KinNupe was known, in very prehistoric times, as Afa. This national name Afa was also variously pronounced, due to dialectal and geographical differences, as Apa and also as Ifa. So, KinNupe was also known in ancient times as Apa or as Ifa. The Idoma and Igala people pronounce the name as Apa to this very day while the Yoruba and Edo-Benin people still pronounce it as Ifa or Ife to this very day.
Origin of the Name ‘Patigi’
The Idoma, the Igala and many other ancient Nigerian tribes said they originated from Apa. They said that they originally came from Wapan, another name of Apa, which was an almighty kingdom or empire located, once upon a time, here is Central KinNupe. The Idoma, the Igala and others migrated out of Central KinNupe a long time ago, in those days when KinNupe was known as Apa or Wapa.
Similarly the Yoruba people said that they originated from Afa, Ifa or Ife a long time ago. The Yoruba people originally migrated out of Central KinNupe in those far off days when KinNupe was knonw as Ife or Ile Ife. In Nupe, and some Yoruba, traditions Ile Ife is pronounced as Elemkpe.
We see, from all the above, that KinNupe was originally known as Apa, Afa, Ifa or Ife.
In fact KinNupe was popularly known in former times as Ifa. But Ifa was also progressively pronounced as Nyifa, Nifa, Nufa, Nufe or, as we pronounce it today, Nupe.
Yes, the modern national name Nupe is a variant of the age-old Ifa. In other words the Nupe people were also known in ancient times as the Ifa people.
In those days when the Nupe people were known as the Ifa KinNupe was known as Fati. In Old Nupe the word Eti refers to the ground, land or the earth so that Ifa-Eti or, simply, Fa-ti or Fati refers to ‘Ifaland’, that is, our modern Nupeland.
This Fati, for Nupeland or KinNupe, was also denominated as ‘Fatigi’ or, as a dialectal variant, as ‘Patigi’ since ‘f’ and ‘p’ are synonymous phonemes in phonology.
Some others said that the name was originally Fatiji that is Fati combined with the suffix ‘ji’ which in Old Nupe refers to a river. Ifati-Ji or Fati-Ji or Fatiji was therefore a common name used to refer to Nupe settlements located on river banks.
This Fatiji was also pronounced as Patiji.
It was the White Colonial scribes who came, it is said, and transcribed Patiji as Patigi or, worse still, Pategi.
Others said the name was originally Fatizhi. That is Fati, meaning Nupeland, combined with the suffix ‘ezhi’ which is the Nupe affix for a town or settlement in general. But Fatizhi was also pronounced as Patizhi.
This school of thought then went on to explain that it was the Colonial scribes who transcribed Patizhi as Patiji and, later on, as Patigi.
That is an etymology of our modern name, Patigi.
There were several places with the name Fati, Fatigi or Patigi in the past. The whole of KinNupe and any Nupe settlement outside KinNupe was known as Fati, Fatigi or Patigi in the past.
Our present town of Patigi was one of these ancient Patigi settlements.
Today’s town of Patigi was said to have been a very ancient Patigi settlement dating back to very ancient times. Its location on the very banks of the River Niger has ensured its survival right from prehistoric through historic to modern times.
Patigi has always been a River Niger port city along a long and timeworn caravan route that traversed the length of the Central Sudan from its northernmost boundary on the reaches of the Sahara cutting across the River Niger right unto the very beaches of the Atlantic on its southernmost boundaries. So, Patigi has always been a very important settlement for the very integrity of the Central Sudan since very ancient times.
Nobody knows for sure when Patigi was founded as a settlement on the banks of the River Niger. And as far as the history of KinNupe is concerned Patigi has always been there since time immemorial.
Patigi is obviously one of the oldest settlements of KinNupe and its original name may have been lost to history. Its present name as Patigi is a descriptive name as a riverine settlement as we have explained in some details at the outset of this writeup.
The names of various Nupe settlements and capital cities have changed many times throughout the eventful prehistory and history of the Nupe Nation. It is very possible then that the name of Patigi have also changed several times in the history and prehistory of the Nupe Nation.
In that context Patigi may be one of the various capital cities of ancient KinNupe mentioned, with a different name, in the many old traditions of the Nupe people.
Patigi is evidently one of the old capital cities of prehistoric KinNupe. Nupe traditions are categorical with regard to the fact that at a time in the sixteenth century Patigi was the capital city of the entire Nupe Nation. Its strategic and historic location on the juncture of the River Kaduna with the River Niger inevitably makes Patigi one of the oldest and a most capital cities of prehistoric KinNupe.
And with its pristine name as ‘Fati’ Patigi is obviously one of the original ‘Ile Ife’ settlements mentioned in the Odu Ifa panegyrics of Yoruba divination that have survived unto modern times.
