Hausa Language Academic Website

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Zarma Factor In The Kingdom Of Kanta

 Cultural relationship among African societies in sub-Saharan Africa is as old as the land itself. Brutal colonial policy on African cultures and traditions couple with wicked approach to the African ancient boundaries dealt a great blow to African history and development. Powerful kingdoms and chiefdoms were dismantled and dismembered into districts, regions and provinces. This resulted in a very sever cultural and linguistic endangerments in the affected kingdoms. Thus, historical origins and earlier intergroup relationship among African societies was logically distorted and the treasuries of its cultural values were led to rest. Zarma and the Kanta kingdom witnessed the aforementioned episode and struggled very hard to survive the inflicted injury...

The Zarma Factor In The Kingdom Of Kanta

Aliyu Muhammadu Bunza
Dept. of Nigerian Languages
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
Tel: 2348034316508

A paper presented at the International Conference, Dosso, Niger Republic from 17th to 19th December 2014.

Cultural relationship among African societies in sub-Saharan Africa is as old as the land itself. Brutal colonial policy on African cultures and traditions couple with wicked approach to the African ancient boundaries dealt a great blow to African history and development. Powerful kingdoms and chiefdoms were dismantled and dismembered into districts, regions and provinces. This resulted in a very sever cultural and linguistic endangerments in the affected kingdoms. Thus, historical origins and earlier intergroup relationship among African societies was logically distorted and the treasuries of its cultural values were led to rest. Zarma and the Kanta kingdom witnessed the aforementioned episode and struggled very hard to survive the inflicted injury on their history. This paper is an attempt to study the place of Zarma (Zabarmawa) in the history of Kanta kingdom from the great Songhai down to the powerful Kabi (Kebbi) Kingdom with its capital at Surame the present Argungu emirate. In this attempt, the discussions run as follows:

The term Zarma is being pronounced as Djerma or Zarma and widely Zarma by the Hausa speaking community. Their historical origin is still under the cloud but the language is one of the Songhai languages possibly a branch of Nilo-Saharan language family. There are several speculations in the oral sources of the origin of Zerma/Zarma but the available written sources are in conflict with the legend source.[1] Fuglestad stated:
Djerma are people of westernmost Niger and adjacent areas Burkina Faso and Nigeria with small pockets in Northern Ghana.[2]

Harris (1932) is of the opinion that their origin is in Mali and Songhai Empire. In this view, they are said to be migrants from Fula-region of Lac. Debo, and settled first in Anzauron and Zarmanganda in the 16th century.[3] During this period, Zarma were said to be smaller ethnic groups in the region before the political existence of the Songhai Empire. During those days, they were known as Zarma-Songhai or people of Zarma region. Hiskett (1984) captures the following:
North-west of Borgu lies the country of the Zabarmawa or Jerma people also organized in family-and-clan groups not in centralized states under chieftains.[4]
Harris sheds more light on the present concentration of Zabarmawa in Hausaland as he posits:
These are of the same stock as those in the neighboring Republic of Niger. They claim to have moved into the Hausa territory from Songhai. Though a great number of them are farmers, they featured greatly as warriors during the growth of the Kebbi Empire.[5]
          Nonetheless, Zarma’s presence in Songhai and Kebbi kingdom is well pronounced. However, in my assessment of the migration of Zarma from their ancient cities into the present territory of Zarmaland is yet to be ascertained. Notwithstanding, however, to do justice to the present hearsay and speculations, Alqali’s (1969) opinion could be adopted as a model one, as he presumed that:
The Zarma had been in the territory they now occupy since about the 12th or 13th century.[6]

Ever since before the creation of the Songhai Empire, Zarma ethnic community were the notorious group amongst the Songhai ethnic groups. In their oral records, they claimed to be the second largest community in the sub-Saharan region (second to Hausa). Thus, in their opinion, they are one family by ethnic and linguistic identity. However, their ancient Zarma language was endangered by the predominant Songhai languages and finally subsumed by Hausa. In the struggle to survive the linguistic imperialism, Dandanci as pidgin Zarma evolved in Illo, Lolo, Dole Kaina, Bani Zumbu, Gesharo etc, in the territory of Illo, Bagudo and Dandi local governments of the present Kebbi state. In addition, within their prominent states of Dosso, Koita, Tesa and Ndounga they are politically divided into two geo-political zones, this is well captured in Alqali’s findings:
Close 18th century Zarma had became divided into two: The Zarma of the west (centered on Ndounga) and the Zarma of the east (centered on Dosso).[7]

