Friday, September 16, 2016

Mai Idris Alooma (1569-1603): The Greatest King under the Kanem-Borno Empire.

The Kanem Boeno Empire was situated around the Lake Chad region and beyond. The territory of the Empire covered some part of the present day Nigeria, Chad and Cameroun. It existed from around the 9th to the 19th century. It is believed to be one of the greatest organized and long lasting political entity in the Africa.

Mai Idris Alooma

Mai Idris Alooma who reigned during the second phase of the Kanuri Empire can regarded as the greatest king under the Empire. Alooma who was the son of a Bulala princess came to the throne at a difficult period in the history of the Kanem-Borno Empire.
Borno Empire before the coming of Alooma was faced with strong famine and hardship. There were also uprisings and revolts from some un-Islamic non-Kanuri ethnic minorities controlled under the Empire structure. Notable among them were the Gizim and the Sao people. Another problem was the disorganization in the administration of Borno Empire controlled by the Saifawa dynasty. The administration of the army was in disarray bringing to the fore front great problem of insecurity. The result of this was the unchecked external attacks on the Empire. The highest of these external attacks was the one carried out by the Bulala who were responsible for the fall of the first kanuri Empire.

Achievements of Mai Idris Alooma.

Some major achievements of Mai Idris Alooma were:
1) To create internal stability, Alooma went after the internal challenges against the Empire. The revolts and uprisings from the Gizim and the Sao were brutally dealt with by Alooma. His forces killed a very large number of the people of Gizim and Sao. Some of them were sold into slavery in exchange for horses, arms and essential goods with the Arabs. This treatment led to the reduction of internal revolts in his kingdom.

2) He went ahead to reform the Empire’s army. Knowing that the major problem of insecurity in the Empire was led by the disorganization in the army, he went into extensive reorganization. In doing this, he re-equipped the Empire’s army. He introduced new and effective weapons for the army. He is believed to be the first king to introduce the use of guns into the Kanem- Borno Empire. He imported large number musket from the Northern part of Africa, Arab and the Ottoman Empire. Mercenaries were also invited to come and train his army on the use of these new weapons. He as well introduced refined war strategies for successful military activities. His army was made up of shock troop, traditional cavaliers, camel cavalry force, fortification forces used mainly for defense and intelligent unit mainly made uo of female slaves.

3) With this strong army, Alooma went into the extensive expansion of the Empire. In the northern part of his Empire, Alooma clashed with the Tuaregs, th Teda whom he defeated. The defeat of these strategic people increased his control of commercial relationship within the region and the Northern part of Africa (the Maghreb). He conquered and dominated most Hausa city states making some of them tributary states of Borno Empire. One of his greatest military successes was the defeat of the Bulala. He stated on a soft note with the Bulala because they are his mother’s people but clashed with them over disagreement based on his expansionist activities. His desire to annex some territories created issue with the Bulala. He defeated the Bulala thereby removing their influence over Borno Empire.

4) His influence was felt in Arab land, Europe and even the Far East. He established and maintained diplomatic and commercial relationship with countries of the Maghreb and some Arab kingdoms.

5) Alooma restructured the political structure of the Empire. The restructuring was carried out based on Islamic principles. Based on his strong Islamic values, he introduced a strong Islamic theocratic structure in the Empire. Justice systems were structured according to the values of Islam headed by a Quadi.

6) He built new mosques in the Empire to encourage the practice of Islam. He strongly encouraged the practice of Islam by his subjects.

7) Due to relative stability the economy of the Empire strived under Alooma. Commercial activities were handled without many distractions from forces wishing to control businesses.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Nana of Itskekiri Bid to Resist the British Exploitative Interest in Itshekiri

The story of Nana olumu,known in his hey-day as the ‘’Governor of the Benin River’ ’is very similar to that of 1848, the Olu of Warri ,Akenbuwa 1, died with his two sons also dying soon after. With the Olu and his sons, Warri entered a long interregnum as no olu was appointed until 1936.
During those eight years when Warri had no olu, the only authority among the Itsekiri was someone known as the ‘’Governor of the River’ ’who was chosen from among the traders on the Benin River . Even the Europeans recognised the authority of such a person.Olomu was the Governor from 1870 until his death in 1883.He was succeeded by his son Nana.

Nana’s power and wealth derived from his position as the middleman between the hinterland palm oil producers of Urhobo and the European traders on the coast. Like Jaja, Nana did not want the Europeans to by-pass him and trade directly with hinter land market. In 1893, following complaints that Nana was preventing the Europeans from getting into the hinterland and stirring the Urhobo against the British, the consul-General stopped the grant of £200 which he was being paid each year.