Patigi and the Songhai Empire Factor
There are Nupe traditions to the effect that one of the former Etsu Nupes shifted the capital of the Nupe nation to Patigi in the sixteenth century. Some said it was Etsu Shaba II but there are indications that the particular Etsu who established Patigi as the capital of Nupe might have also been Etsu Zaula who reigned before Etsu Shaba II or Etsu Zaula II who reigned after Etsu Shaba II.
A.R. Budgen maintained that it was Etsu Zagunla who fortified Patigi into the paramount capital city of KinNupe by the end of the sixteenth century.
Whoever might have been the Etsu Nupe that built Patigi into the capital of Nupe in the latter half of the sixteenth century the fact still remains that the Nupe Nation was a vigorously expansionist superpower in those days.
It was not just Patigi that the Etsu Nupes established in Southern Nigeria in those days. It was also in those days, at the end of the sixteenth century, that the Etsu Nupes built and established the Benin Kingdom into a regional capital of the Nupe people in southern Nigeria. In those days, and right unto the second half of the nineteenth century as recorded by Captain Hugh Clapperton, the Benin Kingdom remained a Nupe kingdom through and through.
The Etsu Nupes were also involved with the relocation of the Songhai and Borgu people – both the aristocracy and commoners – who fled the sack of the Songhai Empire by the Moroccan army. The Songhai refugees were resettled by the Etsu Nupes just across the northern banks of the River Niger not far away from the location of Patigi, a capital city of Nupe in those days, on the southern banks.
It is quite clear that Patigi was the capital city of the Nupe Nation in those days that witnessed the final fall of the Songhai empire at the end of the 16th century. The Songhai Empire was already on the decline almost a century earlier but it was the final sack of the Songhai Empire by the Moroccan army in 1591 that put a definte end to the Songhai Empire.
The sack of Songhai by the Moroccan Empire in 1591 generated serious political and population crises in KinNupe. The greater KinNupe of those days shares its border, today’s Borgu border in today’s Benin Republic, with the Songhai Empire. And more importatntly, the founders and royal family of the Songhai dysnats originally came from Central KinNupe. So, when the Songhai Empire fall to the menace of the Moroccan army in 1591 a serious exodus of refugees from Songhai, made up of both the royalty and commoners, headed back to Central KinNupe which they said was their original homeland.
This large number of Songhai refugees thronging into Central KinNupe led to the rise and fall of different Nupe kingdoms and subtribes within and on the fringes of the Nupe Nation. It was, for instance, the days of Queen Amina of Zaria who was a Nupe woman and who was by then sitting on her throne at the Nupe town of Dunguru, now known as Zungeru, just a few kilometers away from Bida. She was the daughter of the King or Kuta, also pronounced as Guta, Kanta or Akanda, of Dunguru otherwise known as AtaGara.
But Queen Amina had to abandon Dunguru, the capital city of AtaGara, for Gbara for the fact that there was a catastrophic dispersal of the population of Central KinNupe in those days. The people of AtaGara were mostly of the ancient Yisazhi or Kisra Nupe ethnicity of the general Bini Nupe stock. The sudden arrival of the Songhai refugees to Central KinNupe resulted in the scattering of the Yisa Nupe people in different directions from their capital at Dunguru or Zungeru to other places within and outside KinNupe.
A few decades after the death of Queen Amina of Zaria the Nupe woman the AtaGara kingdom, known to the Nupe locals as the Biniya, had already crossed the River Niger and was located in the very place that came to be known to historians as Old Oyo or Oyo Ile or Katunga.
Apart from the AtaGara or Oyo kingdom the massive influx of the Songhai refugees led to the southward shifting of several Nupe kingdoms, capital cities and peoples from Central KinNupe across the River Niger to the trans-Niger half of the Nupe Nation.
Such was it that many Nupe kings, dynasts and royalties were also pushed out of Central KinNupe by the cataclysmic political and demographic changes generated as the aftereffects of the collapse of the Songhai Empire many of which citizens, particularly the eastern half of Songhai Empire, simply translocated themselves back to KinNupe their original homeland.
It was in this context that Etsu Zaula, or Etsu Shaba II, or Etsu Zaula II or even, maybe, Etsu Zagunla migrated southwards across the River Niger to establish his base at Patigi which has always been a very ancient capital city of the Nupe Nation since time immemorial.
And so was it, according to these lores, that Patigi was a capital of the Nupe Nation for a while at the end of the sixteenth century until the Etsu Nupes were said to have shifted the capital once again from Patigi to another city.
