Nupe traditions listed the Kakanda as one of the Nupe tribal sections.
The Kakanda people are one of the many peoples that descended from the ancient Nupe people known as the Eda or Akanda. The Akanda were also variously known as the Nda, Ata, Kuta, Kuti, Koto, Kodo, Kiadia, Kanda, Kakanda, and so on and on.
The Name Kakanda
In the Old Nupe language Kakanda simply means ‘Earliest Eda People’ or ‘Oldest Nda People’; and this was the pristine and original meaning of Kakanda. In the Old Nupe language the word ‘Kaka’ means ‘ancient’ and the ‘Nda’ was the name of one of the three oldest Nupe stocks, namely, the Nda or Akanda Nupe people.
Kakanda is a combination of ‘Kaka’ and ‘Nda’ and since ‘Kaka’ means ‘ancient or oldest’ what we get when we combine ‘Kaka’ and ‘Nda’ is ‘Kaka-Nda’ which will directly translate as ‘Ancient Nda’ or ‘Oldest Nda’ people. The Nda, more popularly known to Colonial historians as Akanda and to Nupe historians as Kiadia, are one of the three oldest Nupe people in the history of KinNupe.
The three autochthonous Nupe people are the Eda or Nda, the Eba and the Esa or Yisa. These three were the oldest Nupe stocks or races from which almost all other Nupe people of latter generations originated through a process of ethnic fusion among the three.
We see therefore that in the Old Nupe language the Kakanda were regarded as the oldest or purest Eda or Nda Nupe people. But centuries later in the Middle Nupe language the national name Kakanda came to assume a different meaning.
In the Middle Nupe era the name Kakanda became shortened into Akanda which also assumed the tropical meaning of ‘Royalty’ since the Nda Nupe people had by then became a dominant ruling tribal section of the Nupe Nation. As a matter of fact it was with this meaning, as the royal caste or royal people, that the meaning of the name Kakanda or Akanda survived into prehistoric traditions of ancient Nigeria.
The Flight of Tsudi
The traditional story is that the father of Tsudi the Nupe Founder was the king of the AtaGara kingdom when Tsudi was born. This AtaGara Kingdom was the northern half of the former Bini Confederacy. The southern half was known as Bini or Apa. AtaGara was also known as Katagara to Nupe historians. To the Hausa and Colonial historians Katagara was known as Kotonkoro or Kotorkoshi.
The story goes that Tsudi was born in his maternal Biniland also known as Apa but joined his father at the AtaGara palace when he grew up. His father, the Ata Gara or Nda Kolo, favored Tsudi above his half siblings who, upon the death of their father, consequently chased Tsudi out of AtaGara.
The flight of Tsudi was from the north first along River Kurita, then along River Mariga and then along River Kaduna down to the south at the confluence of the Kaduna with the River Niger.
Tsudi came back to his motherland Apa or Bini, killed his maternal uncle and declared himself the new king of Bini.
After becoming the king of Apa or the Bini Kingdom Tsudi initiated the Tsudi Wars which were expansionist wars that saw his Bini Kingdom conquering all the nearby and surrounding kingdoms and settlements into the fold of a Bini Kingdom that rapidly expanded into a Bini Empire.
In fact, and eventually, Tsudi’s Bini Empire conquered and captured his paternal AtaGara Kingdom or Kotonkoro into the fold of the Bini Empire. The conquest of the AtaGara Kingdom led to the fall of AtaGara which in turn engendered a mass exodus of refugees out of the fallen AtaGara.
AtaGara was located in the North of today’s KinNupe. When the Tsudi Wars led to the fall of AtaGara a large population of the Akanda citizens of AtaGara simply left AtaGara and moved southwards down to today’s Central KinNupe.
In fact, a significant population of these refugees ended up founding New AtaGara at the very place where Bida is located today in Central KinNupe.
Bida was originally known as Bidako or Bidakoro or Bini-Dakoro. But Dakoro is just a dialectal form of Takoro or Tagara or AtaGara. Bida was originally founded as a United Kingdom of the Bini people and the settler refugees from AtaGara.
In his flight from his paternal AtaGara Kingdom Tsudi was supported by a group of his followers from AtaGara. These followers were of the royal caste and they came to be known as Akanda or ‘The Masters’ or the ‘The Royal Ones’ because Tsudi eventually appointed their twelve leaders as the Kuta or kings over the new Akanda settlements that resulted from the exodus of people from AtaGara into Apa or Biniland.
In any case the traditional story did narrate that Tsudi was assisted in his flight by twelve Akanda men whom he subsequently coronated as the Kuta of twelve resulting kingdoms the surviving one among whom was the Kuta of Muregi.
Whatever the case might have been the truth remains that the super kingdom of AtaGara shattered into two or more splinters amidst internal crisis in the 12th century. Consequently, a large exodus of the Akanda people, headed by Tsudi, left a regional capital of the AtaGara kingdom in Northern KinNupe and moved southwards to Biniland in today’s Central and Southern KinNupe.
