ETSU MASABA THE GREAT
Etsu Masaba is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, figure in the history of Nupe in recent historical times. He singularly dominated the second half of the 19th century as far as Nupe history is concerned.
Masaba was originally known as Mamman Saba which simply means ‘Honourable Saba’ or ‘Saba the Great’. Mamman is an Old Nupe word meaning ‘Honourable’ or ‘Great’. It is this Mamman Saba that was subsequently contracted into Man-Saba or Masaba as we write and pronounce it today.
Masaba was born c. 1803 which will mean that he was some seventy years old when he died in the 1872-1873 period.
Masaba was the son of Mallam Dendo by a Nupe princess called Fatima or Fatimako. This Fatimako, the mother to Etsu Masaba, was variously said to be the daughter of Etsu Zubairu Majiya or simply a princess to a Nupe king or a Nupe woman of high or royal birth from Dabban.
The truth of the matter is that Fatimako was not the daughter of Etsu Zubairu Majiya. She was certainly a princess, and she might have been related to Etsu Zubairu Majiya, but she was not Etsu Zubairu Majiya’s daughter. In fact Mallam Dendo met, cured and married her while he, Mallam Dendo, was still with Etsu Jimada who was the arch-enemy of Etsu Majiya II. It was long after marrying Fatimako that Mallam Dendo later on had problems with Etsu Jimada and changed over to Etsu Zubairu Majiya’s place.
The story is that in the early days of Mallam Dendo’s arrival in KinNupe one of the first places he visited was Dabban. In those days Dabban was one of the Islamic centers of KinNupe and Dabban was actually famous in those days as a Islamic Jihad camp where quite a large number of Mallams and Jihadists were concentrated.Mallam Dendo was invited to Dabban by other Mallams, especially the Fulani ones, who were at Dabban in those days.
When Mallam Dendo arrived Dabban he was shown a very beautiful lady of royal birth who was, unfortunately, a mad woman. She was kept in chains and fetters and Mallam Dendo really pitied her situation. The people of Dabban said that they have asked all the Mallams and Islamic scholars within and outside Dabban to help in curing her but that even though many of them tried to cure her of her madness none succeeded. Mallam Dabban then offered to cure her of her madness but on the condition that her hands be given to him in marriage if he succeeds. The people of Dabban agreed to Mallam Dendo’s proposal.
Mallam dendo then asked for a calabash the inner sides of which he wrote some Qur’anic Ayats and Islamic incantations with the Tawada ink. He then washed this writings and instructed that Fatima the mad lady be made to drink and bath with it for three days. The people of Dabban followed his instructions and to there great surprised Fatima the mad lady was cured of her madness after the three days.
In any case Fatimako was given in marriage by Etsu Majiya to Mallam Dendo or Manko after he was able to cure her of a mental or psychiatric ailment.
Mallam Dendo must have arrived Dabban in the 1790s or even before then. This is because his first son with Fatima, called Mustapha, must have been born c. 1796 and his last son with Fatima, Masaba, was born c. 1803.
In any case Masaba was born at Dabban to Mallam Dendo and his wife Fatimako c.1803. And Masaba was some ten years old when Mallam Dendo with his entire household moved to join Etsu Majiya II at Raba after the clash of Mallam Dendo with Shehu Abdurrahman Gbaji at Etsu Jimada’s palace and Mallam Dendo’s subsequent change of camps from the Etsu Jimada camp to Etsu Majiya II’s camp.
Masaba must have been some 17 years old in 1820 when the combined forces of his father, Mallam Dendo, and Etsu Majiya fought the Battle of Ragada against Etsu Jimada who lost his life in that battle. After their victory at the Battle of Ragada Etsu Majiya showered Mallam Dendo with expensive gifts and even adopted the 17 years old Masaba into his court as his adopted son.
Masaba was said to have exhibited precocious intelligence at a very young age and he was undoubtedly gifted with extraordinary talents and potentials in terms of warlikeness and expertise as a warrior of exceptionality. From a very young age it was clear to everybody that Masaba had exceptional leadership and rulership skills.
Masaba’s growing up at the Etsu Majiya II palace as the youngest prince showered with all the didactic attention and resources of training as a warrior and leader while at the same time being the son of the most famous and leading Islamic scholar, Mallam Dendo, in the KinNupe of those days perfectly groomed Masaba into the mold of nothing but a great king of the future.
But barely two years of Masaba’s residence at Etsu Majiya II’s palace a serious quarrel broke out between Etsu Majiya and Mallam Dendo. Etsu Majiya had rightly realized that Mallam Dendo’s growing fame and reputation were fatal threats to his sovereignty as the Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation. Etsu Majiya II subsequently imprisoned the young, then 18 years old, Masaba while the same Etsu Majiya II launched a devastating attack on the fleeing Mallam Dendo and his men at the village of Magango in 1821.
The defeated Mallam Dendo and his Fulani Mallams fled across the River Niger to Ilorin.A year or so later Etsu Majiya released the young Masaba to his father, Mallam Dendo, at Ilorin on the condition that the Fulani Mallams should never step into KinNupe with their problems and troubles again.
Unfortunately for Etsu Majiya II the course of events began to take a bad turn for him the moment he released the young Masaba to his father at Ilorin. Before he arrival of Masaba at Ilorin Mallam Dendo, his other children and all the Fulani Mallams who had fled the Etsu Majiya persecution at Raba had simply ran to Ilorin as asylum seekers. They remained at Ilorin in order to be protected from any further attack from Etsu Majiya II. And Mallam Alimi the Emir of Ilorin promised them that he will protect them from Etsu Majiya II. None of them, neither Mallam Dendo and his people or Mallam Alimi ever thought of fighting back or attacking Etsu Majiya II.
But the moment the ever ambitious Masaba arrived Ilorin he began to persuade his father Mallam Dendo and Mallam Alimi to work out a way to dealt Etsu Majiya II a death blow. There had been some people in Ilorin saying the same thing before but both Mallam Dendo and Mallam Alimi initially thought that it will be impossible or even suicidal to go back to KinNupe to attack the almighty Etsu Majiya II at Raba. But the moment the young Masaba arrived he was able to convinced Mallam Dendo and Mallam Alimi that there must be a way out to deal with Etsu Majiya II.
