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Martin Z. Njeuma
Fulani Hegemony In Yola (Old Adamawa) 1809-1902

Langaa Research & Publishing CIG. Mankon, Bamenda. 2012. xxxv, 276 p.

Fulani Hegemony In Yola (Old Adamawa)

Preface and Acknowledgements

The present study is a shortened version of my Ph.D. thesis, The Rise and Fall of Fulani Rule in Adamawa, 1809-1901. It focuses on Fulani rule at Yola in the nineteenth century, its origins, how it developed, its principal characteristics and how under pressure from late nineteenth century European imperialism, Yola's hegemony over the emirate was overthrown militarily by European powers acting in “friendly concert”. The purpose of the study is to look at the Fulani within a political context as rulers who were responsible for founding the emirate and for taking much of the political initiative in the entire emirate throughout the nineteenth century. In a wider context the study is situated in the field of government and politics in the pre-colonial Sokoto Empire, the largest single political entity in nineteenth century Western Sudan.

There are three principal sections:

The first section, the rise of the Fulani to power, has been studied in two parts—the origins of the jihad and the campaigns against the non-Muslim peoples north and south of the Benue.
Part one demonstrates that Adamawa jihad was a part of Uthman's jihad in Hausaland, although the socio-political conditions in Hausaland and Adamawa were very different prior to the jihad.
It provides a rather theoretical explanation for the jihad based on Arabic texts either written by Uthman himself or by other scholars like Muhammad Bello and Abdullah, son and brother of Uthman dan Fodio respectively.
The second part describes the major military campaigns during and after Adama's life time. Here some of the earlier theoretical statements are substantiated by specific events. The nature and characteristics of the jihad are analysed from both Fulani and non-Fulani points of view.
Despite rivalry and conflicting aims of some of the jihad leaders a central administration for the emirate, located first at Gurin, and then later at Yola, emerged. This forms the subject of the second section — the emergence and evolution of the central government. The chief sources remain oral tradition, works of Sokoto scholars, and contemporary observations of European visitors to Adamawa, especially Earth's account of his visit to Yola in 1851.
An important feature of this second is the attempt to compare administrative developments in Adamawa with those in Hausaland. Special attention is paid to the political institutions, the judiciary, Bero and tribute systems, which made for integration of the diverse elements under the authority of the central government.

Also explained is the nature of the relaoonship between Yola and Sokoto on the one hand, and Yola and its distincts on the other hand. The statutory relation between Yola and Sokoto wavered between two extremes namely, total moral dependence on Sokoto and total freedom of the Lamiɓe at Yola to pursue their interests without recourse to special help or instruction from Sokoto. In all this, distance and the personal relationship between the rulers at Yola and Sokoto were crucial. Yola's sway over the districts was backed more by the force of tradition than by physical force. Yola's rulers were greatly respected and the town of Yola was the Holy City in Adamawa supported by tribute from all corners of the emirate. All was not a bed of roses in the administration; the occasion for choosing a new Lamiɗo often reflected serious cleavages based either on personality confltct or on the vexed question of a new orientation for the jihad away from military campaigns. The cleavages among the ruling group are examined and the constitutional effects on the government and politics of the day analysed in the chapter entitled, “The rise of the second estate”, it being understood that the Lamiɗo constituted the first estate, the Lamido's councillors and influential malams, the second estate, and the mass of the people, the third estate.

The third and final section of the study concerns the coming of Europeans, their impact on trade and politics leading to invasion of the emirate. Here the European archives have been the principal sources. However, with the aid of an equally large body of oral tradition, it was possible to keep the Fulani as the chief actors. Europeans

The various stages are examined, using as essential background, the contemporary commercial and political problems of Yola's rulers — Adama, Lauwal, Sand and Zubeiru. Also important in this section is an attempt to highlight the factors in European Imperialism, for example, the imperialist's use of one local power base to destroy another (the popular divide and rule tactics) for the benefit of European Imperialism. By describing Fulani reactions to self-seeking European overtures, the virtues as well as the weaknesses of Fulani power and diplomacy are highlighted. This section ends with European campaigns against the emirate. It demonstrates that one of the chief explanations for the fall of Fulani rule is locked in a traditional political setup of the emirate, which emphasized too much on vertical relations between the districts with Yola and on no substantial collateral relations among the districts themselves. This situation left the way wide open for the enemies to penetrate easily and impose themselves on the emirate's power structures piecemeal.

I wish to register my profound gratitude to the several people and institutions without whose assistance this work would not have seen the light of day.
Firstly, the members of the School of Oriental and African Studies African History Graduate Seminar (1964-69) under the experienced and able Chairmanship of Professor Roland Oliver. This Seminar articulated many of my perceptions about African History and in fact helped define the broad approach to the study of African History which consisted in laying importance on European as well as local African source material. The Seminar met weekly to discuss research papers by graduate students as well as by eminent scholars on all aspects of African History.
Dr. H.J. Fisher had the painful duty to supervise the preparation of the thesis on which this book is based. He remained throughout a great source of inspiration.
Professor A.H.M. Kirk-Greene read the original thesis and made several corrections and criticisms and advised on guidelines for publication.
D. Jones read the chapters on European competition and on the overthrow of Fulani hegemony. His criticisms were often biting, but a great eye opener. His advice on bibliography, like that of D.W. Arnott, J. Wansborogh and J. Carnochan, all of the School or Oriental and African Studies, have added much to the analytical quality of this work. In some specific cases, attention has been drawn in the footnotes to their individual contributions.
Professor Brunschwig also read the thesis and offered useful observations.

In Nigeria my field studies were much facilitated by H.F.C. Smith, D.M. Last, J. Ballard, MA. al Hajj, Alhaji Junaidu, Waziri Sokoto and Alhaji Garba Saidu.
I. Mukoshy located some, and translated many Arabic documents into English for me.
P.F. Lacroix, J.C. Froelich, J.P. Lebeuf, J. Lestringant gave me assistance with the sources in French archives, while Professors E. Haberfand, Braukamper, Liesegang and the entire staff of the Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt, West Germany, helped with the German archives.
I spent a total of eleven months (1966-67) at Yola and parts of Adamawa on field studies. In addition to the list of informants given in the bibliography, I enjoyed the most generous hospitality of Eldridge Mohamadou, H.J. Mayssal, Tanyi Mbuagbaw in Cameroon and in Nigeria that of the Lamiɗo of Adamawa, Aliyu ibn Mustafa (peace and prosperity), Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Galadima Aminu, Alhaji Bakari Jimeta, Muhammadu Song, Alhaji Bashiru and Usumanu Mayo-Belwa who also initiated me into the codes of pulaaku.
The years 1966 and 1967 were particularly turbulent years in the history of Nigeria.
Without the kindness and personal interest which these men showed in my studies, it would not at all have been possible for me to carry out field studies so extensively. There are many others whose names have not been listed here but whose help I shall never forget. To all of them, I am very grateful.

Finally, special thanks also go to the Cameroon Government for a very generous scholarship for a continuous period of ten years through sixth form at King's College, Lagos, and under graduate and graduate studies at the Universities of Ghana and London respectively; to the University of Yaounde for a grant towards this publication; and to the staff of the various Archives and Libraries (see list in bibliography) in which I consulted documents. Last, but not the least, to my wife, daughters and extended family who, despite my several absences from home, held on so beautiful that I owe them an eternal gratitude which words cannot express.

Martin Z. Njeuma
September 1974