Monday, August 3, 2020, will be indelible to the family of Alhaji Isyaku Umar Tofa, as on this day, he is turbaned as the Makaman Bichi by the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero.
Family members, friends and well-wishers have converged at the palace of the Emir of Bichi to witness the turbaning of Alhaji Tofa as the new Makamam Bichi.
The status of Alhaji Tofa’s traditional title of Dan Adalan was recently elevated to the exalted title of Makama by the Emir of Bichi. The Makama, according to the history of the Fulani Dynasty of the Usmaniyya Empire, is among the four kingmakers in an emirate.
The genesis of the kingmakers was during the reign of Malam Ibrahim Dabo, the first Emir of Kano from the Fulani Dynasty after Shehu Usman dan Fodio’s Jihad. Several clans of the Fulani fought in the Jihad. So, Dan Fodio ordered that those who contributed more to the success of the Jihad would decide who ruled in an emirate. That was how the kingmakers were created.
The Makama came from the Fulani clan called Jobawa. The other kingmakers are Madaki, from the Yolawa clan; the Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta from the Sullubawan Tuta clan; and the Sarkin Bai from the Danbazawa clan.
The elevation of Alhaji Isyaku to the Makaman Bichi today has been perceived as a well-deserved gesture done him by Bichi Emirate, judging from the long historical success of the recipient as a civil servant, businessman and traditional leader whose subjects tag as the “voice of the voiceless”, “loved by all”, “respected by all” and “admired by all”.
Although elevated to Makama, Alhaji Isyaku will continue to be the District Head of Tofa District in Tofa Local Government Area, and playing the role of a senior member in the emirate.
The newly turbaned Makama told Daily Trust that the recent development was nothing but history repeating itself, saying, “I am one of the founders of Bichi Emirate, just the way my grandfather was one of the founders of Kano Emirate.
“I will do everything humanly possible, therefore, to protect my emirate and my subjects as well. History will remember us as its founders and we’ll do our best to see that it prospers.
“With regards to Tofa District, it remains my base. Apart from being its district head, I was born, schooled and brought up there; likewise my grandparents. So, Tofa is my home. I will continue to sustain anything I am doing to develop the area, uphold its values and take care of our people. By God’s grace this new status will be of great benefit to my subjects.”
He further said, “My only appeal to them is to cooperate with the Bichi Emirate. As a new emirate, there is need for people’s support and cooperation. People’s support is key to every leader. I hereby appeal to the people of Tofa District and Bichi Emirate in general to support the new emirate and uphold its values.”
Alhaji Isyaku was born in Tofa village on November 22, 1947. He grew up in Tofa with his parents and had his junior primary school there and later went to Gwarzo Senior Primary School in 1958.
The young Tofa was lucky as he spent only two years instead of the three normal years before he was nominated to take the examination to go to secondary school. He did very well and got admitted into the then Provisional Secondary School, Kano, which is now Rumfa College, from 1960 to 1965, when he wrote the West African School Certificate (WASC) examination. Thereafter, he stayed at Rumfa College to do his Higher School Certificate (HSC) from 1966 and 1967.
He was admitted into the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, from 1968 to 1972 and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. In 1975 he went to University in the United States, where he had a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
He joined the Kano State civil service on July 22, 1972, as an administrative officer and was posted to the state governor’s office to work with the Secretary to the Military Government (SMG) and later on he became secretary to the governor.
Tofa also worked for Alhaji Nasiru Aladi for three years as the General Manager (GM) of his company before setting up his own business in 1979, Tofa General Enterprises Limited, with just N150,000, from his savings.
The history of the family of the former Dan Adala in the stream of Fulani leadership in Tofa spans hundreds of years, and the lineage of the family spreads to Saudi Arabia and other places within and outside Nigeria. The Yolawa Fulani were said to have migrated from Adamawa and participated in the Jihad of Shehu Usman dan Fodio.
According to Alhaji Sunusi Abubakar Tofa, the Turakin Tofa, and a custodian of its history, the history of Tofa’s family dated to the Jihad, when the great grandfather of the newly appointed Makama came to Kano from Adamawa with his two sons and brother, Malam Jibrin, on their way to Sokoto to assist in the Jihad. They made a stopover in a place known today as Jahun; which is in present day Jigawa State. However, the stopover was not brief as they spent years there and as such left some members there when they proceeded to Sokoto.
History has it that one of the leaders of the Fulani from Adamawa, Malam Adamu, while in Jahun, delegated his son, Muhammadu, and his nephew, Jibril, to travel to Sokoto to assist in the Jihad because he was too old to undertake such a long journey and to participate in the Holy War. On their way, Muhammadu and Jibril went through Tofa and conquered it before reaching Kano, where they met with other Fulani and proceeded to Sokoto. It was in Sokoto that Malam Adamu’s son, Muhammadu, died and Shehu Usman dan Fodio sent a message to his father informing him of the death of his son and requested that Muhammadu’s, son, Sulaiman, be sent to Sokoto.
According to the Turakin Tofa, after the Jihad, the first Fulani Emir of Kano was Sulaiman, and that he was given a flag by Dan Fodio, with nine Fulani clans attached to him, among which was the Yolawa, to which the Dan Adala of the Fulani lineage belongs.
The Turakin Tofa further revealed that after the success of the Jihad and the conquering of Kano, portions of conquered kingdoms and other valuables were shared among the jihadists.
He said, “Our grandparents were taken to Dambatta and they spent over 12 years there before Emir Sulaiman requested them to return to Tofa to settle there. It was his choice, which incidentally happened to be the first place his father conquered during the Jihad. Our grandparents were then given the area to rule, and this was how my family came to settle and rule Tofa from that time up till today, and this was how the Fulani lineage began their sojourn as the Dan Adala in Tofa.”
Among the activities expected to hold during the turbaning ceremony, Daily Trust gathered, are performances by traditional drummers and dancers and a special mini durbar.