For now we don’t know why the Etsu Nupes suddenly abandoned Patigi as a regional capital city of Nupe. But the traditions are quite clear that Patigi immediately became desolated and sank back into being a small town, a deserted capital, after the departure of the Etsu Nupes.
Etsu Masaba and Patigi
But then the location of Patigi as an important port-town on the banks of the River Niger eventually re-attracted the forces of Nupe history back to it again. This time it was in the middle of the nineteenth century, that is, some two and a half centuries after the Etsu Nupes shifted the capital away from Patigi at the end of the sixteenth century.
It was Etsu Masaba, that ever recurrent character in Nupe history, who, in 1835, built Lade into the new capital city of the Nupe Nation.
When Usman Zaki became the Emir of Nupe at Raba in 1833 his junior Masaba became embittered when he was not appointed as the Shaba to Emir Usman Zaki.
Etsu Masaba revolted against his elder brother’s rule as the Emir of Nupe and actually raised a force against his brother at Raba. Bur Usman Zaki’s powerful Raba army defeated Masaba’s ragtag army at Raba and then at Pati Tuwagi.
Masaba, however, didn’t relent. He went and incited the ancient Nupe dynasts, contenders to the Tsudi royal throne, against Emir Usman Zaki. These were Etsu Majiya and Etsu Idirisu. In fact Masaba joined forces with these Tsudi dynasts and their combined forces engaged Emir Usman Zaki’s army at Takuma near Mokwa. But the powerful Raba army of Usman Zaki defeated, actually crushed, the combined armies of the triumvirate of Etsu Majiya, Etsu Idirisa and Masaba at that decisive Battle of Takuma in 1834.
So crushing was the defeat of the son of Etsu Idirisu and the grandson of Etsu Zubairu Majiya II were caught by the Raba army and held as prisoners of war under Emir Usman Zaki at Raba. Thus, and as we shal discuss in greater details in a later section of this work, began the Captivity Period of the Jimada dynasty under the Dendo dynasts at both Raba and Bida. This, of course, is a major chapter in the history of the foundation of the Patigi Emirate in latter times.
After being decisively crushed the Raba army of Emir Usman Zaki the triumvirate fled in different directions: Etsu Majiya fled to Zugurma, Etsu Idirisa to Edun, and Masaba fled across the River Niger to Lafiagi.
But the then Emir of Lafiagi, Emir Aliyu, refused to welcome or accommodate the rebellious Masaba at Lafiagi as doing so will simply pitch him, Emir Aliyu, against the powerful and dreadful Raba army of Emir Usman Zaki.
It was the Lafiagi Prince Abdulkadir, son to the then late Emir Manzuma of Lafiagi, who eventually took the risk of briefly and surreptitiously accommodating Masaba at Lafiagi. But even Prince Abdulkadir had to ultimately conduct Masaba out of Lafiage and took him to Patigi.
But even Patigi was too dangerous for Masaba to stay at. At Patigi Masaba will be too vulnerable to assassination by secret agents of the all too powerful Emir Usman Zaki at Raba. So, and in the end, Masaba didn’t settle down at Patigi but went and settled at Lade which is just some five miles from Patigi. Lade is actually more or less a suburb of Patigi.
At Raba, however, Masaba in his characteristic persistent manner didn’t forget about toppling his elder brother the powerful Emir Usman Zaki at Raba. Masaba instead became very busy at Raba plotting against his elder brother Emir Usman Zaki at Raba.
Though he was initially busy plotting against Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi who had refused to welcome or accommodate him at Lafiagi, Masaba later on, after using Sultan Halilu of Gwandu of the Eastern Half of the Sokoto Caliphate to topple Emir Aliyu of Lafiagi from power, eventually came to focus his attention on how to get his elder brother Emir Usman Zaki at Raba from power.
At that time Etsu Majiya had died and his son Etsu Tsado, at Zugurma, had became a great power to be reckoned with in KinNupe. Etsu Tsado was in possession of some of the royal regalia of Tsudi including the famous bronze Kakati royal trumpets that Tsudi fled with from AtaGara.
This Etsu Tsado was a man of remarkable and formidable personality. He was the only sort of strong-willed character who could fight Emir Usman Zaki in a courageous manner. Masaba in due time became close friends with Etsu Tsado and joined forces with him to fight Emir Usman Zaki. A series of battles between the combined forces of Masaba and Etsu Tsado against the Raba army of Emir Usman Zaki ensued.
In this series of battles the Raba army of Emir Usman Zaki was repeatedly defeated by Etsu Tsado’s forces supported by Masaba. In the end Etsu Tsado and Masaba marched against Raba. Emir Usman Zaki fled Raba in the dead of the night and only escaped death by the whiskers. But Masaba together with Etsu Tsado, laid Raba to waste and reduced it to ashes when they besieged Emir Usman Zaki in the disastrous Battle of Raba. That was in 1841.