In Central and Southern KinNupe these Akanda people in turn separated into more splinters most of whom survived into modern history as the different Nupe subtribes that we know today. Among the Nupe subtribes that originated from the ancient Akanda Nupe people whom Tsudi led from North to Central or Southern KinNupe are the Kakanda, the Dibo, the Ganagana, the Kupa, the Gupa, the Gbagyi, and many others.
In any case this was the origin of the Akanda people we call the Kakanda today.
The Kakanda Were Nupe
In those days, that is in the beginning, the Kakanda were not known as the Kakanda, their proper national name was actually Efa, Epa or Apa. They were known as the Apa or Wapa or Wapan because of the Biniland or Apa Kingdom into which they came to settle among the Bini people. It was this name Apa that was also pronounced in a dialectal variant form as Epa or Efa which was also pronounced as Ifa, Nyifa, Nifa, Nufa, Nupa, or Nupe. So, the Kakanda people were originally known as the Nupe before they eventually became famously known as the Kakanda.
In those days also, that is in the beginning, the Kakanda were also resident in Central KinNupe and not in the Southern KinNupe area where we see them today. The point here is that when in the 13th century the Akanda people left the fallen AtaGara Kingdom they initially came to Central KinNupe where they settled down under the rule of Tsudi. The Kakanda under Tsudi became part and parcel of the Nupeko Empire, otherwise known as Kororofa, founded by Tsudi. As a matter of fact the people we call the Kakanda today were among the leading warriors who led the Tsudi Wars through which Tsudi founded and established his Nupeko Empire that is known to Hausa and Colonial historians as the Kororofa Empire.
The Akanda, after leaving AtaGara in Northern KinNupe, came southwards and settled down in Central KinNupe otherwise known as Apa or Biniland. And for centuries on end the whole of Central KinNupe was populated by the Akanda people some of whom gradually differentiated into the people we call the Kakanda today.
In fact there are Nupe traditions to the effect that when the Kakanda people, known as the Epa, first arrive KinNupe they met the Ganagana or Gara, that is Bini, people already resident in Central KinNupe. The tradition goes on to narrate that the Kakanda or Epa then conquered the Ganagana and ruled over them in Central KinNupe.
So, throughout the three and a half centuries that the Kororofa Empire lasted with its headquarters here in Central KinNupe, that is from the middle of the 13th century to the end of the 16th century, the Kakanda were known as variously known as the Apa, Nupekoro, Nupeko or Kororofa as they reside here in Central KinNupe. Even after the fall of the Nupeko or Kororofa Empire due to the Songhai Invasion at the end of the 16th century the Kakanda people remained here in Central KinNupe and were to remain so here for another two or so centuries until the outbreak of the Nupe Civil War at the end of the 18th century which eventually forced the Kakanda to begun migrating out of Central KinNupe towards Southern KinNupe.
It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that the Kakanda began to actively move out of Apa or Wapa, that is Biniland or Central KinNupe, southwards again until they came to settle along the banks of the River Niger in Southern KinNupe while others even crossed the banks of the River Niger into Southern Nigeria.
Kakanda are Kororofa
The Kakanda, as one of the Akanda people, were among the prominent people who participated in the Gara Exodus from AtaGara in Northern KinNupe to Central. This Gara Exodus from AtaGara is also known as the Koro Exodus from Kotonkoro since Gara is the same as Koro and AtaGara or Katagara is the same as Kotonkoro. All the different and various Nupe people who participated in the Gara Exodus were collectively referred to as the Gara people. The Kakanda were therefore one of the Gara people of ancient Nupe history. As a matter of fact the citizens of AtaGara were known as the Gara to Nupe historians and as the Koro to Hausa and Colonial historians.
But when the Kakanda as an Akanda people participated in the Gara Exodus and moved from AtaGara in Northern KinNupe to the Apa Kingdom in Biniland here in Central KinNupe they, the Kakanda, also became known as the Apa people. This way the Kakanda people became known with two national names, namely, Gara and Apa.
As a matter of fact the Kakanda were initially known as the Apa, Afa, Afo or, as Captain Richard Burton heard them being called as late as the 1850s, Efo. We can see that Apa and Efo are simply dialectal variants of the same national name which the Kakanda people acquired when they arrive Apa or Biniland here in Central KinNupe as a result of the Gara Exodus.
In any case the Kakanda were actually known as the Apa when they arrive Central and Southern KinNupe in the days of the Gara Exodus. In Southern KinNupe Tsudi, their almighty Emperor, settled them, together with other Akanda and Apa peoples, on the banks of the River Niger where they became known as the Gara-Apa which was also a reference to their being the Apa on the River Niger. The River Niger was also known as the Gara, Gwara, Kwara or Koro.
The Apa people whom Tsudi settled on the banks of the River Niger came to be known as the Apa-Koro, Epa-Koro, Ipa-Koro, Ifa-Koro, Nifa-Koro, Nufa-Koro, Nufe-Koro, Nupe-Koro or Nupekoro which was usually shortened by Nupe historians as Nupeko. Of course, Nupe history kept on emphasizing that Tsudi was the founder of Nupeko.
