Headmaster, WUYO, Primary School
WU Y 0
Mwajim M. Maidugu
TIME--l:00 p.m. 1/6/74
Wuyo is a land or village which is occupied by the people of Tera.
Tough it is a village under Biu Division and few of the people speak Bura,
they are different from the Bura.
How I collected my informations:
Since the elderly people of the village cannot speak Bura or Hausa
thoroughly I first of all had to see the lawan; of the village to
invite the people he thinks are most suitable for the job. The lawan
then collected his advisers and told them of my mission. He also invited
the headmaster, Malam Mohamed Magaji, who is also a Tera by tribe. They
met and discussed how they would channel their answers to me. To me I
sensed out that everything that they told me must be true because any
point which they made, all of them had to agree on that very point before
it is issued out. The real informants are two. They are Mshelkala Ali
and Chiroma Kyari, but the lawan ashed two others to come and listen to
what is being said. If they go astray or off the point the other two would
direct them. These two witnesses are Terima Dabara and the headmaster. The
headmaster even acted as the translator. These informants cannot speak my
language nor could they explain it for me to understand in Hausa. So the
headmaster was there at the beginning of the interview to the very end of
the work. Chiroma is about 90, Mshelkala Ali is about eighty years, Yerima
Dabara is about eighty five. The headmaster is a middle aged man of about
thirty five. The other witness, Yeriua Dabara is about seventy. When the
interview was being conducted there was a listener, a teacher from Wuyo
Primary School. His name is Mwajim and is Bura by trive. Yerima, Galadima
or Madaki Batari and Mshelkala are titles within the village and these
title holders are responsible for advising the lawan or making decisions.
They are all selected from different clans, two from the clan of the
present lawan and one each from the other two remaining (?) clans.
(DUR) = (many Nyarmbwra)
Meli and Kopyong were the two clans that founded the present Wuyo.
According to the legend or story of origin, these two clans, Meli and
Kopyong, originated from Yemen in Saudi Arabia. The informants say these
two clans just decided to move out of Yemen with the intention of going
to no particular place in mind. They travelled until they reached Egypt.
In Egypt they rested for sometime, then resumed on their journey until they
reached Ngazargamu. In Ngazargamu they settled for some period of time.
But after that a war broke out, the major tribes molesting the minor ones.
So this resulted in war between the small and the major tribes. Being
that they are small tribes they were driven south (the Meli, the Kopyong
and the other "Nyarmbwas' that followed them). Those clans that followed
Meli were Mengwari and Pikdir. The clans that followed Kopyong were
"Ndukdjiang," Mewobi and Gwajang. From Ngazargamu the tribes and clans
that I listed above travelled to Mandara Hills. They rested for some time
in the Mandara Hills then resumed their journey again. They travelled with-
out resting in any particular place until when they reached a village (Kabin)
south of Garkida at the bank of river Hawal in Adamawa province, North
* Comments by Mwajim.
Here in Gabin there was a little break between the moving group.
But the informants were not interested in letting know for a reason
only known to them. I concluded that they do not want me to know because
each tribe that followed the different route wants the rest of the people
to agree that that was the route all of them followed. On the other hand
the other tribe or group rather wants the other people to agree that the
other group followed them. According to the story the other group from
Gabin followed south to Buma, a village south of Marama. The other group
from Gabin moved straight west to Tila (Kwaya Bura). The other group
that moved to Buma later on travelled north west to Walama, a village in
Biu Division, Kwaya Tera District. Buma is in Shani District.
From Walama then they moved to Wuyo Gampal. The other group that
travelled to Tila later on decided that they should vacate Tila and join
the people of their tribe at Wuyo Gampal. They left Tila and joined
their people whom they were formerly travelling together. The people
who were already in Wuyo. Gampal accepted them and they settled together.
The true story, I mean the story that all of them agreed upon was
that from Kabin they crossed the River Hawal and travelled South West to
Buma in Shani District. In Buma they left some group with whom they
were travelling together. The rest left Buma and travelled to Walama.
The group that settled behind at Buma are the present people we call
Kanakir. These KanakurUi later on multiply and move a little south
occupying the whole present Shani District. The group that travelled to
Walama later on decided to move North-West leaving a group behind. They
travelled North West until they reached Wuyo Gampala near the present
Wuyo. The people that they left behind at Walama settled and are now
called Hina Walama. See page VI for an illustration of the journey.
On reaching Wuyo Gampala they did not meet the village empty, but
they were some settlers who were already there called Basawa. The
people of Basawa welcomed them and allowed them to settle among them.
The Tera people then talked to the people of Basawa that we have come
with our leader and you already have your leader, how then can we do?
The people of Basawa said since you are more in number we would allow
your leader to rule us and our leader would be his assistant. So the
leader of Tera at that time became the chief of Wuyo Gampal.
During the reign of King Achambri he, the king, had no co-operation
with his people, and later on he decided to abdicate the throne. When
he abdicated the throne he run to Gxmbe where Buba Yaro is. Buba
Yaro is a Fulani man, a flag bearer of Usman Dan-fodio during the Jihad.
When he reached he complain to the chief, Buba Yaro, that he had to
abdicate his throne because his people were not co-operative to him. He
also asked Buba Yaro to allow him settle in his place. Buba Yaro agreed
and gave him a piece of land to build his own house and his servants.
Buba Yaro also promised him that he would rise a war against the people
of Wuyo Gambal for being unco-operative to their chief.
After Achambri left the chief makers had a difficult time in choosing
who was to rule them. The sons of Achambri said that none of them should
climb the throne again since the people were not co-operative to their
own father. They (the people) may not co-operate for them (the sons) as
well. Galadima and Mshelkala urged them that one of them should be the
King but they refused bluntly. So the king-makers were left in
dilema. There was a man called Abdulahi from the clan of Meli who wanted
to be the King but Galadima and Mshelkala, the king makers, refused.
With this situation at home not knowing what was happening Buba Yaro
came with his people and fought the people of Wuyo Gampal. The people
of Wuyo Gampal were defeated and after sometimes/knew that it was
necessary to bring back Achambri, so that such attack should not
occur any more. The king makers of Wuyo Gampal, Galadima and Mshelkala
went to Gombe and talked to Achambri that if he wishes let him go back
and claim his throne, because they need him on the throne badly. They
also said the people have promised to be co-operative and support him
in his work. Achambri went back and settled once more among his people
as the chief. He ruled Wuyo Gampal for three years again before Sarki
Birni succeeded him.
During the reign of Sarkin Birni the Fulani came again and
invaded Wuyo Gampal. Buba Yaro and his people planned that they should
not go with arms.
Another story of how Achambri was invited back to rule Wuyo Gampal
says that when Achambri reached Gombe and explained to the flag bearer
of Gombe that he abdicated his throne because his people were not
co-operative to him the flag bearer, Buba Yaro, promised him that he
would be put back to his throne. Buba Yaro called all his advisers and
the elders of the village that he wants them to fight a war against
Wuyo Gampal so that he could put back Achambri to his throne. He ex-
plained to them that he did not want them to carry any arms because he
wants to take them by surprise and burn them. Buba Yaro, his advisers
and the elders of his village set out to Wuyo. When they reached Wuyo
people saw that they were not armed so they welcomed them as friends.
Buba yaro said that the elders of Wuyo Gampal and the King-makers should
meet, because he wants to help them in choosing the new king. The elders
of Wuyo Gampala agreed and called a meeting in a very big room. Those
that attended the meeting were the king makers, Galadima and Mshelkala,
the elders of the village and those that wanted to be the King--for
example Abdulahi. During the meeting Buba Yaro ordered that a fire
should be set on the room which they were holding the meeting inside.
The story says some escaped but most of them got burned inside the house.
The people who wanted to be the king also got burned. So after this
incident the people of Wuyo Gambal called a meeting and discussed that
this war was fought against them because they refused Achambri as their
King and Achambri appealed to the Fulani for help. They went on to say
that since Achambri is still there in Gombe among the Fulani the same
thing may happen again in (the) near future. They concluded that they
should go and plead for Achambri to come back again to claim his throne
in Wuyo Gampala. The king makers and the elders of the village went
and ask Achambri to come back and claim his throne. They said the
people of the whole village promised cooperate and support in carrying
out his duties as ruler. Achambri heed their plea and went back to Wuyo
Gampal and claimed his throne. He ruled for three more years and he
then died. When he died Sarki Birni succeeded him as the ruler of
At Telli a village which is about seven miles from the present
site of Wuyo Buba Yaro of Gombe appointed his Waziri to rule there.
By then Telli was a Fulani village. The ruler of Telli wanted to
extend his territory as far as to Wuyo Gampal. The ruler of Telli
gathered all his soldiers and inform them that they should get prepared
for on a certain date they would go to fight Wuyo. The soldiers got
prepared with their arms and horses and set out to fight against Wuyo.
The present site of Wuyo Gampal is on a high hill which made it difficult
for soldiers on horses back to climb on. When the enemies reached the
foot of the hill they started to shoot their arrows up the mountain.
The people of Wuyo answered them with arrows as well. They continued
shooting for some period of time then the people of Wuyo Gampal run
short of arrows. They had to devise another means otherwise they would
be defeated. They discovered that since their enemies were at the foot
of the mountain and cannot climb up they could roll down some big stones
to kill them. Immediately they started to roll down some big stones
down the hill. The stone would descend with great force and when it hits
a horse the horse falls and died with the person at the back. They
continued with this system until when few of the people of Telli were
left alive. When they saw that most of their members were dead they
started to run home. They ran until they reached a certain stream called
"Mepa" where they decided to drink some water and have a little rest.
They took water and rested. After resting they gained their strength
and they decided to go back and fight the people of Wuyo Gampal again.
They climbed their horses again and started to travel, but before
they reached the foot of the hill, at the present site of Wuyo some
bees spread over them and started to sting them. The bees stung the
soldiers as well as the horses. According to the story if a bee stings
the horse you will just see a horse falling and dying and the soldier
at his back will fall off. Likewise if the bee stings the soldier at
the back of the horse, the soldier would fall off dying and the horse
would not know what was happening and he will continue running thinking
that his master is still riding him. The bees continued without
ceasing until all the people were dead as well as their horses.
The chief of Telli heard what happened to his soldiers and he then
started to get prepared in order to take vengeance.
At this time also the chief of Wuyo Gampal, Sarki Birni, was
planning how he could get rid of all the Fulani who were living in Telli
at that time. He decided to invite the'people of Kanakuru and Hina of
Walama, the people with whom they travelled from Yemen near Saudi Arabia
to Biu Division in N. Eastern State. He sent out his invitation to say
that let them come and rescue their former brothers from the bondage of
the Fulanis. On hearing this the two tribes, "Kanakuru" and Hina Walama
came to join to the people of Wuyo to fight the war against the Fulanis.
The chief of Wuyo, Sarki Birni gathered the three different armies from
the three different villages and addressed them before they go. The
three (3) armies are one from Kanakuru, one from Hina Walama and one
from Wuyo. During his address the ruler Sarki Birni said, by the will
of God if I am still alive my people would not be finished while my
eyes wait to see. Then one woman from the crowd appeared and said
0 King, the most high, the most powerful, the most lovable, by his
people do not fear, for God the creator is with you and your people,
so fear not, nothing would happen to you and your people. Go to war
with the hope of winning and surely you would win. When the woman finished
her address a servant of the king stood among the crowd and said
"Oh, King, do not fear, for you alone God has given you victory from
the very day you were born, and until you sleep no enemy would ever
defeat you in any sort of war.
THE CAUSE OF THE WAR
After the first battle the Fula of Telli did not stop there, but
continued to ambush and steal the teras at a stream where they used to
fetch their drinking water. This was exactly what provoked the Teras to
ask their friends to fight a war against the Fula of Telli.
After the address which the King gave the combined soldiers got
prepared to set out for Telli. In his address the King, Sarki Birni
also advised them on how they should fight the war. He brought out a
thin shared stick and arrows as well. He instructed them that on
reaching Telli they should go straight to the compound where the chief
lives and make excuse. He said after the excuse the chief would not send
his soldiers nor his servants but he would send a woman. "When the
woman comes out," he went on, "do not please shoot her with the arrow,
it is not proper to shoot a woman with an arrow." So when she appears use
this sharp stick to pinch her so that she could shout. When she shouted
the chief would send out some soldiers to find out what was happening
and when these people came you would shoot them with the arrows you
were carrying and you would capture some of them by hand and cut their
hands, mouth, and their private parts as well before you release them
and let them go.
The soldiers set out with the instructions which their chief gave
in mind. On reaching Telli they travelled straight to the Emirs palace
and made an excuse. The Emir then asked one of his wife to go and see
which people were at the gate. When the woman reached she saw strangers
armed, but before she could ask whether there was peace or not the
Kachella took the sharp stick given to him by the king, Sarki Birni
and thrust it into the woman's stomach. The woman shouted for help and
the king called his servants that they should go and rescue the woman from
what ever was happening. When the servants reached they found out that
they were among thousands of soldiers armed with bow, arrows, knives and
spears. One of them rushed back to the King and told him that soldiers
armed were waiting ready to destroy the whole of Telli. The King send
out messengers to collect soldiers in the village to come and fight their
enemies but since they were not ready they could not stand and face the
enemies, the soldiers from Wuyo. The chief did not wait to see what was
to happen but took to his hills, on seeing this his followers also did
the same thing. The combined soldiers of Hina Walama, Kanakuru from
Buma and of Wuyo Gampal started to chase the people of Telli. They
captured many, cut their hands, their lips and their private parts
and let them go with such wounds on their bodies. These Fula from Telli
run to Gedaba another village which was occupied by Fulanis during that
time. When they reached Gedaba their people who were living in Gedaba
saw that all their hands were cut, lips and private parts as well.
They saw that they had ropes tied round their necks with some heavy stones.
This put them into a situation that they could not bear the scene, so
instead of them to arm themselves and wait for the enemies to come they
too took to their hills. They continued to run until the enemies could
not pursue them any longer. The enemies did not stop running after them
until when they nearly reached Gombe.
Under the leader-ship of "Yitanaki" the soldiers came home with the
joy of victory. Yitanaki means Kachella in Tera language. The King of
Wuyo, Sarki Birni thanked the soldiers from Buma and Hina Walama and
assured them of his cooperation in turn if such matter arises in future.
