I came across a post that has gone viral on Whatsapp recently in Nigeria. After declaring that Mr. Candido Joao da Rocha was the first Nigerian millionaire, the post went on to claim that this same Mr. Candido Joao da Rocha was a Yoruba man from Ilesa.
Candido da Rocha, who was born in 1860 in Bahia, Brazil, and died in 1959 in Lagos, Nigeria, is to a very great extent the first Nigerian millionaire… There is no need denying that.
…. But Mr. Candido Joao da Rocha was not a Yorubaman!
It is quite unfortunate that not only almost everybody but even the Da Rocha descendants in Lagos and Ghana today wrongly believe that their paterfamilias was a Yorubaman.
The truth of the matter is that Mr. Candido Joao da Rocha the first Nigerian millionaire was a Nupe man!!
The father to Candido da Rocha was Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha who was a Nupe man born in the 1820s here in KinNupe and sold into slavery around 1840.
The young Esan Joao da Rocha was taken to Brazil as a slave where he grew up, gained his freedom and went on to become a wealthy former slave.
The wealthy Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha was part of an exceedingly large population of Nupe slaves and Nupe former slaves who formed the overwhelming majority of the population of the city of Bahia known today as Salvador. These Nupe slaves and former slaves in Brazil were variously known as the Nago, Takua, Aratako, Males, Minas, Tapa, Nupe, etc, etc.
Today Bahia is the third largest city in Brazil after Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but in former times Bahia was the largest city in Brazil.
Just like Kufa, Basra and Baghdad in today’s Iraq, it was Black African slaves and former slaves, in this case Nupe slaves and Nupe former slaves who built Bahia or Salvador into the greatest city in the Americas in former times. So overwhelming was the Nupe population of Bahia that several times in the 18th and 19th centuries Nupe slaves and former slaves organized slave rebellions aimed at converting Bahia into a Nupe State in the Americas.
The last and the largest slave rebellion of Bahia was in 1835 and its was organized by a group of six Nupe former slaves namely Mamman alias Nda Salihu, Nda Dani, Sule Nicobe, Manuel Calafate, Pacifico Likutan and Sheikh Sanim Luis Ricardo da Silva. All six were Nupe former slaves.
That 1835 Slave Rebellion is known to Brazilian historians as the Male Slave Rebellion because Nupe Islamic scholars and their followers were generally known as the Male in Brazil in those days. This name, Male, is derived from the same name pronounced as Mali or Mani back here in KinNupe in reference to the followers of Shehu Abdurrahmani (Mani) Gbaji the Nupe Islamic Mahdi of the late 18th and early 19th century.
Sultan Bello, the first Sultan of the Sokoto Caliphate, wrote that Etsu Jibirilu was the first man in ancient Nigeria to establish an Islamic Caliphate as far back as in 1747. That is some sixty solid years before Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo started preaching in the Rima Valleys. Yes, the Nupe Caliphate of Etsu Jibirilu preceded the Sokoto Caliphate by well over half a century; and this on the authority of the first Sultan of the Sokoto Caliphate himself. But the Hausa-Fulani supremacists are today imprudently hiding that historical fact from you.
Etsu Jibirilu’s Nupe Caliphate was, however, short-lived because, according to Sultan Bello, Etsu Jibirilu was deposed and banished by anti-Islamic powers within KinNupe in 1749.
Next, Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji the Nupe man became the second person in ancient Nigeria to establish a Caliphate, namely, the Mokwa Caliphate or the Second Nupe Caliphate. That was back in 1778, that is some thirty solid years before Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo began his proselytization activities.
In fact Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji the Nupe man was also the one who defeated the Gobirawa at the Battle of Tabkin Kwatto in 1804 and founded the Sokoto Emirate for Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo and his brother Shehu Abdullahi Fodiyo. It was this Sokoto Emirate founded by Shehu Abdurrahman Gbaji the Nupe man that later on grew and expanded into the Sokoto Caliphate of history.
Please read my book ‘Tsatsa Caliphate: The Nupe Foundations of the Sokoto Caliphate’ for details on how Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji the Nupe Mahdi went up northwest with a large army of Nupe Jihadists to establish the Sokoto Emirate for Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo and the consequent rift between Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji and Shehu Abdullahi Fodiyo.
In any case, it was also Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji’s Mani followers who formed the bulk of the Jihadist force of Mallam Alimi, and even Solagberu’s Otun mercenaries, whom Kakamfo Afonja brought from here Central KinNupe to help fight Oyo and build Ilorin from a Nupe war camp into a secessionist capital. Read my books ‘Oyo Kingdom Was Nupe’ and ‘The Nupe Connections of Ilorin’.