With further complaints by European traders that Nana was still blockading trade, the Acting consul-General Ralph Moor in June 1894 invited him (Nana) to come to the consulate headquarters. Nana was aware of Jaja’s fate and so he turn down the invitation. In anticipation of a British attack, Nana fortified his own capital (Ebrohimi).He built a strong barrier across the creek leading into Ebrohimi.

The British soon sent in a gunboat,HMS Alecto to blow up the barrier, but while it did so, Nana’s troops were firing it.Another gunboat had to come to the rescues of Alecto. Moor then organised with three warship, took place on September 25, 1895.Nana’s capital was taken. Nana escaped to Lagos .There he was tried for waging war against the British, found guilty and exiled first to calabar, then to Accra, where he spent twelve years. He was release in 1906.and he returned home. Nana died on July 3, 1916.

The exist of Jaja and later Nana removed the last obstacles which hindered the expansion of British influence not the Niger Delta, but also into the hinterland beyond the Delta. In other words, the deportation of Jaja and Nana left the arena open for British manoeuvres.

By Onoriode Favour: Student of New Total Child Academy Secondary School, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.


Seku amadu was born around 1776, he was raised by his father`s younger brother HAMMAN LOBBO in the the inner Niger delta region, alliance of Fulbe traders ruled the towns like Djenne’ , but no-muslim bambar controlled the river.
The Fulbe ardo’en practiced a form of Islam that is far from pure.
He served in sokoto jihad before returning to the Massina region .he settled in a village under the authority of Djenne , were his teaching brought him large followers .But then , he was later expelled and he moved to SEBERA under MASSINA . There he built a large following and again he was expelled. Usman Danfodio was founded in Sokoto caliphate in Hausa land in 1809, authorized him to carry out a jihad. Seku Amadu received a flag from Usman Dan-fodio which symbolizes his authority.

The Jihad of Seku Amadu
Amadu’s view brought him into conflict with his local, pagan Fulani chief, who called for help from his Suzerain, the Bambara king of SEYU . The result established the Massina Empire, a theocratic Muslim Fulani state throughout the inner Niger region and extending to both the ancient Muslim centers of Djenne and Timbuktu. Amadu’s jihad continued from 1810 and 1818, which recorded the estimated total of 10,000 deaths.
Seku Amadu accused the local Fulbe rules of idolatry and that the jihad was firstly directed at them. The scope then extended to Bambara and other pagan groups in the region. He was supported by Tukolors and other Fulbe people in Massina, escaped scares and others looking for freedom from their Bambara master. He was also supported by literate Muslims who were enthusiastic about Islamic reform.
invited to take control of Massina after a Fulbe revolt in that town by 1818 ,He won in Djenne and later in Timbuktu, the temporal ruler was overthrown an replaced by scholars , while the Fulba Dikko clan became the regional power. He founded a capital for his new Massina Empire called HAMDULLAHI which means PRAISE GOD, which was established in 1819. He set himself up as an independent ruler.
Seku Ahmadu’s theocratic state controlled the inner Niger Delta and exerted some authority over the nearby Timbuktu. Segou and kaarta . One of the main religious leaders of the jihad in Massina was Muhammed al-tahir , who issues a manifesto to declare Seku Ahmadu as the spiritual heir of ASKIA Mohammed1 , the 16th century ruler of the song heir empire. This was generally accepted in the Timbuktu region. Seku Ahmadu also assumed the title of commander of the faithful in the Sudan, which the sokoto caliphate considered to be his by right .he adversely, affected the trade of both Jenne and Timbuktu.
Seku Ahmadu Lebbo died on the 20th April 1845, leaving control of the Massina Empire to his son; Ahmadu2, who ruled over Massina from 1844 to 1852. The period of stability lasted until El-hadj Umar Tall’s jihad in 1862 overthrew Ahmadu’s grandson; Ahmadu3, and threw the region into chaos.
Seku Ahmadu’s Policy and Influence.

1] Seku Ahmadu ruled through a system of provincial governors, mostly his relatives and a central council of forty elders. In Seku Ahmadu’s theocratic state, the law was based on strict observance of the Maliki interpretation of Sharia in each province playing an important role in the state.

2] The Niger bend region was stable and trade flourished.

3] One of the most enduring results of his rule was a pastoral code regulating access to and use of the inland Niger Delta region by Fulani cattle herders and diverse farming communities.