Henceforth the Tera of Wuyo Gampal lived without any invasion from the
On seeing what has happened the ruler of Hina, a village at the base
of Bima mountain, who was a Tera by tribe, thought of inviting the
people of Wuyo to come and help them fight the same type of war against
the Fulani in Gombe Division. The Emir of Hina sent some messengers
to the King of Wuyo, Sarki Birni, requesting him to come and fight some
war against the Fulani. He said since you have succeeded in fighting
against them at Telli I hope you and me together would chase them away
from my territory. The ruler of Wuyo Gampal send the messengers back and
demand for a reward if he is to fight the war. The ruler of Hina send
the messengers back that if only he, the ruler of Wuyo would help in the
war and if they win he could give the King anything he demanded. The
King of Wuyo Sarki Birni agreed that if they won the war the ruler of
Hina should give him seven of his sons to serve him as his servants,
seven daughters to marry as wives, seven cows, seven horses seven
sheep, seven goats, seven bundles of corn, etc. Everything should be
given to him in groups of seven. This time the ruler of Wuyo did not
invite his friends, the Kanakuru of Buma and the Hina of Walama. He
called the Yitanaki and instructed him that they should fight the war
in the same way as they fought the battle of Telli. See how the battle
of Telli was fought on page 22. The Yitanaki set out with his soldiers
and travelled to Hina and joined the waiting soldiers. When the two
groups of soldiers were combined they appointed the Yitanaki of Wuyo
Gampal to lead the war, so he led the war against the Fulani who lived
close to Hina. We cannot remember the names of the towns they fought the
wars against. They succeeded in chasing away all the Fulanis that were
living close to his territory.
LEAVING WUYO GAMPAL TO DANJAL (SUGWA)
Danjal (Sugwa) is a village about twelve miles east of Wuyo Gampal
still in Kwaya Tera District. Since after the war which the ruler of Hinna
invited the ruler of Wuyo Gampal to help him, there has been a cordial
relationship between the people of Wuyo and Hinna. Again the ruler of
Hinna invited the ruler of Wuyo Gambal to decide on how next they would
fight against the Fulani in Gombe Emirate. They discussed that they should
do something otherwise Buba Yaro, the flag bearer in Gombe, would mobilise
his soldiers and fight war against both the people of Hinna and Wuyo Gampal
because of what they did to his people in Telli and Gedaba. The ruler
of Wuyo Gampal, Sarki Birni, said that the best thing to do is to vacate
the present towns we live in and find another place, far away which would
not not be within the reach of Buba Yaro and his people. The ruler of
Hinna then said when can we leave and how can I convince my people that
we should leave Hinna and look for another place to settle? Sarki Birni
said I know how you would convince them. Any time that I am ready to
move with my people I would signal you, what you just have to do is to
watch always in the East. Whenever you see a fire burning in the evening,
that would be the time we are leaving. By then there would be no bush
fire because it would be around November when there is no dry grass.
The ruler of Hinna agreed with arrangement, and they dispersed. From then
on it was the duty of the Emir of Hinna to keep on watching in the East
where Wuyo Gampal was situated.
The ruler of Wuyo Gampal went home and called his Galadima, Shelkala,
Churoma and other elders from each clan and informed them what he has
planned with the ruler of Hinna. The elders agreed with the ruler's plan
and they carried the message on to every house hold in the village. They
said they should be prepared to leave otherwise Buba Yaro himself would
come to fight a war against them. All the villagers got prepared with
their goods ready to run away. The ruler said when the day and time comes
he would signal them setting fire on a heap of grass and once they see
the red light let them come out to move.
Everyone was ready and one day the King, Sarki Birni ordered his
servants to collect thatch grass from the roofs of the people of his
village. He ordered that no one should prevent them from taking some
thatch grass from his/her roof. The servants did as they were ordered
by the ruler. After collecting heaps of grass the ruler ordered them to
set fire on the grass. When the fire started to consume the grass the
people came out with their children and everything else they wanted to
carry and they started to move in the direction of Wuyo Gampal with the
ruler and the village officials among them. This was around eight o'clock
in the evening and it was dark so they used the grass to help in showing
the way. They rolled the grass and tied it with some ropes to a reasonable
length and when they put fire to one end it would take time before it is
grass tied with ropes ,
With the help of this light they trekked all the way from Wuyo Gampal
to Danjal (Sugwa) where they decided to settle. On reaching Danjal
they saw a big rock on a high hill, as high as the hill they left so
they said that hill would be as good for defence purposes. So they
climbed the Danjal Mountain and settled down. There was a stream which
runs at the foot of the hill and they turn it into their drinking water.
Going back, when the people of Hinna saw the bush fire in November
they reported the matter to their ruler. Then the ruler called for an
assembly and all the people gathered in front of his house, men, women
and children as well. Then he stood and addressed them saying "you see
now we are in the period of rainy season," and the crowd answered yes,
"Well the red light you are all now seeing in the East is from Wuyo Gampal."
"All the people of Wuyo Gampal are leaving. They are leaving because
Buba Yaro would come to take vengeance, so they are going out of his
reach. We too have to do the same thing, so now I order you to go and
collect everything you want to carry along with you and come back here
as soon as possible. Everyone went back home and started to collect
his/her own property and within a very short time they reported back in
front of the ruler's compound. Again, with the use of the light they
obtained by rolling grass, they vacated the village and travelled South
West and reached as far as to Deba.
THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN WUYO AND HINNA
As I have mentioned on page twenty six that the ruler of Hinna
promised that if the ruler of Wuyo Gampal helped him and defeated the Fulani
and chase them out of his territory he would give him seven sons, seven
daughters, seven horses, seven cows, seven goats, seven sheep, seven
boundles of corn, etc. everything in a set of seven. After the war though
they defeated the Fulanis and chased them out of his territory the ruler
of Hinna did not carry out his promise. So the ruler of Wuyo Gampal,
Sarki Birni, decided to get a land instead of the gift of everything in
set seven. Formerly the boundary between the Wuyo Gampal and Hinna
was on river Bayo, a river just very close to Briyel. The ruler of Wuyo
then decided to extend his boundary beyond river Bayo so as to compensate
for the war which he fought for the ruler of Hina.
The ruler of Wuyo, Sarki Birni sent a message to the ruler of Hinna
that he is going to extend his boundary beyond River Bayo, so he should
send delegates to witness the new boundary. On the appointed date Sarki
Birni called his Yitanaki and he gave him an arrow and told him that he
should go beyond river Bayo with the people of Hinna up to the hills
near the present site of Maina Baba. On reaching River Bayo the Yitananaki
from Wuyo met some people sent by the ruler of Wuyo waiting. The Yitanaki
of Wuyo Gampala told the people of Hinna that his master (the ruler)
has sent him to remake or redraw the boundary which is between his land
and the people of Hinna. The Yitanaki then told the people of Hinna
to follow him so that he could mark and show them where the present (new)
boundary was to be. He led the way until he reached the hills of Maina
Baba. He then said "from today the boundary should be from this hills
running straight down to the confluence of river Bayo and Gongola. They
followed straight from the Hills to the confluence of the two rivers.
ENDED: 4:00 p.m.
7th June 1974
TIME: 10:00 am.m
INFORMANTS--See page 3
The people of Hinna agreed and gives another large area in addition
to the area of Wuyo Gampala. Before the boundary was redrawn there was
a pond just near the confluence of the River Bayo and Gongola, where
the people of Hinna made it as a sacred water where they fish but only
once a year. When the boundary was redrawn the pond got into the area
of Wuyo Gampala. Since the water was a sacred one the ruler of Hinna
pleaded with the ruler of Wuyo Gampala saying that if it is possible
though the water is on his land let him allow him to own it. The ruler
of Wuyo said well it is fine, since it is not a common water I would
allow you to continue sacrifice to this water and you would continue to
own it. He said no one within my jurisdiction would ever tamper with the
water. Henceforth the pond of Lenge has been ow-i by the people of Hinna
but the land where the water lies on is owned by the people of Wuyo Gampala.
After the division of the boundary when the people of Hinna are
ready to fish the water they would send message to the people of Wuy-o
Gampala that we are going to fish from the pond of Lenge on such a date
and you who are fisher men from the village both men and women are invited
to attend. On receiving this invitation when the day comes the people
of Wuyo Gampala would answer the invitation. On the appointed day people
would leave their houses very early in the morning so before nine o'clock
everyone would be there. /water priest/sacrifices to spirits of the water
should see that all invited people have turned up before he gives out any
order. After seeing that every one is at the bank of the water he
would then go under one big tree at the bank of the pond and would
start to speak some words which are only known to him and the person he
is speaking to (the god of the water). He has to do this so that the
god of the water would guide the people during the fishing, and let
the god order some creatures like snakes and other harmful ones to sink
deep to the bottom of the river so that they should not harm any human
being. The owner of the water would also ask the god of the water to
guide all those that have come for the fishing so that next year they
would have the same opportunity to witness the same occasion. After
consulting his god the owner of the water would come back to where the
people have been waiting for him. When he comes he would inform them
that any fish which is caught out of the water must be shown to him,
before the owner takes it away. He would then appoint few people to
wait at the bank to check people who might run away with the fish they
caught. After his instruction he would then say alright now you are all
free to fish. People would then jump into the water with their nets
to fish. The people use no other instruments apart from nets.
After the fishing every one would bring what he/she has caught.
The owner of the water with the people he has delegated would go round
to take out some share from each person. When taking out the shares
they picked out the biggest ones. When they are sure that they have
picked out enough shares they would allow people to go. The owner of
the water would collect the shares he has taken out and divide it into
four parts. One part would go to the ruler of Wuyo Gampala, the owner
of the land where the water lies and one part to the ruler of Hinna,
the ruler of the owner of the water, one part to the owner of the
water, and the other part to the people he has delegated to help him.
This used to happen during the pre-colonial days, but during the
colonial days, when Wuyo Gampala was put under Biu the people of Wuyo
Gampala for some unknown reason lost interest in going to fish in the
water of "Lenge." The owner of the water would send out the normal
invitation but they would not go. The informants said that people think
that it is too far. From Wuyo Gampala to the pond of Lenge is roughly
about twelve miles.
LIVING SUGWA (DANSAL) TO THE PRESENT WUYO
In about 1877, under the rule of Mahamnaki the people of Tamaltu,
which later became Nyimathli left Sugwa (Danjal) and found the present
site where they now live.
When the Tamaltu people were at Sugwa (Danjal) they had some neigh-
bours with whom they were on good terms. The neighbours were Chinga.
Northwest of the present Wuyo, Wade still Northwest of the present Wuyo
and Wakirwa, which is about three miles Northeast of the present Wuyo.
These three towns, Wakirwa, Chinga and Wade, had good relationship (with)
the Yamaltu of Sugwa (Danjal). These three towns were towns founded by
the people they travelled with from Yemen, Egypt, Ngazargamu, up to Gabin
near the present Garkida. It was from there that they were divided in
seek of places to build towns. Being that they were from different towns
they still remember that they were one from the beginning.
One day the ruler of Wade went to the ruler of Tera (Yamaltu) and
told him that since we are the same I want to advise you to leave your
present town and push a bit closer to us, and I have a place in mind
for you where you can build your town. The ruler of Yalmaltu agreed
and the ruler of Wade was happy about the issue because if they are
closer together whenever there is war each of the towns would quickly
rush to the aid of the town concerned.
After a few days the ruler of Wakirwa came to visit the ruler of
Tera (Yimaltu) and he told him that please if he should not mind let
him leave his present town and move closer for defensive purposes. King
Mahamnaki said oh! yes the ruler of Wade has advised me about this issue
and he has even told me where I can best build my town. The ruler of
Wakirwa asked where the ruler of Wade asked him to build his new town.
King Mahamnaki described the place to the ruler of Wakirwa, but the
ruler of Wakirwa did not agree with the place. He disagreed because he
said the place where the ruler of Wade asked him to build his town was
an open space where powerful tribes pass in times of war. He went on
to say that if King Mahamnaki should build his town there when the
powerful tribes are passing they would destroy the town because it was
on their way and it serves as an obstacle to them. He then gave another
suggestion that he should build his town north East of the place where
he was first advised, and even the powerful nations would pass they would
not come across his town. The ruler of Yimaltu (Tera), King Mahamnaki,
agreed with the suggestion. After the ruler of Wakirwa had gone back the
ruler of Changa came to visit the ruler of Timaltu, King Mahamnaki.
He, the ruler of Changa made a suggestion that if Mahamnaki would not
mind, let him leave his town and come closer to him. He said look the
three of us are together but you are the only one who is far away.
Here do not have people with whom you are on good terms that are closer
to you. So for defense purpose, I suggest to you that you should push
closer to us. King Mahamnaki said Oh! yes the King of Wade and Wakirwa
had already been here and they have advised me to leave. After the ruler
of Changa had left Mahamnaki called his elders and the title holders.
The title holders each representing a ward are Mshelkala, Yerima, Chiroma
and Galadima his assistant. He told them that he wants to leave the
present town and move closer to the people of Wade, Wakuriwa and Changa
because where he is living at the moment is not safe in time of war.
He said when he is closer to his people anything that happens to one town
the remaining three towns would rush to the aid of the town involved.
The elders and his title holders agreed and supported the King's sugges-
tion. King Mahamnaki went on to say that the three rulers had already
given me three places, but among the three I do not know which one to
choose. He mentioned and described the three places to his assistant
and the title holders. All of them were puzzled not knowing which of the
three to choose. One of the title holders said alright let us all
accept the three places but we are going to make some experiments to see
which of the three places/best fit for town building. He said we are
going to buy three chickens and in the night we are going to let out a
chicken in each of the three places suggested.
The King, Mahamnaki agreed with this suggestion and he ordered that
three chickens should be brought, so three chickens were brought, and
when the night comes the King asked the three title holders, Mshelkala,
Chiromai and Yerima, plus his assistant the Galadima to go and let free
one chicken in each of the three suggested places. The four people went
and did exactly as the King, Mahamnaki ordered. The following morning
the King himself, his assistant, the Galadima, the three title holders
and the elders of the village went to the three places where they let
free the chickens last night to see what has happened to them. When they
reached the first suggested place, where they first let the chicken they
found that a wild cat had caught the chicken and they could only trace
its feathers. They left that place and went to the second suggested place,
where the chicken was left last night. On reaching they found that the
chicken was still alive. They left that place and went to the third
suggested place. On reaching they found that the chicken was still alive
and it even went to the extent of laying eggs. With this experiment the
ruler, King Mahamnamu; his assistant, the Galadima, the title holders and
elders of the town suggested that they should leave Sugwa (Danjal) and
build their town at the spot where they found the chicken still alive
with some eggs. The spot where they found the chicken still alive with
eggs is the present site of Wuyo.
