HISTORY OF KATSINA STATE

Katsina State is a state in the northwestern geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Katsina State was created in 1987, when it split from Kaduna State. Today, Katsina State borders Kaduna, Zamfara, Kano, and Jigawa States. Nicknamed the “Home of Hospitality”, both the state capital and the town of Daura have been described “ancient seats of Islamic culture and learning” in Nigeria.

With over 5,800,000 residents as of 2006, Katsina State is the fifth largest state in the country by population, despite the fact that it only ranks 17th out of 36 states in terms of area. Demographically, the Fulani people are the largest ethnic group in the state, and Islam is the most practiced religion. In 2005, Katsina became the fifth state in Nigeria to adopt Sharia law.

The current Governor of Katsina State is Aminu Bello Masari, a member of the All Progressives Congress and ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. The state is considered a political stronghold of Buhari, a native of Daura, who won the state in the 2019 presidential election with almost 80% of the vote.

In recent years, Katsina has been one of the Nigerian states hit hardest by terrorism. In 2020, over 300 children were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in the town of Kankara. The state is predominantly Muslim, and Gobarau Minaret is an important building. Sharia is valid in the entire state. The Church of Nigeria has a Diocese of Katsina. The Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Roman Catholic Church are fairly present in the state.

Since the inception of Katsina state, it has several tourist attractions, the following are some of them:

KUSUGU WELL

Kusugu well is located in the ancient town of Daura. The well is of great historical importance to the Hausa people because of its link with establishment of the Saurata system in Hausaland.

According to historical tradition, Kusugu well was discovered in the 7th century during the reign of Queen Daurama who was said to have shifted the capital of Daura Kingdom from Tsohon Birni to the present Daura town as a result of the new found source of water (i.e. Kusugu Well). However, it happened that the well, which was the only source of water for the people in those days was occupied by a dangerous which denied across to the water except on Fridays.

The people of Daura continued to live with the water problem until Bayajidda, the son of Abdullahi the ruler of Baghdad, visited the town. Following strife with his father Bayajidda set for the west with some of his brothers. He later arrived and stayed briefly in Borno where he married Magira the daughter of the ‘Mai of Borno’. He later left Borno and continued his journey westwards and reached Dala hills in Kano where the pagan blacksmiths made a knife for him. He continued his journey northwards until he arrived Daura late in the night. On entering the city, Bayajidda sought water for his horse. However, he was informed that water was available only on Fridays owing to the snake in the well. Bayajidda then asked the way to the well. When he reached there, he put the calabash into the well. The snake seized it and threatened to kill him. He then pulled the snake to the surface and cut its head with his sword.

The following day the town people became amazed when they found the body of the dead snake beside the well. News of the event reached Daurama who quickly sent for Bayajidda. Bayajidda came along with the head of the snake. She told him that she had promised to give half of the town to the man who killed the snake. But he replied that he prefer to marry her rather than being given half of the town. Daurama accepted and the two got married. Daurama later give birth to a male child who was named Bawo.

At present, Kusugu well is preserve as a historical site and monument. Many tourists from within and outside the Country visit it. The sword and the knife which Bayajidda used in killing the snake and the royal drums of his wife Magajiya form part of the royal regalia of Daura, and are preserved in the palace of the Emir. The water in Kusugu has never dried up, and believed to cure many ailments.

GOBARAU MINARET

Located in Katsina City. It is part of a mosque built in the late 14th century. The mosque is attributed to the introduction and spread of Islam in Hausaland.

The Gobarau minaret is part of a mosque which was built in Katsina in the fifteenth century during the reign of Sarkin (King) Katsina Muhammadu Korau (1445–1495 AD) – the first Muslim king of Katsina. Other sources suggest that it was built between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, with a major reconstruction taking place in the early twentieth century.

The mosque’s origin is attributed to the efforts of the influential Islamic scholar Sheikh Muhammad Abdulkarim Almaghili and Muhammadu Korau. Almaghili was from the town of Tlemcen in present-day Algeria and taught for a while in Katsina when he visited the town in the late fifteenth century during the reign of Muhammadu Korau. He and Korau discussed the idea of building a mosque to serve as a centre for spiritual and intellectual activities. The Gobarau mosque was designed and built to reflect the Timbuktu-style of architecture. It became an important centre for learning, attracting scholars and students from far and wide, and later served as a kind of university.