In class status, Zarma were second to the Songhai in the defunct Songhai Empire. In the Kebbi class hierarchy, Harris assumed Zarma next to Arawa in status as in the following structure: Lekawa, Kabawa, Arawa, Zabarmawa and Barebari. This might be as a result of boundary adjustment of Kebbi kingdom and the French policy which restricted their movement to the British territory. As per the dialectal classification, Zarma are in four strong dialectal groups namely: Gabda, Kado, Tinga and Soroko.[8] It should be noted that during the 19th century jihad, Zarma were again divided into two camps:
The Zarma of the west allied themselves with the Fulani of Dallol-Dosso, while those of the Dosso, after discovering the futility of holding their own against the Fulani found salvation in an alliance with Kebbi.[9]

The origin of the word Kanta remains debatable among Kabawa and Songhai ethnic groups. In my series of field work and interview with many Kabawa, Zabarmawa and Arawa, the true meaning of the word Kanta Songhai and Kabi are yet to be ascertained. The Kabawa’s assumption of the word Kanta remains a linguistic dilemma between Hausa, Zarma and Songhai. According to Kabawa traditional historians, it is a Songhai word given to a mysterious cow by Kanta’s family. My attempt to get a word equivalent or nearest in linguistic pattern in Zarma failed. The Zarma meaning of Kanta is same as classical Hausa meaning as in Kantan hannu, Kantan guiwa, Kantan goshi or Kantan xuwawu. Kanta’s name appears in historical documents with many different pronunciations and orthographies. Prominent amongst them are: ‘Kuta, Kotal Kanta, Salih, Muhammadu and finally Muhammadu Kanta. Al-Sa’adi (1878) reports that:
In the year 1516-7, ‘Kuta, who bore the title of Kanta ruler of Leka’ revolted against Dendi-Fari a provincial governor of the Songhai Empire and established his independence which lasted up till the downfall of the Songhai Empire.[10]

Al-Sa’adi’s report indicates the name as ‘Kuta and the title as Kanta. Trimingham shares a different opinion as to the name and title:
At the beginning of the 16th century Kotal or (Salih) a local chief of Leka near Gondi built up an army and succeeded in overrunning many western Hausa states rendering them tributary.[11]

The conflict of opinions in respect of Kanta’s name is of serious concern to me. Kotal, ‘Kuta and Kanta are linguistically far apart in their morphological and phonological contexts. The second name ‘Kuta with an initial consonant /’K/ in the autograph of Al-Sa’adi might be from the letter /ق /  in Arabic which is the nearest to the English /q/ as in the word Qur’an which is likely to be Quta in its proper Arabic or Songhai pronunciation. I likewise thought that the Hausa word qota can be tested semantically.[12] Kotal, though yet to be affiliated to any existing Songhai languages, but in Hausa it is nearer to an ancient Kabi dialect, the Hausa kyanga community Kutali.[13] Until these names are scientifically sorted out in their linguistic or anthropological derivations, Kanta and Zarma relationship can hardly be authenticated. The name Salih is purely Arabic, while Muhammadu is a Hausanized name of Muhammad and Ahmad in Arabic.
Certainly, history of Songhai and Kabi Empires are fully occupied with Kanta and Zarma activities. Songhai is the linguistic name of the ethnic groups occupying the territory of the Empire. The Empire reached Nguru in the Kanem-Barno, Fadan Gurma in Burkina Faso, Borgu in the ancient Dahomey, up to the Air in Agades, Nupe and Yoruba land and the old Oyo. It occupied a very large territory in the present Niger Republic. The Kebbi in the narration of Trimingham is as follows:
The Kebbi (correctly Kabi) region lies east of Dendi between Zarma and the Hausa. Its people according to tradition being a mixture of the two, the people of Kabi are descended according to what we are told, from a Katina mother and a Songhai father.[14]