Many of these Mani Nupe Jihadist followers of Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji the Nupe Mahdi were captured and sold into slavery and shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas. A large bastion of them regrouped in Bahia the capital of Brazil where they attempted through several slave rebellions to transform Bahia into a Nupe Caliphate modeled in part after the trio of Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji’s Mokwa Caliphate of the 1780s, the Palmares Quilombo Nupe State of Brazil founded back in 1678 by the Nupe Brazilian king Ganga Zumba and the State of Haiti founded in the Caribbean by the successful rebellion of Toussaint Louverture in the 1790s.
In fact all the six Nupe leaders of the 1835 Male Slave Rebellion in Brazil – Sheikh Sanim Luis Ricardo da Silva, Mamman Nda Salihu, Nda Dani, Sule Nicobe, Manuel Calafate, and Pacifico Likutan – were all Mani disciples and Jihadist followers of Shehu Abdurrahmani Gbaji back here in Central KinNupe before each of them was separately captured, sold into slavery, shipped across the Atlantic to Brazil where they met and eventually regrouped as former slave Jihadists in Bahia. The Nupe Caliphate they couldn’t sustained here in Central KinNupe they decided to found and established in Brazil.
That was what led to that 1835 Nupe Male Slave Rebellion of Brazil.
Please read my book ‘Aunty Ciata, Zumbi and Samba: How the People of Brazil Originated from Nupe’ for exhaustive details on the fact that Brazil is today nothing but a Nupe Nation in the Americas.
That 1835 Slave Rebellion failed and from that time onward the White authorities of Brazil began a process of phasing out Nupe slaves and Nupe former slaves not only from Bahia or Salvador but from the whole of Brazil. That was how large batches of Nupe slaves and Nupe former slaves were repeatedly repatriated from Bahia in particular and from Brazil in general back to Nigeria. Almost all of these ‘Portuguese’ Emancipado Nupe returnee former slaves simply settled down in Lagos and other nearby coastal towns like Port Harcourt instead of coming back to here Central KinNupe.
That was how Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha, together with a large number of other Nupe Brazilian former slave families ended up coming back to Nigeria in 1871. Other families that arrived Lagos with the Da Rochas includes today’s Lagosian families of the da Silvas, Dacostas, Lopezes, Gomezes, Agustos, Domingos, Pereiras, Evaristos, Cardosos, Pedros, etc, etc. Virtually all of these families were Nupe Brazilian families and their descendant can be found all over Lagos to this very day.
Nearly half the initial population of Lagos is Emancipado Nupe Brazilian. The Aguda, the Saros, and many other ‘Portuguese’ Lagosian families were actually Nupe former slave families repatriated from Brazil.
That is apart from the fact that both Sultan Bello and Lady Flora Shaw Lugard wrote that Lagos was originally founded by a colony of Nupeko Kororofa Nupencizhi who came directly from KinNupe. And then Sir H.R. Palmer and Professor S.F. Nadel wrote that waves upon waves of Nupencizhi, including the famous Tapa Oshodi Landzungi and Madam Tinubu, continued to arrive Lagos throughout the centuries thereby making Lagos for all practical purposes a Nupe city through and through in former times.
…but I am diverting. We were talking about the Portuguese Emancipado Nupe families repeatedly repatriated from Brazil including the 1871 arrival in Lagos of the Da Rochas and many other families.
Because these Nupe Brazilian families settled down in Lagos among the nearby Yoruba settlements they have over the last one and a half century became acculturated into Yoruba society to the extent that some of their descendants are today wrongly assuming that they were Yoruba right from the beginning.
But the truth remains that Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha, the father of Mr. Candido Joao da Rocha the first Nigerian millionaire, was a Nupe man through and through. Some roguish Yoruba revisionists have gone to concoct a Yoruba ancestry for Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha claiming that he was the son of an Ilesa king called king. That, of course, is rubbish.
Even the name Esan was not Yoruba, it was a Nupe national name. Modern Yoruba chauvinists came to claim that Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha was an Ilesa man simply because the Ilesa people were originally known as Esa. But the Ilesa were known as Esa because they were originally a Yisa or Kisra Nupe people speaking the Ijesa Central Ede lect of the Old Nupe dialect of Gbedegi or Gbidigi.
Before the coming of the belligerent White man colonialists nobody ever referred to the Ilesa people as a Yoruba people. It was the White man who came and wrongly classified the Ilesa people as Yoruba and today even the Ilesa people wrongly identifies themselves as a Yoruba people.
To this very day Ilesa is practically on the southern borders of Nupeland or KinNupe, the Ilesa people having been Nupe people who originally migrated out of Central KinNupe in former times. In former times the Ilesa people were actually a Nupe people located in the Central part of the Greater KinNupe of former times which included a substantial part of today’s Yorubaland.