In the end the idea setting the vast and multitudinous supporters of the slained Etsu Jimada against Etsu Majiya II came up. Almost the entire population of the Nupe people of the eastern half of KinNupe were still not in support of Etsu Majiya II and were in support of the very young son of the late Etsu Jimada. Masaba and people of his school of thought at Ilorin remonstrated that the people of Eastern KinNupe can be made to rise against Etsu Majiya II with Idirisu, the son of the slained Etsu Jimada, heading the rise against Etsu Majiya II who killed his father.
That was when Mallam Alimi and Mallam Dendo decided that a delegation should be sent to Gbara to contact the elders and kingmakers of Eastern KinNupe. And such was the sagacity and diplomatic dexterity of the young Masaba, who was just 22 in those days, that Masaba was chosen by both Mallam Dendo and Mallm Alimi to head the diplomatic delegation to the elders of Gbara.
The young Masaba, just 22 years old, headed the diplomatic delegation comprised of elderly men and even his own elder brothers, to Gbara where they met with the elders and kingmakers of Eastern KinNupe. At that meeting Masaba asked the people of Gbara to rise against Etsu Majiya II and to join forces with the Rebel Fulanis at Ilorin and Mallam Alimi’s Ilorin army to fight Etsu Majiya II in return for the Fulanis and the lorin Emirate to assist in the reconition and installation of Idirisu as the new Etsu Nupe in place of Etsu Majiya II.
The elders of Gbara agreed to Masaba’s proposal and the young Idirisu came out of his hiding from Adama Lelu where he had been hidden by the kingmakers of Eastern KinNupe ever since the defeat and killing of his father Etsu Jimada at the Battle of Ragada in 1820. The kingmakers of Eastern KinNupe also brought back Makolo the War General to the late Etsu Jimada who then marshaled a gargantuan army under his command for the young Idirisu. Masaba and Idirisu, both being young princes, then became very close friends.
Before long Idirisu and Makolo headed a section of their large army to join the Rebel Mallams together with Mallam Alimi at Ilorin. And in all these the young Masaba was hailed and recognized as a skillful negotiator and a great leader even at that young age of 22. The young Masaba became very famous in those days as the most gifted of the children of Mallam Dendo. As a matter of fact, and incredibly enough, the young Masaba practically became the leader of the Fulani Mallams, including Alimi himself, at Ilorin.
That was the state of affairs when, in 1826 when Masaba was 23 years old, Etsu Zubaru Majiya II suddenly marshaled a gargantuan army of 10,000 cavalry and 32,000 infantry plus the also large Alafin Majotu’s Oyo army that allied with Etsu Majiya’s Raba army, marched on Ilorin. The two massive armies of Etsu Majiya II and Alafin Majotu suddenly appeared before the gates of Ilorin as they prepared to attack and sack Ilorin in order to put a final end to the Fulani menace and the pretensions of the young and inexperience Idirisu.
When the armies of Etsu Majiya/Majotu appeared on the gates of Ilorin the Fulani Mallams and Idirisu’s army were frightened. But the young Masaba, in his characteristic surefooted manner, simply instructed two brave men to sneak into the camp of the Majiya/Majotu armies at the gates of Ilorin and to bring him earth collected from the camps.
When the earth was brought to him Masaba dug a big pitcjh by the walls of Ilorin and put the earth inside before he himself went into the pitch and then asked the mouth of the pitch to be covered with grass. He remained inside that pitch praying and performing his Aisiri magics from the morning of that Friday till the evening. He came out in the evening and ordered the two brave men to take out the erath from the Majiya/Majotu camp and to scatter it all over Ilorin.
The next day, Saturday, the Majiya/Majotu armies made to attack Ilorin but were confounded by a thick mist that covered Ilorin city and prevented them from properly seeing where and how to attack Ilorin. And then a vicious sandstorm descended on the Majiya/Majotu armies causing their cavalries to trample on their infantries to death in the ensuing confusion and stampede.
After that Ilorin armies came out, headed by the young Masaba and General Makolo, to inflict further loses on the debilitated Majiya/Majotu armies who have already been greatly decimated.
In any case the battle dragged on for the two or so days until the Majiya/Majotu armies began to retreat in flight as they became prostrated with hunger and starvation due to depletion of their supplies.The Ilorin forces of the Mallams and Idirisu chased Etsu Majiya back across the River Niger to Raba. They also continued to pursue remnants of Etsu Majiya’s defeated armies as far as Gbajibo. In all these the young Masaba played a leading role and he actually exhibited a remarkable sense of gallantry.
From Gbajibo Mallam Dendo came up with the ruse of dumping tons of horse dung into the River Niger which flowed downstream to Raba where Etsu Majiya on seeing the colour of the River changed with horse dung thought that the Fulanis and Idirisu are marshalling a gargantuan army at Gbajibo to come and attack him at Raba. When this continued for a whole week Etsu Majiya II eventually fled Raba to Zugurma. But the Fulani Mallams and Idirisu pursued him thither and Etsu Majiya eventually fled KinNupe into Kambariland. That was when the Fulani Mallams and Idirisu simply marched back and triumphantly into Raba without losing a single arrow.
The victorious Mallams at Raba then declared Idirisu as the new Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation since Etsu Majiya had fled KinNupe. After all these Mallam Dendo asked Mallam Alimi to go back to Ilorin. The new Etsu Idirisu went to Edun which he began to build into a befitting capital city of the Nupe Nation. After a while other Mallams also started leaving Raba; Mallam Maliki and his brother Manzuma went back to Lafiagi while Mallam Babba went into Diboland to found his Agaie Emirate.
Later on only Mallam Dendo and his Islamic school disciples were left with him at Raba because all the other Fulanis, the politically minded ones, followed Etsu Idirisu to Edun. Masaba in particular became a very close associate of Etsu Idirisu since both of them were young and had been close friends since when Masaba headed the delegation to Gbara that eventually returned with Idirisu to Ilorin just before the Battle of Ilorin.
But Masaba and the other Fulanis, including his elder brothers, didn’t leave the young and inexperienced Etsu Idirisu to rule KinNupe the mannr he wished. Instead they began to arrogate to themselves rulership powers and offices without Etsu Idirisu’s permission. Usman Zaki, for instance, crowned himself the Sarkin Samari of KinNupe and he, Usman Zaki, began to send tax collectors to all parts of KinNupe to collect taxes for him Usman Zaki and not for Etsu Idirisu who was the Etsu Nupe.
