie.
All these authorities and many more who have subjected the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory to the rigours of critical analysis have come to the unanimous conclusion that the theory is fundamentally and radically flawed. These world renowned authorities have discovered a lot of inconsistencies with the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory. We shall some of these inconsistencies in the following paragraphs.
Inconsistent List of Hausa Bakwai
These authorities also discovered that the list of the seven Hausa states and the seven Banza states, as listed by the Hausa propagandists, were never ever consistent; so many conflicting versions of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story exist that it is almost impossible to write a ‘union version’ of the story; and so on and on.
While the older lists include Garun Gabas and Biram, modern lists have now replaced Garun Gabas and Biram with Gobir and Hadejia. But the main problem with these inconsistent lists usually centres around Gobir and Zamfara. It is on this note that M.G. Smith, in his ‘Kebbi and Hausa Stratification’, noted that, “These differing classifications revolve about the position of Gobir or Zamfara’.
Sultan Bello actually added a now unknown city state called Nuro to the list.
That the list of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai states is almost always invariantly inconsistent implies that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is fundamentally wrong in some ways.
Actually we should note the fact that ancients usually used the number seven, Bakwai in Hausa, in Hausa to indicate a large number and note necessary the exact number seven in the sense that we use it today. The same goes for the number fourteen. In other words the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story didn’t specifically mean that Bayajida actually sired seven or fourteen children but that by mentioning the number seven and fourteen as the number of his children the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai was trying to tell us that Bayajida had a lot of children.
In ancient numerology in all parts of the world the number seven didn’t usually referred to seven in the sense that we use it today. Seven, in ancient numerology was usually used to convey the idea of many. The ancient Semitic people, the Arabs and the Jews for instance, use the word ‘Sab’a’ to indicate a large number or host of things. That is why both the Bible and the Qur’an used that word Sa’ba, or seven, in many instances to refer to a large number of things and not necessarily the exact number seven in the sense that we use it today.
All these means that the number of Bayajida may have been far more than or less than seven or fourteen but that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was simply trying to convey to us the idea that he had many children who later or became the founders of the Hausa Bakwai and Banza Bakwai states in latter times.
And this led us to a very important, but often overlooked, fact regarding Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story, namely, that there were many other Hausa city states in the past many of which have become extinct and are no more recognized or mentioned by history. Many of these ancient and now extinct Hausa city states used to be listed among the Hausa Bakwai city states. For instance Garun Gabas is now extinct and even Biram ta Gabas is also gone now and is replaced by the name of Hadejia because of the nearby Hadejia river. Sultan Bello’s list of the Hausa Bakwai city states included a now extinct city state called Nuro.
In all these we observe that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story as we received or see it today is a seriously adulterated version of an ancient traditional history that is completely and totally different from the version we have today. After all the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story having been an oral tradition for centuries was seriously vulnerable to corruption and interpolations a very long time before it was finally written down in the Hausa city chronicles and the works of the non-Hausa Jihadists like Sultan Bello and Sheikh Abdulkadir ibn Mustafa and the Colonial historians like Lady Flora Shaw, C.L. Temple and others.
But the truth of the matter is, and as we shall discuss in greater details in a latter section this present work, that the very word ‘Bakwai’ is actually a very ancient national name used to refer to the Nupe people or people from the River Niger general area which in those days means here Central KinNupe.
Bakwai is the latter, Hausa, corruption of Bakwa or Bako whereby Bakwa is a shortened form of Bakwara and Bako is a shortened form of Bakoro and both Bakwara or Ba-Kwara and Bakoro or Ba-Koro simply means ‘The River Niger Person’. Of coure the ‘River Niger Person’ or ‘The Person from the River Niger’ directly refers to the Nupe man who came from the banks of the River Niger right here in Central KinNupe.
Bakwai, Bakwa or Bakwara could not have referred to a Hausa man living in today’s Hausaland because the River Niger is not located in today’s Hausaland. The River Niger is located in the Nigerian Middle Belt.
Bakwai referred to the Nupe man and whether Hausa (Hausa Bakwai) or Banza (Banza Bakwai) the fact still remains that the Bakwai was Nupe. The original Bakwai people – both Hausa and Banza – were Nupe people who lived and flourished here on the banks of the River Niger in Central KinNupe and not in today’s Hausaland. We shall discuss this is plenary details in a latter section of this present writeup.
Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai Initially Unknown Outside Daura
Another major problem of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory is that it was initially unknown outside Daura. It is becoming more and more clear to research workers that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai was originally a spurious propaganda used by the Daura people to assert superiority over other Hausa city states.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was initially indigenous only to the people of Daura and almost all other Hausa city states never knew the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story until it spread from Daura to the other Hausa city states in latter times. And, of course, the so-called Banza Bakwai states were not even aware of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story right unto historical times, that is, until they were told of the story by the Colonial historians who became aware of the spurious story even before the peoples of the so-called Banza Bakwai states.
That the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai was initially know only to the people of Daura directly implies that it is not a true story but it is a fiction or, better still, a highly corrupted and distorted latter, Daura, version of a very ancient story unknown to the other Hausa city states.
As a matter of fact, and as recent as the time of the Colonial Government in Nigeria, other Hausa city states, apart from Daura, were actually looking at the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory with suspicion as it was originally alien to them. They couldn’t reject it wholeheartedly because it was mentioned by the Kano Chronicle which the Colonial authorities, with their Hamitic Theory Indi
Hausa City-states not Related
Research workers, historians and academic scholars also discovered that the origin of the various city states have nothing in common whatever. In other words the Hausa city states were found or established at such varying dates that their foundation and establishment have nothing in common as is implied by the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story.
If the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story were true then the Hausa city states would have been founded at the same time. But prehistoric and historic sources and documentaries point in the other direction, namely, that the Hausa city states came into existence at various times and not all at the same time as the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story implies.
The truth here is that nobody knows for sure when any one of the Hausa Bakwai city states were founded or established. But they certainly weren’t founded or established at the same time or even within the same period. For example, while Kano has been around as a settlement centred on the Dala hills since the 7th century, Zaria or Zazzau was only established in the 11th or 12th century. This means that the foundations of Kano and Zaria were some five hundred years or half a millennium apart. Of course if both Kano and Zaria were founded or established by the biological children of Bayajida then they both Kano and Zaria would have to be founded within the same generation and not some five hundred years apart.
This fact, of course, totally refutes the claim of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai to the effect that the Hausa city states were founded by the children of Bayajida who must have lived within the same period since they are all siblings from the same father, namely, Bayajida.
Apart from being chronologically unrelated and different in terms of foundation dates, the Hausa city states also have nothing in common with one another in the intial days. While Gobir was a military state, Kano was commercial, Rano was focused on industries, Daura was engaged in trade, Katsina was into trans-Saharan intercourse while Zaria was into warlike slave trading. If they were founded by brothers from the same father Bayajida majority of the Hausa city states would have been engaged in similar or the same vocations or occupation. So, the different vocational identities of the various Hausa city states actually argues in favour of the Hausa city states being totally and completely unrelated at the beginning of their histories – this, of course, is a big blow to the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theory that claims that all the Hausa city states are from the same family of Bayajida.
But the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai would have had us believing that the Hausa city states had so many things, if not everything, in common. The truth, however, is that the Hausa city states had nothing in common especially in the initial days.
As a matter of fact even the Hausa language was not uniformly spoken throughout the Hausa city states. Majority, if not all, of these so-called Hausa city states were actually founded as non-Hausa speaking settlements long before the emergence of the Hausa language itself.
The Hausa language, on the authority of people like Professor J.E.G. Sutton, first came into existence just some five hundred or so years ago. The Hausa language first appeared after the 16th century A.D. There was certainly not the Hausa language before the end of the 16th century.
But majority of these so-called Hausa city states have been in existence for more than five hundred years ago.
Kano was, for instance, founded by the Abagayawa and Dala people somewhere aroud the 7th century AD, that is some eight hundred solid years before the emergence of the Hausa language. The people of Kano initially spoke the Abagayawa or Gaya language of Gara or Koro for close to a millennium before they adopted and started speaking the Hausa language. So, the people of Kano were originally not a Hausa people and, accordingly, could not have been a Hausa Bakwai people in the beginning.