King Mahamnami ordered that the place should be cleared. With the
Galadimas guide the youth and men with some elderly people who were still
strong enough cleared the area where the town was to be built.
After clearing the field, the first work to be done is the building
of the ruler's house. All those that are able are expected to take part
in the work. Men were dealing with mud and building while women brought
water for mixing the clay. Before the actual building starts the rulers
house was first of all planned. Gate A is the main gate and it is the
Table 1 inserted about here
only gate for entrance into the house. When you passed through gate A
you would see another big wall that divides the house into two. To
your right you see houses or rooms where horses are kept and the rest
just a wide area. When you pass through gate B you would find yourself
into a very big room (Zaire) in this room you would find two other gates,
one to the East and one to the South. When you pass gate C you would
find where the rest of the wives are kept. If you pass through gate D
you would find the ruler's sleeping room and the houses of the two wives
that serve him. If you go through gate E you would lead to where strangers
are kept. Only important strangers are kept inside this area. Mostly
other rulers from other towns. The Yamaltus call Zaure in their language
WHY THE TWO WIVES LIVE WITHIN THE SAME WALL WITH TWO WIVES
Generally there is a big wall that surrounds the whole of the
compound, and there is another wall that divides the compound into two
leaving the one side for horses and the other side for his wives and
himself. But between his wives and strangers' rooms there is another wall
A Plan of the Ruler's House of Wuyo in the Pre-Colonial Days Up to the Present
S T R E E T
W I E
Where Horses G
+ are kept
+ B -
.. I Houses
that surrounds the ruler's sleeping room and the two wives that serve
The ruler used to have many wives and for his own safety he would
not eat their food all or all of them cannot serve him. So he used to
choose two wives at a time to serve him and these two chosen wives are
not allowed to mix or stay among the rest of the wives so they have
their own rooms in the same wall where the ruler sleeps. These two women
would serve the ruler for a period of one year, then after this the
ruler would ask them to go back to their former rooms where the rest
of the wives live. Anything that happened to the king at any particular
moment that is suspected to be poison the two wives that serve him at
that particular time would be responsible for it. After a duration of
a year the ruler would choose other two wives to come and serve him.
This system rotates among the wives until the ruler is sure that each
of his wives had the chance of serving him. After each had a turn, then
he would start choosing them for the second round.
This did not mean that the ruler would forget about the rest of
the wives that do not serve him. He still cloth them, he still do visit
them, but they are not allowed to come to him. None of them is allowed
even to come inside the wall where his sleeping is.
After building the ruler's house, then the people embark on the
building of the largest wall that surrounds the whole town. How the wall
was built would be described later. After the big wall that surrounds
the village has been finished then the elders and the title holders divided
the town into three, with a line indicating where each ward would settle.
There were formerly three wards, one Bwanga, one Theyeng, and one Tala,
so the town was divided into three so that each ward would occupy his
THE DAY OF COMING
Mahamnaki ordered that his people should get ready and he appointed
a date when they should leave. The villagers got prepared and collected
everything they wanted to carry to their new destination. The informants
said that they cannot remember the exact day when they left Sugwa, but
they said in those days people do not migrate on any day they like within
the week. They said they are some specific days that are good to migrate
on. The particular day had to be named by consulting a shrine or they
believed that god would tell the ruler in a dream.
On the appointed day the ruler selected some men that he thinks are
strong enough to defend against enemies and ask them to lead the way.
Women, children, and old people were asked to walk in the middle. Another
team of strong men were asked to stay behind. When they reached the ruler's
house they allowed him to enter his house, then each man leads his family
to his respective wards. It was then that each head of a household starts
to build his house. Before they come I forgot to mention that they built
four wells, one in the North, one in the South, one in West and one in East.
When digging the wells they dug one at a time, but they did not dig it
according each ward, it was dug to serve the whole village.
Apart from the big street that runs through the village and passes
in front of the ruler's there was no other street. The rest were just
narrow lines that run through the town leading to various compounds,
because the land was not big enough to allow a lot of fields. The
people made use of every available space and after every one was settled
there were about five hundred houses or compounds in the village. The
informants went on to say that during that time when one was riding a
horse between compounds you would hear him passing because his shirt
would be touching the two walls he is passing between. Any time a man
is riding you would hear his shirt making sound like this whohula,
whohula, because of the nearness of the fences he passes between.
Since the people of Wuyo lived they had never planted any tiksha
between compounds. The ruler prevented anyone to plant any crop within
the wall. All farms were outside the walls.
When the town was at its peak of population, in one compound you
would find that there were three to four households in one compound.
When the owner of a compound has, let us say, about two wives, and bears
three sons, these three sons have to get married and stay still in their
father's house with their wives.
As time went on the three sons would bear some children and when
they grew up they would get married and if they have no space to build
their houses they have to stay with their fathers and grandfather in the
same compound. So in one compound you would see an old man with his
children and grandchildren living in the same compound. See the illustration
on the next page.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF A COMPOUND OF A YIMALTU IN THE
The original fence
The second fence where the sons of A live
The third fence where the sons of B live
KEY: i I
From the illustration let us say A is the founder of the compound.
He got married and settled just at the centre of the compound. Let us
say that Mr. A had three sons. The three sons grew up and got married,
but they had no places to build their houses within the city wall
outside their father's compound, so their father or Mr. A would divide
the compound into four, he, Mr. A, taking the central portion, and the
three parts, one for each of the sons. Let us call the sons Mr. Bs.
Each Mr. B has his own house. Let us say one Mr. B had two wives and
he had four sons. The four sons grew up and again they had no spaces
to build walls outside their father's houses, so Mr. B would divide his
compound into five, he, Mr. B would take the central part and each of
the four sons would have a portion to build their own houses plus their
wives. The sons are Mr. Cs. This system continued when under King
Mahamnani there were plenty of people in the city. If it happened that
Mr. A died, all the Bs would meet together and see which one of their
sons that need a compound and has not got one so that he could occupy Mr.
The maintenance of the external fense is the responsibility of the
sons, both Mr. Bs and Mr Cs, but the maintenance of each fence is the duty
of the person concerned.
THE MAINTENANCE OF THE HOUSE OF THE RULER
As I have said earlier that when the Yimaltu people first came to
their new site at Wuyo they settled according to their wards. The
three wards were Bwanga, Theyeng, and Tala. The responsibility for the
maintenance of the walls and houses of the ruler's compound was divided
among the three wards. See below.
Above is the diagram of the ruler's compound, and it is divided into
three according to the number of wards. Thlyeng controls and maintains
the Western part, Bwanga maintains the Southern part and Tala maintains
the Eastern part with some portion from the North which is divided
between the ward of Thlyeng and Tela. The Cham at the gate is the
responsibility of the three wards. The rooms inside the wall are also
divided among the wards so if any room collapses, it is the duty of the
ward concerned. Under normal conditions, the wall that surrounds the
ruler's compound is supposed to be maintained once in every one year.
The city wall, under normal conditions, is supposed to be maintained
once in every three years.
HOW THE CLAN OF MELE GOT ITS NAME
Far back before the rule of Chief Mahamnami there was a very great
king called Mele. He was so great that he had about fifty wives,
ninety nine sons, and the story says he had uncountable daughters, and
grand children. One day one of the rulers which they were on friendly
terms with paid a visit to him. One day King Mele and his visitor were
seating outside, at the gate of the main entrance to his house.
His visitor asked him if he had ever had his own son. Mele the
great answered his visitor that he has many sons. After a short time,
one child came to pass and the visitor asked, "whose child is that?"
Mele the great answered that "That is my son." Later another child came
and passed and the visitor asked again, "Whose son is that?" Mele the
great answered that "that too is my son." Very soon another child passed
and the visitor asked again, "Whose son is that?" The King answered his
visitor that "That is Mele." Instead of the King to say, "That is my
son," he said, "That is Mele." Again another child came to pass and the
visitor asked him and he said, "That is Mele." It is a quicker way of
saying my son. Later on when all his sons had passed, his followers also
came to pass and the visitor still kept on asking him, and he kept on
saying, "That is Mele."
After this incident, all those that followed Mele the great and all
the members of his households were called Mele after him. Later on Mele
was turned to be the clan of the people and it was one of the two clans
that founded the present Wuyo Gampala. During Mele's reign his followers
named him as Mele Gwandi--meaning Mele the great. During his reign the
people of Wuyo multiplied in population. As I have described earlier that
the Fulani under Buba Yaro came to Wuyo Gampala, to help in choosing to
them a new King after Achambi, abdicated his throne. But when a big
meeting was called Buba Yaro ordered his people to set fire on the room
they were holding the meeting inside. This incident reduced the popula-
tion of Wuyo drastically, but during Mele Gwandi's reign the population
grew so fast that people forgot about what had happened.
THE VILLAGE HEADSHIP AND ITS HISTORY
How the first ruler of Wuyo Gampala came into power.
Going back to Gabin near the present Garecida, the Yamaltu that
started from Yemen, Egypt, Ngazarganm got divided there. On reaching
Gabin some people travelled South West across the River Hawal to Buma.
From Buma then to Hinna Walama, from Hinna Walama then to the present
Wuyo. The other group started from Gabin, cross the river Hawal to Tila
where they became Wakirwa people. From Tila then they decided to join
their people again at Wuyo Gampala. See the next page for an illustration.
And the detail about the journey read back from pages five to fifty five.
Figure one Inserted about here
AN ILLUSTRATION SHOWING THE ROUTE FROM YEMEN TO WUYO GAMPALA
C l Yemen
As I have said earlier that the Yimaltu people did not find Wuyo Gampala
empty, but they found some people who were called Basawa. They believed
that this Basawa people were still part of them with whom they journey
together, but due to the fact that some people are faster than the other,
they reached the destination before the majority of the people. To support
the argument they spoke the same language.
Also in a neighboring village there lived the Jukun which they
called them in Yimaltu Gwajang. When the people from Tila came they
settled about three miles away from the people of Wuyo Gampala on certain
Among the Timaltu that has recently came they had a leader called
Pernaper. When travelling the routes I mentioned he had a horse, a
royal drum and a royal spear. The royal drum is a drum only beaten to the
kings or rulers on special occasions. It is beaten on occasions going to
the war or when a new ruler is installed. This man who was called Permaper
rode his horse and went to the people of Wakirwa and told them that if
they would not mind it would be good if they would unite to form a big
village, in case there may be war. The people of Wakirwa agreed and moved
to Wuyo Gampala to form a larger settlement. From Wakirwa Permaper went
to the people of Tukun and asked them that they should unite to form a
larger settlement for defense purpose. The Jukun people agreed with
Permaper's suggestions. From the Jukun people he went to the people of
Nduksu-Kwalami and told them the same thing as he had told the rest of
the people. The people of Nduksu-Kwalami agreed and they left their
settlement and joined the people of Wuyo Gampal. Now there are five
different villages that came together. They are Basawa, Wuyo Gampala,
Wakirwa, Jukun and Nduksu-Kwalami.
Permaper then said alright I am now very happy that you have heed
my call and come together, now what is left for us is to choose a ruler
that would rule all of us.
The people from the various villages asked Permaper who founded
the village first and Permaper said the Basawa. They then said alright
we all agree to make him the ruler. They asked where the Basawa was
and Permaper sent his people to go and call him. The servant went
and saw the Basawa under a boabab tree. This Basawa man waits under the
tree so when the fruit falls to the ground he would take it and eat it
quench his hunger, because that year there had been a famine. The
servant called him and he answered that he would come. The servant went
back and reported to the congress that I have seen him and he said he
is coming. The congress waited for quite a long time but he did not
come, so another servant was sent and again he replied that he would be
coming, but they waited for a long time with him not coming. Again for
the third time Permaper sent another servant and when the servant went
he said, "The people have been waiting for you so that you can choose
a ruler and would you please come." The Basawa told the messenger that
he cannot leave the tree because if he leaves, some monkeys would come
and carry away the fruits of his tree. The told the servant to tell the
Congress that they could make any one among themselves to be the ruler.
What fits the congress also fits him. The servant sent back and told the
Congress that they should choose any one among themselves and what the
congress has chosen he would not dispute it.
Then the people said alright since the Basawa man cannot come
we have chosen Permaper to be our ruler since he was the one that brought
the suggestion of togetherness. The congress all agreed that Permaper
was to be the ruler.
Then Permaper said alright I have agreed to be the ruler but I
promise to be changing the throne between the people of my clan and
the Basawa people. Later on the clan of Permaper got the general name
Mele and the Basawa, Kopyong.
My informants are title holders and they were forced somehow to learn
the names of all the previous chiefs. They feel that as a title holder
it is part of their responsibility to recite all the previous chiefs,
but they said they have ruled so long ago that they cannot remember the
exact relationship. It was part of their constitution that if somebody
from Mele ruled and died the next ruler must come from Kopyong. Even
with these changes the ruler must come from a royal family.
CONSTITUTION OF CHIEFTANCY
i. Any ruler that comes to the throne must rule until his death. Normally
in those days they do not choose a young man to rule--it must be somebody
who is advanced in years. When such a person comes to the throne he
would not rule long then he would kick the bucket. Then somebody from
a different clan would come to the throne. Suppose the person who died is
from the clan of Mele, then, the next ruler would be chosen from the
royal family of Kopyong.
2, Any ruler that makes a serious fault, such ruler would be
asked to abdicate his throne by the Galadima, Mshelkala, Yerima and Chiroma.
The four people that formed the supreme council. These faults may be
mishandling his subjects, acting with higher authority without the
approval of the supreme council.
3. If any ruler who dies and have ruled less than five years, next
the throne would not go to the next clan, but his brother would be
appointed to compensate for the previous ruler.
I was given the list of the rulers from the very beginning to the
present one, but they remember some events about only few of them.
Below is the list according to the clan.
Kadai Dlima I
Kadai Dlima II
1900 = coming of the white man to Gujbe
1967 to present Nyabram Yakubu --deposed
1923, given 2 year jail term
THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF SOME OF THE CHIEFS
He was the first ruler of Wuyo Gampala. For his story and achieve-
ments see pages sixty six to seventy two. He was the first ruler of
Wuyo Gampala as well as the first ruler from the clan of Kopyong
Not much is known about him except that he was the first ruler
in the clan of Mele.
Not much is known about this ruler except that the clan of Kopyong
got their name from him, but the informants cannot remember how the
clan got their name from this ruler. He ruled for fifty years. He
was one of the rulers of Wuyo Gampala that has ruled for quite a long
This man Ardo ruled twice according to the informants. Ardo was
Gawo's son and he succeeded Walsam from the clan of Mele. When he
was still ruling he decided to go and greet his mother in a village
near the present Kubo. It was a distance of about forty miles. He
gathered his followers that escorted him to his mother's people.