Soon the Fulanis were plotting to overthrow the young Etsu Idirisu from power because of his arrant inexperience. Masaba, most especially, was said to be a leading coup plotter in this regard. But Etsu Idirisu eventually got to know of the coup plot against him and he swiftly chased the Fulani coup plotters out of Raba. He was particularly incensed by the discovery that his closest friend, Masaba, was among thr coup plotters.
The Fulani coupists simply ran back to Raba and rallied round their now aging father and leader, Mallam Dendo. But Etsu Idirisu could not stand the Fulanis recouping at Raba so he eventually marched with his army on Raba with the intent to sack the city and drive the Fulanis out of Raba and KinNupe completely.
But while Etsu Idirisu waited at the gates of Raba for starvation to force the Fulanis into surrender, Mallam Dendo and his sagacious son Masaba were able to send a delegation in the dead of the night to Etsu Majiya II in Kambariland. It has been said that Masaba was the dead of that secret delegation on account of two reasons, first that Masaba was the one who successfully headed the diplomatic delegation to the Elders of Gbara and, secondly, that Masaba was the only person who was more or less like a son to Etsu Majiya who had adopted Masaba as his son in former times.
Masaba and his delegation met Etsu Majiya at Kambariland and it took Masaba’s dexterity in diplomacy to convince and persuade Etsu Majiya II to accept Mallam Dendo’s proposal to the effect that Etsu Majiya should come and assist the Fulanis against Etsu Idirisu and that in return the Fulanis will pledge their allegiance to Etsu Majiya and recognize him as the only legitimate Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation.
After Etsu Majiya’s bitter and humiliating experience with the Fulanis before, during and after the Battle of Ilorin it was almost impossible convincing him to come and form an alliance with the Fulanis again. But Masaba was an adept at diplomacy and he wsa able to achieve the near impossible task of convincinf Etsu Majiya to join the Fulanis. For a very long time to come Masaba was rightly lauded for being the person that singularly saved the Fulanis from certain extinction when he was able to, against all odds, convince Etsu Majiya to come and be friends again with the Fulanis.
Etsu Majiya eventually agreed to the terms of the Fulanis and he immediately marshaled a great army from among the Kambaris and the people of Western KinNupe. With this massive army Etsu Majiya II immediateky headed for Raba to fight Etsu Idirisu who was still waiting on the gates of Raba. But the moment Etsu Idirisu learnt of the approaching of the massive army under Etsu Majiya II he, Etsu Idirisu, ran away from the gates of Raba.
But Etsu Majiya II chased after Etsu Idirisu who consequently couldn’t even stay at his capital Edun. From Edun Etsu Idirisu ran further to Esa and from Esa to Ekagi close to Katcha. After that Etsu Majiya II came back to Raba where he was given a warm welcome by Fulanis under Mallam Dendo at Raba. Etsu Majiya II and the Fulanis actually reconciled their differences to the extent that Etsu Majiya II gave two of his daughters to two of Mallam Dendo’s elder sons. Etsu Majiya II also gave his third daughter to Mallam Dendo’s Mayaki war general.
After all the festivities of the wedding Etsu Majiya II went back to build a new capital city for himself at Jengi. But soon after this same Etsu Majiya II went after Etsu Idirisu again who was force to flee out of KinNupe completely.
But it was around that time in 1833 that Mallam Dendo died at Raba. When Mallam Dendo died his children invited the Sokoto Caliphate authorities to come and help them sort out the complicated political affairs of KinNupe. According, the Emir of Gwandu sent his viceroy, Waziri Halilu, down to KinNupe. This Waziri Halilu of Gwandu convened a conference of all the major stakeholders in KinNupe including both Etsu Majiya II and Etsu Idirisu and all the Fulani emirs.
At that Raba Convention KinNupe was divided into three main major areas of political influences with Zugurma allotted to Etsu Majiya II, the Raba general area to the Dendo dynasts, and most of Eastern KinNupe to Etsu Idirisu. In this sly arrangement the Sokoto Caliphate actually reduced the two Etsu Nupes to powerless potentates while at the same time promoting the Dendo dynasts into the most powerful rulers of KinNupe.
After that Mamman Majigi, an elder son of Mallam Dando, followed Waziri Halilu back to Gwandu where he, Mamman Majigi, was presented with the Sokoto Caliphate Flago of Office as the new and first Emir of Nupe. But Mamman Majigi died three days after arriving back at Raba, KinNupe, as the Emir of Nupe.
After the sudden death of Mamman Majigi, his junior brother Usman Zaki was immediately appointed as the new Emir of Nupe. Usman Zaki then appointed Muhammadu Gborigi, the son of the late Mamman Majigi, as his Shaba or heir apparent. This appointment was in part a form of compensation for the Mamman Majigi family for their missed opportunity at missing the rulership of KinNupe upon the sudden death of Mamman Majigi.
The appointment of Muhammadu Gborigi as the Shaba or Heir Apparent simply means that Muhammdu Gborigi will be the one to succeed Usman Zaki as the next Emir of Nupe. But the ever ambitious Masaba rebelled against this arrangement because it means that all other members of the Dendo family, including Masaba, will be effectively sidelined from the rulership of KinNupe to the execption of the Majigi, and possibly Usman Zaki, section of the Dendo family alone.
Masaba Rebellion Against Usman Zaki
Masaba felt slighted and sidelined by the appointment of Muhammadu Gborigi as the Shaba or Heir Apparent to Usman Zaki. Masaba rightly complained that he was the son of Mallam Dendo while Muhammadu Gborigi was a grandson of Mallam Dendo.
The appointment of Muhamadu Gborigi as the Shaba simply meant that Muhammadu Gborigi will be the one to succeed Usman Zaki as the Emir and not Masaba. That was what really made Masaba so angry. That was when Masaba began to plot against his elder brother Usman Zaki.
But those who appointed Muhammadu Gborigi as the Shaba also had a very strong argument on their part. Muhammadu Gborigi was the son to Mamman Majigi the son to Mallam Dendo. This Mamman Majigi was actually the first to be made the Emir of Nupe but he died after having spent only three days on the throne as the first Emir of Nupe. In fact Nupe historians today don’t list or reckone Mamman Majigi as the first Emir of Nupe, or even as an Emir of Nupe for that matter, for the simple reason that he was only on the throne for a day or three days.
Mamman Majigi was the one who went to Gwandu and collected the flag and was turbaned as the first Emir of Nupe but he died just three days after coming back from Gwandu and after being the first Emir of Nupe at Raba for just three days. It was after this sudden death of Mamman Majigi that his junior brother Usman Zaki was immediately turbaned as the Emir of Nupe. Today most chroniclers wrongly list Usman Zaki as the first Emir of Nupe.