I hold no contrary view as to the territorial boundaries of Kabi by Trimingham but the origin of Kabawa from Katsina mother and Songhai father is misty.[15] Katsina mother must have a father and mother before the arrival of Songhai father to fall in love with her. Presence of Katsina is a good evidence to prove the existence of Hausa kingdom close to Songhai Empire.[16] Gladly, before the first settlement in Surame, Kanta met many Kabawa settlements in Buntsari, Jandumam Tsohi, Dankoji, Sawwa, Lailaba, Gulma, Kwaido and others. This is a good point to dispute the origin of Kabawa from a Katsina mother and a Songhai father. Yes, the Leka (Lekawa) descended from Kanta, who was from a Katsina mother and a Songhai father.
In the history of Songhai Empire, Zarma are always at the forefront. Kanta’s father Mukata is a Songhai from what we were told, but, there is no evidence to link Mukata with any particular Nilo-Saharan languages. By his popular names, Kanta, Kotal and Kuta is more likely to be of Zarma or Arawa groups. As for the other names, Salih is more of Arabic or Nilo-Saharan language family. Muhammadu and Muhamamdu Kanta are more of Kabi (Kabawa) or Hausa. To implicate issues further, Kabi is a Songhai language word denoting to ‘swampy area’.[17]

In the history of Songhai, Kabi and Hausaland, Kanta’s name implies braveness, war and power. Kanta, is a notable general under Askiya Muhammad, The Great of the Songhai Empire. A well trained general with all qualities of a great general, he broke away from the Askiya’s army over a dispute between the two:
The reason for Kebbi’s triumphant break with Songhai was the refusal of the Dendi-Fari to give the Konta his share of the booty obtained in an expedition against the Sultanate of Air.[18]

Reason behind the dispute between the duos as stated above was reported with slight adjustment by J. Spencer:
Two years later he (Kanta) assisted the Askiya to conquer Air 1514 -15. When it came to the division of the spoil, the Askiya demanded a third of the tribute of the Hausa states in return for his assistance and the two quarreled. The Kanta attacked and defeated the Askiya’s troops and the later abandoned any hope he had on ruling Hausaland.[19]

This marked the beginning of Kanta’s military might. In his military ambition for territorial expansion and protection Al-Mustafa wrote on Kanta’s first military contact with Zarma (Zabarmawa).
Muhammadu Kanta conquered Zamfara, all of the middle lands (al-Awasii – the seven Hausa states) Zaberma and Air.[20]

In addition to the above, Kanta was also said to have conquered large portion of the area in which Zarma are the predominant ethnic group therein. It is said that:
Kanta was also in control of Gurma and eastern Songhai as far as Tera.[21]

In all the afore-mentioned successful expeditions, Kanta was not only struggling for territorial expansion but also searching for capable men to join his military. Perhaps the difficulties he encountered with Zarma soldiers and the experience he witnessed in them opened-up another chapter in Kanta’s infantry and Calvary. With conquest of Zabarmam Air, Gurma, Tera and eastern Songhai, Kanta was able to build one of the most organized military in sub-Saharan Africa.

The establishment of Kabi kingdom with all its military might was a combined effort of all the ethnic groups in the region. Knowing very well the position of the Zabarmawa in the mission of the new Empire, with very careful note of their influence and military factor in the defunct Songhai and the present Kabi authority. This was always in the mind of the great leader which was carefully observed by Ikwueme (1978) in his assessment as:
Kanta realized that the Zabarmawas and other groups within his territory could organize themselves against him (like he did against Ali the Songhai leader) and made sure that he depend on the Kabawa group and continue to get their backing by appointing them the heads of military formations.[22]

Kanta’s feared most the Zabarmawa group being the most organized community likely to demand independence from or break-up off the kingdom. It is further noted that:
The Zabarmawa immigrants into the Kebbi group were determined farming group and their presence presented a conflicting position in the Empire.[23]

In my own opinion, Zabarmawa are not immigrants in Kebbi kingdom. They were in the very land and also part and parcel of the Empire since during the defunct Songhai Empire. The Leka, being the royal family, were in cordial relationship with the Zabarmawa, but never named them as such. In fact, it is historically not possible for one to be termed as a migrant in one’s fatherland.[24]

Throughout the history of Kebbi defence policies and military organizations Zabarmawa are the leading personnel in its promotion. Zabarmawa military position and factor in Kebbi could be traced as far back as Songhai Empire down to Kebbi kingdom and the present Argungu settlement. During Kanta’s reign outstanding generals in his army were:
i.                   Dauda Bugara Dosso: Mahdin Yamma, Bazabarme.
ii.                 SamnaQarfe: Tcibiri – Niger, Ba’are.
iii.              Ubandawaki Nabasuwa: Dumagu – Niger Republic, Ba’are
iv.               Takwamba Augi: Kunduxan Kabi.
v.                 Isa Kwarambe: War general, Bazabarme[25]