Gobir was founded in the eleventh century which is some four or more centuries before the emergence of the Hausa language. Katina was founded in the 12th century, that is, some three or more centuries before the emergence of the Hausa language. The Gobir people spoke the Bara or Ibari or Bari language for some five hundred years or half a millennium before they eventually adopted and started speaking the Hausa language. The people of Gobir were therefore not a Hausa people until very recent times. Gobir, accordingly, was not a Hausa Bakwai in the beginning.
And Garun Gabas, Biram ta Gabas or Hadejia, Daura and Rano of course were founded long before all the other Hausa Bakwai city states – Kano, Katsina, Gobir – mentioned above. None of them was a Hausa Bakwai state until at the tail end of their histories.
So, the fact that all the so-called Hausa city states were founded and established long before the time that the Hausa language first emerged corroborates the observation of scholars and research workers to the effect that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Hausaness of the so-called Hausa Bakwai city states.
If the Hausa city states were founded several centuries before the emergence of the language then these so-called Hausa city states were not Hausa. The interesting point here is that these so-called Hausa city states were founded as Azna or, as we call them today, Maguza settlements each speaking its own particular Azna or Maguza language and each with its distince Azna or Maguzawa culture and ethnicity long, actually several centuries, before the appearance of Hausa as a language.
The so-called Hausa city states were, once upon a time and in the beginning, not Hausa city states since all of them were founded long before the emergence of the Hausa language.
Garun Gabas was a Gara town for centuries before it eventually adoped the Hausa language as a lingua Franca. Garun Gabas was a Gara town because it was founded by the ancient Gara people and the Gara language was spoken in Gara for centuries before the peple of Garun Gabas adopted the Hausa language in latter times. As a matter of fact Leo Africanus documented the fact that the Gara language was the Lingua Franca spoken over the entire place we call Hausaland today in as late as the 16th century. It was only in latter times that the Hausa language replaced Gara as the Lingua Franca of Hausaland.
But the interesting point here is that the ancient Gara language that was spoken as a Lingua Franca over the whole of Hausaland in the days of Leo Africanus as late as the 16th century was a Nupe language.
Gobir was founded by the Bari or Ibara people and in fact as recent as the days of Ibn Batuta Gobir was actually known as Gubara, after the Ibara people. But, and interestingly enough, the Ibara people are a Nupe people and to this very day, on the authority of Professor Roger Blench, the Nupe people are still known as the Ibara people.
The Zazzau or Zaria people were originally a Sagara or Zugurma people speaking the ancient Gara or Koro dialect of the Zugurma Nupe people. This was the same Old Nupe langaue that was iniatially spoken by the Askias of the Songhay empire. So, the Zaria people were originaly not a Hausa people and could not have been a Hausa Bakwai people as is being spuriously claimed by the Hausa Bakwai Banza Bakwai theorists today.
Hausa Bakwai Not a Confederation
The research authorities who have seriously investigated the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai question also discovered that the Hausa city states have actually never ever gone into any confederation as is implied by the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai theorists today. Lady Flora Shaw actually observed that, “When we come to examine the few historical documents which are available, we find no trace of political union between the Hausa States, except when, for certain periods in their history, one among them assumed or acquired a temporary dominance over the others. On the contrary, their history, as embodied in the chronicles to which allusion has been made, and which date back to the eighth or ninth centuries of our era, show them as independent kingdoms in a state of more or less chronic internecine war.”
As Lady Flora Shaw observed above, the Hausa city states were never united into any form of confederation of any sort. This is because these states were completely unrelated and different from one another. If there ever was any intercourse among these states it was usually, as Lady Lugard observed, in the form of one temporarily conquering and subjugating another one for a while.
There is another deathblow to the claims of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai propagandists, namely, that the story line of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai is a common one among almost all the ancient peoples of the Central Sudan in general and ancient Nigeria in particular and is not particular to the Hausa peoples alone.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story has been around and rampant in ancient Nigeria and its neighbouring countries for centuries before the emergence of the first Hausa city states in today’s Hausaland. As we have repeatedly mentioned in previous paragraphs above, the original Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai actually predated the so-called Hausa Bakwai city states we see in today’s Hausaland.
The plot of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai is centred on what historians and researchers refer to as the ‘Foreign King’ factor whereby a king or ruler coming from the outside came to conquer a city state and expanded the city state by siring the eponymous founders of the resultant satellite or daughter city states that result from the conquests of his seven, twelve, fourteen or more children. This is a recurring theme in the founding story of almost all the ancient peoples of prehistoric Nigeria.