After the defeat and exile of Emir Usman Zaki the victorious Masaba declared himself the new Emir of Nupe. Masaba then used his great wealth and supreme diplomatic skills to convene the first Raba Convention whereby all the power stakeholders in KinNupe, including all the Tsudi dynasts and the Fulani emirs, were convened at a grand reconciliation meeting at Raba chaired by the Sultan Halilu of Gwandu.
At that First Raba Convention in 1841 Masaba was declared the new Emir of Nupe while Usman Zaki was exiled to Gwandu. Etsu Tsado was also declared as the rightful Etsu Nupe.
But after the Raba Convention Etsu Masaba could not stay at Raba which he himself and Etsu Tsado have completely reduced to ashes and rubbles. So, Masaba crossed the Niger and and went back to Lade which he then established into his new capital.
Incidentally Lade is just too close to Patigi – just five miles away from Patigi.
The truth of the matter, actually, is that Patigi was the original target of Etsu Masaba as his new capital. Being fully aware of the ancient history of Patigi, most of the ancient history that is lost to us today, Etsu Masaba decided to cross the River Niger and establish his capital at Patigi. In those days everybody in KinNupe had known that Patigi was one of the oldest and one of the honourable capitals of the Nupe Nation.
There are actually lost traditions to the effect that the much-sought after royal regalia of Tsudi which the ancient Tsudian dynasts have successfully hidden from the Fulani Jihadists, is hidden somewhere inside or around the vicinity of the town of Patigi. Though others are variously saying these same potent royal regalia of Tsudi are actually hidden somewhere at Mokwa, Jebba or Gbara, the the traditions asserting that they are somewhere around Patigi are more rampant. The traditions, to this very day, are that anybody who gets his hands on these hidden royal regalia of Tsudi will definitely and certainly be endowed with the spiritual and otherwise powers to be the legitimate paramount ruler of the entire Nupe Nation.
It may be the search for these hidden royal regalia of Tsudi, or any other reason unknown to us today, that may have attracted Masaba to the trans-Niger half of the Nupe Nation where he decided to establish Patigi as his capital city of the Nupe Nation.
But, and due to other reasons still unknown to us today, Etsu Masaba ended up settling down at the suburb of Patigi called Lade. This Lade is just about five miles from Patigi and was originally an unknown hamlet. Etsu Masaba initially planned to sojourn at Lade before eventually moving into Patigi proper. But he ended up not going into Patigi and instead began to build Lade into a world class capital city.
The correct name of Lade is actually Ladi and it was even known in more ancient times as Radi. But it was the White Colonial scribes who came and wrongly transcribed the Nupe name Ladi to the Latinized Lade and that is how we wrongly pronounce the name to this very day.
The emergence of Lade as the new capital of KinNupe in 1845, however, still led to the immediate rise and revival of Patigi into a major and significant city in KinNupe again.
There were actually talks in those days of the possibility of Etsu Masaba still moving into Patigi as his definitive capital city. The historical, royal and spiritual significance of Patigi as the rightful thronecity of an Etsu Nupe were just too compelling for Etsu Masaba to have remained sojourning forever at Lade.
But just two years later into his reign as the Emir of Nupe, that is in 1847, Masaba was ousted from power and chased away from Lade by his own war general called General Umaru Bahaushe.
Umaru Bahaushe was originally a war general to Emir Usman Zaki at Raba. And in fact it actually took the intervention of Sultan Halilu at the First Raba Convention to convince General Umaru Bahaushe to remain in the Raba army that was now under the command of Emir Masaba.
As a matter of fact the Raba army practically remained at Raba and refused to follow Emir Masaba to Raba. The Raba army was then receiving orders from its commander in chief Emir Masaba at Lade.
The head of the Raba army at Raba was General Andi Boshi who was also the leading war general of Emir Usman Zaki. General Andi Boshi was very loyal to Etsu Masaba but was tragically killed in a war waged by Emir Masaba against Etsu Idirisa. After the death of General Andi Boshi Emir Masaba had to replace him with General Umaru Bahaushe.
But after fighting some three or so battles for Emir Masaba, General Umaru Bahaushe rebelled against Masaba and actually turned back from a battle fight with the Raba army and marched against Emir Masaba himself at Lade.
Emir Masaba fled Lade but Umaru Bahaushe with the Raba army burnt down Lade and then pursued Emir Masaba further through Lalagi to Ilorin. Masaba eventually became asylumed at Ilorin.
The sack of Lade by General Umaru Bahaushe led to the desolation of both Lade and Patigi back into insignificant Nupe settlements again.