In the early formation of Kanta’s military organization in Surame, Zabarmawa held two positions of army generals in the kingdom. The presence of two Zabarmawa generals, two Arawa and one Bakabe spoke for itself. Kanta as a warrior knew very much the position of Zabarmawa in defence of his kingdom. Kanta and his successful military expeditions were conscious of these notable positions and contributions.

Kanta and his successors were fully engaged in wars and diplomatic ties up to the period of Lafiyan Toga.[26] In building up the Empire to its present position:
The Kanta Empire followed the usual Sudan lines. The Zarma and Hausa chiefs were left in control of their people with the exception of Zamfara, Adar and Wangara which were absorbed into his personal state.[27]

The special treatment given to Zabarmawa to remain under their own native chiefs strengthen their political position and military might. In all the Kebbi battles and wars the strong hope was in Zabarmawa and their allies. Tuareg’s attempt to penetrate into the region was severely countered by Zarma forces as stated below:
The Tuareg delivered the fatal blow in this region and only a few village states like that of Makuri (Arawa), the Jarma of Dosso and Anzuru under chiefs descended from Si Ali of Songhai had the strength to resist.[28]

Moreover, throughout the period of the 19th century Jihad, allies with Kabawa resisted Fulbe attacks on several occasions. J. Spencer reported:
Early in the Jihad, the Fulbe attacked Dendi. Its Songhai, Zarma and Kabawa inhabitants resisted for fifty years, remaining more or less independent, though they were all the same converted to Islam.[29]

Zabarmawa participation in wars and battles is not for the liberation of Kebbi alone, but for their independence as a free ethnic group. Perhaps this could be the reason why it was in their history that:
They resisted Islam resolutely right up to 1224/1809, when they were attacked by Fulani jihadist.[30]

However, it is important to note that by 1266/1850, the Zabarmawa had become largely Muslims. This did not stop Zabarmawa to keep to their positions as free and independent ethnic groups against any external forces. During Sarkin Hodi war campaign between Kimba, Augi and Argungu he defeated many Fulani attacks on those towns.[31] During the war:
Arawa and Zabarmawa were also constantly in revolt. In the winter of 1823 approximately, we find Abdullahi sending a force under his son Muhammadu Buhari son the Shehu and Buhari son of Abdul Salam to attack Hodi in Kimba… the attack failed.[32]

What made Kebbi to remain Kebbi from the time of Kanta to the colonial epoch was their military strength and upper hand in wars and battles. In all the wars of Sarakunan Kebbi, Zabarmawa used to be principal actors in the success of the expeditions. Their support and participation was always paramount in Sarakunan Kebbi’s wars and battles. During Muhammadu Dangiwa’s famous flight to Yauri, it was mentioned that his brother Sama’ila was summoned by Kokani Moli to become Sarkin Kebbi in his stead. In the struggle:
Sama’ila collected a mixed force of Zabarmawa and Arawa at Gulma near Bei Bei, marched on Birnin Kebbi and encamped at Ambursa. Muhammadu Dangiwa an old man, was defeated, and fled to Yauri where he stayed for a year.[33]

Yakubu Nabame (1849 – 1854) combined forces were successful in re-taking Ambursa, Silame, Gungu, Kawarra, Gulumbe, Babban Idi and Kibiari. At Kibiari, Yakubu Nabame was killed, thus Yusuf Mainasara (1854 – 1859) the son of Karari:[34]
… Aided by his Zabarma and Arawa allies carried on the war with the Fulani and burnt the towns of Kala, Tankala, Arkanasu and Chant.[35]

In the account of the death of Sarkin Kabi Sama in September 1915 at the age of 76, Zabarmawa’s position in Sama’s period is stated as:
Inspite of the lost of much of his territory which was ceded by the French including all his Zabarma and many of his Arawa towns which had played such a loyal part in the long struggle with Fulani.[36]

