Rabiu Aliyu Rambo

Department of Nigerian Languages

Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.


Phone No: 08140736435, 08125507991

Being a paper presented at the 12th Nigerian Folklore Society Conference on Oral Poetry in Nigeria: Prospect and Challenges in the 21st Century.  Held at Musa Abdullahi Auditorium, Bayero University, Kano on 26-27 Oct, 2015.







World view means a view of all life. In another way it means a comprehensive and usual personal conception or view of humanity to the world or life. Poets are regarded as intelligent people whose reputations are beyond questioning. They save as a means for expressing human feelings towards achieving greater heights in the development of human mind. Today, the position of the songs in modern and traditional political activities in Hausa communities cannot be overemphasized. For instance, it is through these songs the Nigerian political parties are educating their electorate on their manifestos and other things. It is in view of the above functions attached to oral songs in Hausa communities, this paper intends to study the Hausa world view of life for sustainable democracy in Nigeria as portrayed in Bawa Jatau Kamba’s songs. Here the paper aims at discussing various world view verses as cited by Kamba’s in his songs. The paper is of the view that, if this world views are to be study carefully, they will contribute to a great extent in the sustainability of our Nigerian democracy today.                   



Generally songs are regarded as a means for transmitting information from the singer to the audience. In Hausa communities, song play a vital role as an instruments used for the educative, enlighten and entertainment of its citizens.

Among the most important functions of folklore is their service

as a vehicle for social expression. The historical and social roles

of songs as an adjunct to other human activities has been recog

nised from the earliest times to the present. It has been valued

with the capacity to reflect and influence human emotion. Among

the Indians and Chinese, the ecstatic capacity of songs has been

recognized. And as Confucius has rightly noted, song can be a

mirror of the people’s mind, for it can be a purveyor or sorrow,

satisfaction, joy, anger, piety and love. Ogunsina, 1987:519.

Poets are regarded as intelligent people whose reputation are beyond questioning, they save as an avenue for expressing human feelings towards achieving greater heights in the development of human mind.

One of the striking and interesting values of folksongs is its position in the modern and traditional political activities particularly in Hausa communities today. Not only in Hausa community, Ogunsina has quoted Betty Wang attesting to this political role in communist China, while Allen Dunes confirms its use in the Soviet Union and the United states. Ogunsina, 1987:519.

In Hausa societies today, political parties have accepted the songs as a means for political education, political pressure as well as a means for effective communication in their society, where electorates are largely illiterate or semi-illiterate. In this circumstance, the written manifesto is of low significance to the electorate, but rather the use of songs is employed to conventionally convey the political ideology massages to the audience.

It is in view of the above position of the songs in Hausa societies; this paper intends to study the Hausa world view of life for sustainable democracy in Nigeria: In Bawa Jatau Kamba’s songs.

Who is Bawa Jatau Kamba

Bawa Jatau Kamba was born in the year 1920 in a town called Bengou in Gaya Local Government of Dosso state in Niger Republic. His father was Umaru Abarshi the son of Muhammadu  Dan roko, a known Kanoma based poem in Zamfara state. His mother’s name is Barmini whom her indigene is from Bengou were he was born. The name Jatau was named after his grandmother because of the nature of his birth as a white man (because of his skin color). His actual name is Zakariya’u. The name Kamba is a name of a town in present Kebbi state today, and this is where he migrated to after he left Bengou. Daura, 2004:16.

He was grown up under the care of Makadi Nabirai the son of Makada Namaiwa. His father died when he was a small boy of less than two years (i.e. when he was sucking breast), that means he was not opportune to know his father. Bawa Jatau Kamba was not equally opportune to receive western education but rather he has received a title Arabic traditional education. He letter succeeded his elder brother in the poetic art industry. His love for travelling and performing art, took him to most town in West African region which included part of Nigeria, Niger Republic and Benin Republic among others.