Another popular myth about its origin states that when Muhammadu Korau slew Jibda-Yaki Sanau, the last pagan king of Katsina, he wished to construct a mosque to celebrate his victory. When the site was selected, there arose a problem about the Qiblah – where the mosque must face. Korau consulted Muslim scholars of the time and all agreed, except one, Mallam Jodoma, that the new mosque must face a certain direction. After much argument, with the majority of the scholars trying to persuade the king to accept their decision, an angry Jodoma pointed his staff in the direction of his choosing and there appeared the Ka’abah – the Muslim holy stone. This convinced the king and he made Jodoma his first chief imam. However, he was eventually banished after the other scholars convinced the king that Jodoma sought his throne. Jodoma settled at Guga, a village in the present-day Bakori LGA of Katsina State, where he died.

The minaret, said to have originally been some 120 meters tall, is all that remains of the mosque constructed in Habe times (pre- Islamic times) before the Fulani jihad of Usman Dan Fodio. It was originally built to serve as the central mosque of Katsina town but was later used as a school. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, Katsina had become a very important commercial and academic centre in Hausaland, and the Gobarau mosque had grown into a famed institution of higher Islamic education. Gobarau continued to be Katsina’s central mosque until the beginning of the twentieth century, when Sarkin Ummarun Dallaji (1906–1944) built a new mosque, which was later demolished by Muhammadu Dikko, who built the famous Masallacin Dutsi, which is still used up to this day. The mosque and tower were renovated most recently by Sarkin Muhammadu Kabir Usman (1981–2008). The Gobarau minaret is located within the Gobarau quarters along old Market Road in the Katsina LGA. The Gobarau Primary School lies to its south, and to its north are residential buildings. It is about five minutes’ walk away from the seat of the Katsina Emirate.

The minaret has become a major source of attractions over the years.  Researchers from within and outside Nigeria troop to there to see the historic legacy left behind by its architects. According to the visitors’ book at Gobarau minaret, researchers, students and even lecturers from Germany, England, America, Argentina, Sudan, Morocco, Canada, Ghana, and Cameroon among other countries, visit the site regularly.

OLD KATSINA COLLEGE

Opened in 1921, the Old Training College in Katsina was built with red-baked city mud and clay. It is the oldest teacher-training college in Northern Nigeria. The college counts Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello among its graduates. It was declared a Historic Monument on April 23, 1959.

Located in Katsina City. It was the first Institution of higher learning in Northern Nigeria.

EMIR’S PALACE KATSINA

The palaces which were constructed with traditional building materials, depict northern Nigeria’s traditional architectural designs dated as far back as the early 19th Century.Dating back to the early 19th century, the palaces of the Emir of Katsina and the Emir of Daura are sights to behold today. The ancient architectural designs of the palace structures make them a tourist attraction to many visitors, and several tourists can’t do without taking pictures of them or asking questions about their history.

The Katsina Royal Palace or the Emir’s Palace, which is popularly referred to as Gidan Korau by the locals, is a masterpiece of Hausa architecture, symbolizing the culture, history and tradition of Katsinawa.The imposing complex located at the centre of the city is believed to have been built in 1348 by Muhammadu Korau, the first Muslim Emir of Katsina. It is also believed to be one of the oldest and among the first generation palaces in Hausaland, the others are that of Daura, Kano and Zazzau.In the olden days the palace was encircled with a rampart (ganuwar gidan sarki) but that is now extinct.

“The Emir’s residential quarters, which is the epicenter of the palace, is a large compound built in the typical Hausa traditional architecture. The buildings are made of conical-shaped and sun-dried clay bricks (tubali) mud (kwababbiyar kasa) and rafters (kyami).“The wall of the house is about 90 centimetres at the base. It is enforced with high quality clay mixed with cow dung and grass. A mixture of red soil (jangargari), colorants obtained from the empty pod of locust bean tree (makuba) and loda, a plant fluid extracted after pounding the leaves was used to adorn the outer walls and the interior of the rooms with beautiful artistic designs.