He stayed there so long that his brother Jagali thought that he
would not come back again. They were some people who were wicked and
they encouraged Jagali to think more that his brother is no longer
coming back. Jagali's friends and Ardo's enemies encouraged Jagali to
declare that since his brother is no longer coming he has taken over the
throne from him. Jagali then took out the royal drum and beat it. When
people heard it they accepted that Jagali was become their ruler and
probably his brother Ardo had perished with his followers on his way to
his mother's town.
When this was happening, Ardo was on his way coming back from his
people. Not knowing what had happened Ardo saw one woman coming with
running. When she came, she greeted the chiefs and said, Oh! Chief
how many ears have you got? And Ardo answered have got two ears. The
woman then answered, alright be attentive and listen to what I am going
to tell you. She said when you left your brother Jagali had beaten the
royal drum (Tambari) in your absence declaring himself the ruler, so I
advise you not to go back otherwise he would kill you.
Then Ardo calmly turned back and went to his mother's people again.
When he reached all the people of the village came out to inquire why Ardo
had to come back. They asked him whether there was peace or not. Ardo
replied that there was no peace behind him, when he came for the visit.
He said that his brother Jagali had sounded the royal drum (Tambari) in
his absence declaring himself the ruler. The people of his mother then
said alright, please do not mind, we are ready and we must fight to shed
our blood until we see that your brother gives back the throne to you.
If we did not restore you back we would be greatly put to shame. The
people of Ardo's mother armed themselves and asked Ardo to lead the way.
Jagali did not know the plan and he was just enjoying his throne.
Then an old man came and told Jagali that "Jagali you did not know what
is happening, your brother Ardo is coming with his mother's people to
recapture the throne for him. You know quite well that this fight is
directed only against you and you alone because it is not a town war,
not a war that would involve all the clans of the village. You know
very well that the people of Mele would not aid you and the rest of people
of the town. So I am advising you to leave the throne and run away other-
wise you would lost your wives and children for nothing.
On hearing this Jagali collected his wives, children and his
followers and they run away from the town.
When Ardo came with his people they went straight to the royal
house to capture Jagali but, when they went in they found that the
throne and the house were empty. With no blood shed Ardo claimed his
throne again. He ruled until his death and Botor from the clan of Mele
succeeded the throne.
Kadai Zaina-Bu and Ali Zainabu were both the sons of Achambri.
Kadai Zainabu was a junior brother to Ali Zainabu but due to some
reasons which I am going to discuss in the proceeding pages Ali Zainabu
the junior brother succeeded the throne before the senior brother.
When Achambri was still a ruler both Kadai Zainabu and Ali
Zainabu were grown ups. The Yerima of the town at that time loved the
junior brother, Kadai Zainabu. The love was so much that Kadai
Zainaku asked the Yerima what he can do to him. The Yerima said if I
am still alive I must see that you succeeded your father. But Kadai
Zainabu said to him, "how can it happen since I am the junior one."
Obviously by right my senior brother should succeed our father, but the
Yerima said If I am still alive you would see with your eyes that you
would succeed your father.
The Yerima went to the Galadima, the person who has a final
saying in selecting a ruler, and told him that when Achambri is no more
on the throne and the people from the other clans have ruled I am going
to forward to you Ali Zainabu, to rule instead of his senior brother.
The Galadima agreed with the Yerimas plan.
When Achambri, the father of the two boys died, Kwaya from the
clan of Mele climbed the throne and ruled for few years and then he died.
The Yerima forwarded two people's names one Kadai Zainaku, the man
he loved and one his senior brother. He told the Galadima that he should
choose Kadai Zainabu. He had to give the name of the senior brother
as well because people would know his plan if he did not do this.
The Galadima on receiving these two names and seeing that Ali
Zainabu was the eldest he chose him to be the ruler, so he told his
helpers that when the time for turbaning comes, they should turban Ali
Zainabu the elder one. The Yerima heard that the man he loved was
not chosen and he run to the Galadima and told him that you should not
please fail me. If you recognize me please put Kadai Zainabu to the
throne. The Galadima agreed and he told his helpers that the plan had
been changed so they should turban Kadai Zainabu the junior one.
On the day of the appointment a Congress was called and the two
princes went forward to sit. The two princes do not know which one of
them was to be made the ruler, though the senior one was expected that
if things would follow its normal course he should be appointed.
When all have gathered, theroyal drum was sounded and the atmosphere
grew tense. It was the policy that the people sounding the royal drum
would go round and round the congregation, then at last sound the last
drum in front of the appointed one.
There then would the public know their newly appointed king.
The drum sounded and every one was thinking who was to be the ruler.
At last to the people's surprise the last drum sounded in front of the
junior brother Kadai Zainabu.
Kadai Zainabu did not rule for long then he kicked the bucket. As it
was part of the constitution that when a ruler dies before he rules for
five years, his brother would be appointed to compensate it. When Kadai
Zainabu died the Galadima, Mshelkala, Yerima and the Chiroma came to
Ali Zainabu and asked him to rule. They said would you still like to
rule, being that your junior brother ruled before you. Then Ali Zaima
said one proverb. He said normally when there is honey we leave it for
the small one. After the small one has taken enough, it is then that
the big one or the elder would put his finger to taste it.
Ali Zainabu claimed the throne. He then said as far as I am the
ruler the Yerima of the town has to leave his title and leave the town
as well. The Yerima on hearing this collected his wives and children
and run to Balbaya where he spent the rest of the days of his life.
Ali Zainabu ruled for some years but not much is known about his rule,
and after he died Mele Gwandi or Mele the great succeeded him.
Mele Gwandi (the great)
For detailed history of Mele the great see pages 63 to 66. But
below is a summary of his achievements.
1. The people of Wuyo Multiplied under him.
2. The clan of Mele got their name from him.
For detailed history of Sarki Birni read pages fifteen onwards.
Below is a summary of his achievements.
1. Took the people (the Yamaltu) from Wuyo Gampala to Sugwa (Danjal
2. He fought two wars against the Fulani. One was the driving
away of the Fulani from Teli and Gedaka. Two was when the ruler of
Hinna hired his men to help him fight against the Fulani at Peru.
I have already given the detail history of Mahamnami on page 54, but s
still I would give a summary of what he did during his life time.
1. He founded the present walled town of Wuyo. The present
Wuyo in the year 1877. When he died Ali Ladi succeeded him.
Not much is known about Ali Ladi except that he expanded the walls
of the city. Islam reached Wuyo Gampala during his reign. He ruled only
for a few years before he died and his brother Kadai Thlima I was asked
to rule and compensate it for him. His brother Kadai Thlima did not
stay long on the throne and he too died before ruling up to five years,
again Kadai's brother, Mele Amina was appointed to compensate for the
It was during Mele Amina's time that the white men came to Gujiba. When
the white men came and introduced the system of indirect rule, the D.O. at
Gujiba wanted to make him a third class chief and his elders and the title
holders advised him not to accept the white man's offer. They were two
stories about this issue.
One was that the white man said he would make Mele Amina third
class chief so that he could be touring all the area of the present
Kwaya Tera district plus Gulani. But in those days it was customary
for the ruler of Wuyo to stay indoors once the rain has dropped. The
custom prohibit a ruler to be beaten by rainfall. So the King-makers
told King Mele Amina that if he should accept this offer it means he is
breaking the custom, because once he accept he has to be touring all
the areas given to him in both rainy and dry season. Mele Amina harkened
to the advise of the title holders and rejected the offer and the white
man install the ruler of Gulani to be a third class chief, putting Wuyo
The other story says that the white man invited all the powerful
rulers to report at Gulani so that he could choose some third class
chiefs among them. When all the invited rulers came to Gulani the
whiteman saw that the ruler of Wuyo was powerful due to the number of
horses and escorts he went with, so it was his intention to install him
as third class chief.
The first day they reached Gulani some food was taken to Mele Amina
but when the servants went to remove the dish in the morning they found
that Mele Amina did not eat the food. For this they thought probably
on that day he was too tired to eat that evening. The following day
again Mele Amina was served, but the same thing--he did not eat.
Again the following day he was served for the third time but he refused
to eat, so the stewards report the case to the white man. The white man
thought type of food they have been preparing might not be nice for Mele
to eat, so he ordered one steward to prepare a delicious food for King
Mele Amina, and he himself witnessed when the food was taken to Mele.
The following morning the white man came to see whether Mele had eaten
the food or not, but they found the food as it was served. The white
man was angry at this act. He then told Mele Amina that I wanted to
make you third class chief, but since you do not eat when you leave
your town, you cannot serve the modern demand. So the white man
installed the ruler of Gulani and Biu as third class chiefs.
In those days it was customer that the ruler of Wuyo once he has
left his city, would not eat any food until he comes back.
Formerly at the beginning of the indirect rule Wuyo was made to pay
tax to the people of Gombe under Bauchi. Every year the ruler of Gombe
sends his representative to collect tax from the ruler of Wuyo.
WUYO WAS MADE TO PAY TAX TWICE A YEAR
The resident at Bauchi and the one at Maiduguri made an arrangement
that since Wuyo is under Gulani, and Gulani is under Bornu, the people
of Wuyo should pay their tax to the people of Gulani, and the people of
Gulani would take it to Bornu. When the annual time for collecting tax
came the ruler of Gulani came to Wuyo to collect tax, but the ruler of
Wuyo said I have never paid any tax to you and I was not told to pay any
tax to you. My tax goes to the ruler of Gombe. The ruler of Gulani went
back empty handed. That year passed but they did not pay any.tax.
The following year the ruler of Gulani came again, but still the
ruler of Wuyo resisted to pay in tax to him. The ruler of Gulani sent
to the D.O. at Gujiba that now is the second year that the people of
Wuyo refused to pay in their annual tax. When the D.O. heard this he
ordered for soldiers to come from Maiduguri so that they could come
to burn Wuyo. When the soldiers came, the D.O. at Gujiba take the lead
to Wuyo. Mele Amina learnt of what was going to happen, so before the
soldiers advanced close to Wuyo he rode on his horse and met the soldiers
on the way. When he saw them he descended from his horse and greeted
the white man. The D.O. asked him, "Who are you?" He answered that I
am the ruler of Wuyo. The white man (D.).) told him that we are going
to you and we are glad to meet you on the way.
The D.O. told the king that now it has been for two years his
people did not pay their annual tax. So he should go back immediately
and ask his people to pay on the spot a tax of two years. Mele Anima
went back and sounded the royal drum (tambari) and within less than
no time all the households within the city gathered in front of his
house. Mele addressed them and said, "Indeed it is unusual to sound
the royal drum unless there is an attack or war. War has really come.
The white man is coming just at my back to burn the town with fire
if we did not collect on the spot a tax of two months.
On hearing this every member of a household rushed home, some
brought four goats, two sheep, some brought a cow, some brought one or
two horses, each brought whatever he can afford. 'Mele Amina himself
brought a lot of cows. When each one brought what he has, he would say,
"since we lived and our forefathers lived Wuyo had never been burnt
down, so we would never allow our town to be burnt down if it because
When the soldiers came they surrounded the whole city wall and about
twenty each was put at each gate. They collected hundreds of cows,
sheep, goats and they collected Gabaka as high as a hill, that if one
man was standing at the other side he would not see his friend who is
on the opposite side. Mele Amina then called in the D.O. to approve
what his people have collected for the two year's tax.
The D.O. was pleased with the collection and he ordered the soldiers
to come together and carry away the tax. The things collected were too
many that the D.O. said that they should not carry the Gabaka but leave
it behind. Gabaka is a piece of cloth locally woven.
There was another town close to Wuyo who failed to pay their tax for
two years for the same reason as Wuyo's. On the ruler of that town on
hearing that the soldiers have come to burn Wuyo because of failure to
pay tax, the ruler believed that the same thing would happen to his
town and so he advised the people of his town to run away before the
Before the soldiers came they found that the town was empty. They
found only one man that the King gave him a horse to give the D.O.
instead of the two years tax. When this man saw the soldiers coming he
did not stand to wait but climbed on the horse and run into the bush.
The D.O. ask the ruler of Wuyo, Mele Amina, to collect all that the people
of that town had left behind. These include goats, sheep and guinea corn,
but Mele Amina said no he cannot do that because that ruler and his
people were his friends. So he refused. The D.O. ordered that they
should collect the animals, and crush down the bins and burn down any
grain they could find inside. They did as the D.O. said destroying
anything kike grains and carried away the animals. They set fire on the
whole town and it got burnt while they waited and see. Thos people did
not come back again when they learnt that their town was burn to ashes.
From there on we did not know where they built their new town and we
lost contact with them.
Mele Amina was later imprisoned at Biu for he was found guilty of
selling two children as slaves. The informants cannot tell me to which
people he sold the slaves, but they said the incident happened around 1908.
Despite Mele Amina's achievements he did not stay on the throne for long
so his brother Jonga Pana was appointed to compensate it. After Naham
Yakubu had ruled. Naham Yakubu is from the clan of Kopyong.
Naham Yakubu was the son of Leka. He succeeded Mele Amina. It was
during his reign that Kwa Tera District broke away from Gulani Division
and was added to Biu Local Authority in 1914.
It was the first time that Kwaya Tera District was marked. The whole
of the District was divided among the existing Lauans.
BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN WUYO AND DALI
Malam Mamman Fulata was the District head's chief scribe, and the
District had, Birma Yaniba assigned him to come and mark the boundary
between Dali and Wuyo.
When Malam Mamman Fulata came he sent for the ruler of Dali to
come and meet him at Wuyo. When the ruler of Dali came he explained to
both Naham Yakabu, the ruler of Wuyo and the ruler of Dali that he was
sent by the District head to mark the boundary between Wuyo and Dali.
Malam Mamman Fulata then rode on his horse and the two rulers with their
followers also claimed on their horses.
When they reached the boundary, Malam Fulata told the rulers that they
should show the exact boundary so that he can mark it. As they followed
the boundary when the ruler of Dali pointed to where the mark should be,
Malam Fulata would not mark it until when the ruler of Wuyo pointed.
They continued to mark it with dissatisfaction from the ruler of Dali.
Until when they reached two rocks or small hills. One of the rocks is
in the North closer to Wuyo and one of the rocks in the South closer to
Dali. The ruler of Dali said that the mark should be on the rock which
is in the North, giving more land for him. Naham Yakubu the ruler of
Wuyo said that the mark should be on the rock in the south, thus giving
him more area of land. Malam Fulata agreed with Naham Yakubu's suggestion,
the ruler of Wuyo, and marked the boundary on the rock which lies in South
giving more area to the ruler of Wuyo. The ruler of Dali could no longer
take the injustice which was being administered in marking the demarcation,
and so he rode his horse home leaving Naham Yakubu the ruler of Wuyo and
Malam Mamman Fulata behind. Naham Yakubu told Malam Fulata that they
should follow the ruler of Dali to his town.