And so did Patigi sunk back into the quiet little port-town that it used to be for centuries on end. That is until the forces of Nupe history revisited Patigi again, this time around, in 1898.
Islamic Patriarchy Vesrus Nupe Matriarchy
In 1898 the British Colonial authorities deliberately re-established the Yisazhi branch of the ancient Tsudi (Tsoede) dynasty by officially recognising Etsu Idirisu Gana as the 23rd Etsu Nupe of the Tsudi dynasty. The White men colonialists also chose Patigi, across the River Niger from Bida, as the new capital city of the Tsudi dynasts.
This story of the restoration of the Tsudi dynasty at Patigi in 1898 started a very long time before then. We will have to go back to the very end of the eighteenth century to narrate the story in context:
In 1795, and upon the death of the erstwhile Etsu Mu’azu, the Nupe Nation got divided into two; an Eastern half ruled by Etsu Zhimada (Jimada) and a Western half ruled by Etsu Majiya.
Etsu Mu’azu had nominated his own son as his Shaba or heir apparent before his death. But this was contrary to the ancient Nupe matriarchal practice of appointing the son of a sister, that is a nephew, as the Shaba or heir apparent.
At the beginning Nupe culture, just like all other prehistoric cultures across the world, was matriarchal. In a matrichate the line of royal succession is through female geneology. When a king dies it is the nephew of the dead king, that is the son to his sister, who succeeds the dead king as the new king. That is what is applicable in a matriarchy. And that was the way a new Etsu Nupe was chose in prehistoric KinNupe.
Even Tsudi himself succeeded his maternal uncle at Nku as the new Etsu Nupe. And Tsudi himself was succeeded, not by any of his first sons Ebako and Ebagi, but by his nephew who was the son to his sister Ramatu.
Tsudi died in 1310 but close to five hundred years later in the 1780s the influence of Islam had become overwhelming in KinNupe to the extent that the patriarchal values and traditions of Islam have overshadowed the matriarchal values and traditions of Nupe culture.
It was in acting under the influence of the patriarchal values of Islam which had became fashionable in those days that Etsu Mu’azu appointed his own biological son Audu as his Shaba or heir apparent to succeed him instead of appointing Majiya, his nephew and the son to his sister, as his Shaba or heir apparent who is to succeed him after his death.
Majiya, the nephew to Etsu Mu’azu and the legitimate Shaba or heir apparent according to olden Nupe traditions felt cheated out of his birthright. So, Majiya, the nephew to Etsu Mu’azu, rebelled against his uncle. And that was how the ancient Tsudi dynasty became divided between the Mu’azu and Majiya branches of the dynasty.
Majiya eventually marshalled a huge army and ousted his uncle from power. Etsu Mu’azu fled into exile.
With Etsu Mu’azu out of the way, Majiya became the unchallenged and undisputed Etsu Nupe. Etsu Majiya was a popular Etsu well loved by all and sundry. He reigned for ten good years that were rather prosperous for the Nupe Nation.
Etsu Majiya however appointed his own son, Iliyasu, as the heir-apparent!
That Etsu Majiya will appoint his own biological son as his Shaba or heir apparent despite his being bitterly opposed to such a practice initially bespoke of the inextricable grip of Islam on the Nupe royalty in those days.
When Etsu Mu’azu finally died his son whom he appointed as his Shaba and who immediately succeeded him as the new Etsu was unfortunately a weakling. Immediately upon the death of Etsu Majiya Etsu Mu’azu came back from exile and overthrew the weak Etsu Iliyasu from power.
In the end Etsu Mu’azu was succeeded by Etsu Jimada. But Etsu Jimada also appointed his own son as his Shaba or heir apparent.
It is clear by this time that the Etsu Nupes have completely stopped practicing the olden matrilineal system of succession of the ancient Nupe culture practiced by the earlier Tsudi dynasts.
That Etsu Jimada appointed his own son as his Shaba or heir apparent made Zubairu, who is the son of the sister to Etsu Jimada, to rebel against Etsu Jimada. Zubairu was, incidentally, from the rival family of Majiya and that is why he is known to history today as Etsu Zubairu Majiya II.
Etsu Zubairu and Etsu Jimada clashed at the fateful Battle of Ragada where Etsu Jimada was killed.
Etsu Zubairu Majiya then became the paramount Etsu Nupe ruler of the Nupe Nation.
But it was at that apocalyptic juncture in Nupe history that the Fulani Mallams arrive KinNupe.
The Nupe-Fulani Mallams
It was in the days when Etsu Zubairy Majiya, othwerwise known as Etsu Majiya II, became the paramount Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation that the Fulani Mallams gradually rose to become significant forces to be reckoned with in KinNupe.