In any case it was due to the unfortunate and untimely death of Mamman Majigi that his son, Muhammadu Gborigi, was compensated as the Shaba to succeed Usman Zaki. But Masaba was seriously angered by the appointment of Muhammadu Gborigi as the Shaba since that means that Masaba cannot become the Emir after Usman Zaki.
Others also said that Muhammadu Gborigi was actually older than Masaba even though he was a nephew to Masaba. Yet Masaba didn’ agree with this line of argument also.
From an initial complaint against the appointment of Muhammadu Gborigi as the Shaba, Masaba eventually directed his anger against Usman Zaki himself as being part of the plot to sideline him, Masaba, from succeeding Usman Zaki as the Emir of Nupe. So, Masaba eventually began to conspire against Usman Zaki himself. Masaba was in the end out to oust or overthrow Emir Usman Zaki from power completely.
The situation degenerated into open clash and confrontation between Masaba and his elder brother Usman Zaki right there at the city of Raba. Masaba began to plan on a military ouster of Usman Zaki from power. Masaba mobilized an army against Usman Zaki but was decisively defeated by Usman Zaki at Raba. Masaba had to flee Raba to Doku which is close to Pati Tuwagi.
But at Pati Tuwagi Masaba continued to plot against Usman Zaki again. This time around he used the strategy of picking holes in Usman Zaki’s style of rulership as the Emir of Nupe.
The first of Emir Usman Zaki’s problem as a ruler was his high-handed appointment of Ajele or tax-collectors throughout KinNupe and beyond. These Ajele tax collectors were notoriously high-handed and were actually criticized for even collecting tax on children. Masaba carped on this as a reason for Usman Zaki to be ousted from power as the Emir of Nupe.
Masaba also rekindled the old animosity between the Nupes and the Fulanis by mustering the Nupe contenders to the Etsu throne, Etsu Majiya and Etsu Idirisu, join forces with him to oust Emir Usman Zaki the Fulani from power over KinNupe. The two contending Etsu Nupes, namely Etsu Majiya and his rival Etsu Idirisu, temporarily joined forces with Masaba and the result was the Battle of Takuma which was a great battle against Emir Usman Zaki’s forces at the village of Takuma not far away from Mokwa.
But Usman Zaki defeated the combined forces of Masaba, Etsu Majiya and Etsu Idirisu at Takuma. The defeated three had to flee into exile; Masaba fled to Lafiagi, Etsu Majiya fled to Zugurma and Etsu Idirisu fled to Edu.
But the Emir of Lafiagi did not welcome Masaba for the obvious reason that any support for Masaba will simply lead to an attack on the Emir of Lafiagi by the all-too-powerful Emir Usman Zaki from Raba. The Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi refused to meet Masaba in person or even to accommodate him anywhere.
It was Prince Abdulkadir, the son to the late Emir Manzuma of Lafiagi, who eventually met and accommodated Masaba. Abdulkadir and Masaba thus became very close friends and, as was characteristic of Masaba the arch-strategist, Masaba began to secretly plot against the overthrow of Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi. Such was the dread of Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi for Masaba that Masaba was able to stay at Lafiagi as a guest of Prince Abdulkadir only for a few days.
In the end Masaba had leave Lafiagi and to settle at Lade outside Patigi. That was how Masaba transformed Lade into his base and, eventually, capital city. When he finally settled at Lade Masaba began to actively plot against the overthrow of Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi from power.
Masaba sent messengers to Emir Halilu of Gwandu to the effect that Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi is incompetent and should be removed from power. So bad and maliciously did Masaba maligned Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi to Emir Halilu of Gwandu that the latter eventually orchestrated the removal of Emir Aliyu from the throne as the Emir of Lafiagi. Emir Halilu of Gwandu also arranged for Prince Abdulkadir, Masaba’s close friend and confidant, to succeed Aliyu as the next Emir of Lafiagi.
After all these machinations at Lafiagi, Masaba then turned his attention back at his erstwhile plot at overthrowing his elder brother Emir Usman Zaki from power back at Raba. By this time Etsu Majiya II had died in 1836 and his son, Etsu Tsado, was now the new claimant to the Etsuship throne.
On the other hand Usman Zaki was having serious problems with Etsu Tsado. Usman Zaki had realized that the Nupe people will not give him full recognition as the overall ruler of KinNupe until he has the ancient Tsudi (Tsoede) Regalia with him which will make him a legitimate Etsu Nupe by ancient Nupe traditions. But these Tsudi Regalia were in the hands of Etsu Tsado. Usman Zaki had asked Etsu Tsado to submit the Tsoede regalia of kingship, including the famous kakaki trumpets, but Etsu Tsado refused. Masaba immediately took advantage of the situation and joined forces with Etsu Tsado.
Etsu Tsado was a strong-willed and highly determined personality. He was the sort of diehard person that cannot be easily cowed by a powerful ruler like Emir Usman Zaki. In short Etsu Tsado was the right type of person Masaba had been looking for to use against Emir Usman Zaki.
Masaba incited Etsu Tsado to arrest and kill all the Ajele or Egbazhi tax-collectors of Emir Usman Zaki in the Zugurma general area. Masaba dexteriously incited the Nupe people of Zugurma to revolt and rebel against the rulership of Emir Usman Zaki. The arrest and killing of his tax-collectors seriously infuriated Emir Usman Zaki who then vowed to crush and eliminate Etsu Tsado.
But Masaba assisted Etsu Tsado by helping him to mobilize a gargantuan army of mercenaries and soldiers from within and outside the Zugurma area, that is, apart from Masaba joining his own military forces with that of Etsu Tsado all in the bid to fight Emir Usman Zaki’s impending military attack on Etsu Tsado and the people of Zugurma.
Emir Usman Zaki sent Andi Boshi and Umaru Bahaushe, his war generals, to fight Etsu Tsado. But Etsu Tsado repeatedly defeated Andi Boshi and Umaru Bahaushe at least three times in at least three different battles. After these series of defeats upon Usman Zaki, Etsu Tsado marched on Raba and besieged Raba. Emir Usman Zaki was caught undersieged inside Raba. Soon starvation and hunger overwhelmed the people of Raba as Etsu Tsado and the master strategist Masaba waited upon the gates of Raba to kill anybody trying to escape from the besieged city.