It was customer for the ruler of Wuyo that whenever he visits the
ruler of Dali he has to branch at the ruler's house. The same thing
that if the ruler of Dali went to Wuyo he was to branch at the ruler's
When Naham Yakubu and Malam Fulata reached Dali the ruler of Wuyo
went in the royal house where the ruler of Dali lived. Being that Naham
Yakubu was a stranger to the ruler of Dali, and at the same time he
lodged at his house, he did not come out to welcome him. Naham Yakubu
spent three days at the ruler of Dali's compound but he did not come out
to welcome him. Seeing this Naham Yakubu asked the Galadima of Dali
to come. When the Galadima came, Naham Yakubu told him that since he
came into the house, today is the third day, but the ruler did not come
to welcome him, just because we had a little dispute over a boundary
Alright, please if he comes out tell him that I have gone. I would
go home. The Galadima went and told the ruler that the ruler of Wuyo had
been in his house for three days but you did not come out to welcome him
and now he said he is going home, but he is not really going hom. He
is going to the other wards where his people lived, and he would encourage
them to revolt against you. Remember that we were one with the people
of Wuyo. We travelled all the way from Yemen to Gabin, near Garkida,
and it was there that we got divided. And you know that some of the
wards in this town are members of his clan, and if you annoy him he would
either revolt against you with his people or his would ask all the members
of that ward to migrate to Wuyo, then you would be left with less people.
So I, as the Galadima is advising you to go and talk to him before
The ruler of Dali listened to the advice and went to talk to the
ruler of Wuyo, Naham Yakaku. The ruler of Dali called both the ruler
of Wuyo and Malam Mamma Fulata the scribe. He asked his servant to go in
his own sleeping room and brought something tied in rags. At the ruler's
order the servant brought something rolled in rags. The ruler of Dali
untie the rags and out of a bundle of pieces of corn stalks. He raised the
bundle of corn stalks in his right and say, "look at this bundle of pieces
of corn stalks. Each piece of corn stalk you can see in my hand is
representing a life of a person. All these pieces are numbers of lives
my people lost when they helped you and your people in war against the
Fulani at Telli and Gedaba. I and the people of Wuyo are one since
from the beginning, but you, Malam Fulata is supporting him so that he
can have more land than he is supposed to have." When Naham Yakubu
saw this he was surprised because the war was fought long ago since in
the time of Birni. Naham Yakubu and the Malam Fulata asked him to be
patient so that they could go back and mark the boundary as he likes it.
They went back and the hill that caused the boundary dispute was put
in the area of Dali and the mark was put on the hill which was closer to
The first motor road from Biu to Gombe was marked and constructed,
but not with tar, while Mr. Elder the first Biu D.O. was in Biu.
Hausa settlers also came during Naham Yakubu's reign and they
introduced some method of garden farming. The D.O. and Ginir of Biu
appointed him that whenever the District head of Kwaya is not on seat he
should act as the District head. But lastly he was imprisoned for having
disputed the District head--Birma Yanta in the year 1923. He was succeeded
by Jonga Pana (Musa) in 1923. He ruled for forty-four years and retired
in 1967, when his son the present ruler Kadai Dlama II succeeded him in
1968 and ruled up to the present day. It was during Jonga Pana's reign
that school was opened in Wuyo in the year 1948. In 1967 the road from
Biu to Gombe was tarred.
Village boundaries was remarked between Dali and Wuyo.
HOW THE BOUNDARY WAS RE-MARKED
One day the ruler of Dali went to Birma Yamta, the District head
of Kwaya and complained to him that he is fearing probably that maybe in
future the Authority would ask all the Lawans with smaller areas to merge
with the Lawans who have greater areas and if this should happen he would
cost his area, and he would find himself not a ruler. Then the District
Head, Birma Yamta said, what can I do? He said since Wuyo has a very
large area, please I hope if the ruler of Wuyo would not mind you would
cut Zange from Wuyo and add it to me. Zange is closer to me and it has
a big population, and once it is added to my territory I would have
strength and fear not. Birma Yamta, the district head, said if the
ruler of Wuyo Jonga Pana agrees, why not. The District head sent for
the ruler of Wuyo to come and when he came he told him the ruler of Dali's
complain. Jonga Panna said, why not, the people of Dali and my people
are the same since from the beginning up to now and I would not refuse
the ruler of Dali whatever he requested from me. Hence forth Zange was
part of Dali. Jonga Panna was the first ruler of Wuyo to receive a
salary. When he retired in 1967 his son Kadui Dlama II succeeded him.
Insert Figure about here
WHY WUYO (TERA DISTRICT) WAS BROKEN AWAY AND MERGED WITH BIU IN 1914
During the reign ofNyaham Yakubu the youth of the town did not like
the way they were being handled. So for some reasons, they asked for
his removal from office. By then Mai Ali was the ruler of Gulani. Nyaham
Yakubu, the ruler, was from the clan of Kopyong and it was the youth from
Mele clan that asked for his removal. They wanted a ruler from the clan
It was not possible for the Mai of Gulani to remove Nyaham from
office without any particular fault because the resident and the D.O.
at Gujiba would ask for the reason. From then on Mali Ali was looking for
a reason to kick Nyaham out of office.
Not long afterwards Mai Ali went out on tour. He toured some
parts of his area and then lastly visited Ngubirnda in Wuyo Territory.
Mai Ali thought in this position as a third class chief could visit any
place under his jurisdiction without informing the lawan concerned. By
then Ngubirnde was under Wuyo, and in normal situation he had to inform
Chief Nyaham before touring Ngubirnde.
MAP OF WUYO WITH THE VILLAGES THAT WERE ITS SUBJECTS IN THE
Nyaham Yakubu did not know that his senior is visiting some
villages within his territory. One day, still in his visit, Mai Ali
was sitting with his followers at the gate of the ruler of Ngubirnde
(Bulama), then he saw one very beautiful woman passing. The woman had
long hair and very good pointed nose and she was so beautiful that Mai
Ali could not resist the temptation of talking to her. He ordered his
servants to capture the lady to him. When the lady was brought he asked
her name. Her name was Ndukmini--meaning a human is good. Mai Ali
asked her whether she was married and she said yes, but he said whether
married or not he, the Divisional ruler has captured her for a wife.
The lady, Ndukmini was not from Ngubirnde. Her home town was Walamdiya
near Walama, but she came to Ngubirnde to greet her mother's relative.
The report of what happened immediately reached Walamdiya to the lady's
parents. The mother on hearing the news that the Emir of Gulani had
captured her daughter for a wife, burst into cry from Walamdiya to Wuyo.
All the way she was shouting. When she reached Wuyo, she straight away
walked to the ruler's house, Nyaham Yakubu, and told him that Mai Ali
of Gulani had captured her daughter for a wife despite the fact that she
was already married. Nyaham Yakubu was surprised to hear this statement
and ask which Mai Ali of Gulani. The mother said the present ruler. Nyaham
Yaluku asked where Mai Ali of Gulani saw her daughter. And the woman told
him that my daughter not knowing that Mai Ali was at Nguburnde went to
great her grandmother and when she was passing Mai Ali saw her and ordered
his servants to catch her for him. Nyaham Yakubu said how can Mai Ali
come to my territory without informing me? Alright mother, please be
patient you would get your daughter back. Stay in Wuyo and wait.
Nyaham Yakubu first of all thought that he would collect his people
and go and recapture Ndukmini from Mai Ali by force, but he later on
thought that even though the Mai was at fault if he acted in this manner,
the D.O. at Gujiba would condemn him for being rude (rebellious) to his
senior. So he thought of a peaceful way of takling (coping with) the matter.
He called some of his officials and some youth of the town and instructed
them to go to Ngubirnde and tell the Mai that the ruler of Wuyo was not
notified that Maigirma is visiting a town in his territory. Had he known
he would have come out with his people to welcome you on the way. Despite
all these he said welcome to you. He also sent us to tell you that any
lady that you see in his territory and it pleases you, before you, the
Maigirma, said you want her, she is already your wife on the condition that
she is not married. For I have no authority over married women, except
their husbands. So Nyaham Yakubu said we should tell you that the lady
you captured is a married woman, and as such you should give her to us
and we would take her back to Nyaham Yakubu.
The officials and the youths went and did exactly as Nyaham Yakubu
On hearing the message Mai Ali grew annoyed and ordered his servants
to bring out Ndukmini and give her to the people of Wuyo. This incident
made the Mai to hate Nyaham Yakubu more and more, and still he was keeping
an eye on him to see whether he would be found guilty and would be dealt
When Ndukmini was brought back the ruler gave her back to her
mother and the mother took her back to her husband.
Nyaham Yakubu's Ngurkuma, another title holder, was not living
together with the ruler, but was living at Wade. But to perform his
duties well the ruler demanded that he should come to live together
with him at Wuyo. The Ngurkuma collected all his family and brought them to
Wuyo. One of the Ngurkuma's sons had measles. In those days if any child
is caught with such infectious diseases, the infected child would not be
allowed to go to another village, because he would spread it to the
village which had none. This Ngurkumas child which caught measles from
Wade came to Wuyo with the disease and spread it among other children.
The people of the village reported that the Ngurkuma had brought a
child to Wuyo who was infected with measles. Nyaham Yakubu called the
Ngurkuma and asked him whether he was responsible for bringing measles
into his village. The Ngurkuma agreed and Nyaham Yakubu fined the
Ngurkuma a sum of N2. The Ngurkuma paid it, but he did not stop there.
He took the matter to Emir at Gulani. It was still Mai Ali at that time.
Nyaham was called by the ruler of Gulani and Mai Ali reported the
matter to the D.C at Gujiba. The D.O. condemned Nyaham for fining
the Ngurkuma for so much an amount. The Mai of Gulani said he would
fine the ruler of Wuyo, Nyaham Yakubu ten Naira and he would give him
twenty lashes. The D.O. at Gujiba agreed that the ruler of Wuyo should
be fined the sum of ten Naira, but he did not agree with the idea that
he should be caned as well. The D.O. said I have nothing, or no hand
in the cane. If you do so it is your responsibility. Mai Ali got the fine
of N 10 and ordered his servants to give twenty lashes to Nyaham Yakubu.
It was done as he ordered. The Governor of the Federation called
Governor Fama, came to visit Biu and all the Lawans were invited to come,
plus the Mai of Gulani.
When Nyaham saw that the D.O. was together with the Governor he went
and greeted the Governor. He said, I come to say something about my
stay with my head, the ruler of Gulani, but when I was coming in to see
you I saw his horse going away and that means he had gone, so I can no
more say what I wanted to say. The Governor said, please say it, do not
mind whether he is still around or not.
He then explained the whole situation to the Governor--of how he
was fined and beaten and how Mai Ali seized somebody's wife when he was
on tour at Gubirnde.
Having reported this he asked the Governor if it would be possible
let him remove him and his territory out of Gulani and place him in any
place or under any Emir. The Governor agreed and he told the D.O. that
from then on Wuyo was to move under Gulani but under Biu.
WHY KUDI NYAHAM WAS IMPRISONED AT LAST
Birma Yanita had not been on good terms with Nyaham the lawan of
Wuyo. The reason for this was that Nyaham was never submissive and
suggestable to him, and as a district head he found Nyaham to be an
obstacle to his office.
Whenever he asked his lawans to do something he found that Nyaham
had to stay and question him about it. And if he did wrong the other lawans
were not brave enough to point it out to him. For these reasons Birma
Yamta, the then district head of Kwaya grew to dislike him.
One day Birma Yamta went out to tour his area. When he came near
the border between Dali and Wuyo he saw some hunters hunting animals.
In those days hunting was prohibited. When Birma Yamta saw these hunters
he asked for the ruler of Wuyo, Nyaham to come. When he came, he, Birma
Yamta questioned him why he should allow people to hunt in his area.
Nyaham complained that these hunters are not from Wuyo area, and the area
they were hunting in is not an area of Wuyo.
The next incident occurred when thieves came and stole some cows
from Wuyo area. The people whose cows were stolen came and reported to Nyaham
the ruler of Wuoy that thieves had stolen all the cows in their herd.
Nyaham told them to be patient, he would trace out the thieves. He
himself, the ruler and his followers rode on their horses and follow the
mark which the thieves left behind. It was in November and the grass was
young and green, and the foot steps of the people and cows could easily be
traced. They continued to follow the mark until they reached Chelang.
Nyaham Yakubu went to the ruler of Chellang and explained it to him that
they had been a case of theft in his area, and since the grass is still
green they followed the footsteps of the suspected and the footsteps came
directly to his town, Chellang. The ruler of Chellang put some people
to investigate the matter. After much findings, the thieves were dis-
covered and the cows were taken away and were given to Nyaham, the ruler
of Wuyo. The ruler of Chellang imprisoned the thieves and Nyaham went
back with his people and the stolen cows. When they came back he called
the owners of the cows and gave them back their cows.
Birma Yamta heard that there had been a case of theft in his
district, but Nyaham, the ruler of Wuyo went as far as Chellang after
the thieves. To him Birma Yamta had offended him since he did not report
the matter to him.
Birma Yamta reported Nyaham to the D.O. and expalined it to him
that his assistant Niyaham had went to Chellang to hire soldiers to come
and get rid of the from his throne. The D.O. filed the report
and the day for administering the judgment adjourned.
When the day for the judgment came, the D.O. chose the venue to be
Gusi a town in Kwaya Fera District. The ruler of Wuyo was asked to report
to Gusi very early in the morning, not knowing what was happening. When
he reached Gusi, he was surprised to see the D.O. and the District Head
Birma Yamta waiting for him.
The D.O. picked out the report and read it to the ruler of Wuyo.
By then they had no Alkalis as judges, but the D.O.s do the work of a
judge. The ruler of Wuyo denied that he went to Chellang purposely to
hire soldiers in order to fight against Birma Yamto.
Major Egger, the D.O. had not much evident to support the District
head. So he wanted to dismiss the case. When Birma Yamta saw that the
case was going to be dismissed he started to look for another means, because
if Nyaham Yakubu was left free, it means he has won the case and he, the
District head would lose respect among his people. He thought of giving
bribes to the D.O.'s two stewards and the D.O's maisandas (interpreters) that
understand English, and they were interpreters. They explained or
interpret what the D.O. said in English to the native people as well as
the rulers, and they interpet what the rulers and the people say their
language to the D.O. in English. He bribed these people to be making
malicious remarks against Nyaham Yakubu.