In any case Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha was not a Yoruba man. He was a Nupe man. And he was not from Ilesa. He was born right here in Central KinNupe. And it was here in Central KinNupe that he was captured and sold into slavery somewhere around 1840.
The 1830s to the early 1840s was a period of great tumult here in Central KinNupe as various internecine and civil wars were raging in all the nooks and corners of KinNupe. This of course led to many Nupe people – both young and old – being captured and sold into slavery.
In actual fact it was the very year 1840-41 that Esan Joao da Rocha was caught and sold into slavery that the Allied Forces of Etsu Masaba the Great and Etsu Tsado the Terrible sacked the great Nupe capital city of Raba and chased Emir Usman Zaki into exile. That Battle of Raba was such a great battle that led to the enslavement of a very large number of Nupe people most probably including the ten year old Esan Joao da Rocha.
Whatever the case might have been the fact still remains that Mr. Esan Joao da Rocha was not a Yoruba man. He was a Nupe man. But today the Yoruba people are trying to literally ‘steal’ Mr. Esan da Rocha into their fold simply because his son Candido da Rocha was the first Nigerian millionaire.
I really don’t know why the Yoruba people are so hell bent on stealing all our great Nupe people.
The Yoruba people started by stealing our gods. All the Yoruba Orisha gods today were originally Nupe Nusa gods. Oduduwa, Obatala, Oraminya, Elemkpe, Shango – and all the other Yoruba gods and Orishas – were all full blooded Nupe historical figures who were born, bred, flourished and died right here in Central KinNupe. None of these prehistoric Nupe gods ever visited or even sojourned in today’s Yorubaland. After all there was no Yorubaland or the Yoruba race in those days. Everybody, even those in today’s Yorubaland, were Nupe people in those far off days.
Please read my books, including ‘Oduduwa was Nupe: How the Yoruba People Originated from Nupe’, ‘Elemkpe: The Nupe Kingdom of Oduduwa’, ‘Etsu Shango Akpara the Shango Tapa: The Nupe Man Who Founded Yoruba’, and others for plenary details on the fact that all the Yoruba gods were in reality Nupe Nusa gods.
After stealing our prehistoric Nupe gods and arrogating them to themselves, the Yoruba hegemonists began to steal our historical Nupe heroes.
Now they are claiming, among many others, that Kakamfo Afonja the Nupe War General whose military intrigues led to the fall of the Oyo Empire in 1836 was a Yoruba man. That claim is at best laughable as it only showcases their historical naiveté; how could Kakamfo Afonja had been Yoruba when in the days of Kakamfo Afonja the Yoruba people were Nupe and the Old Oyo Kingdom was itself a Nupe kingdom?
The Oyo Kingdom collapsed in 1836 but some twenty or so years later in 1854 the well-known missionary and linguist S.W. Koelle wrote that there is nothing like a Yoruba race or a Yoruba people for that matter because, he argued, only the Nupe people of the Nupe kingdom of Oyo can be referred to as Yoruba.
Yes of course, Old Oyo – and by extension the entire Oyo Empire of old – was Nupe through and through. Indisputable Yoruba historians, from pioneer Yoruba historians Reverend Samuel Johnson and E.M. Lijadu through Colonial historians Sir H.R. Palmer, Professor Leo Frobenius Colonial academic researchers on Yoruba Professor R.C.C. Law and Professor Robert Smith to Yoruba historians themselves Professor Toyin Falola, Michael Adeyemi, and many other Yoruba authorities, all wrote in their various works that the Oyo Kingdom was originally a Nupe kingdom through and through.
Please read my books ‘Oyo Kingdom Was Nupe’ and ‘Etsu Shango Akpara the Shango Tapa: The Nupe Man Who Founded Yoruba’ on the fact that Old Oyo was founded by Nupencizhi and remained a Nupe kingdom throughout its lifespan up to the time it finally collapsed in 1836.
In point of fact E.M. Lijadu wrote that it was a Nupe prince called Mamman who came from the Nupe capital city of Gudu to found and establish Oyo as a new Nupe settlement. In reality Oyo was originally known as Katunga or Katagara or AtaGara which was, of course, the actual name of Gudu the Nupe capital from which Oyo was derived.
Please read my book ‘Might of the Ndakpwatwa: History of Tsaragi’ for details on how Oyo was founded and established by Nupe people from the old Nupe capital of Gudu otherwise known as Guduru, Duguru, Dagara, Tagara or AtaGara.