But Nupeko or Nupekoro was also known as Nifa-Koro, Ifa-Koro or, in its mirror-image, as Koro-Ifa or Korofa which is the same that the Hausa city chroniclers pronounced in its repetitive form as Kororofa.
The Kakanda as the Gara-Apa people were the leading Akanda people who went into the formation of Tsudi’s Nupeko Empire otherwise known as Kororofa. As a matter of fact Professor A.E. Afigbo categorically wrote that the Kakanda were the same people who were known to Hausa and Colonial historians as the famous Kororofa people of pre-Colonial Nigeria.
Kakanda Did Not Originate from Jukun or from Bornu
Some European historians, writing under the Colonial influence of the Hamitic Hypothesis, claimed that the Kakanda originated from the Jukun. But many other scholars and workers have debunked the claim that the Kakanda originated from the Jukun.
It is true that the Kakanda were a Kororofa people, but that does not mean that the Kakanda originated from the Jukun whom Colonial historians have come to wrongly identified as the Kororofa. The truth of the matter is that the Jukun are not the Kororofa of history but, on the other hand, the Kakanda were one of the leading Kororofa people of old. As a matter of fact Professor A.E. Afigbo have written that the Kakanda are actually the same people whom the Hausa city chroniclers referred to as the Kororofa.
In the same vein it should also be pointed out that claims that the Kakanda people originated from Bornu are baseless and unfounded. The Bornu mentioned in some traditions as the origin of the Kakanda people is none other than the Biniland otherwise known as Apa, that is here Central KinNupe, from which the Kakanda traditions categorically narrated that they migrated down to their present location in Southeastern KinNupe.
The Kakanda Last Migration
The Nupe traditions have it that as late as the 1770s the Kakanda and the Ganagana people were still resident in Central KinNupe. O. Temple wrote that it was at the beginning of the 19th century that the Kakanda people, led by their leader called Isakapa, began to migrate away from Central KinNupe towards their present location in Southeast KinNupe. The Kakanda traditions are categorical that they came to their present location in Southern KinNupe from Apa or Wapa which is their name for Central KinNupe.
It is obvious that it is the same Nupe Civil War that broke out at the end of the 18th century between Etsu Jimada and Etsu Majiya that forced the Kakanda, the Ganagana, the Bassange and many other Nupe people out of Central KinNupe towards Southern KinNupe. The Kakanda traditions categorically narrated that they left Wapa or Central KinNupe due to a kingship succession dispute.
At the beginning of the 19th century Etsu Kapa, also known as Isakapa, led his Kakanda people from Central KinNupe to Southeastern KinNupe where he built Budan as the capital city of the Kakanda people. Budan was originally known as Apa, Afa, Ife and was named after Central KinNupe otherwise known as Apa from which the Kakanda people originated. Budan was also a capital city for the ancient Nupe religion of Ife which is today practiced by the Yoruba people as Ifa and the Nupe people as Eba or Ebasan.
When the Kakanda people reached Southeastern KinNupe they met a people called the Ashe whom they conquered and settled among. The Kakanda built Budan into the capital of a thriving Kakanda polity that immediately became a powerful kingdom exercising sovereignty over a large area covering parts of today’s Niger, Kogi and Kwara States and even as far down as Ekiti and Ondo States.
But the onset of the Islamic Revolution in KinNupe at the beginning of the 19th century and the rise of the Nupe-Fulani Jihadists to sovereignty over KinNupe in the second half of the 19th century eventually dealt a death-blow to the growth of the Kakanda Kingdom.
When the Dendo dynasts established Bida as their new capital in 1850s they immediately attacked and destroyed Budan the Kakanda capital because it was relatively close to Bida. The Kakanda capital of Budan never recovered from the effect of the incessant attacks and devastations wrought on it by the Nupe-Fulani Jihadists in the second half of the 19th century. It was this fall of Budan that led to the relative rise of nearby Kakanda settlements like Muye and Girinya both of which, however, had to relocate from their original locations away from the incessant attacks by the Nupe-Fulani Jihadists.
The result was that Budan gradually became a ghost town while the political and economic powers of the Kakanda polity rapidly fall into decline. The Kakanda were forced to pay heavy annual tributes to the Nupe-Fulani Jihadists while some of them moved further southwards only to fall under the sovereignty of the Attah of Igala down south.
At other times the Kakanda became friends with the Nupe-Fulani emirs and at a time the Kakanda actually helped the Bida forces against the Kiadia when the Kiadia besieged Eggan. But then the general point is that the rise of the Nupe-Fulani Emirates led to the political and economic decline of almost all the non-Islamic kingdoms in KinNupe including the Kakanda Kingdom and its capital of Budan.
It was in this unenviable situation that the White man came to find the Kakanda when the Colonial Government was established. The Kakanda were sort of liberated from the Nupe-Fulani Jihadists and the Igala power when the Colonial Government was formed three years after the conquest of Bida by the British in 1897.
By the time of the intervention of the Colonial White man, however, the Kakanda people have been reduced canoemen and farmers who have almost lost all memories of their glorious past as some of the greatest warriors and empire-builders of the Central Sudan.