The first steward came and sat in a position where the D.O could
hear all what he was saying. He then started to condemn Nyaham saying
that he was stubborn to his seniors, that was how he reported his senior
Mai Ali of Gulani and he had won or succeeded in cutting himself out
of Gulani territory. If the D.O. should support Nyaham, that means he,
the D.O. is encouraging Nyaham in wanting to break away from Biu to join
Gombe. After the first steward had finished these malicious remarks, the
second steward came and do the same thing. Still the D.O. was listening
but he did not say even a word. After the second steward the Maisandas
started to come one at a time and make the remarks about Nyaham. Before
they finished the D.O., Mr. Egga grew tired of the report and remarks so
he went straight and called Nyaham and told him that he has to serve in
prison for two years for having disputed or offending his senior the
district head. That happened in October 1923. By then Mai Ali Dogo
was the ruler in Biu.
Time ended: 4:00 p.m.
Time: 10:00 a.m. Date: 15th June 1974
Informants: Chiroma--Approximate age ninety
Yerima eighty five
W A R D H I S T O R Y
I have already mentioned that there- were and there are still three
wards in Wuyo. They are Bonga, Thlyeng and Tala. The ruler or any Kudi
that comes to the throne is automatically a member of the ward of Bonga.
He is just a niminal member because his house is at the centre of the
town and the three wards surrounded him. But he is attached to Bonga
in times of paying tax. The Kudi's tax has to follow one ward, and that
ward is Bonga.
The next two wards are equally important--the Thlyeng and the Tala.
At the moment the Galadima is the head of the Bonga Ward and Mshelkala
is the head of the Thlyeng ward and the Yerima is the head of the Tala
As I have mentioned on page 54 that since at the beginning there
had been three wards. At the very beginning when they were settling at
Wuyo Gampala, they found out that they divided themselves into three
wards and the division was based on nothing. From there onwards, any
stranger that comes could be received into any ward.
The Leadership in the Wards
In the Wuyo town there are seven first class title holders. The
seven are Galadima, Mshelkala, Yerima, Batan, Zarma, Shettima and Yokduma.
I name them in order of their importance. Among the three wards, the
highest title holder is automatically the head of the ward he lives in.
The heads of these wards hold no other titles since they have the titles
of the village. From how the heads of the wards were obtained we can see
that the heads of the wards could be from any clan provided that person
has a village title.
The first class title holders are not appointed according to family,
but according to merit. The Kudi (chief) appoints any one who he thinks
would do an earnest job to the town.
TITLES AND OFFICES
The first class title holders--must be consulted first by Kudi
1. Galadima 2. Mshelkala 3. Yerima 4. Batari
5. Zarma 6. Shettima 7. Yokduma
All the above list are the first class holders with the Kudi as the
figure head. Kudi means chief.
Second class title holders--do not attend
but are consulted by first class titleholders.
Birma Birgina Kala Maikada
Borkuma Molima Kadkuma Tal Ba
Pukma Gana Kanawa Kadavir
meetings with Kudi,
Both the first and second class title holders are appointed with a spear
and a tambari. What I mean by first and second class title holders is
that, the first seven were the most important ones and they carry out
important decisions with the Kudi. The Kudi cannot take any decision
without them. After the first class title holders have approved any
point then they would take it to the second class title holders. I would
talk about how they hold important decisions in the later pages of this
The third class title holders. Third class title-holders consulted
in turn by 2nd class.
These people are only appointed with sticks (Sanda)
1. Achamkimi 2. Kalambirabti 3. Lamji
4. Kacham 5. Mezawa 6. Dukuma
7. Dalkokna 8. Lamji Cham 9. Gomsom
10. Achamkala 11. Acham-Kadavir 12. Achamdurkuma
13. Ngurkuma 14. Kadabidi 15. Birndeka
16. Birgusai 17. Mezawa 18. Ngoma (see page 32)
The fourth class title holders. C -, ( R< '
These people are only appointed by the word of mouth. There would
be no tambari, spear nor stick given to them when they are appointed into
office. The Kudi would just send his representatives to tell the person
concerned by a word of mouth that they have been appointed into office.
Acham Malwa 5.
Pukuma Chinji 20.
Continuation of the third class title holders from previous page.
Tinja Kalge Ngwanza Gwambene
Dalmshel Dukuma Ngoma Kacham
Their Various Works
The Galadima is the Kudi's assistance. If the Kudi is not around
he takes over all the responsibilities and heads all the rest of the title
He is being assisted by the Shettima. The Mshelkala being assisted
by the Shettima is responsible for all the people of Kopyong. The Mshelkala
being the head figure sometimes puts matters right or if he cannot, then
he pushes it to the Kudi, if that matter occurs among the clan of Kopyong.
The Yerima with his assistant Yokduma is the head of all the members
of the clan of Mele. He has the right to settle any matter or disagreement
that arises among the clan of Mele. If there arises a matter that he cannot
solve then he would push it to the town level, to the Kudi.
Both the Galadima and the Batari represented the interest of all
the people of the town, but the Batari acted in the pre-colonial days as
the Chief Justice. In the pre-colonial days if there was a case of
theft, fighting or any criminal cases, he, the Batari would be responsible
for passing the judgment.
The Galadima, Mshelkala, Yerima and Batari, under the chairmanship of
Kudi, the ruler, forms the cabinet. All of them are political office
How they make Decisions
Let us say that a ruler from the clan of Mele is on the throne, and
has something in mind, and he wants to call the cabinet for support or
suggestion. The Kudi would then call his information officer, the Kala
and tell him that he wants all the members of his cabinet. The Kala
would invite the members of the cabinet in order of their importance. He
would first of all go to the Galadima, then the Mshelkala, then the Yerima,
and lastly to the Batari.
When all of them have come, they would go in to see the Kudi. The
Galadima leads the way, and when they have reached the presence of the
Kudi the Galadima would be the first to greet the chief. After they have
greeted, then the Kudi would rise the motion or topic of discussion. He
would say that I call you to seek your opinion on such a matter. He
would then say I want each of you to say your opinion about it. The
Galadima would then comment on the matter and after him he would ask
the Mshelkala. The Mshelkala would normally say he has nothing to say.
From the Mshelkala then the Yerima would say his opinion. Still if there
is no satisfactory solution, the Batari would lastly talk. Why the
Mshelkala would always say he has nothing to say? As I have discussed
earlier, that the Kudi comes from the clan of Mele. Being that the
Mshelkala comes from the clan of Kopyong, if he makes comment or makes
suggestions the Kudi would think that being that he is from a different
clan he is undermining his power, so to avoid this friction he always
keeps quiet. If the ruler is from the clan of Kopyong the Yerima at a
Cabinet meeting would always say he has nothing to do.
At every meeting these three people have to be present, but it is
customary that they do not open their mouth to speak even a single word.
1. Birma 2. Birgina 3. Kala
The Birgima does the work of chief information officer. When ever the Kudi
wants to speak to his cabinet he would first of all tell the Birma and
the Birma in turn would tell the Kala to invite members of the cabinet.
After the Kudi and the Title holders have discussed a point and have
come to one agreement (unanimously) then the five title holders would leave
the Kudi and carry the matter forward to the second class title holders.
See pages and for the list of the second class title holders.
This second class title holders never go to the Kudi for any sort of
discussion. Anything being discussed with the Kudi must be carried on to
them by the Galadama and the rest of the members of the first class title
After the discussion with Kudi already the members of the second class
title holders are waiting at the street in front of the Kudi's palace.
When the first class title holders came they would sit among the second
class title holders and the Galadima would say the ruler of the land has
called us for so and so discussions and all of us have come to an agree-
ment that it should be tackled in such a way, and he asked us to come to
you and let you know about it and let you make your own suggestions if
you think that what we have decided is not good for the public. The
second class title holders would then think and make public suggestions,
and it is left to them to condemn what has been suggested by the Cabinet.
If they are successful in giving enough reasons why the first suggestion
made by the members of the cabinet'is unsuitable, then the Galadima and
the rest of the first class title holders would contact the Kudi again.
They would say that we have taken the matter to the larger group of people
and another suggestion was made. The Kudi would then say that alright
if all of you have agreed, then we would make use of the second suggestion.
If the members of the second class title holders could not think of any
other suggestion then they would say that the first suggestion stands firm.
Then the Galadima and the rest of the first class title holders would go
back to the Kudi and tell him that the members of the public have agreed
on the first suggestion made by the cabinet. Then that decision would be
carried out. The Kala would then inform the members of the public that so
and so has been decided by the members of the cabinet and the Kudi has
asked me to pass it on to you. The members of the public has to accept
anything that has been decided by the Kudi and his cabinet ministers.
The Talaka as the commoners are called has no right to dispute anything
which has been decided by the cabinet.
The Birma. He is the administrator. He and the Galadima work between
the rest of the people and the Kudi. He also works between the title
holders and the Kudi and the members of the public.
Kala. He also does the work of information. As I have said
earlier that if the rest of the people want to see the Kudi, they first
of all have to inform the Birgima and the Birgima would inform the Kala,
then the Kala would inform the Kudi. Likewise if the Kudi wants to see
some people he would first of all tell the Kala, then the Kala would
inform the Birgima and the Birgima would let the members of the public
Pukuma Kura. This man was an adviser on Islamic law. He was to see
that all the teachings and practices of Islam was being carried out by the
people of the town. He leads Muslim prayer on Fridays. The two prayers
performed by the Muslims twice a year, Sallah Laya and Sallah Aszumi--
he the pukuma performs the "Hawan Idi." He would ride on a horse
on the day of the prayer and all the rest of the people would ride on
behind while he rides in front with the Kudi immediately behind him.
All the way to the prayer ground he would be in front and if one who does
not know the Kudi would think that the Pukuma Kura is the Kudi as he walks
Apart from being the religious head, the Pukuma was the only person
that settles disputes between clans. Supposing some one from the clan of
Mele came into disagreement with somebody from the clan of the Kopyong,
the case would not be taken to Kudi but to the Pukuma Kura. The Pukuma
Kura has the right to pass any judgment between these people and his
judgment is always final.
When there was a criminal case and if the Batari and the Kadi both
have agreed that the person who committed the crime must be beheaded, and
the Pukuma Kura did not agree, the criminal would not be beheaded.
How the Pukuma intervene the criminal and the Kudi. When the Kudi has
gathered a gathering he would be given a sword by his assistant, the Galadima.
The pukuma Kura on seeing that the spear is given to the Kudi for the
execution, he would then fall in front of the Kudi and said if you are to
kill this man or behead him, you better behead me instead of him. As he
says this he falls in front of the Kudi. The Kudi would then live the
criminal on hearing the plead from the Pukuma Kura.
His third duty is the chief treasury. When Birgima has collected the money
he takes it to the Kudi to know how much it is. From the Kudi it has to be
taken to the Pukuma Kara to check and know how much money. After he has checked
it that then the Birgima would carry it back and keep it until when it is
In the past they used to obtain money to run their government from the
sale of slaves. When they fought a war against any town and if they capture
any people they turn them into slaves. The slaves would be kept and sold at
any time and the money would be used for running the town of the government.
Pukuma Gana assists the Pukuma Kura in carrying his duties, and in his
absence he takes over the whole responsibilities of the Pukuma Kura.
The following second class title holders has to be chosen from
the clan of the ruling house. They are:
Chircma Karyo Borkuma Mokima Kadkuma
All the above five people must either be from the clan of Mele or Kapyong--
the two ruling clans. The informants give no reason for this, but just
said it was a tradition that made it to be so.
Kanawa. This title holder is in charge of strangers that came to
the town. It is his responsibility to see that every stranger is treated
well and given enough food. The expenses of doing that does not come
from him, but from the town money which is obtained from war.
Kadavir. He was the chief of police and he has the following that
assists him to carry out his duty. They are:
Kacham Lawar Ngoma Dukuma Nezawa Sompo Dalkokna
Lamji Cham Gromjom Acham Kalle Achamdurkuma
When there was a criminal the case would first of all be reported to the
Kudi and the Kudi would call the Kadavir that someone has commit a crime and
he wants see that person immediately. The Kadavir would then appoint some of
his helpers to go and bring the criminal. When his helpers heard the order
they would rush and bring the person wanted, and the Kadavir will escort
his helpers in taking the criminal to the Kudi. He has to be present
also when the Batari, the chief justice is carrying out his duty. If the
criminal is to be taken to prison he would be the one who would take him.
At public meetings or cabinet meetings the Kadavir has to be present.
He always sits at the coor or gate and every minute of the meeting he makes
sure that those in the meeting are safe from enemies or uninvited
fellows. When there was an attack from enemies he would be the first
to see it and he would report it to the congregation in general so that
they could escape from the place of meeting to go to the defense of the
Birndeka (Turaki). He is always with the Kudi. Only when the time
for going to bed comes then they would separate. He is always the key keeper.
He keeps the key of stores where weapons and tambaris are kept. I will
talk more of his role as I duscuss how they are elected into office.
Ngurkuma. He is in charge of all the animals. In times of war when
Wuyo defeated another town they (Wuyo) would carry away all their animals like
goats, sheep, horses and cows. When these are brought to Wuyo the
Ngurkuma is responsible for taking care of them.
He also see that all the cow owners of Wuyo town looks after their
cows properly in case they may spoil plants in the bush. He also instruct
the cattle owners where they should keep their herds. All the money
collected from animal tax is first of all taken to him then, it is taken to
Kacham. When the Kudi wants his sword he asks the Kacham to
Every year the Kudi beats a Tambari to count the number of years
he reign. If he beats tambari five times before his death, then he
rules for five years before his death. Let us take for example that a
ruler comes to the office in August. Next August on the data he climbed
the throne he would ask his kacham to go and bring the tambari. The kacham
would then tell the Birndeka, the key keeper, to go and bring the tambari.
When it is brought to the kacham he would take it to the Kudi. The Kudi would
then take a rope or string made of Hippopotamus's skin. He would then beat
gon-gon-gon, one, gon-gon-gon, two, gon-gon-gon, three. He would then
give the tambari back to kacham and kacham would give it Berndeka to keep it
in the store. Until next year by August would he, the Kudi, beat the
Kacham have three helpers. They are:
1. Achamniki 2. Kalambirapbi 3. Laniji
Kadabidi. He is in charge of all the horses in Wuyo town. He pays
much more attention in seeing the well being of the ruler's horses. He
trained them to be of good behaviour even among public, and knows much of
horses' character, so this gives him the privilege of choosing for the
Kudi the most humble horse and gentle among public.