The most famous of these Fulani Mallams was Mallam Dendo popularly referred to as Mank or ‘The Great Mallam’ by Nupe traditional historians.
But apart from Mallam Dendo alias Manko there were other Mallams including most famously Man Musa Kodogi, Mallam Babba of Agaie, Mallam Maliki and his brother Manzuma of Lafiagi, and so on and on.
These Mallams were originally at Etsu Jimada’s palace. Etsu Jimada was the arch enemy of Etsu Zubairu Majiya II. As we have mentioned before Etsu Jimada appointed his own son as the Shaba or heir apparent to succeed him according to the patriarchal system of succession of Islam thereby denying Etsu Zubairu Majiya II, Etsu Jimada’s nephew, his birthright of being appointed as the Shaba according to olden matriarchal system of succession of ancient Nupe culture.
Etsu Jimada was the one who brought Mallam Dendo to great fame and Nupe national repute after Mallam Dendo susccessfully identified the crocodile that killed and ate Etsu Jimada’s grandson.
So, and for a long time Mallam Dendo was at Etsu Jimada’s palace and Mallam also successfully recruited other Fulani Mallams to the Etsu Jimada palace. All these Mallams were then supporting Etsu Jimada against his arch enemy Etsu Zubairu Majiya II.
But the elderly Fulani Mallams were seriously accused of being mediocre and charlatan Islamic scholars by the younger Shehu Abdurrahman Muhammadu Sharif Tsatsa Gbaji who was the halfcaste son of the Arab Sheikh Sharif Balarabe with a Nupe woman from the Agaie general area. The quarrel between the young Nupe-Arab Shehu Abdurrahman Gbaji and the elderly Nupe-Fulani Mallams degenerated into a deadly clash that ultimately drove the Fulani Mallams away from the palace of Etsu Jimada to the palace of his arch-enemy Etsu Zubairu Majiya II.
Mallam Dendo and all the other Mallams were initially with Etsu Zubairu Majiya II as their patron at Raba. Mallam Dendo even married Etsu Zubairu Majiya’s daughter Fatimatu.
But the Fulani Mallams eventually fall out with Etsu Zubairu Majiya II too. Etsu Zaubairu Majiya II actually saw Mallam Dendo snowballing followership right there at Raba after Etsu Zubairu Majiya II saw Mallam Alimi, a similar Fulani Mallam related to Mallam Dendo, who started as an innocuous Mallam at Ilorin became too powerful to the extent that he seized power from the Yorubas and established a Fulani Islamic emirate over Ilorin.
To forestall the re-enactment of Mallam Alimi’s feat at Raba with Mallam Dendo, Etsu Zubairu Majiya simply chased Mallam Dendo and his Mallams out of Raba across the Niger unto the enclave of Mallam Alimi at Ilorin.
At Ilorin the Mallams rallied under the leadership of Etsu Idirisu, also known as Etsu Isa, who was the son of Etsu Jimada who was killed by Etsu Zubairu Majiya II.
Etsu Zubairu Majiya II eventually attacked the Mallams under Etsu Idirisu at Ilorin. Etsu Zubairu Majiya II was, however, defeated at the Battle of Ilorin. In fact the Mallams chased Etsu Zubairu Majiya II back across the Niger through Raba and thence unto Zugurma.
Etsu Idirisu then settled at Edun as the paramount Etsu Nupe of the whole of KinNupe. But later on Etsu Idirisu and the Mallams had a serious quarrel and Etsu Idirisu chased the Fulans out of Edu and besieged the Mallams at Raba. The Mallams, headed by Mallam Dendo, dexterously recalled Etsu Zubairu Majiya II from exile. Etsu Zubairu Majiya II then chased Etsu Idirisu from the walls of Raba through Esa to Katcha.
But Etsu Zubairu Majiya II was disappointed when he went back to meet the Dendo dynasts at Raba. After marrying his daughters to the children of Mallam Dendo, and upon the death of Mallam Dendo, Etsu Zubairu Majiya was subjected to a palace coup when the Dendo dynasts convened a Nupe national convention, with Sultan Halilu of Gwandu chairing, at Raba.
At that First Raba Convention, attended by almost all the major stakeholders of the Nupe Nation, the Fulanis told Etsu Zubairu Majiya II that they recognised only Etsu Idirisu as the rightful Etsu Nupe because according to Islamic law of succession, Etsu Idirisu is the biological son, unlike Etsu Zubairu Majiya who is the nephew, to the late Etsu Jimada.
At that First Raba Convention Etsu Idirisu was officially recognised as the Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation. He afterwards went and settled at Gbara as the capital city of the Nupe Nation. His aim was to spend the rest of his life quietly building Gbara into a befitting capital city.