BY: MISS OLUCHI NWAKA. Student New Total Child Academy Secondary School, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Jaja was from Igbo extraction. He was believed to have been born in Amaigbo in the present day Imo state of Nigeria. He was later enslaved during the slave trade era and ended up in Bonny in the Niger Delta area. Although he was a slave, he became a member of the Anna Pepple House. Anna Pepple House was a political cum economic structure where some group of individuals within Bonny established a common understanding towards advancing their common business goals and interest. He was able to work up the ladder in the Anna Pepple House because of his well known and dynamic trading capability.
He later became the head of the House. Under Jaja, the Anna Pepple House became very wealthy. This growing prosperity became a thing of envy from the rivals. To avoid and conflict because of the envy, Jaja pulled out in of the Bonny area in 1869 taking with him more than half of the components of the Anna Pepple House. He found a new coastal settlement named Opobo not too far from Bonny.

The establishment of Opobo settlement and its location gave Jaja the upper hand in the control of palm oil business between the hinter lands of what is known today as Nigeria and the Europeans that came in the Coastal area. Jaja controlled firmed palm oil market of Igbo, Ibibio, Efik etc with is position as a middle man. Within a very short period, Jaja became the most powerful and the richest ruler in the Niger Delta area.
In the early stage, the relationship between Jaja and the British was very cordial. For instance by 1873, the British agreement with Jaja recognized him as a ruler of the area. By 1873-74 Jaja lent his soldiers to the British for expedition against the Asante in the present Ghana region. For this act, Queen of Victorian of England gave Jaja a sword as a gift.

Jaja knew that his influence, power and wealth rested on his continued practice as a middle man between the Europeans and the hinter land. For this reason, he prevented the Europeans from having direct access to the products they needed from the hinterland. This his intention did not go down well with the Europeans especially the British. In 1886 problem erupted between Jaja and the British. This had to do with the British traders attempt to gain access to the hinterland markets. Jaja’s response to this was to banish all trade with the Europeans firms and started shipping palm oil directly to England.

This act annoyed the British. In 1887, Johnson who was the British Acting Consul for West Africa directed Jaja to allow the Europeans trader access to the hinterland. This directive was not adhered to by Jaja. By September of 1887, Johnson brought a warship named HMS Goshawk to Opobo and invited Jaja on board. He gave Jaja the assurance that nothing will happen to him. When he went onboard, he was given two bad choices by Johnson. One was that if he would not allow the Europeans access, he could go back and face immediate bombardment from the British navy. The second was that he should give himself up to be taken into exile. It was very difficult for Jaja but in other to save Opobo and his people, he chooses the exile option. He was first sent to Accra where he was tried and later sent to the West Indies where he died in 1891 on his way to Nigeria.

Monday, May 6, 2013


The legend was centered on the activities of one Bayajjida or Abu-Yazid. He was believed to be a prince from the kingdom of Baghdad in the Middle East. According to the story, he was a white skinned adventurer probably from Arab extraction. He was said to have developed a misunderstanding with his father the king of Baghdad and ran out of the kingdom with some of his loyalists due to that confusion. His movement took him to western Africa where he first took residence in Kanem Empire.

The Mai (king) of Kanem sheltered him and gave him his daughter Magira Daud to marry. The king separated him from his followers and this did not go down well with him. Having lost his followers, he became afraid of his life and fled westwards leaving his wife and the son of that union called Biram. On his way, he met a blacksmith and requested that a sword be made for him.

On his way he came to a town called Daura. The town as at that time was ruled by a woman queen called Dauranama. In Daura, he observed that the town was facing a major problem. The only well from where they got their water had a snake in it. The snake will not allow people to draw water form the well anytime it comes out. Bayajjida attacked and killed the snake. This act of bravery made the queen to marry him and made him to settle down in Daura. The union between Dauranama the queen and Bayajjida produced a son called Bawo.

Bawo was said to have gotten six sons who are believed to be the founders of six Hausa kingdoms. They were Kano, Rano, Katsina, Zaria (Zazzau), Gobir,and Daura. All these together with Biram the son of Bayajjida and the daughter of Mai of Kanem make up the Hausa Bakwoi States (the legitimate ones).

The queen as well was said to have made a concubine available for Bayajjida. The claim was that union of Bayajjida and the concubine produced sons namely Kebbi, Zamfara, Gwari, Jukun, Ilorin, Nupe and Yauna. These seven sons were according to the claim were the founders of another seven kingdoms. They are referred to as the Hausa Banza Bakwoi (illegitimate states).