He mounts, i.e. puts on, the royal saddle when the Kudi wants to
travel to Kwaya, or Biu. He has the following people that help him
especially in feeding the Kudi's horses.
Sirdik Barde Dalbieli Zaryana Acham Sirdik
Birtaku Kadala Taki.
All are soldiers. The above people which a list also walk in front of the Kudi
and some at the back. They hold spears and some keep bows and arrows.
Birndeka, the title holder I talked about on page }L has the following
people to help him do his work successfully. They are:
Kalambirapti Achamkimi Kadauirafa Acham Kalambirapti
All the above people which I listed apart from helping the Berndeka,
they are responsible for preparing food for the Kudi. Not for the Kudi
personally but for his servants and four times a year they prepare food
for the general public to eat. I will talk about the preparation of the
food in the next chapter.
Burgusai. This man is responsible for preparing drinks. He and
his helpers prepare drinks to the Duki. He has only few people to help
him, but in times of festivals he invites Birndekas people to help him.
His helpers are:
Kadabiya Birpathla Kalbong
Occupational Title Holders
1. Pukuma Bidli.
He is the leader of all blacksmiths in the whole town.
2. Pukuma Chinji.
This man is the head of all xylophone players in the town.
3. Pukuma Gunda
He is the leader of the drummers in the town. When there is a
celebration he used to beat a very big drum which is so big that about
four people carry it. Also in the pre-colonial days he used to beat
one drum called kimsim. Nowadays we do not get people who can beat kimsim.
He was the leader of horn blowers. When the Kudi wants to invite
the members of his cabinet, he would tell the kala, and the kala does
not necessary have to go to each of the title holders that formed the
cabinet, but the kala would just inform the Achama. The Achama would take
his horn and start calling the members of the cabinet one by one. When
each of them is being called they would identify who is being called and
who has not been called through the horn. He normally starts by calling
How These People are Appointed into Office
All the first class and second class title holders are appointed in
the same way. See pages ) and ) for the list of both first
and second class title holders.
Let us take for example that the Borkama has died and someone else
is needed to take up this title. Apart from the Kudi, all the title
holders are not hereditary. The members of both second and first class
title holders are appointed by Tambari and Spear. The Kudi would then tell
his information officer, the Kala that he wants to see the members of the
first and second class title holders.
Kala, the information officer would go first to the Galadima and
inform him that the Kudi wants to see him. After he has invited the
Galadima he then goes to the Mshelkala. From the Mshelkala he then goes
to Yerima. After the Yerima he then goes on to the Batari. The Kala
would then go on to invite Birma, the local administrator and Birgima. In
most cases the Birma and the Birgima and the Kala are always together
with the Kudi.
All those that were asked to come would come one by one and wait
at the gate for the rest to come. When all of them have come the Galadima
leads them inside to where the Kudi is. The Kudi will then tell them
that, since the post of Borkuma is vacant I want us to recruit another
person for this post. He, the Kudi, would ask them to think of someone
who is capable. They will give some suggestions of few names, then the
Kudi would ask them to pick one out of the few they mentioned. In most
cases the Galadima contributes the most in the selection. After they have
discussed and appointed a person, the Kudi would tell the first class holders
that they should go and imform the members of the second class title holders.
When the members of the first class title holders were with the Kudi,
the Birma, Birgima and the Kala were present, but it was customary that
they do not speak or make any suggestions. Their duty was just to listen.
When the members of the Second class title holders agreed with the
person appointed by the cabinet, then the Galadima and the Batari would go
back to the Kudi and inform him that the congress have agreed that this person
is to be the new Borkuma.
The Kudi would then order a general meeting of the whole town. They
sit in order of importance. First the members of the cabinet, secondly the
members of the second class title holders, thirdly the members of the third class
title holders, and fourthly the talaka and the rest of the congress.
When all are seated the Kacham and his helpers Achamniki, Kalambirakbi
and the Lamji would go to the Kudi to collect a Kasrum spear and the tambari
for the installation. The Kudi would inform the Birndeka to go with the key
and bring out both the tambari and kasrum spear.
These would be brought among the public and apart from those that
appointed the Barkuma everyone was thinking that who would be the new
Borkuma. The kacham would then hold the sword and start to go round the
congregation. He would go round several times and lastly would hand the
sword to the new Boruma. The kacham keeps the sword from the edge and hands
it to the Borkuma. The Galadima holds the handle and leave it, he again
hands it to him the second time and the Borkuma holds the handle. After
doing it three times, the kacham would go back and beat the tambari. Once
the tambari the newly appointed Borkuma has taken his office. He would
beat it three times. Every one leaves and rejoices for the newly
In the pre-colonial days when a title holder has been appointed
into office he takes some presents to the Kudi, for it is a symbol of
appreciation that he has appreciated his new office and he thanks the Kudi
for appointing him. The presents were goats, sheep or cow if the person
concerned is rich enough.
The Kudi having appointed someone into office has to give him a
gift. But these vary in order of importance. For example, the Galadima,
Pukuma, and Mshelkala, once they are appointed into office the Kudi
gives them hula gown, shoes and a stick.
At present all the above mentioned people when appointed each of
them gives to the Kudi N 20.
How the Kudi is Appointed
Once a Kudi is dead his death has to be kept silent until the members
of the first class title holders have met and chosen a new Kudi before his
death is announced publicly. The reason for that is if the death is
made public without the members of the cabinet meeting to choose a new ruler,
they would have lawlessness in the town. Everyone would do as he/she
likes because there is no ruler.
For example, a Kudi died, then his death would be reported to the
Galadima and the Galadima would say that his death must be kept silent.
The Galadima would tell the Kala to go and invite the following people:
Batari, Mshelkala and Yerima, plus the Galadima making four. These four
people are responsible for the election of the new ruler. Apart from these
four people the Mshelkala would bring his assistant and the Yerima would
also bring his assistant. Already the three people who attended every
sort of meeting are there. They are Birma, Birgima and the Kala. In all
the nine people would meet at the Kudi's house where they used to hold meetings.
Apart from the four people, the Galadima, Batari, Mshelkala and
Yerima, no other people speak. If the Kudi that died is from Mele clan,
then the Galadima would say, alright, since our last kudi was from the
clan of Mele, now our next Kudi has to come from the clan of Kopyong.
The Galadima continues, now Mshelkala you are the head of the Kopyong
clan and I call upon you to give us or present to us those from your
clan who you think are capable for the pst.
The Kopyong would then give or nominate two names. When the two
names are nominated the Galadima would then consider the two people and
suggests one out of the two that he thinks can fit. Normally when he
has chosen one out of the nominated ones the people agree and support
After the meeting they would then disperse and the rulers death
would be made publicly. When it is announced that the ruler has died the
Maina's would be worried about which one of them would be elected to rule.
Some of them would start going to the Galadima, Mshelkala and the Yerima to
favour them when the time for election comes, not knowing that the new
Kudi has already been elected.
After the Kudi has been buried they would be no other time wasting apart
from the installation. The Galadima would inform the Kadavir to carry on
with his job. Kadavir is responsible for the installation. All people would
be asked to come and witness the occasion. First the members of the
cabinet would sit in a row, then behind them the members of the second class
title holders, then the members of the third class title holders. Far behind
are the none-title holders and the talaka. The information officer, the
kala would inform the drummers to play a special sound played only on such
occasions. This special sound is called Gamto in Tera and Para in Bura.
The Kadavir would then carry the Partato (shield) and start to walk among
the rows of the Mainas. Each of the Maina was thinking that he may be
appointed. As the drum beats, the Kadavir goes round them and joking by
trying to give the child to each of them. When the last drum sounds,
then he, the Kadavir gives the shield to the new Kudi. The first class
title holders would then rush to surround the new Kudi. The Barwa people
would rush quick and put on the turban to the new Kudi when the turban
has been put round his head, he would be taken where the Tambari waits.
The tambari waits in a special hidden place otherwise once one of the Mainas
rushed even without being appointed and beats the tambari, he would
automatically be the ruler, so for this reason when the election is being
conducted the tambari is hidden where none of the Mainas has access to it.
When he is taken they give him a string made of hippopotamus and he
would beat the tambari three times, that counts as one, again he beats it
three times, that counts as twice, and he beats it three times again and
that counts it as the third time. After beating the Tambari, people would
rush and lift the new Kudi and put him on the shield the Kadavir has.
The Kadavir and his helpers would lift the Kudi on the shield and go round
his compound three times. The compound where all the kudi live. They go
from west, south, east and then north. After going round the house three
times, with the ruler still on the shield they would take him to the Gala-
dima's compound. Ready for him at the Galadima's house is a Birndeka and
a girl. The Birndeka serves him as a servant and the girl would serve his
wives. The following morning the Birgina the Kala and the Birma would
take off the turban and burn it. The Kudi would also change the gown
which the people put on for him on the installation and put on his personal
gown. He has to stay at the Galadima's house for seven days. For example,
if he was installed on Friday and taken to the Galadima's house, he
would go to his royal house until the next Friday.
In the olden days before the coming of Islam the people of Wuyo bury
their ruler in a traditional way. Once the death of the Kudi has been
announced the next person to be consulted was the head of all the black-
smiths of the town. His title is Pukuma Bidli. The Pukuma Bidli would
be informed to make a metal chair on which the Kudi could be buried.
The Pukuma Bidli would call on his assistants to help do the work quickly.
By the time the chair is made, the grave has already been dug. They would
carry the dead body to the grave. Every Kudi that dies would be buried
still inside the royal house. The metal chair made by Pukuma Bidli would
be placed inside the grave and the dead body would be placed on it.
After placing the dead body do not put some earth into the earth, but instead
they bring some charcoal and place it round the dead body until the grave
is full of charcoal. The use of the charcoal was the idea to preserve
the dead body of the Kudi. Apart from the Kudi no one is allowed to be
buried in such a manner.
Some celebrations which the Kudi does for his people
It was/is customary that the Kudi has to prepare some dinners, four
times annually. The purpose of these dinners was different. He, as a
Kudi, also feels that they are necessary because people would remember him
as the figure head.
The first dinner in the year is called Hzispon. It is done during
spring before people go out for planting. When the Hzispon dinner has
been called and if by God's grace there is rain the people would then start
planting. Even let us say there was rain but if this dinner has
not been called, the people would not go out to the farm. How is the
food prepared? Birndeka who serve the Kudi has got many helpers.
1. Kalambirapbi 2. Achamkimi 3. Kadavirafa
4. Achamkalambirabri 5. Kacham rafa 6. Lamui
The people I listed above would prepare food and Birngusai with
his helpers would prepare drinks. Birngusai's helpers are:
1. Kadakiya 2. Birpashla 3. Kalbong.
When all the food needed and the drinks needed have been prepared,
the Kudi would then send out invitations from the Galadima to the Talaka
of the town. The food would be served according to seniority. The
members of the cabinets have their own section, the members of the
second class title holders have their own section, the members of the
third class title holders have their own separate section, and the Talaka
of the town have their own separate section.
The second dinner is called Hzirmiahai during the time of summer,
when the early millet is ready for harvest. When this dinner has not
been called, no matter how hungry a family may be they cannot harvest
their millet. Once this dinner has been eaten, people would go out and
start harvesting. The same people prepare this dinner and it is eaten
in the same manner as the first one.
The third dinner is called Tamdiputuma in the month of December.
Tamdiputima is done purposely after every harvest and it is done in a
name of thanking God the almighty for his kindness in providing the
The fourth dinner is called Yamdikitipa and it is done in the month
of April. This dinner is done in the name of remembering the Kudi's
ancestors. It is prepared by the same people and eaten in the same
way as the first dinner.
See how the Kudi sits with his followers on pages 0oq and >os .
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Relations to Other Places
Wuyo is related to the following towns:
Kukwal, Dipa, Kwali and Zambuk plus Walama. Kwami District in Fika
Division was formerly related but, later on the people of Kwami turned to
be Bolewa. Up to now Teras play joke with the Bolewas. For example, if a
Bolewa sees a Tera man he would call him his slave, and if a Tera man
sees a Bolewa man he would call him his servant. Being that they play,
no amount of insult from one man would annoy the other. The relationship
between Dipa and Wuyo.
a. They believed that they travelled together since from Yemen to
Gabin a town near the present Garkida after settling at Garkida, there
was a man who had two children. One was a man and one was a lady. The
man was believed to be the founder of Wuyo and the woman got married to
the founder of Dipa. All the people of Wuyo were the sons of the brother
and all the people of Dipa were the sons of the woman. (They now marry
Relationship between Wuyo and Walama.
There were two aspects that brought about the relationship between
Wuyo and Walama.
a. They believed that they were formerly one group, which due to
a war in Yemen left the country. From Yemen they travelled to Egypt, from
Egypt to Birnin Ngazargamu, and from there to Gabin a town near the present
Garkida. In Gabin the group got divided into two. One group complete
West and the other group took South West. Those that took South West after
leaving Gabin travelled to Buma. From Buma they travelled to Walama. At
Walama they were some people who decided to stay back for some reasons.
The reasons were (a) they were either so tired that they cannot move forward
or (B) they want to settle and establish a town.
The second reason that the people of Walama believe that they are
related to the people of Wuyo is that the founder of Wuyo and Walama have
the same father. Since at Gabin they were born and they grew up to be men.
Their father was the leader of the group that came to Gabin and when their
father died, both the senior and junior brother want to be the head of the
Timaltu at Gabin When the two brothers realized that both of them want
to rule and since no one was ready to give it up for the other, they decided
to divide the spears called Kasrum. These spears were the symbol of an
office. They brought these spears from Yemen to Gabin and any ruler that
heads the group takes the spears and once he has taken the spears he is
automatically the ruler. When the two brothers divided the spears it means
both of them become rulers, so the people of Gabin divide themselves into
two. One group following the senior brother and one group following the
junior brother. Those that followed the senior brother founded Walama
and those that followed the junior brother founded the present Wuyo.
This story was confirmed when there was a disturbance at Deba Parpar
in Tera district. By the time of disturbance Birma Yamta was the district
head at Kwaya. The people of Deba Parpar refused to cooperate with their
district head, Birma Yamta. They refused to pay their annual dues (Tax).