His first song was title “Sabro”. In an exclusive interview with him organized by Rima Rediyo Sokoto, he says: “He has spent forty years in poetic art industry today”. Interviewed dated 19-11-2004 by Rima Rediyo official. Bawa Jatau Kamba has contributed greatly towards the development of African literature in general.

Bawa Jatau Kamba died on Sunday 25-1-2004 at Malanville in Benin Republic at the age of 84 years. He was succeeded with 3 wives and 7 children with 28 grandchildren. His eldest son Bawa the second succeeded him in the art of poetic industry to date. Daura, 2004:50



World view

A person’s world view is the way they see and understand the world, especially regarding issues such as politics, philosophy and religion. Many artists express their world view in their work.

For the purpose of this study, world view is viewed as a logical analysis of language and classification of meaning of words and concept. The motive behind the Bawa Jatau Kamba’s world view is the need for inspiration which he intends to train people to think critically and constructively. In addition, this inspiration is imparted through human influence which at the end provides people with some skill of logical reasoning, as an intellectual foot for seeking wisdom. Mungadi, 2002:3. Wisdom here refers to the ability to use your experience and knowledge in other to make sensible decisions or judgments. In another way round, wisdom is the store of knowledge that a society or culture has collected over a long period of time. Despite all the above meaning, wisdom may refer to ideas that are accepted by a large number of people.

As such, wisdom is among other styles used by Bawa Jatau Kamba to display his poetic talent to suite the present democratic dispensation. His logical arrangements of statements focus a lot of interest and create cognitive thinking towards solving problems. Mungadi, 2002:2. These methods are common to most of the poet and praise singers; this might be because most of the poems create factual statement and making people to move towards a rational conclusion. To this end one may conclude that: the tools used to stir the above concept is what I considered as a world view, because it create a deep thinking and rational argument before arriving at a deduction or conclusions. For more details, here are some world views on various aspect of human life as directly or indirectly affect our Nigerian democracy today as portray by Bawa Jatau Kamba in his various songs.


Maintaining good security is one of the important aspect or argent of democracy sustenance. Here the singer drew the government attention to be conscious of what is happening within its jurisdiction. For instance small community clashes may lead to bigger ones and extends to warfare if necessary action is not taking at the right time. For example, issues of Boko Haram started lightly but now it has extended to international warfare. Bawa Jatau Kamba stress more light on how government should be conscious and art at the right time. He has this to say in his song title: “Gangare nika komawa”.

In k’urji ya kama k’afa

Tai nemi magani ka yi tarbonai

In ka k’i magani ba ka tarba ba

Shi ka sa ya girma ya rure

Shi ka sa ya girma ya zan gyambo

(Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Gangare nika komawa)

Meaning:                 When you injured your leg

Go and look for its medication

If you care not to look for its medication

Make it to become worse

And make it to become worse and worse

It is believe that in Hausa world view, a stick can be bending when it is raw, but when it is dry it cannot be bending but rather to break it. Here the singer of the view that, the earlier to address the insecurity problem for any government the better for democracy sustainability in Nigeria.


In a related development, Bawa jatau Kamba is in the view that, employing dialogue or soft language tactics may be used in settling dispute, revolt, and riot which cradle sustainability of democracy government. He is of the view that if practice of “siyasa ba da gaba ba” (politics without bitterness) will be employed, the clashes and misunderstanding between the winners and the losers of the political parties that do occurred after the election may be reduce drastically. In his song title “ ku rakai ni in ishe Hamza” . He says:

Kowa anka yi wa ‘barna

tilas dole ransa ya ‘baci

in ka kai mai gaugawa

tilas dole na ka biya shi

in ka tai mai da ladabi

farar Magana mai dad’i

dole ya huce

ba ya sa ka biya shi

(Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar ku rakai ni in ishe Hamza)

Meaning:   Whoever properties are destroyed

Indeed he will not be happy

If you prove arrogant to him

Infarct you most pay him

If you are very sympathetic

With soft language

Indeed he will calm down

He will not asked you to pay him


The art of morality is one of the keystones for sustaining democracy in Nigeria. Here the singer cited so many examples in his various songs as regards to the important of good morality by electorate for the sustenance of good democracy. The singer has this to say:

Mutun hud’u ka yi hankali da su

Uwa da uba da malami

Cikon hud’u shi ne maigida

Komai sunka yi ma

Ka lallashe su ku kwashe lafiya

( Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Ga Umaru can zan kai kid’a)

Meaning            Be conscious of four people

Mother, father and your teacher

The fourth of them is your master

Whatever they did for you

Be soft and free with them

From the above, one can applied a Hausa proverb which says that charity begins at home. It is true to says that individual morality of a Hausa person is expected to start right from his home. This begins with the respect for ones mother, father, teacher and indeed his master, thus respect for them will led to the good statesman in the society. In fact, this emphasized that; democracy can be achieved and sustained with good respect and obedience to the elders.

Hard working

Hard working is another important component for democracy sustenance in Nigeria. Here the singer Bawa Jatau Kamba is of the view that anything got without hard working it can be wasted without much concern. He therefore called on the people to strive hard for their living. Hausa’s are saying “banza ba ta sa kiba” (northing comes for northing). However, Bawa Jatau Kamba has this to say in his song title “ Ga Ummaru can zai kai kida” were he says:

In mutum bai san ciwon abu ba

Ko bai san zafi nai ba

Ko bai sha wahala ga bid’atai ba

In an kai mai shi kyauta

Haka nan yaka dubi nai waste

Bai kammai da daraja

Ya ga kamar banza aka samu nai

( Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Ga Umaru can zan kai kid’a)

Meaning             If a person do not suffer for a think

He will not have a pain for it

He did not strive for it

When he had a free gift of such a think

He value the gift with less important

Nor will he value the gift

He thinks the gifts are just like booty

Here the world view is denoting that, for the Nigerian democracy to be sustain each and every individual in our society most participate in one economic activity or the other, in other to move the country forward. The singer therefore lamented that unless each one of us contribute economically for the upward movement of Nigerian democracy, the sustainability we are sorting for will not be maintained.

Educating the electorate on whom to be casted their vote for

In some of his songs Bawa Jatau Kamba drew the attention of the electorates to make good use their vote for casting their vote to a person of good characters, because it is when this is done justice and equitable sharing of the economic resources will be maintained. If not, the elected leaders will convert the economy of the country for their own personal uses, which letter led to corruption in the country, and subsequently led to instability of democracy in the country. The singer has this to add on his songs for explanation.

Mai fakon amana aka ba

Abin mutane shi rarraba musu

Ba maciyin amana ba

Ko an ba shi ba shi bai

Sai dai ya yi batun kai nai

(Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Bajini na Bubakar dogo mai abin kyauta)

Meaning       We give our thinks for honest people

He who distribute thinks with justice

Not dishonest people

Even if he is given, he will not share it to them

He is only interested on his own share

Here the singer Jatau Kamba is stressing the need for the electorate to be wise on their decision while casting their vote as this will vitally assist for sustaining democracy. Ones again, Bawa Jatau Kamba has this to add in respect to the above.


Kuturu ko ba ya da farce

Ba bu mai hana mai zobe nai

Yadda ya ga dama ya shirya abinai

Duk d’ai

Ko ya sa shi ga jela

Duk d’ai

Ko ya lak’a shi ga hula

( Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Alhaji Jibbo na Alhaji Sabi)

Meaning         Even though the leprosy has no fingers

Nobody can drive him his rings

To wear in his rings where he so wishes

All the same

He either wears it on his dress

All the same

Or to put it on his cap

The singer is emphasizing that no matter amount of money given to them, or accusation and condemnation imposed by the opposition parties, the electorate should not cast their vote for the wrong candidate, but rather they should go for the good candidate. Here the singer is of the view that, casting your vote to the right candidates is one of the keystones for sustaining democracy in Nigeria.