In the end even Usman Zaki had to flee in the sight of Etsu Tsado’s military might. Under heavy secrecy and disguise Emir Usman Zaki was able to secretly escape from Raba in the dead of the night. He fled from Raba to Agaie.
When in the morning Etsu Tsado and Masaba discovered that Emir Usman Zaki had fled Raba they marched on the city and completely razed and demolished it to the ground. It was a total or carpet destruction from which Raba had never recovered to this very day. This destruction of Raba took place in 1841 but to this very day Raba has never really recovered from that disastrous destruction over 170 years later.
After using Etsu Tsado to raze and destroy Raba, Masaba then skillfully persuaded the same Etsu Tsado to follow him down to Tsonga where they razed and destroyed Tsonga as they chased Etsu Aliyu out of Tsonga. This Masaba did as further payback for Emir Aliyu who when he was Emir of Lafiagi had refused to welcome or accommodated him at Lafiagi. After successfully plotting to get Emir Aliyu deposed as Emir of Lafiagi from whence Emir Aliyu had come to become the Emir of Tsonga, Masaba have still followed Emir Aliyu down to Tsonga and, together with Etsu Tsado the Terrible, have chased Emir Aliyu out of Tsonga even as they burnt and razed Tsonga down.
At last Etsu Tsado went back to Zugurma and settled into a quiet life of ease and peace away from the troubles and machinations of Masaba who has now declared himself the Emir of Nupe at Raba. Etsu Tsado was the Etsu Nupe at Zugurma while Emir Masaba was the Emir of Nupe at Raba. Etsu Tsado could not ccome to rule at Raba because Masaba was at Raba. And Etsu Tsado’s powers were also checkmated by his rival Etsu Idirisu who was then at Gbara and was equally claiming to be Etsu Nupe. With these two Etsu Nupes checkmating each other, Masaba was the one wwho was gaining from all these.
In all these Masaba became the actual ruler of the entire Nupe Nation. In fact so absolute was Masaba’s power growing in those days that Masaba could decide to overthrow or install anybody in power the way he liked. When his friend Emir Abdulkadir of Lafiagi, whom Masaba had earlier on helped to install as the Emir of Lafiagi, criticized Masaba for his role in the sack of Raba and Tsonga, Masaba simply marched against Lafiagi with a large army and chased Emir Abdulkadir away into exile at Ilorin.
In all these also Emir Masaba maintained a robust line of communication and contact with Emir Halilu of Gwandu since the Raba or Nupe Emirate of the Dendo dynasts was supposed to be under the Gwandu half of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Emir Masaba kept on telling Emir Halilu all sorts of negative things about all the stakeholders in the Nupe Nation while he kept on painting himself as positive. He, for instance, painted his elder brother Usman Zaki as a tyrant who used Ajele or Egba tax-collectors to terrorize and tyrannize the masses and the peasants throughout the length and breadth of KinNupe. Masaba also convinced Emir Halilu of Gwandu that the Emir of Tsonga is a completely incompetent ruler who should be banished for life from ever ruling.
Masaba actually lured the Emir Halilu of Gwandu with a lot of gifts and presents. Masaba was very rich and was said to have inherited great wealth from his father Mallam Dendo and his two wealthy brothers Mustafa and Mahmud who were of the same mother, Fatimako, from him. As a matter of fact it was Masaba’s great wealth that enabled him to finance all the battles, warfare and troubles he was formenting throughout those days.
It was a time of great tumult in KinNupe and at last a convention of all the leaders of KinNupe was organised. The Emir of Gwandu, Halilu also attended and chaired the meeting. The Emir Halilu of Gwandu summoned all the stakeholders of the Nupe Nation to that meeting, known as the Second Raba Convention, and effectively chaired the meeting. It was at that convention that Masaba was officially made the new Emir of Nupe and his brother, Usman Zaki, was retired to Gwandu.
That Second Raba Convention took place in 1841 at Raba. But that Second Raba Convention was merely a scheme by Masaba to legitimize his claim to the Emirship of the Nupe Nation. As it turned out the Emir Halilu of Gwandu was actually a puppet in the hands of Masaba who simply used the Emir Halilu of Gwandu to officially instal himself, Masaba, as the Emir of Nupe.
Emir Halilu of Gwandu summoned everybody to that Second Raba Convention – the two claimants to the Etsuship, that is, Etsu Tsado and Etsu Idirisu; the Emir of Ilorin Emir Shittu, the deposed Emir Usman Zaki, and all the other emirs and etsus within the Nupe Nation. Yet Emir Halilu woefully performed beyond expectation at that Second Raba Convention as all he did was to simply rubber-stamp whatever Masaba wanted. Emir Halilu of Gwandu was obviously blinded by the excessive gifts and wealth of Emir Masaba the Great.
Emir Halilu of Gwandu officially turbaned Masaba as the new Emir of Nupe.
And according to the plans of Emir Masaba, Emir Halilu of Gwandu deposed and retired Usman Zaki to Birnin Kebbi. Usman Zaki went into exile at Birnin Kebbi taking Umaru Majigi, the son to his late elder brother Maman Majigi, with him.
Umaru Majigi was actually the one who followed his uncle Usman Zaki to Birnin Kebbi. The problem was that Usman Zaki had appointed Umaru Majigi as his Shaba after the death of Muhammadu Gborigi who Usman Zaki had initially appointed as his Shaba. When Usman Zaki was deposed and Masaba became the new Emir of Nupe, Umaru Majigi refused to accept to be the Shaba of Masaba. Instead Umaru Majigi decided to follow his deposed uncle Usman Zaki into exile at Birnin Kebbi.
Masaba as the New Emir of Nupe.
But Masaba as the new Emir of Nupe didn’t find ruling at Raba a smooth sailing as he had initially thought things will be. Most of the officials who served under the deposed Emir Usman Zaki refused to work with or serve under Emir Masaba. This, as we have discussed before, was the case with Umaru Majigi, for instance, who openly refused to serve as the Shaba to Masaba. Now then, it was not only Umaru Majigi but many other officials and administrators under the former Emir Usman Zaki who refused to work with Etsu Masaba.
In the end Etsu Masaba became so frustrated with the rebel officials at Raba that he had to pack his things back to Lade, thereby transforming Lade into a secondary capital city of Nupe in addition to Raba the main capital city.
But then, and in moving down to Lade, Masaba made the fatal mistake of leaving many of his officials, though rebellious ones, back at Raba where they then had all the freedom to plot against him and even rebel against him further. Raba was still the capital city of the Nupe Nation and one can imagine a capital city from which the Etsu Nupe had fled and living in virtual exile at another place, Lade, in this case.