Everything about the Oyo kingdom was Nupe – its geography, its culture, its religion, its people, and so on and on. All the Alafins of Old Oyo were Nupe. And Kakamfo Afonja was a Nupe General of the Oyo Army.
Then the Yoruba hegemonists went on to also claim that Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a Yoruba man. That is a capital lie. Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a Nupe man and throughout his life he never for once claim that he was a Yoruba man.
As a matter of fact Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was born here in Central KinNupe around 1809. He was also caught and sold into slavery at a very young age here in Central KinNupe in the early 1820s during the period of the vicious wars of succession between the Etsu Jimada and Etsu Majiya dynasts that led to that disastrous Battle of Ragada in 1820-1821; the very time that the young Samuel Ajayi Crowther was captured and sold into slavery at the tender age of ten years or so.
Throughout his active life, that is before and after the Church ordained him as the first Black Bishop of Nigeria, Bishop Samuel Ajayi identified himself so much with Nupe and was always eager to embark on expeditions and visits to KinNupe.
It is noteworthy in this context to note the fact that the first indigenous dictionary written in Nigeria was the Nupe dictionary written by Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther the Nupe man.
Come to think of it, have anybody ever noticed the fact that the name Ajayi was originally a Nupe name and not a Yoruba name?
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a Nupe man and so were his children including his second daughter Abigail.
Abigail the Nupe daughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther married another Nupe man called James Babington Macaulay.
This James Babington Macaulay had a story similar to that of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther. James Babington Macaulay was born among the Mamagi Nupe people in today’s Lapai Emirate here in KinNupe. He was also caught and sold into slavery at a very young age. He was rescued from slavery and ended up in Sierra Leone from where he eventually came back to Lagos to become a successful educationist. He was the first to open a secondary school in Nigeria, the famous CMS school in Lagos.
James Babington Macaulay the Nupe man married Abigail the Nupe daughter of the Nupe Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther. The result of that union was Herbert Macaulay the Nupe man and the pioneer Nigerian nationalist who was the first Nigerian to found and register a political party.
Herbert Macaulay, whose picture has been immortalized on the Nigerian One Naira note and coin, was the foremost and leading Nigerian politician who was certainly going to be the first President of Nigeria but for his untimely death in 1946. It was in compensation for the death of Hebert Macaulay the Nupe man that his foremost disciple Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was born here at Zungeru in Central KinNupe by the way, was made the first President of Nigeria when Nigeria gained Self Rule and Independence in 1959 and 1960.
Herbert Macaulay the Nupe man and the de facto first President of Nigeria and Candido Joao da Rocha the Nupe man and the first Nigerian millionaire were schoolmates at CMS the first Nigerian secondary school founded by Herbert Macaulay’s Nupe father James Babington Macaulay.
Tapa Oshodi Landzungi, Shitta Bey, Balogun Aliyu, Madam Tinubu, Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, James Babington Macaulay, Candido Joao da Rocha, Herbert Macaulay, are just a few of the endless number of Nupe elite and intelligentsia that dominated and practically ruled Lagos as an aristocratic class in former times especially from the 17th to the 19th century. Their stories and histories have largely been deliberately muddled up today by Yoruba supremacists who are foolhardily claiming that these great Nupe people were Yoruba people.
After stealing our gods and our heroes the Yoruba hegemonists are now busy stealing our Nupe lands.
Right now Yoruba people are laying claims to our lands at Tsaragi and Share.
And the other time I heard Gani Adams claiming that Jebba is a Yoruba town and that the Nupe people are settlers at Jebba. But close to two hundred years before Gani Adams was born Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther visited Jebba and wrote that it was a Nupe town through and through. Lady Flora Shaw, Professor Leo Frobenius and Professor S.F. Nadel all came later on and, with their deep scholarly dispositions, wrote that Jebba is a Nupe and not a Yoruba town. I don’t know where Gani Adams, who is not known for any scholarly or even academic disposition, got his haywire hypothesis.
The Yoruba people are not aware of the fact that a Nupe Renaissance is on the way. Very soon we Nupe people will reclaim all our mythologies, gods, heroes, and lands that they have been unscrupulously pilfering from our Nupe cultural heritage.
In conclusion I will leave my Yoruba, and even Nupe, brethrens with the curtain raiser to the effect that it is not only Candido Joao da Rocha who is the first Nigerian millionaire that is a Nupe man; even John Ezzidio the first Black or African millionaire in history and Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire who is the richest man ever in human history were Nupe!
Mansa Musa’s mother was a Nupe woman and in his days the Mali culture and royal line of succession were matriarchal and matrilineal. He was actually addressed as ‘Kanka Musa’ which will directly translate in modern parlance as ‘Musa the Nupe’ because Kanka was a national name of the Nupe nation in former times.