By Shehu Ahmed Buwayi
The Three Sister Emirates are independent vassal states of the great Sokoto Caliphate which was founded on knowledge (ilm) as affirmed by Sultan Muhammadu Bello. The Emirates are populated predominantly by Muslims, with pockets of pagans initially and presently with very few christians mostly strangers.
Certainly, the culture was influenced by Islam. The people are very friendly and accommodative to all, especially to the visitors. Islam has been the guide and promoter of unity and brotherhood amongst the Emirates under discussion. Relatedly, Ben McDonalds explicitly highlights ways of promoting unity in diversity to include but not limited to Creation of vision, Respect difference of opinion (tolerance), Build trust and use Positive Behaviours to influence others.
All the mentioned virtues are assimilated consciously and unconsciously through informal and formal education. Literacy was almost hundred percent in Sokoto Caliphate, fifty years before British conquest (Dr. Sagagi). The American historian and biographer of the Sardauna of Sokoto,Sir Ahmadu Bello, asserts that when the British came, they found up to 25,000 Tsangaya spread across the caliphate. Education handled by the Emirs transformed population from childhood to responsible adulthood, achieved through intensive learning.
Human child according to Professor Sani Lawal Malumfashi ‘is born helpless and tabula rasa like creature without basic social skills, talents or dexterities for living. He lacks the most elementary idea about himself… absolutely depends on fellow human being, initially his parents and later other social groups, for the acquisition of human characteristics and social identities…the making and definition of his personality.’
We are adequately informed that Usman bn Fodio provided guiding script to leaders of the Vassal States (Katagum, Misau and Jama’are Emirates inclusive) titled, “The Fundamental of Rules of Law and Good Governance.” The script emphasized amongst others that only Educated person can be a appointed Leader and the Council of the Emirate must be made up of educated people, and paid good package of renumerations to avoid temptation. In line with that instruction, the late 10th Emir of Katagum, Alhaji Umaru Faruk the first appointed the Imam of the Central Mosque, Azare Malam Usman from Zadawa village of Misau Emirate on merit as well as promotion of unity amongst the nieghbouring Emirates.
This was our beautiful past, which attracted and enticed foreigners to risk their lives for long tumultuous journey from Europe to the Caliphate. These serial visits, accompanied with true assessment of the way of life of the people, as reported by the German traveller that, ‘ ..old woman can carry a pot full with Gold from the beginning of the Caliphate to the end without fear of attack by robbers.’
Many of us were living witnesses of steady and tremendous development of education sector by the three Emirates first with the establishment of Katagum, Misau Jama’are Joint Education Authority to pilot basic Education at the grassroot. One of the remarkable foundations by the Emirates was the establishment/transformation of Senior Primary School, Azare to Community Secondary School Azare later Government Secondary School, Azare (GSS, Azare). The Emirs, in conjunction with their right meaning citizens built the institution as foundation for the livelihood of the youth of the three Emirates. They took it up as a duty to present the best primary school leavers to GSS, Azare. An example is Dr. Waziri Dogo, now Medical Doctor of high repute who gained admission to Kings College, Lagos but the policy of our lovely Emirs placed him at GSS, Azare. The vision of our late Emirs produced the best products that have served the nation at different levels. For instance, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmad, former Federal Permanent Secretary, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Honourable Minister of Defence and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Justice of Federation, Dr. Tanko Muhammad, Ambassador Jumba, Alhaji Alfa Ahmed, renown banker and former Commissioner of Finance, etc. All these were the products of our visionary Emirs.
Later the Joint Education Authority was splited into two to work with the reality of the day. Misau Education Authority was established leaving Katagum and Jama’are Joint Education Authority to carry on. As expected two additional community secondary schools were established in Misau and Azare to take the vision of our leaders high.
Unfortunately, the Dasuki Commission of 1976 that stripped the Emirs’ vital roles and paved way for the establishment of Local Government Council to be led by democratically elected Chairman and Councillors. This development stalled the educational development of our region and delimitation of social cohesion amongst the populace of the Three Emirates. The next paper will proffer possible Solutions.
Written by Shehu Ahmed Buwayi from Bakin Kasuwa Azare, Bauchi State.