At Lade, Masaba started flexing his muscles by waging war on the Kabba people and consolidating Nupe sovereignty over them. Masaba also conquered the Kyadya people back into the fold of the Nupe Nation.
Masaba in a clash with Etsu Maza and Etsu Isa, the son of Etsu Idirisu, had to replace his war general Andi Boshi with Umaru Bahaushe after the death of Andi Boshi. But General Umar Bahaushe refused to fight both Etsu Jiya and Etsu Isa for Emir Masaba. This open disobedience and insurbodination on the part of General Umaru Bahaushe to Emir Masaba greatly disturbed Emir Masaba but there was little he could do about it.
In any case General Umaru Bahaushe continued to be Etsu Masaba’s war general.
The next time Etsu Masaba sent General Umaru Bahaushe to raid another town, Izawo in Kamukuland in this case, General Umaru Bahaushe went and successfully attack and conquer the town. But some serious argument broke out between Etsu Masaba and General Umaru Bahaushe regarding a beautiful woman captured as a war booty by Muhammadu Balko the son of the late War General Andi Boshi.
It was said that Muhammadu Balko captured a very beautiful lady during the campaign at Labozhi on their way back from Izawo. When Etsu Masaba heard of the beautiful lady he asked for her to be sent to him but Muhammadu Balko refused to release the beautiful lady for Emir Masaba. The angry Emir Masaba then asked his General Umaru Bahaushe, under whose command Muhammadu Balko was, to either send him, Masaba, the beautiful lady or the head of Muhammadu Balko. But Umaru Bahaushe again refused to obey Emir Masaba’s order. Instead Umaru Bahaushe openly revolted against Emir Masaba.
In the end the entire army rebelled against Masaba and actually marched back on Lade to defeat and overthrow Etsu Masaba from power.
In fact Umaru Bahaushe turned on Masaba and easily defeated Masaba at Lade. Masaba fled to Kabbaland in northern Yorubaland.
At Kabba Masaba was able to muster an army comprised of the Kabba people, Yoruba people and some Nupe people. He then marched on Lade with the aim of defeating General Umaru Bahaushe. But General Umaru Bahaushe’s army defeated Masaba again, this time around at Lalagi, not far away from Lade. Again General Umaru Bahaushe chased Masaba into Kabbaland.
Back in Kabbaland Masaba again mustered another army and tried to retake Lade again. But General Umaru Bahaushe not only defeated Masaba again but this time around chased him out of even Kabbaland. Masaba fled Kabbaland and sought asylum at Ilorin where he became a refugee guest of the Emir of Ilorin. That was in 1855.
General Umaru Bahaushe was actually at a loss at what to do after defeating Emir Masaba. He actually wrote a letter to his master Usman Zaki to come back from exile in Birnin Kebbi to come and resume his rulership as the Emir of Nupe. Gogo Habiba, who was a sister to Usman Zaki and who was then at Baddeg-Lapai, also besought Usman Zaki to come back to KinNupe to resume his office as the Emir of Nupe. But Usman Zaki did not come back immediately and instead sent his nephew, Uamru Majigi, to come and serve under Umaru Bahaushe in preparation of his, Usman Zaki’s return.
When Umaru Majigi realized that Usman Zaki was delaying in coming bak to KinNupe to resume his office as the Emir of Nupe, he, Umaru Bahaushe eventually assumedleadership of the Nupe Nationafter much hesitation. As the leader of the Nupe Nation General Umaru Bahuashe then appointed Yusufu Tsado as the Emir of Nupe. This Yusufu Tsado, popularly known as Dzurugi or Tsado Dzurugi, was in fact the son of Mustafa the late elder brother to Masaba. Tsado Dzurugi was therefore a grandson of Mallam Dendo and was a legitimate claimant to the office of the Emir of Nupe.
Umaru Bahaushe’s appointment of Tsado Dzurugi as the Emir of Nupe was part of Umaru Bahaushe’s divide and rule plot to pitch members of the Dendo dynasty against one another. After defeating and expelleing Masaba from KinNupe Umaru Bahaushe asked Usman Zaki to come and take over Masaba’s position as the Emir of Nupe but when Usman Zaki did not come in time the same Umaru Bahuashe single-handedly went ahead to appoint Yusufu Tsado Dzurugi as the Emir of Nupe all in a bid to ensure that he always has a member of the Dendo dynasty at hand to counteract Masaba’s claim to the office of the Emir of Nupe.
Everybody knew, however, thatTsado Dzurugi was a puppet in the hands of Umaru Bahaushe and sothe moment Umaru Bahaushe proclaimed himself the leader of the entire Nupe Nation he started having serious problems with other powermongers within and outside KinNupe.
There were, for instance, Etsu Isa, the son of Etsu Idirisu, and Etsu Maza, who succeeded Etsu Jiya, both of whom challenged General Umaru Bahaushe’s declaration of himself as the new leader of Nupe. This led to a clash and eventually serious fight, the Battle of Yeti, between General Umaru Bahaushe and his erstwhile master Etsu Maza. The powerful General Umaru Bahaushe defeated and killed Etsu Maza at that battle at Yeti but Etsu Isa narrowly escaped death in the hands of General Umaru Bahaushe.
After all this General Umaru Bahaushe pushed Yusufu Tsado Dzurugi aside as the Emir of Nupe and declared himself, Umaru Bahaushe, as the new Emir of Nupe. Umaru Bahuashe then officially sent gifts and presents to Emir Halilu of Gwandu asking the Emir of Gwandu to recognize him, Umaru Bahaushe as the new Emir of Nupe. The Emir of Gwandu, curiously enough, recognized General Umaru Bahaushe as the new Emir of Nupe. With this single act Umaru Bahaushe got the legitimacy for his office as the new Emir of Nupe.
Umaru Bahaushe of course was able to simply pushed Tsado Dzurugi aside on the grunds that Tsado Dzurugi did not receive the credentials as Emir of Nupe from Gwandu.
But then Umaru Bahaushe’s luck ran out when both the Fulanis and the Nupes rejected him as the Emir of Nupe. Umaru Bahaushe was a Kanuri man and therefore found no supporter from among either the Nupes or the Fulanis for his claim to be the new Emir of Nupe.
Umaru Majigi who had earlier on came into KinNupe under the guise of coming to serve under General Umaru Bahaushe suddenly and unexpectedly declared war against General Umaru Bahaushe as the new Emir of Nupe.
