Late Haruna Kundila: The Pre Colonial Wealthiest Person in Kano

Late Mallam Sa'adu Zungur (1915-1958) in his song Arewa Mulukiya ko Jamhuriya said;

"Ya Sarki Alhaji Bayero"

"Ga Yan birni da Kanawiya."

"Tun Bagauda na saran Kano, Suka fara fataucin dukiya."

Throughout its history Kano State have been a trading and important commercial center. History have shown that Kano has produced quite a number of wealthy individuals that their names will always be there in the annals of history.

The ability of Kano and Kanawa to create wealthy individuals did not start in this modern era. The like of Madugu Indo Adakawa, Muhammadu Dan Agigi, and Madugu Dangomba, Umaru Sharubutu, Mai Kano Agogo, Alhasasan Dantata, Adamu Jakada, Muhammad Nagoda and many others were among the wealthy individuals that Kano produce.

Late Alh. Haruna Kundila (1810 - 1901 ) was known for his great wealth and fortune in the pre-colonial Kano during the reign of Emir Abdullahi Maje Karofi and his successor Emir Bello Ibrahim Dabo.

There was this popular Hausa saying attributed to him ; Bana siyarwa bane ya gagari Kundila, literally meaning that there is nothing Kundila can't afford to buy unless if it is not for sale, because of his massive wealth and purchasing power.

Haruna Kundila was born in 1810 at Makwarari Quarters in Kano city.

The story about his source of wealth says that " one day when he came out from house, he met Mallam Sidi ( according to the story Mallam Sidi, is a Pious God fearing Islamic teacher, that many people believe that he is a "Waliyyi' ) and Mallam Sidi asked Kundila how he can help him get those that can evacuate his sewer pit ? Kundila answered him in positive.  When he checked and couldn't find anyone to do the job, he decided to do it by himself.

When the Mallam came back and asked him weather he find out the people? He told him that the people have already came and do the work, Mallam Sidi asked him again "How much they were supposed to be paid for the work? But suddenly someone that witness how Kundila did the work alone, intercede and told Mallam that Kundila do the work by himself. When the Mallam heard that, he shake his head and said; To , Insha Allahu,duk inda warin masan nan ya buga gabas da Yamma, Kudu da Arewa sai kayi suna ka shahara an sanka "

History tell us that Haruna Kundila who was a slave trader in those days, had a trade relations with traders coming to kano from foreign countries such as Mali,Sudan,Libya, Senegal,Damagaram,Agadas,Garwa,Duwala,Bamyo and Fallomi.

In his heyday's, there is no one in Kano with Kundila's wealth. Kundila was very rich and had estates by each of the city gates (Kofofi). It was said that he owned more than one thousand slaves. In fact he was the wealthiest trader in Nineteen century Kano.

The reason behind the name Kundila; history tell us that, Haruna has a younger sister named Binta who follows him in birth. After she grew up, one day Haruna went home and found his sister in thier mother's room, he said to her " Please Binta, "Miko min Kundina" the sister started to be repeating the words "Ina Kundina? Ina Kundina? Since that time the name Kundila followed him for the rest of his life. Up till today some Government housing estate in Kano bear the name, example Kundilar Zaria road.

It was said that when he died in 1901 (two years before the British Conquest of Kano) Kano was shaken for the loss of one the greatest wealthiest individual in it's history.

Cc: Jamilu Uba Adamu

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