Discouraging Thugs

This is a rough and violent behavior which is usually experienced during the political parties rally campaigns. In Nigerian politics today, many young men and women are used as watchdogs during campaigns and carrying all sorts of dangerous weapons victimizing their opponent just for their masters’ interest. A Hausa proverb is saying “ kura da shan bugu , Gardi da amsar kud’i”. In fact, this is an ugly situation which directly or indirectly hindered the smut running of democracy. Bawa view this young men and women as an agent for destroying democracy, he therefore says:

Mutun uku ‘yan wasa

Su ab ba su sami sana’a ba

Sana’assu ba sana’a ba

Sai in Allah sarki ya tsare

Da mai kura da mai macikji

Cikon uku d’an tauri

Wad’anga suna bisa dokin k’addara

Bawa Jatau Kamba: Wakar Alhaji Jibbo na Alhaji Sabi

Meaning:               Three people has no business

They do not have business

Their business is not business

Unless God protected them

The one playing with hyena and snake

The third of them is the vulnerable

They are risking their life

Bawa is viewing thugs’ young men and women as he who is playing with hyena, snake and the vulnerable(those playing with sharp knife) as their business. He there for called on the government to discourage such thuggy art and provide employment opportunities for the young men and women so as to shun away from such badly business which affect our Nigerian democracy.


For any democracy government to be sustain effectively, there is a need for its country citizens to be united. This is done only when the politicians put their heads together and forget all the differences and matters of the past experiences and putting the country’s interest first before any other things. Bawa is of the view that, if this is done certainly the democracy will be sustain. Thus Bawa has this to render for the politicians:


In mutum biyu sun ka yi fad’a

In an ka raba su sun ka bar fad’a

In sun huce sunka bar fad’a

In sun daina sun ka hak’ura

In za a shirinsu ban da bincike

Kar a tambayi abin da ya had’a

Mayar da jawabi

Shi ka sa fad’a ya zan sabo

Cikin minti biyu dole

Sai fad’a ya zan d’anye

Abin da nig ga ya fi

Ya cancanta abin da ya wuce

A bar tasai

(Bawa Jatau kamba: Wakar Amadu Koro Jarumin Tasha Uban Rabi)

Meaning:                   When the two people fort

When they are asked to be patient

If they stopped fighting and become calm

If they stopped fighting and forgive each other

If you intervened for negotiation

Do not demand for any explanation

Given in any explanation

Will renew the fighting to be fresh

Within two minute

The fighting will become fresh

What I think is the best

It is always good not to revisit the past

You forget about the past

The singer Jatau Kamba is of the opinion that, if we develop the policy of forgiven each other, it will certainly assist us on moving our democracy forward.


It is quite true to says that corruption is one of the keystones that hindered the development of Nigerian democracy today. To this, Bawa thourally looks into the nature of politics especially in the current dispensation. Thus who enjoy the political honey often takes it too much to the extent in small times it finishes. Mungadi, 2002:13. Bawa is in the view that, no matter what the time the ill accumulated wealth will gets to finished. He therefore called on the politician not to see political offices as an avenue for accumulating public wealth. The singer Jatau Kamba conclude that, whoever involve himself on such character, sooner or letter he will regret it. Thus he says: “kwaryar alewa ba ta gamawa lafiya, tun da ta sha dadi.”


From the above discussion, we can see that, the singer Bawa Jatau Kamba uses different methods for disseminating his messages to the audience in different concept. The purpose for employing these concepts (poem) is to educate, unite, and boost the electorate moral on issues of politics particularly on how to form and sustain democracy stability in Nigeria. To this end, as in Hausa world view, Bawa Jatau is of the view that, for any democratic government to be sustain, the issues of security, dialogue, morality, unity, hardworking, corruption and political thugs among others shall be re-address.

One may conclude that, in general songs play a vital role in the affairs of government, as such, songs and government reflect one another, because through the uses of song’s we can understand government policy and political ideology, as such therefore, each individuals makes his own contribution towards maintaining democracy stability in Nigeria.





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