Umaru Majigi went round the length and breadth of KinNupe rousing people against Emir Umaru Bahaushe and mobilizing a great army in preparation for an all-out war fight against General Umaru Bahaushe. In the end Umaru Majigi led a gargantuan army that defeated Umaru Bahaushe at a battle near Zugurma. Umaru Bahaushe had to flee to Bobi.
In another, latter, battle, however, Umaru Bahaushe defeated Umaru Majigi in a series of battles at Ezhigi and Sakpe until Umaru Majigi fled to the small Bini village of Bida on the river Landzun. But Umaru Bahaushe pursued Umaru Majigi to the Bida walled city. Umaru Majigi was besieged inside the walled village of Bida and would have been crushed and killed by Umaru Bahaushe had others not arrived the scene at that very juncture.
Usman Zaki came back from exile in Birnin Kebbi and tried to reconcile the two fighting groups of Umaru Majigi and Umaru Bahaushe. Both Umaru Majigi and Umaru Bahaushe were diehard loyalists to Usman Zaki but both refused to accept the ceasefire Usman Zaki tried to brocker between the two.
MeanwhileMasaba’s sons, Mahmudu and Isa,also arrive from Ilorin with heavy enforcements to fight Umaru Bahaushe. Masaba actually encouraged the young Umaru Majigi not to accept a ceasefire as he promised to merge his forces, under the commands of his sons, with that of Umaru Majigi to crush Umaru Bahaushe his arch-enemy.
With all these forces against Umaru Bahaushe things gradually turned bad for him. Serious fight broke out again, this time between Umaru Bahaushe and the combined forces of Umaru Majigi and Masaba. Umaru Bahaushe’s forces were defeated in the battle and in the end Umaru Bahaushe fled the battle scene in the night but accidentally got drowned in the river Gbako not far away from Baddegi. The river was flooded and it was actually an accident in being ferried in a haste across the flooded river that led to the death of Umaru Bahaushe.
In any case Umaru Bahaushe’s body was brought out of the river and was beheaded. His head was then taken to Raba and forked unto a pole for public display. His head remained on public display in this manner for many monthson end.
After the defeat and death of Umaru Bahaushe in 1857 the Dendo dynasts recalled Masaba from Ilorin to join the rest of the Dendo dynasts at Bida. The Emir of Ilorin was all too happy to send Masaba back to join his family members at Bida because by then Masaba had already became too powerful for him to control at Ilorin. As a matter of fact Masaba was already plotting in those days on taking over power at Ilorin and declare himself the Emir of Ilorin.
After all these crises another convention, the Third Raba Convention, was convened at Raba. The new Waziri of Gwandu, Waziri Dan Adama, who had earlier on came together with Usman Zaki from Birnin Kebbi, chaired the Third Raba Convention.
At this Third Raba Convention Usman Zaki was appointed the Emir of Nupe again. Masaba was appointed as the Shaba or Heir Apparent to Usman Zaki. It was Umaru Majigi himself who proposed that Masaba should be appointed as the Shaba and not himself. This was how the three royal families of the Dendo dynasty came about in Bida, namely, the Usman Zaki, Masaba and Umaru Majigi families. At that Third Raba Convention the rotational formula of rotating the Emir throne among the three royal families was perfected with Usman Zaki as the Emir, Masaba as the Shaba and Umaru Majigi as the Kpotun.
This time around he chose Bida as his capital. The choice of Bida as the new capital city was not a premeditated one. In fact for close to a year Emir Usman Zaki was preparing to go back to rebuild Raba as the capital city of the Nupe Nation until he was prevailed upon to remain in Bida and to build Bida into the new capital city of Nupe.
In any case Usman Zaki eventually remained in Bida and actually decided to build Bida into the new capital city of the Nupe Nation.
That same year, towards the end of 1857, Emir Usman Zaki sent Masaba on an expansionist campaign into northward into Gbagyiland. Masaba’s remarkable military experience was much admisred and lauded in those days despite the fact that the Gbagyi people actually gave the Masaba expedition a tough time.
Again Usman Zaki sent Masaba on a second campaign against the Gbagyis two years later in 1859. Umaru Nagwamtse, the Nupe Prince who was to later on found the Kontagora Emirate, accompanied his cousin brother Masaba on this second expedition into Gbagyi land. But it was while Masaba and Umaru Nagwamatse were in Gbagyiland, particularly in today’s Minna, that they learnt of the unexpected death of Usman Zaki back at Bida. Since Masaba was the Shaba or Heir Apparent, he went back to Bida to be turbaned as the new Emir of Nupe.
Masaba’s Second Term
Etsu Masaba came back to power for is second term as the Emir of Nupe in 1859. His second term as the Emir of Nupe gave him the opportunity to fully exhibit his remarkable leadership qualities. As a matter of fact Etsu Masaba might as well be said to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the Dendo dynasts in the recent history of the Nupe Nation. There is hardly any other Etsu Nupe who has been able to develop and advance the Nupe Nation the way and manner Etsu Masaba did in the thirteen or so years he spent during his second term as the Emir of Nupe from 1859 to 1873.It was during his second term as the Emir of Nupe that the modern Nupe Nation reached its highest level in almost every aspect and facet. In the following paragraphs we discuss some of his unparalleled achievements and attainments during his second term as the Emir of Nupe.
Bida Under Masaba
The moment Etsu Masaba assumed the throne as the new Etsu Nupe for his second term he embarked on an unprecedented and remarkable building of Bida into a magnificent city. He was the one who built the three architectural wonder royal palaces, the great mosque, the expanded great walls and city-gates of Bida, and the very famous night market of Bida all of which were said to be unrivaled throughout Africa south of the Sahara.
Etsu Masaba actually built Bida into the greatest city in Africa south of the Sahara. As late as 1911 Professor Leo Africanus was still being bunted with reports that Bida used to be the largest and greatest city in Black Africa and that even the people of Kano, the second largest city after Bida in former times, used to admit that.
Under Masaba Bida became the centre of an international network of trade routes and also the most important commercial centre of West Africa. Bida was, after all a city of industrialisation unparalleled in the whole of Africa, that is, with its traditional guilds of glass and metal workers.
Masaba also established so many Tunga satellite suburbs all around the general area of the Bida metropolis. Thesse Tunga settlements were usually founded as communes of clientele captives or ex-slaves brought from within or outside KinNupe and made to settle into lives of peasant farming or industrialization in communes around Bida.