These authorities and researchers discovered that stories very similar to the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story exist among so many other ancient Nigerian peoples that it could not have been a story originating from the Hausa people since the Hausa race is the youngest of all the races and peoples of ancient Nigeria. Hausa was the last of the Nigerian people to appear in the ethnographic historiography of ancient Nigeria and since the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story also exist among the other Nigerian tribes that are older than the Hausa race then the Hausa people must have gotten the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story from the more ancient and older races and tribes of ancient Nigeria.
Scholars have consummately demonstrated that ancient Nigerian heroes including the Bagauda of Kano, Shango of Oyo, Tsoede of the Nupes, Oranmiyan of Edo and Yoruba, Idoko of the Igalas, Kanta of the Kebbi, Oduduwa of Ife, and many others. Adashu of the Igala, and many others, are virtually one and the same person – their stories have the same story line and the same plot centred on the personality of a Foreign King who was pursued out of another land and who came to conquer a new land over which his many children – invariably numbering seven, twelve or fourteen in number – came to rule with individual city states resulting from the rule of his children.
All the ancient peoples of Nigeria seems to have this story of a the Foreign King whose children established a number of city states. So, this story, now known as the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai among the Hausa people, has been around in Nigeria since prehistoric times – since long before the rise of the so-called Hausa city states themselves.
Interestingly the more ancient versions of this Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story among thr more ancient Nigerian people have not the many adulterations, interpolations and corruptions that we see garnishing the modern version of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story among the modern Hausa people. For instance, and as pointed out by Professor Dierk Lange, the Maguzawa people, who were the aboriginal or autotchthonous Hausa people before the emergence of the modern Hausa people in today’s Hausaland, were in possession of a very old, but more pure or pristine, version of the Hausa Bakwai story which, tellingly enough, those not mention the existence of the Banza Bakwai city states. This, of course, directly means that the concept of the Banza Bakwai was a latter invention interpolated into the original Hausa Bakwai story.
In any case the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was never peculiar or indigenous to the Hausa people as we see it today. It was, in former times, a universal story common among all the ancient peoples of Nigeria and in fact it was only in latter times that the Hausa people came to adopt and adulterated it to their version as we see it today.
Hausaland not the Setting
The bottomline, and in fact the curtain-raiser, at this juncture is that the original Hausa Bakwai-Banza bakwai story did not take place in today’s Hausaland.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is so full of inconsistencies and fallacies, some of which we have discussed extensively above, that many world renowned authorities who have investigated the story in details have reached the extreme conclusion that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is a capital lie. We listed many of these authorities at the beginning of this very article.
But then some other authorities have long ago discovered that there is still some elements of truth in the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story even though the story as it is today is seriously adulterated and interpolated by a lot of distorting inconsistencies and fallacies added in latter times by generation upon generations of oral transmitters before the story was eventually codified in written forms at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century.
Some of these scholars are now trying very hard to divest the modern version of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai of its adulteration and corruptions in order to be able decipher the original form of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story. It is moves in this direction that have, for instance, now proven that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai is actually a very ancient story that in deed predated the foundation of the so-called Hausa city states themselves. In other words these scholars have discovered that the original Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story has been around even long before the first of the so-called Hausa Bakwai city states was formed.
In other words the Hausa city states merely came and adopted an ancient Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai tradition that has been around long before the foundation of the first of these so-called Hausa city states. It is obvious, from our earlier discussions above, that it was the Daura people who first adopted the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story before they in turn spread it out to the other Hausa Bakwai city states.
The truth of the matter, however, that the people who founded today’s Daura were an ancient Gara or Koro people who originally came from the banks of the River Niger here in Central KinNupe. The founders of Daura were a Nupe people from Central KinNupe and it was from here Central KinNupe that they brought with them the original form of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story.
These scholars and authorities we have been discussing have discovered that the events narrated in the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story did not take place in today’s Hausaland. First and foremost is the fact that there are no any documentary evidence whatsoever of any Arabian prince or King Bayajida ever having come from the Middle East to reign over Hausaland and even to the extent of founding seven or more city states in Hausaland.