The mixture also serves as protective plaster. This explains why the buildings have withstood the effects of harsh weather for many centuries,” the book explained. The royal compound is divided into three sections; the living quarters of the Emir and his family which is called Soro and Barga, the yard where the Emir’s stable is located, where his servants and slaves also live. In addition, there is the Gidan Ganye, where the royal garden and the Emir’s guest house are located.

The magnificent palace also has a clinic, a mosque and children’s playground. Attached to the Babban Zaure the reception area, is the Emir’s inner chamber in which he sits with his senior councilors to receive state officials and other important people. At the north-west end of the compound is the old council chamber (Tsohuwar Majalisa), which was built by Emir Dikko (1906-1944).

Adjoining this building to the south is the new council chambers (Sabuwar M ajalisa) which was built by Sir Usman Nagogo (1944-1951). The imposing Emir’s Palace is not only a splendid piece of architecture which enthralls tourists, it is a symbol of Islamic authority, a legacy of traditional Hausa architecture and an enduring monument of organized society.

EMIR PALACE DAURA

The Palace of Emir of Daura is a beautiful edifice located at the centre of the town, built by Magajiya Daurama shortly after she moved the Capital of the Kingdom from Tsohon Birni (Old City) to the present Daura city. The Palace was constructed in the typical Hausa architecture, using sun-baked bricks, mud, local rafters known as ‘Azara’, and a colorant, ‘Makuba’. The Palace contains large ‘Zaure’ (main entrance) and several inner apartments or chambers.

KATSINA CITY GATE


Katsina city gate is a tourist attraction because of the wall that surrounds it with its seven different gates. The wall was built about 900 years ago during the reign of King Murabus. The ancient seven gates of the city wall continue to fascinate visitors to the town, and something that faraway tourists have heard about and wish to see.

The city wall called Ganuwar Birnin Katsina, the remains of which could still be seen in some places around the city, was build in the 15th century. Based on the oral information, construction was started during the reign of Sarkin Katsina Ali Murabus (1436 – 1462) and was completed by Sarkin Katsina Ibrahim Maje        (1531 – 1590). The pattern of walling was prevalent and the same all over Hausa land, so Katsina is no exception. The wall was built with mud and burn bricks (Tubali). Water for the construction of the walls was obtained from the nearby streams. The height probably reached up to 50 feet and 25 feet deep. The ditch was occasionally filled with thorn brushes to impede the movement of enemy troops attempting assaults.

The city walls were constructed by well organized societies that could mobilize enough man power to undertake such demand task. This was so because most of the work from the beginning to the end was manual and the mass of material needed much hand work. The size and elaborateness of the walls therefore depended on the size of the population under the control of the King and his eligibility and power to mobilize those all over his Kingdom for the work. Materials for the city walls construction differed from one area to another and from time to time.

NATIONAL MUSEUM KATSINA

This museum was established in 1921 and it was located within the premises of the Old Katsina Training College. It was declared a Historical Monument and a national museum in 1989. It houses various archaeological artifacts from all over the state and throughout the northern states of Nigeria.

The artifacts reveals the history of northern states from the 13th Century AD till the present time. On display are collections of artifacts donated to the Museums by the Emirate Councils of Katsina and Daura such as royal regalia, traditional war and music instruments. Other items on display are war objects, house-hold items such as stools, mortar and pestle, raffia works, garments and accessories. Very prominent were portraits of ancient rulers of Katsina from Janzamo to Rumba-Rumba to Batare-Tare, from Karau to Dikko and to the present time.

JIBIA HOLIDAY RESORT OR NEW CHAMA RECREATIONAL PARK

Jibia holiday resort is a place to feed your eyes with ancient rocks and prehistoric painting on caves. It is located in Birnin Kudu, Katsina state. The rock paintings tell the story of the early settlers in the area, and the artistic abilities of the ancient people that first dwelt in the region.

The Jibia Holiday Resort also known as the New Chama Recreational Park is located in Jibia city of Katsina state. It is a panoramic site to view ancient rocks and prehistoric portrayals on caves. The resort or recreational park is a serene garden with various games courts such as Volleyball, basketball, soccer, Ping-Pong, and a scenic view of a soothing dam with white sand. It is a park to unwind from the hustle and bustle of towns.

Despite the lingering security threat, Jibia holiday resort is still one of the nicest places to visit in Katsina.

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