Birma Yamta reported the matter to the D.O. at Biu. The D.O. sent some
soldiers to Birma Yamta and he led them to Deba Parpara, and they fought a
serious war against the people and the ruler of Deba Parpara abdicated his
throne and Birma Yamta found the Spear (Kasrum) which the two brothers
shared at Gabin. The spear was so beautiful that Birma Yamta took it and
kept it for himself. The ruler of Walama heard that his spear that he has
been looking for since is with the District head, Birma Yamta. The ruler
of Walama did not know how to approach him to receive it because he himself
does not know how the spear got into Birma Yamta's hands. So the best
thing for him even though he was worried was to keep quiet.
One day the D.O. paid a visit to the ruler of Walama. In the course
of a conversation, the ruler of Walama told the D.O. that formerly he had one
very good spear which was handed down by his forefathers. But the most
wonderful thing was that he did not know how he lost the spear and now
it is with the district head, Birma Yamta. The ruler of Walama drew the
picture of how the spear looks like and he told the D.O. that the Kudi of
Wuyo has one because they were brothers, and when their father died at
Gabin they divided the spears between themselves since both of them wanted
to rule. The D.O. on hearing this took the picture which the ruler of Walama
drew and pocketed it.
After touring Walama the D.O. came to Wuyo. He still has in mind what
the ruler of Walama told him. The D.O. asked the Kudi of Wuyo whether he
had a special spear handed down to him by his forefathers. The Kudi
said yes he has one and the D.O. says he would like to see it. When the
Kudi brought the spear the D.O. looked at it carefully and then took out
from the pocket the picture of the spear which the ruler of Walama drew.
When he saw the picture and saw the actual sword, he confirmed that the
spear which the ruler of Walama described and drew it to him-was truly his
After the D.O.'s tour of Wuyo he went to Kwaya where he met the
District head. Birma Yamta and he asked him to bring out the spear he
possessed. The District head did not deny it and so he went in and brought
out the special spear he took after defeating Deba Parpara. The D.O. got
the spear and took it to the ruler of Walama. The ruler of Walama got his
spear back and thanked the D.O. for his hospitality.
Relationship between Biu and Wuyo.
During the rule of Kudi Ladi there was a Babole who was a hunter.
This Babole was believed to have come from the present Fika Division in
North Eastern State. Since the Balewa and the people of Wuyo used to
play as I have mentioned it on page I 0 this hunter came and settled
at Wuyo. He was a very good hunter and he used to hunt all the wild
animals around Wuyo. Also he was so good that he settled among the Wuyo
and adopted himself as a Yimaltu. One day he told the Kudi that he wanted
to move East and he hopes to come back, if he did not come back his sons
or grandchildren have to come back to Wuyo. Audi the Hunter left and
travelled east until he reached Biu. When he reached Biu it was Mari Biya
who was the Kuthli of Biu. When he went to Biu he decided to settle there
and carry on with his occupation as a hunter. Sone he became famous in
hunting and Mari Biya recruited him as one of his soldiers. Soon skill
as a hunter made him to win the Emir's favour among the rest of the soldiers.
He was made the Kachella of the Emir's army. Due to his achievements the
Emir gave him his daughter to marry. Audi the hunter married the Emir's
daughter and they named him Batera. Audi also had another wife which they
bear a son. In all Audi had two sons, one from the Emir's daughter (Kwatam)
and the other from another wife.
Audi used to call the two sons and tell them that if he died and if
the Emir turns against them they should not continue to stay in Biu, but
leave and go to Wuyo where he first settled. Audi said that if you go and
tell the Kudi of Wuyo that we are the sons of (Audi) Babole the hunter he
would give you a piece of land to settle.
Not long after Audi Babole the hunter died, Betara and his brother
did not win the Emir's favour as their father had won, so they remembered
what their father used to tell them before his death.
Betara, his brother and their wives and children left Biu for Wuyo.
They reached Wuyo still in the rule of Ali Ladi, the Kudi that gave a place
to their father to settle when he first came as a hunter. When Batere
and his brother, Garga, came and asked who was the ruler of Wuyo and they
were told that it was Ali Ladi, they were pleased and knew that Ali Ladi
would do them the favour and give them land. The two brothers went to
the Kudi and spoke to him that they were the sons of Audi Babole, the
hunter, that once settled here. They told the Kudi that their father,
after leaving Wuyo went to Biu and the Emir recruited him among his soldiers.
After that he became the kachella of the whole army, but afterwards died.
But we did not win favour from the Emir as our father did. So for this
reason we left Biu because our father told us before he died that once we
did not find favour from any of the Emirs we should leave and come to Wuyo
where he first settled.
Ali Ladi sympathized with them for the loss of their father and
he promised to give them a land to settle. By then the city was full and
there was no space to build houses inside the wall. Ali Ladi ordered his
people to expand the city wall and this was done, after the expansion Ali
Ladi gave them a piece of land inside the wall and they settled.
Later on Garga, Betara's half brother left Wuyo and founded Yarda,
a town near Telli.
When Betara died the people of Biu, especially those from the royal
family from where Betera's mother came from, came to Bateras' funeral. But
when Garga the founder of Yarda died, the people of Biu did not come because
there was no relationship wat-so-ever. The sons and grandsons of Betara
used to go to Biu when there was a death in the royal family, especially
the Emir. But later on when the grandsons of Batera turned to be Tera, they
ceased going to Biu for burial of the Emirs.
Apart from Biu and in case of Batera's sons and grandchildren, no other
people of Wuyo used to go to burials and installations of rulers from other
Before the colonial rule, when Asman Danfodio fought the Sihad
Buba Yaro, one of his flag bearers was installed at Gombe. Since then
the rulers of Wuyo have been taking annual gifts to Buba Yaro. But
apart from Buba Yaro the people of Wuyo have never been a subject to
other people and have not taken any annual dues to other people.
The following towns were subjects of Wuyo and Wuyo has been
receiving annual dues from them. Gubirnde, Sakdiya, Patanibiyam, Chibra,
Bwala, Tobule and Danysitam and Daya. These towns take the annual dues
to Wuyo in form of animals. These are goats, sheep and cows. Sometimes
even slaves. Gifts like cows if one town brought one cow or one slave it
would serve, but gifts like sheep and goats must be brought in quantity
but there was no limited number.
Since the people of Wuyo reached their present site they stayed in
town walls built of mud and not stones. Still the trace of the wall could
be found and most of the present compounds are built within the trace of
the city wall.
Apart from the city wall there were two walls, one south west and
one northwest of the town to keep invaders away from reaching the city
walls. These two walls were built of stones and the stones were built to
block a passage that passes between two hills.
See the next page for the picture of the city wall .
The above diagram shows the picture of the city wall in the pre-colonial
days. I show the school and the mosque to help in knowing the position
of their present site. Theve were four main gates, and each gate has
ward or people who are closer to control the gates.
RULES OF GOING IN AND COMING OUT
In the pre-colonial days when the Fulamis constantly invade Wuyo
the rules for going in and out were followed seriously. In all they were
seven gates, but only four main ones. The three were small ones and they
were used when there was peace around. To each of the seven gates there
was a gate keeper and the gate keeper is instructed that once the sun is
about to disappear the gate keepers should close them and would not open
them again until tomorrow morning about six o'clock in the morning.
If somebody comes late when the gates are already closed, he would
shout to the gatekeeper and the gate keeper would ask his name, after
hearing his name, if he is not satisfied would ask his father's name.
If the person told the gatekeeper what his father's name was and if still
he is not satisfied would also ask his grandfather's name. If the person
is able to tell his father's name, and the gate keeper is sure then he would
open the gate to the person. The gate was made in such a way that when the
gatekeeper opens it he shuts himself between the wall and the gate. So
any one coming in may not see him. This was made purposely for the
security of the gatekeeper.
If one wants to go out in the night for a special purpose for example
hunting or looking for honey he would make arrangements with gatekeepers
of the smaller gates that he would be coming on such a time and he
should wait for him and open the gate for him to enter. When this
man comes back from the bush he would talk to the gate keeper with whom
he made arrangements and when he comes in he is expected to give some
of what he got from the bush to the gate-keeper before he passes to his
Still if someone comes and sees that the gate is locked he would
call the name of the gate keeper. Every big person is expected to know
the names of the gate keepers. When the gate keeper heard his name being
called he would say, who are you, and the person would mention his name.
But before he opens the gate to the person even he is sure of him, he has
to climb to the top of the gate where he can see the person and identify
him. After seeing the person then he would come down and open the gate.
The gate is made of a stair case at the inside part that leads to the
top of the wall. And there on the top a small room was made with a window
where the gate keeper could look through and see whether there is peace
at the gate or not.
HOW THE WALL WAS MADE
The wall was made of very thick mud and the work was done by all
the members of the village. The women bring water and men do the building.
In building a new wall all the wards work together but after finishing the
building of the wall it was divided among the three wards for the repair.
The wall was built with small holes to see through when there was
an enemy. Also the holes were made reasonable enough, not too small, but
not big so that when enemies come close the people of the town could stand by
the holes and shoot them with bows and arrows through the holes. At
each of the four main gates there was a cham where the door was placed
inside the cham. There was a stair-case that leads to the top of the
cham where the gate-keeper could climb on and see any person who is standing
outside the gate:
Also round the city wall there was a deep hole (a ditch) that runs round.
This deep hole was dug in order to prevent enemies from coming close to
the wall. There was fear that once they were opportuned to approach the
city wall they may break through, but with the use of this hole, they
cannot come close. In each of the four gates there was a very big plank
which is placed at the gate and over the hole to the ground where the
people can cross the hole to the land when going to the bush. After
everyone has come in, the large plank would be pulled inside and there
was no means of crossing the hole again. The next morning the big plank
which acts as a bridge would be placed again.
REPAIRING THE WALL
After the wall was built it was divided among the three wards
for maintenance purposes. The northern section for the Thleng, the west
and part of the south for Bonga and the east plus part of the south for
Tala. Each of these wards choose a kachella who is the head of the work.
The wall is expected to be maintained once in every three years. All
the wards do the work at the same time and everyone is expected to attend
the work. But in case of those whose farms are far away and wild life use
to disturb their crops. At the kindness of the Kachella he would exempt
these people to go and look after their farms. After these people have
harvested their crops, they would prepare drinks and take it to the kachella
and invite all the members of the ward to drink in front of the kachellas
house. He does this for the kachella's kindness for allowing him to be
absent from the work.
When the work has been going on the kachellas are expected to go
round and see whether the thickness is enough or not. Each of them have
something special which if they pierce into the wall they would know
whether the thickness is enough or not. If it is not enough he would ask
them to add more clay to make it thicker.
Apart from the war fought against the Fulani which I described
on pages \0 to __ the people of Wuyo fought other wars like raiding
for booty and recapturing a wife.
Raiding for booty (Hidahla)
Once there lived a very brave man at Bwala. He was called
Janawura, meaning the brave man. Bwala was a town south of Wuyo.
Janawura used to leave Bwala, travel north, passing Wuyo and reaching
as far north as between Dali and Wade. There he used to catch slaves
and when he has caught enough, he comes back and still passes through
Wuyo with the slaves. This has been the practice of Janawura and one
day the Kudi of Wuyo asked his officials whether they know something
about this man. Janawara, who has been coming with slaves through his
town. The Kudi's officials said yes they know who he is. He lives at
Buala a town in Wuyo territory. The Kudi was surprised to hear that Janawara
lived within his boundary, but he never take any of the slaves to him
as gift being that he is the kudi. The Kudi's officials told him that
instead of Janawara to bring you gifts he takes it to the ruler of Gusi.
The Kudi was annoyed at this and he ordered his men that they should get
prepared for war against Bwala, where Janawara lived.
They got prepared with the following weapons:
Bow and arrows, spears, swords (Jagum) or (hankal), Galambi,
shields, mail and other special drums and horns which are used only for
war. The kachella took the lead and all the soldiers marched behind.
On reaching Bwala they found that only Janawara and his followers stood to
face them. The rest of the people of Bwala gave in, willingly to follow
the people of Wuyo. Tanawara though brave and strong he was could not
resist the number of soldiers from Wuyo. Tanawara and his followers were
caught and made slaves.
CAPTURING A WIFE
There was a woman who lived in Wuyo and one day she went to Chinga to
greet her relatives. On her way back from Chinga the people of Wade
waited for her and caught her. They asked her that she was going to be
their slave. The woman resisted and said she better die than to serve as
a slave. They did all they could to carry her home but still she resisted.
So they killed her. She had two bangles round her wrist-hands. They
pulled off the bangles and took them home with them. When they reached
home they went to their ruler and narrated the story to him and they
picked out the bangles and gave them to the ruler. The ruler shared the
bangles with the Yerima.
Not knowing what happened the people of Wuyo lost their wife. They
sent messages to the ruler of Ching whether their wife is still in his
village, but he inquired and found out that the relatives she name to meet
have seen her off and they thought she has returned to Wuyo. The woman
could be found nowhere, so the people of Wuyo forgot about it.
Not long after that the people of Wade rejected their ruler. He did
nothing in particular but they wanted to install another person who they
thought was more capable. The dismissed ruler grew annoyed and he thought
of a way of making a powerful state to come and destroy Wade. Then he
remembered how his people killed one woman from Wuyo who was on her way
back from Chinga.
He then sent his messenger with the bangle to the Kudi of Wuyo.
When the messenger reached Wuyo he went to the Kudi and told him that his
master sent him to show him the bangle whether he would find out the owner.
The Kudi of Wuyo found out that this bangle belonged to woman from Wuyo
who got lost on her way from Chinya. The messenger said that his master
sent him to tell the Kudi that the woman did not get lost, but she was
robbed by the people of Wade on her way back from Chinga. The two
bangles were taken from her and he mentioned the people's names, and one
was given to me as a ruler and one is with the Yerima.
On hearing this the Kudi told his kachella that he should prepare
his soldiers for fighting a war against Wade.
The Kudi of Wuyo with his soldiers reached Wade, but they did not
go inside the town. They stayed outside at the main gate. People saw
them and reported the news to the ruler of Wade that the ruler of Wuyo is at
the gate with his people. He asked whether there was peace or not because
when the Kudi of Wuyo went to his town he used to lodge at his house. The
ruler of Wade went out of the wall and asked the ruler of Wuyo to come in.
They they went in the ruler asked the Kudi whether there was peace
and the Kudi narrated what happened to the ruler of Wade. He took out the
bangle that he has and showed it to the ruler of Wade and told him that up
to now the present Yerima has one of this bangle and the people of Wade
have to compensate for it, otherwise there could be war between them.
The ruler of Wade called his Yerima and asked him whether he has one of
the bangles. The Yerima went home and brought one bangle that looks
exactly as the other one.
The ruler of Wade took seven slaves for himself and one lady as a
wife to the person whose wife was killed. The Kudi of Wuyo received these