Even the Kisra people, who are doecumented to have come from the Mediterranean, Arabia and Persia to ancient Nigeria starting circa 500 AD, never ever settled down in today’s Hausaland. Sir C.R. Niven, and many other authorities recorded the fact that the Kisra people came directly to the banks of the River Niger where they settled down here in today’s Central KinNupe and today’s Borguland which was in those days part of the Greater KinNupe.
Then, and of course, there is also the fact that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story actually predated the foundation of the Hausa city states thereby making it absolutely impossible for today’s Hausaland to have been the setting of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story.
But more revealing in this context is the fact that before the founding of any of the so-called Hausa Bakwai city states there were already an ancient Hausa people flourishing to the south of today’s Hausaland, that is, in today’s Nupeland on the banks of the River Niger right here in Central KinNupe.
Most people today are not aware of the fact that the first and aboriginal Hausa people were the Nupe people in the sense that before the first Hausa people appeared in today’s Hausaland there were already the Hausa people living here in Central KinNupe for several centuries on end. In other words it was from here in Central KinNupe that the original Hausa people migrated to today’s Hausaland to found and establish the Hausa city states that we know today.
The first time the Hausa people were ever mentioned in historical notes was by the Arab historian called Al-Yaqubi in the 9th century. But by that time, the 9th century, none of the city states we refer to as the Hausa Bakwai today was known as Hausa. In fact by the 9th century none of the so-called Hausa city states of today was speaking the Hausa language because by then the Hausa language have not gotten to today’s Hausaland. As a matter of fact by the 9th century, that is in the days of Al-Yaqubi, the Hausa language was only spoken in the place we call KinNupe today, right here on the banks of the River Niger.
Interestingly enough Al-Yaqubi, in his Tarikh al-Yaqubi, specifically and categorically located the Hausa people in the 9th century on the banks of the River Niger right here in Central KinNupe. What we are saying here is that Yaqubi, the first to mention the Hausa people, located the Hausa people here in KinNupe and not in today’s Hausaland.
The first Hausa people were a Nupe people living on the banks of the River Niger here in Central KinNupe. They were the descendants of the Kisra people who came from outside the African continent and established the first and Original Hausa kingdom in Central KinNupe and today’s Borgu which was in those days part and parcel of the Greater KinNupe of those days. The Kisra people first arrived KinNupe somewhere around 500 AD and that is why some three hundred or so years later the Arab historian Al-Yaqubi could mention the Hausa people as a Nupe people with their Nupe kingdom, which he referred to in his Tarikh al-Yaqubi as the Abasa or HBSH, located on the banks of the River here in Central KinNupe.
Since the first Hausa people were Nupe and since the first Hausa settlement and kingdom was located here in Central KinNupe, it goes without saying that KinNupe is the setting of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story. The hero Bayajida and his seven or fourteen children were Nupe peoples.
Bayajida was pursued from one Nupe kingdom to another Nupe kingdom which he conquered and from which his many children later on founded and established various Nupe city states.
Bayajida Is Nupe
Research workers and scholars who have studied the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story in meticulous details also discovered that the personality of Bayajida in the story was seriously flawed: Bayajida could not have been the Abu Yazid of Arab Islamic history.
Many scholars have actually insisted that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai’s maintenance of Bayajida as being an Arab or Persian prince from Bagadaza or Baghdad is an attempt to associate the Hausa people with the Islamic world. It is on this note that Professor Dierk Lange wrote that, “Suspecting that oral traditions can easily be altered by manipulations, historians are reluctant to consider seriously the evidence for transcontinental migrations provided by the Bayajidda legend. They suggest that claims of Near Eastern origins reflect a desire to accredit noble – but fictive – origins to the Hausa”
Professor Dierk Lange also observed that the claim that Bayajida was an Arabian or Persian prince from Baghdad Arabia seems to be an interpolation in latter times by the Hausa city chroniclers. The original version of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai categorically maintained that Bayajida was a prince or slave from Bornu from the south of Hausaland in the days when Bornu was originally located as Original Bornu or Old Bornu here in Central KinNupe to the south of Hausaland.
This older and more pristine version of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was, incredibly enough, narrated by irrefutable and eminent authorities including Sultan Bello the first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate and the son to Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo. This version was also narrated by the pre-Fulani rulers of Kano and Abdulkadir ibn Mustapha who is a renowned Fulani scholar of the nineteenth century on the same scholarly footing with Sultan Bello.