Critical Analysis
The theorists of this claim believe that it can explain the origin of the Hausa but the legend has a whole lot of unresolved issues or make up.
1) This theory tends to explain to some level the foundation of some Hausa kingdoms. The theorists claim that it explains the origin of the Hausa is very wrong and unacceptable based on analysis.
2) The explanation about Daura and her queen created a picture of an already existing people with an organized political structured headed by a queen. For someone to claim that a visitor founded an already existing people may not be a very acceptable fact.
3) According to the tradition of the foundation of Gobir, Bawo was not mention as having played any role. The tradition did not explain the kinship or link towards Bawo or his father Bayajjida.


The Ethiopian Church is one of the oldest Christian Churches in the whole of Africa. The church is believed to have been founded around the 4th century by St. Frumentius. The “Nine Saints” played very important role in strengthening the church. The Nine Saints were 9 holy men who were believed to have originally migrated from Syria. They founded monasteries in Ethiopia and translated the scripture into Ethiopic.

This group can be said to have monophysitic Christian view. This means that they believed that Jesus Christ is both God and man. Till present, the Ethiopian church is strongly rooted on this believe. The church teaches that Mary is the mother of God, who is Christ. The church honours her and many other saints.
The Holy Scriptures of the Ethiopian Church contains both the New and Old Testament books in additions to books like Enoch, Hermas the Shepherd, the Ascension of Isaiah and the Jubilee. Many parts of the Bible are read aloud in the religious services. Their services as well contain very beautiful singing. Ge’ez is the official language for their services.
The church observes both Saturday and Sunday as the holy days of worship. They practice circumcision.

The church has two kinds of clergy. The deteras: who are not ordained priests but they are very learned. They teach in the church schools and lead some of the singing in religious worship. The other group is the kes or kaher: who are ordained and they administer the religious rites and ceremonies (sacrament). The head of the Ethiopian Church is the Patriarch; who oversees the whole activities.

The church has many monasteries in Ethiopia. Some of the famous and ancient ones are Debra Libanos in Shewa, Debra Damo in the Tigrai and St. Stephen on the Island of Lake Hayq.

The church uses a very different calendar. The Calendar is basically Christian but the counting of the years began 7 years after that of the Gregorian counting. In 1974 AD, the Ethiopian Churches calendar year was 1968. The calendar has 365days, with 366days in the 4th year. The months are 13. They are Maskaram, Tekemt, Hidar, Tahsas, Ter, Yekatit, Megabit, Miazia, Guenbot, Sene, Hamle, Nehase and Pagumen. All the months are 30 days except Pagumen which has 5 days normally and 6 days in a leap year.
The most important religious festival is Maskal which is commemorated 17 Maskaram the day it is believed that St.Helena found the true cross of Jesus. Another important ceremony is the Epiphany called Timkat Commemorated on 11 Ter. The Churches Christmas called Genna is held on 28 Tahsas, the Good Friday is celebrated on 29 Megabit, New Year is 1 Maskaram, and the victory day in honour of the return of Haile Selassie in 1941 is celebrated on 27 Miazia.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Most parts of Africa cannot be said to have developed any major form of documentation in the past. As at 1000 AD very few written records existed about African History. Archaeological materials helped a lot in the realization of the truth in most facets of African History. Although the reality of archaeological research in Africa is underutilized and unevenly distributed, it has shown that a lot about African History can be unraveled through its use.

One major global reality that archaeological research has given a little bit of light is the African position towards the human development transition. Although some people tend to ignore this because of less clarity in the explanation and evidence, the biological origin of man has been traced in some quarters to the Homo sapiens era. Archaeological evidence show that the transformation the evolution in the human development processes happened in Africa. Most of the evidence about this transformation from the ape-like man have been seen and evaluated from Africa, mostly eastern and southern Africa. Some of these evidential realities point to over 1 millions years of existence. Some have said that Africa the continent that people first inhabited.

One very major problem in the use of Archaeological means in African History is that at present, researches are not evenly distributed. The cause of this is the lack of development of the profession in Africa. Archaeologists in Africa are not professionally involved in the research activities. The major contributory factor is lack of funding and possible political will towards this. There are also the African superstitious beliefs that hamper some researches. An archaeological research is financially very demanding and the funds to develop the professional and as well fund researches are practically none existing.
Some important findings have been realized through archaeological researches in Africa. Some of them are the famous Igbo Ukwu archaeological findings organized by Thurstan Shaw in the present Nigeria. Pottery fragments found in the Gambia, the excavation carried out about the 1930s at Mapungubwe south of Zimbabwe etc.