The relevance of Zabarmawa population is so significant that Kebbi political history cannot be complete without Zarma. During the reign of Sama’ila son of Sulemana (1827 – 1831) best known as Karari who refused to submit to the Fulani and was said to have successfully fought the Fulani for several years,[37] it was reported that:
One day, when KARARI went out riding, the Kabawa closed the gates at the town against him and he sought refuge in Zazzagawa where he collected a fresh army from among his Zabarmawa and Arawa subjects.[38]

During the reign of Yakubu Nabame son of Karari (1849 – 1854) he was said to have been influenced by one Malam Musa a fortune-teller who told him that he will defeat the Fulani. Yakubu’s next-line of action according to the said prophesy was to contact his best men in confidence whom he believed were capable to shoulder all the tasks and difficulties involved therein. In this respect, it is said that:
Inspired by this prophesy, Yakubu sent secretly to chief of Zabarma Daudu son of Muhammadu grandson of Idirisu (the Mahadin Yamma).[39]

In this view:
Dauda joined forces with Gero, Sarkin Giwaya, Samma son of Gengare (in Tsibiri – Arawa) Nabasuwa father of Galadima of Dumega and Azbinawa of Augi.[40]

This evidently showed how close the Kabawa chiefs were to the Zabarmawa in the defence of Kebbi kingdom. As far as Nabame was concerned, Zabarmawa were brothers and friends without whose support and cooperation Kebbi kingdom could not have thrived. According to Balogun:
The Arawa and Zabarmawa led by Nabame a son of Sama’ila Karari with formation of this powerful Nabame alliance, the Kabawa and their allies with their headquarters at Argungu succeeded in recovering some of their territory.[41]

The trends of Zabarmawa influence and participation in the affairs of Kebbi kingdom was quite remarkable, as such it is historically unfair to separate the two. During the colonial epoch, over two third of the Kebbi territory was lost to the French. During the reign of Sarkin Kabi Sama (1885 – 1915) he pleaded to be with his subjects in the Niger Republic, a request he officially presented to the British. On the other hand, the Arawa, Zabarmawa, Kabawa, Dandawa, Kyangawa and related Songhai subjects were pushing hard on the French to become part of the British colony of Argungu. With this development, Arawa and Zabarmawa of Kangiwa, Jeffeji, Bui, Yeldu, Bachaka, Civike, Gumunde, Jantullu and Lema established their settlements at their present various locations. Harris further adds that:
By that time, the British forces first appeared in 1902, what is now known as Argungu Emirate consisted literally of nothing more than the walled towns of Argungu, Gulma and Zazzagawa all of them packed with people with nothing whatever between them and their allies of Arawa and Zabarma faraway to the west and their kinsmen fighting hard in Dendi far to the south.[42]

As at present, Zabarmawa in the Argungu Emirate are concentrated in Lailaba district and widely distributed in Dandi district. Zabarma though Hausanized and Kabanized, still retain their linguistic and ethnic values in their personal names, towns, crafts and industries.[43] The population of Zabarmawa in the military services in the Argungu emirate is also worth to be mentioned.

The place of Zabarmawa in the history of Kanta kingdom of Kebbi is no doubt a pointer to their relevance in Kanta’s military might. All the successful Kanta wars and raids would not have been possible without Zarma. The position of Zabarmawa in the military sector of Kebbi kingdom is one of the major factors of Kebbi unprecedented military successes in the sub-Saharan region. Dosso, Surame and Argungu relationship is a mirror which reflects the historical Lekawa and Zabarmawa intergroup relationship to date.[44] In the history of Kebbi, it is only the emir of Dosso that has a special house in the Palace of Kebbi.[45] Up-till now, Sarkin Kebbi holds a very key position in the administration of Dosso, and plays an important traditional role in the turbaning of the Emir of Dosso.[46] In the opinion of this paper, Zabarmawa are Kabawa in the political context;[47] Lekawa in the military context of the kingdom; and the real offshoot of Kanta in war and diplomacy of the great Kebbi kingdom.