That the three formidable authorities – Sultan Bello, Sheikh Abdukadir ibn Mustapha, and the pre-Fulani original rulers of Kano – unanimously maintained that the name of the hero of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was Bawo and not Bayajida is a strong corroboration of the fact that the name ‘Bayajida’ is a latter interpolation and that Bawo was the real name of the hero in the original and older versions of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story.
It is in this context that Professor Dierk Lange wrote that, “These elements suggest the possibility that an alternative and very ancient Hausa version of the Bayajidda legend may have had Bawo as the dragon slayer and as the sole progenitor of the Hausa states without any preceding ancestor and without any duplication of states.”
Interestingly even these three authorities – Sultan Bello, Sheikh Abdulkadir ibn Mustapha and the original rulers of Kano – got the name Bawo and derived their source for the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai from even earlier and older sources that actually referred to Bawo with an even more original and pristine name, namely, Bawa.
The Gobir and Katsina versions of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai referred to the hero of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story as Bawa to this very day. As a matter of fact, and according to Dier Lange, the Gobir and Katsina traditions actually pronounce the name as Abawa Jida.
This older version actually related that the original name of Bayajida was Abawa Jida, or Bawa Jida or, as the Hausa City Chronicles came to corrupt it, Baya Jida or Bayajida. That the corrupted ‘Bayajida’ sounded morphologically like ‘Bagadaza’, the Hausa for Baghdad, may be among the factors that led the Hausa City Chroniclers to spuriously claim that Bayajida came from Baghdad and hence the consequent claim that he was an Arab prince from the Middle East. Now the Hausa City chroniclers have gone the etra step of corrupting Bayajida into Abuyazidu or Abu Yazid.
Interestingly even the Kano Chronicle came to admit that Bawo the hero from KinNupe, was conqueror and ruler of Hausaland. But the Kano Chrincle then mischievously made Bawa or Bawo a grandson of Bayajida.
Bayajida did not come from the Middle East because Sultan Bello insisted he came from Original Borno in the south, KinNupe, and not from the Middle East.
Sultan Bello insisted, in a categorical manner, that Bayajida was a slave of the king of Borno and that in those days the Borno kingdom was located or situated to the south of Hausaland and not to the east of Hausaland as is the case today.
The point here is that the Borno kingdom we see on the reaches of the Lake in today’s Borno State was not the original and first Borno in history. Sultan Bello, Sir H.R. Palmer and many other authorities, including a cache of documents in the Vatican archives in Rome, Italy, categorically document the fact that before today’s Borno there was an Old and Original Borno which, in prehistoric times, was located on the banks of the River Niger right here in Central KinNupe.
Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai Not Credible
With all these inconsistencies, fallacies and problems the authorities who have studied the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story in details concluded that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story as it exist today is nothing but a propagandist revision of what might have been originally a true story.
Whatever might be the truth behind the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story the authorities have concluded that in its present form and interpretation by the Hausa propagandists, the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is a more or less a capital lie. The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is not taken serious in the academic world and it is simply viewed as an unreliable propaganda piece.
And ever since the veracity of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was thrown into the mud by the academia, particularly in the 1950s and ‘60s, the Hausa propagandists have been silenced and put to shame. Now the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is only taken serious by the illiterates on the streets and beer-parlours but not by respectable members of the academia.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is now used by members of the academia to show how emergent states or political systems can go to any length at inventing stories to bolster their own images.
The True Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai
But then, and as research workers including Professor Dierk Lange observed, the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story does seems to have some foundation in real and true history despite all the inconsisties and fallacies associated with it today.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza bakwai story as we see it today is a serious and latter corruption of an original story that is very different from what we see today. There is no doubt that the Hausa city states are the remnants of an ancient confederation established by a foreign king. The problem with the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story as we see it today is nothing but an Hausanized or Hausa adoption of an ancient founding history that has been around for several century if not a millennia or so before the first of the Hausa city states was founded.
The fact is that the true story of what is known to us today as the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story took place a very long time ago not in today’s Hausaland but further south on the banks of the River Niger right here in Central KinNupe.
The Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story was, interestingly enough, not a fiction or an invention – it is a true historical story. The story of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai is a true history of what happened in Central KinNupe several centuries before the rise of the modern Hausa people and the latter advent of the Fulani Jihad.