That was how Gbara, for the umpteenth time, became the thronecity of the Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation again. Professor Leo Frbenius noted that Gbara has always been a recurrent capital of the Nupe Nation since time immemorial. In other words Gbara has always been a capital of the Nupe Nation.
Gbara was a renowned capital of the Nupe Nation for several centuries before the birth of Tsudi in 1230 and it continued to be the capital of the Nupe Nation for several centuries on end after the death of Tsudi in 1310.
Now in 1832, after being declared the Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation, Etsu Idirisu went back to Gbara as his capital city of the entire Nupe Nation.
But in those days the office of the Etsu Nupe was fast becoming a de jure one as that of the paramount ruler of the Nupe Nation. It was now the office of the Emir of Nupe that was fast becoming the de facto office of the paramount ruler of the Nupe Nation. And the Emir of the Nupe Nation was Emir Usman Zaki who was unanimously declared the new Emir of Nupe, for a second term, at Raba. The Emir of the Nupe Nation was at Raba and Raba had become the de facto capital city of the Nupe Nation with Gbara merely serving as the secondary, de jure, capital city of the Nupe Nation.
It was around that time, however, that Masaba rebelled against his elder brother Emir Usman Zaki who was the Emir at Raba. Masaba was able to mischievously incite both Etsu Idirisu and Etsu Tsado under his father Etsu Zubairu Majiya II, against Usman Zaki. But in the ensuing battles, particularly the one at Takuma, the sons of both Etsu Idirisu and Etsu Tsado were caught and held captive by Emir Usman Zaki at Raba.
The Jimada Dynasts Held Captive At Bida
Mu’azu Isa, the son to Etsu Idirisu was held captive at Raba by Etsu Usman Zaki. Mischievously enough the Dendo dynasts unanimously recognized Etsu Idirisu as the rightful Etsu Nupe during the first Raba Convention chaired by Sultan Halilu at Raba in 1832. They did this to spite Etsu Majiya who had helped them drove away Etsu Idirisu from his siege on the city of Raba just a couple of weeks back. The Dendo dynasts with their Gwandu collaborators explained that as Muslims they cannot recognize Etsu Majiya, who was a nephew to the late Etsu Jimada, through the matrilineal system of ancient Nupe culture. They said they can only recognize Etsu Idirisu who is the son of the late Etsu Jimada in the patrilineal system of succession of Islam.
And, interestingly enough, even though the Dendo dynasts recognized Etsu Idirisu as the rightful Etsu Nupe they didn’t rectify their diplomatic relationships with him instead they continue to keep his son Mu’azu Isa as a captive at Raba.
After the death of Etsu Idirisu the Dendo dynasts rightfully recognised their captive Mu’azu Isa as the new Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation. That was in 1840.
But even though the new Etsu Mu’azu Isa requested to be allowed to go back to Gbara, his capital city, the Dendo dynasts didn’t grant his request.
The Dendo dynasts kept these Jimada dynasts of the Tsudi (Tsoede) line in captivity for so many years from their days at Raba right through their own ouster from power by General Umaru Bahaushe for nine solid years through to the days they got back to power after the death of General Umaru Bahaushe in 1857 and their, the Dendo dysnats’, relocation from Raba to Bida that same year.
Both Usman Zaki and Masaba, who succeeded Usman Zaki as the Emir of Nupe at Bida, continue to hold Etsu Mu’azu Isa a captive and didn’t allow him to go back to Gbara.
And so was it that even though Etsu Mu’azu Isa was bearing the title of the Etsu Nupe he was still subjected to the Emirs of Nupe, or the Fulani rulers, who by then have become the de facto rulers of the Nupe Nation.
Etsu Mu’azu Isa died a captive at Bida in the hands of the Dendo dynasts in 1872. His son, Idirisu Gana, immediately succeeded him as the next Etsu Nupe. Incidentally the following year, 1873, Etsu Masaba died and Umaru Majigi became the new Emir of Nupe.
Under the reign of Umaru Majigi, Etsu Idirisu Gana tendered his requested, as did his late father Etsu Mu’azu Isa, to be allowed to go back to Gbara. This time around Umaru Majigi allowed him to go back to Gbara. Thus ended the forty years captivity of the Jimada dynasts in the hands of the Dendo dynasts from 1834 to 1874.
Etsu Idirisu Gana then went and settled down as the Etsu Nupe at Gbara as his capital city.
Arrival of the Whitemen Colonialists
Etsu Idirisu Gana was still alive, though very old, when the White men begun to establish their Colonial Government during the reigns of Etsu Maliki and Etsu Bubakar.