Masaba transformed Bida into the commercial center of KinNupe and KinNupe into the commercial centre of the Central Sudan. This were laudable accomplishments on the part of Masaba for which he will always be remembered as far as the history of the Nupe Nation is concerned.
Masaba particularly engaged in state trading with the European, that is, his government transacted business and commerce with the Europeans directly. Masaba provided the Europeans with shea butter, ivory, and many other things which the Europeans bought directly from him in large quantities.On the other hand Masaba bought weapons, European clothing, and many other things from the Europeans. This business and commercial relationship between Masaba and the Europeans greatly transformed Bida and KinNupe into commercial centres.
Masaba also engaged in extensive trading and commerce with other native states within and outside the Sokoto Caliphate. The Bida Emirate under Masaba, for instance, became the sole seller of European weapons to all other states within the Sokoto Caliphate in those days. Masaba made a lot of money by selling weapons to the Sokoto Caliphate states.
Masaba also initiated, on the other hand, serious and unprecedented trade and commerce between KinNupe and Lagos. He actuallt invited Lagos business people, especially those of Nupe origins, to come and trade with KinNupe. That was how wealthy business people from Lagos, including people like James Babington Macauley, Madam Tinubu and her husband, Balogun Aliyu, Shitta Bey, and many other such wealth Lagosians who were Nupe, embarked on large scale business enterprises between Lagos and KinNupe.
Masaba consequently expanded the trading posts at Eggan, Lokoja and Gbegbe into gigantic Nupe trading cities servicing the commerce and trade from the South to KinNupe.
It was under Etsu Masaba that the Bida military machinery reached its zenith. Being naturally a warlike person in nature, Etsu Masaba took the time and focus to develop the Bida army into unprecedented levels.
But, more importantly, is the fact that Etsu Masaba transformed the Nupe Nation into the military superpower of the whole of Africa south of the Sahara. Etsu Masaba was warlike in all his undertakings and he truly transformed the Nupe Nation into a military state.
As reported by John E. Flint, Etsu Masaba the Great deviously established sole trading rights with the British arms dealers such that Nupe was the only state that could directly procure arms from the Europeans. Masaba in particular sent gifts and letters to both the Quen of England and the British Foreign Secretary requesting for the establishment of trading rights with the Europeans in return for which he will protect the Europeans on the Coast and the hinterlands.
With time Masaba ensured that he was the only one who was buying weapons from the Europeans to the exclusion of everybosy else. As matter of fact Masaba practically bought up all weapons that the Europeans brought from Europe. Such was the situation that Masaba even went the extra step of buying up every European weapon he could lay his hands among many other tribes and ethnicities to the south of KinNupe.
Being the only state which could directly procure arms from the Europeans during Masaba’s time, Nupe became the clearing house and distribution centre of arms to all the other states of the Central Sudan. And this was due to the tireless efforts of Etsu Masaba the Great.
Things were such that by 1871, as recorded by Professor Joseph P. Smaldone, while Bida was having over 2000 firearms, Gombe had only 1000 firearms, Bornu had only 800, Kontagora had only 1000, Sokoto had only 300 and Katsina had only 100.
Professor Smaldone also reported that all of Zaria’s firearms were provided by the Etsu Nupe and all those who manned them were Nupe. In effect Zaria was more or less a dependency armed by Nupe.
Etsu Masaba the Great transformed Nupe into the main importer and distributor of firearms in the whole of the Central Sudan. That was how the Nupe kingdom gained supremacy over all the other states of the Central Sudan in recent historical times.
Etsu Masaba also secured the service of the Europeans to train his army in the use of the European weapons he bought from the Europeans.
Etsu Masaba’s aim was to regain for the Nupe Emirate all the territorial area that were once under the sovereignty of the Nupe Empire of old. That was why throughout his reign the Nupe Emirate was engaged in endless expansionist wars.
The moment Masaba came into power for his second term he resumed his state militarization which had been his style of rulership right from the beginning. Masaba immediately flexed his military muscles again by immediately waging wars against the Igbiras. He completely razed the big town of Umaisha and advanced as far as the river Benue and as far down to Ontisha, re-subjugating all the people in this large expanse of land under Nupe territory. As early as 1865 Onitsha was already conquered by Etsu Masaba.
And that was to set the tone for the second reign of Masaba, namely that, his reign was expansionist and warlike in nature. Throughout his second term as the Emir of Nupe, Masaba was engaged in fighting expansionist battles and wars on all fronts thereby continuously expanding the territorial reach of the Nupe Nation.
Under Etsu Masaba the Bida Emirate and Nupe Nation expanded further in all directins but particularly downwards into the south.There was a core area of Bida or Nupe territory which extended from “Mulye and Awawu in Ebe country down to Akpara in Bunu country and in breadth from Yoruba Shari in the west to Payi of the Gwari in the East.” Then there was the dependency territories that engulfed the whole of northern Yorubaland, a greater part of southern Yorubakand and Midwestern Nigeria down to Onitsha and Asaba in the south.
The Bida Emirate also became so powerful under Etsu Masaba that it easily crushed internal rebellions with its almighty military mahine. Masaba easily crushed the Mokwa and Kyadya revolts of the Kwenti or Kpanti Rebellion of 1868. He similarly crushed the Fogbagba Rebellion of Etsu Baba who is a descendant of Etsu Majiya.
So powerful and expansive did the Bida Emirte became under Etsu Masaba that at a time Etsu Masaba did not stop his army from raiding territories belonging to the nearby Emirates of Agaie and Lapai. The Agaie and Lapai Emirs afraid that the almighty Etsu Masaba might snatch away parts of their emirates into the Bida Emirate reported Masaba to the Emir of Gwandu.
In 1868 the Emir of Gwandu Abdulkadir embarked on the journey down to KinNupe to come and settle the territorial disputes between Bida and Agaie and Lapai but Emir Abdulkadir died on the way. So in 1871 Al-Mustapha, the new Emir of Gwandu, came down to Bida and summoned all the other Emirs of Nupe – from Agaie, Lapai, Lafiagi, Tsonga – to Bida where the boundaries of each of the Emirates were clearly defined and demarcated.
The Emir of Gwandu Al-Mustapha and his large entourage were in Bida for a whole month before they left back to Gwandu. But it was while they were in Bida that Etsu Masaba fall sick. Etsu Masaba died a couple of months later.
Etsu Masaba the Great died in 1873.