The problem with the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai story is the manner in which it was re-interpreted by the Hausa propagandists who manipulated and distorted the original story out of all proposition. The Hausa propagandists not only stole the Hausa Bakwai-Banza story but also adapted it as their own and as a story that took place in Hausaland and not in KinNupe.
The truth of the matter is that the story of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai did take place, once upon a time, in history but it took place here in KinNupe and not in Hausaland.
Once upon a time there was indeed an Esa bloc of city states and a Basa bloc of city states both located here in Central KinNupe and clustering on the banks of the River Niger.
The Esa were an ancient Nupe people deriving from the Kisra migrations from the outside world – the Mediterranean, Arabia and Asia Minor – into KinNupe starting somewhere around the middle of the first millennium into the Christian Era. These ancient Esa Kisra Nupe people are the same that are still variously seen and known as the people of Esan, Katsa (Katcha), Tsaragi, Esheti, Bishetiawogi, etc, etc, throughout KinNupe today.
The Basa are a related people to the Esa and they are also part of the original Kisra migrations into KinNupe. These ancient Basa Nupe people are the same that are still variously seen and known in KinNupe today as the Vatsa, Bassa Nge and Bassa Nkomo, the Bassas of Kontagora, Plateau State, Benue State, etc, etc.
It was this ancient Nupe Esa or Asa or Ausa city states that the Hausa tongue pronounced as ‘Hausa’ and it was the Basa city states that the Hausa tongue peonounced as ‘Banza’.
Both Esa and Basa were located right here in very ancient times and it was the story of their foundation by a Nupe prince who came from Original Bornu, located here in Central KinNupe, that the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai tries to narrate however in a plagiarized form by wrongly claiming Hausaland as the setting for the story. The true story of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai took place here in Central KinNupe a very long time before the emergence of the Hausa city states that we see in Northern Nigeria today.
Bayajida was Nupe prince, this I discussed in details in my book titled ‘Bayajida Was Nupe: How the Hausa people Originated from Nupe’. And the Bornu from which Bayajida came was the Original Bornu which was also located right here in Central KinNupe in those former days.
As a matter of fact Bayajida seems, from all indications, to be the same person who is known to the Nupe people as Tsoede and claimed to be the Founder of the Nupe Nation. The stories of Bayajida and Tsoede have so much parallels in common that it is just so easy to see that the two, Bayajida and Tsoede, are simply one and the same person whose stoy was told differently by the two different peoples of the modern Hausa people and the modern Nupe people.
We all see, for instance, that both Bayajida and Tsoede were pursued out of one kingdom to another kingdom which they subsequently conquered. While Bayajida was pursued out of Old Borno, Tsoede was chased out of AtaGara.
While a fugitive Bayajida came to conquer Daura the capital of the Hausa Confederacy, a fugitive Tsoede came to conquer Nku the capital of the Bini Confederacy.
While Bayajida sired fourteen children who became the rulers of the Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai city states, Tsoede appointed some fourteen or so of his Kyadya and Akanda lieutenants to rule over the fourteen or so Nupe city states he united into the United Kingdom of Nupeko otherwise known as Kororofa.
While Bayajida metaphorically killed the Sarki snake ruler in the well at Daura, Tsoede practically elminated the Kisra (Sarki) dynasty of ancient KinNupe in the stead of which he established his Nupeko or Kororofa United Empire.
Even an analysis of the names, Bayajida and Tsoede, shows that they are one and the same names.
Bayajida is, on the authority of Professor Dierk Lange, actually derived from Baya Jida or Bawa Jida. While Bawa, according to the Maguzawa traditions or Bawo according to Sultan Bello, is a general name for people from the KinNupe general area, Jida is an ancient royal title.
But Tsoede was also known as Edegi or, more pristinely, Edeji. This Edeji is more or less a Colonial distortion of Edaji or Adaji which is in turn the mirror-image of Ajida or Jida which is the royal title with which Bayajida was properly known and addressed. This, of course, means that both Tsoede and Bayajida were actually known and addressed as Jida thereby making the two one and the same person.
The parallelism between the Bayajida and Tsoede stories are endless and consummately demonstrate the fact that Bayajida and Tsoede are one and the same person.
Picture: Fictitious map of the spurious Theory of Hausa Bakwai-Banza Bakwai lie.