Gwandu Emirate: The Domain of Abdullahi Fodiyo, Since 1805 (Birnin-Kebbi, Nigeria: Gwandu Emirate Development Association, 2016, pp.656, ISBN: 978-978-938-157-9) by Mukhtar Umar Bunza.
In six engaging chapters and appendixes, Muktar Bunza has produced a very important contribution to African history and Nigerian historiography. Graduate students who are desirous of having reading materials on the nation building process in Northern Nigeria would appreciate the depth and analytical prowess of the author. The book challenges the long held Eurocentric assumption about the inability of Africans to organize a effective society that is based on law and order. Chapter one details the historical background to the establishment of the caliphate. Northern Nigeria was a combination of different civilization raging from the Berbers to the Jews and the Arabs who are from the North Africa. Central to the evolution of Islam and the classical Islamic culture in the North was the Wangarawa, who were from Mali in the Western region of Africa. They brought with them large numbers of followers who were scholars and administrators. It was these scholars whose teaching and world view shaped the religious development of Usman Danfodiyo and his brother Abdullahi Danfodiyo the two architects of Sokoto Jihad. The intellectual richness of the Kingdom and that of Sokoto was evident from the account of the scholar's details in this work. This clearly dispels the notion that northern Nigeria was educationally backward in the centuries preceding formal western colonialism. On the eve of the Jihad, Gwandu and Sokoto were an epitome of immoralities and bad governance. It was the basis that provided the socio-political and economic incentives for the Jihad. This perhaps explains the ease at which Abdullahi and his brother mobilized the people against the Habe ruler of pre-nineteenth century Northern society.
Chapter two of the book details the birth, growth and intellectual development of Abdullahi Fodiyo. Abdullahi came from a long line of intellectual class of Fulani oligarchy. The word Foduye (Fodiyo) means learned and Jurist, which testifies to the intellectual depth of the family. Born 1766 in Degel, a town that would later became the academic headquarters of his brother, though his academic development took place under different scholars, the most enduring influence came from his brother, Shehu Usman the son of Fodiyo, who he acknowledged to have illuminated his intellectual life. He was an outstanding scholar with undisguised biased for history and an astute administrator. Though the tradition of historical scholarship pre-dates the Sokoto Jihad, Adullahi and his brother expanded it and attracted Ulammas from the Bornu axis to complement that of Sokoto. It...
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