Abd-Qadir, bn. A. 1825. Raudat al-Afkhar. Akhbar Haadhihi l-bilaad al-Hawsiyyat al-Sudaniyya.
Adamu, M. 1978. The Hausa Factor in West African History. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press.
Alkammawa, A. U. 2010.”A Socio-economic History of the Zabarmawa Community in Sokoto Metropolis: 1930 – 2000.” MA History, Sokoto: Usmanu Danfodiyo University.
 Alqali, B. 1969. “A Hausa Community in Crisis: Kebbi in the 19th Century”, MA Thesis, Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University.
Al-Sa’adi, 1878. Tarikh al- Sudan (Ed. Handas, O.). Paris. Arabic text – p. 7.
Balogun, S. A. 1974. “The Place of Argungu in Gwandu History.” In Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, vol. 7, No. 1 Pp. 403 – 413.
Decalo, S. 1979. Historical Dictionary of Niger.
Edgar, F. and Mc Allister, R. 1965. “Notes on Zabarmawa” in C. L. (ed.) Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. London: Frankcass and Co. Ltd.
Ekwueme, I. O. 1978. “The Sociology of Argungu Fishing Festival.” A Research Report, Lagos: National Museum.
Fuglestad, F. A. 1983. History of Niger. London: Cambridge University Press.
Garba, Z. 2004. “Migration and Settlement: A Case of Flood Disaster and their Consequences in Argungu Local Government”, BA Project, Sokoto: Usmanu Danfodiyo University.
Harris, P. G. 1932. “Sokoto Provincial Gazetteer.”
Hiskett, M. 1984. The Development of Islam in West Africa. Oxford: University Press.
Hodgkin, T. I. 1960. “Nigerian Perspectives On Historical Anthropology.” In Gerald S. Graham (General Editor) West African History Series. London: Oxford University Press.
Hunwick, J. O. 1971. “A Little-known Diplomatic Episode in the History of Kebbi (c. 1594).” In Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, vol. 5. Pp. 575 – 581.
Kwaire, M. 2002. “History of Tuareg Migration from Niger Republic”, PhD History. Sokoto: Usmanu Danfodiyo University.
Last, M. D. 1977. The Sokoto Caliphate. Ibadan: University Press.
Peric, J. and Sellier, N. 1950. Histoire des Populations du Cercle de Dosso. (AIFAN, October 1950, Pp. 1016 – 1017).
Trimingham, J. S. 1970. Islam in West Africa. Oxford: University Press.