In fact when the Battle of Bida took place in 1897, Etsu Idirisu Gana, with his base at Gbara, actively sided with the White men against the Dendo dynasts at Bida.
In those days the Dendo dynast at Bida had become overly powerful over the whole of the Nupe Nation and have in the process inevitably made bitter and fatal enemies for themselves throughout the length and breadth of the Nupe Nation. The Bida Emirate was an imperialist and utterly expensive emirate and almost all of its colonial possessions and vassal states and people were complaining under the heavy taxation and feudalistic system of administration of the Bida Emirate.
The Kyadya riverine and canoe people were the most embittered. Their colonization by the Bida Emirate never went down well with them and they organize several rebellions and revolutions against the Bida Emirate two of the most famous of which were the Kpanti Wars and Ganigan Revolution both of which the powerful Bida army of course crushed with military ruthlessness.
Then there were also the Northern Yoruba people including the Kabba, the Igbomina, and all of the Kukuruku people who were always revoliting against the colonial sovereignty of the Bida Emirate over them.
But even the Jimada dynasts when they finally gained their freedom and got back to Gbara continued to harbor this secret vengeance against the Bida overlords. They patiently bidded their time and their opportunity came when the White men imperialists, who were the erstwhile friends of the Bida overlords and even helped them in crushing the Ganigan rebellion of the Kyadyas, eventually had a clash of interest with the Bida overlords.
The White men imperialists led by George Taubman Goldie ended up engaging the Bida overlords in their infamous Battle of Bida which was perfectly timed to take place at a time when the Bida army had crossed the River Niger into Northern Yorubaland to crush a Kabba rebellion against their Bida rulers.
The Etsu Nupe was practically defenceless and Bida was highly vulnerable to a British Colonial attack as the Bida army was stranded across the River Niger in Kabbaland.
Etsu Idirisu Gana of the Jimada dynasty at Gbara was the one who ordered the Kyadya canoemen not to transport the bulk of the Bida army across the River Niger to go and engage the British army that was bombarding the walls of Bida with a virtually unarmed Etsu Bubakar under siege.
Etsu Idirisu Gana actually played a decisive role in the fall of Bida during the Battle of Bida in 1897.
It was in recognition of his decisive assistance to their defeat of Bida that the British Colonialists decided to fully restore the ancient Tsudi (Tsoede) dynasty by officially recognising and installing Etsu Idirisu Gana as the twenty-third Etsu Nupe of the Tsudi dynasty at Patigi.
The aim of Frederick Lugard and Taubman Goldie was to balkanise the Nupe Nation and to set the Nupe people against one another. And their creation of Patigi Emirate for the ancient Tsudi dynasts of the Jimada dynasty line was just one, among many other, such divide and rule stratagems of the White colonialists.
With the creation of the Patigi Emirate for the Tsudi dynasts the White men have effectively established a second, and very legitimate Nupe dynasty because it directly traces back to Tsudi the Founder of Nupe himself, line of rulership in KinNupe that they planned will rival, and then weaken, the Fulani or Dendo dynasts at Bida.
Modern History of Royal Succession In Patigi
In any case the very old Etsu Idirisu Gana died at Patigi in 1900.
Etsu Idirisu Gana was succeeded by his son Etsu Mu’azu Isa. In 1905 the Colonial Government gave Etsu Isa a Second-Grade Staff of chieftaincy. But it was also during his tenure that the Colonial authorities shifted the headquarters of the trans-Niger Nupe Province from Patigi to Lafiagi when they, the Colonial authorities, removed Tsaragi and Tsonga from the Ilorin Division and added them to the Nupe Province. Through those addition Lafiagi became more centrally located in the Nupe Province and the Colonial authries decided that Lafiagi should be made the new headquarters.
Etsu Mu’azu Isa died in 1923 and was succeeded to the throne by Etsu Usman Tsado. Etsu Usman Tsado was actually a brother to Etsu Idirisu Gana, the father to the Etsu Mu’azu Isa.
Etsu Usman Tsado abdicated in 1931 after allegations of misrule were levelled against him by the Colonial Government.
Etsu Umaru Gana, the son of Etsu Mu’azu Isa, then succeeded Etsu Usman Tsado. Etsu Umaru Gana ruled from that 1931 to 1966, that is for some 35 solid years.
Etsu Umaru Gana died in 1966 and was succeeded by Etsu Idirisu Gana who ruled from 1966 to 1996.
Etsu Idirisu Gana died in 1996 and was succeeded by Etsu Ibrahim Chatta from 1996 to 2019.
Etsu Ibrahim Chatta died in 2019 and was succeeded by the present Etsu Ibrahim Umar Bologi.