[1] There are many speculations as per the historical origin of Zarma. In one oral source, they are descendants of ‘Yan Ruwa (Water Spirits). Some claim to be hooked to the Askiyya Muhammad (the great). In one of the sources they are from Alhaji Shehu Alfa Birnin Bayero, first Zarma pupil of Shehu Usman Danfodiyo. Details of these speculations are in Alkammawa, A. U. 2010. “A Socio-economic History of the Zabarmawa Community in Sokoto Metropolis, 1930 – 2000”. MA Thesis, UDUS, P. 31.
[2] Op. cit, p. 32
[3] Op. cit, p. 32
[4] Hiskett, M. “The Development of Islam in West Africa, p. 44.
[5] Harris, P. G. 1932. “Sokoto Provincial Gazetteer”, p. 13.
[6] Alqali, B. 1969. “A Hausa Community in Crises: Kebbi in the 19th Century”, MA Thesis, p. 33.
[7] Op. cit, p. 32
[8] I am very grateful to Malam Yakubu Bagaye (a traditional historian) to the Kanta Palace in Kebbi State, for drawing my attention to Gurma Sanwayawa, Soroko and Kyangawa as a Zarma sub-dialect.
[9] Op. cit, p. 33
[10] Al-Sa’adi, Tarikh al-Sudan as cited in Hunwick, J. O. 1971. A Little-know Diplomatic Episode in the History of Kebbi (C. 1594) p. 575.
[11] Trimingham, J. S. 1970. History of Islam in West Africa. P. 134.
[12] Qota means a strong wood used in axes or hoe for cultivation. Kanta being the most powerful leader during his time may be named “Qota” by Hausa speakers. However, it should be noted that if it is so, “Qota” was the second name of “Kanta” in Hausaland. This speculation is just a little light with which to glean through Kanta’s popularity in Western Sudan.
[13] Among the Hausa-Kyanga community in Kebbi “Kutali” is a name given to a scatterer or destroyer or one who is very elusive in a game or battle field.
[14] Op. cit, p. 134.
[15] This is because Lekawa are not the only ruling class in Kabi. Before the Kanta of Kebbi there were hundreds of thousand Kabawa in the region known as Kebbi of today. Gulma, Sawwa, Kwaido, Buntsari, just to mention a few.
[16] Details of this are available in Soper, R. S. 1965. “The Stone Age in Northern Nigeria”, in JHSN. III: 2, P. 192; and Y. B. Usman, 1981. The Transformation of Katsina 1400 – 1883, Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press; and also in Y. B. Usman, 1982. “The Critical Assessment of Primary Sources: Heinrich Barth in Katsina 1851 – 1854” in Kano Studies 2(3): 138 – 153; Bunza, A. M. 2014. “Matakan Qyallaro Asalin Bahaushe (Ruwa na qasa sai ga wanda bai tona ba)” takarda, Jami’ar Jahar Kaduna, taron qasa-da-qasa na (Hausa Studies Scholars Association).
[17] The specific Songhai languages or dialect in which the name “Kabi” is derived is yet to be identified. It is possible to say, in Hausa dialect of “Kabi”, Kabi, Kabanci and Kabawa are derived. Thus, in western Hausa dialect, the proverb which says: ‘Wurin da duk ka sha furar shinkafa na ne Kabi gare ka’. Kabi may be assumed to be a vocabulary of western Hausa dialect in the vicinity of ‘Kabanci’ dialect of Hausa and not Songhai language as assumed.
[18] Op. cit, p. 78 (Arabic text)
[19] Op. cit, p. 134
[20] Abd al-Qadir bin Almustafa, Raudat al-Afkar also known as Akbar haadhihii l-bilaad al-Hawsiyyat al-Sudaniyya, Op. cit, p.575.
[21] Op. cit, p. 134
[22] Ekwueme, I. O. 1978. The Sociology of Argungu Fishing Festival. P. 17.
[23] Ibid. p. 18
[24] In the opinion of this paper, Zabarmawa are family friends of Kabawa and historically members of Kebbi Kingdom.
[25] I am grateful to the staff of Gidan Tarihin Kabi – Kanta Museum for their special attention to my questions and observations as per these great men of Kebbi. The whole day of Sunday 22/11/2014 was spent in the vicinity of Kanta Museum.
[26] Lafiyan Toga is the period of the truce between Kabawa and Fulani during the reign of Sarkin Kabi Toga.
[27] Op. cit, p. 135
[28] Op. cit, p. 202
[29] Op. cit, p. 202
[30] Op. cit, p. 46.
[31] Op. cit, p. 251
[32] Op. cit, p. 251
[33] Op. cit, p. 244
[34] Op. cit, p. 256
[35] Op. cit, p. 256
[36] Op. cit, p. 260
[37] Sarkin Kabi Sama (1883 – 1915) was said to have captured about 99 Fulani villages and towns during his period.
[38] Op. cit, p. 253
[39] Op. cit, p. 255
[40] Op. cit, p. 255
[41] Op. cit, p. 134
[42] Op. cit, p. 258
[43] Popular Zarma personal names are Jibbo, Halidu, Sumaila, Zazi, Saido, Hamman, Idirisa, Buraima, Yakuba etc. Their popular towns as at present Argungu Emirate are: Danitandu, Maina Kaina, Shayankwara, Kwakwashe, Kwanawa, Raye, Mainiberi, Tasoya, Dababanda, Bagulma, Bagura, Yokwaikwara, Hainikwai Kwara, Banidai, Kwarakwaina, Kalmisa, Turukokwara, Daure Kwara, Daitagi, Kofumbo, Kaddibo, Matawade, Tooba, Takwai Kwara, Kusaiwado, Toobee, Mairaido, Wonkwai, Dolekaina, Bani Zumbu, Tcola, etc.
[44] The first class Argungu politician Alhaji Danjimma Hure a well known merchant is Bazabarme. He was a historical mentor of NPC, NPN, UNCP, NRC, ANPP. Again, Umar Dosso Bazabarme is the second to Danjimma Hure. Another famous activist in Argungu as at 2010 is Idi Jibbo Bazabarme. Alhaji Jula a prominent international business tycoon and a money exchanger.
[45] This relationship is dated long before Kabawa’s final settlement in Argungu. During the famous famine of 1932, the then Sarkin Kabi donated 77 (seventy seven) Rumbu of grains to the Zabarmawa who migrated from Dosso to Argungu.
[46] The present Sarkin Dosso was turbaned by the representative of Sarkin Kabi Sama’ila (Kanta).
[47] The military, social and economic contributions of Zabarmawa speak for itself.

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