Today’s edition of our community survey would guide us through a peek into life in Sokoto town, a community located in the north-western part of Nigeria in Sokoto state.
The name ‘Sokoto’ is the modern version of the local implication, ‘Sakkwato’ which is of Arabic origin meaning suk, i.e ‘market’. It is also referred to as Sakkwato, Birnin Shaihu da Bello or ‘Sokoto, Capital of Shaihu and Bello’.
The community is regarded as the seat of the Sokoto Caliphate and the prevalent religion in these parts is Islam, thus making the city an important seat of Islamic learning in Nigeria. The Sultan of Sokoto who heads the caliphate is thus, viewed as the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims.
EARLY HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF SOKOTO COMMUNITY
As of early October 1804, the community was used by Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodiyo as the venue for the meeting with Galadima, Yunfa’s Vizier. Subsequently, it became the point for staging attack by Muhammad Bello on Dufua in the spring of 1806. It was later suggested that the area may have been known as Sokoto as early as the seventeenth century. In further historical edifice, Sokoto was founded as a ribat (military camp) in 1809, when Shehu Usmanu was at Sifawa. After Shehu’s death, it became the capital of the caliphate which is known today as Sokoto state.
Before the arrival of the Fulanis, the community’s concept had evolved in cue with Hausa land. During this process some of the Hausa communities scattered over a wide area, had regrouped themselves into major units that are referred to as kingdoms. Some of the emergent kingdoms include Kebbi, Zamfara and Gobir, all forming part of Sokoto State initially.
For purposes of vital identification, the people in each kingdom had distinct names by which they are referred to, e.g. people in Kebbi kingdom were known as Kabawa. Not only that, at a later stage people in each kingdom started to wear distinguishable tribal marks which were unique to them.
Fulani rule under the leadership of Usman Dan Fodio started with the Jihad in the early years of the 19th Century. By 1809, most of Hausa kingdoms were toppled and replaced with Islamic Governments under a unified administration whose headquarters was at Sokoto. This continued up to the arrival of the British. The Sultanate of Sokoto was founded in 1804 when the Fulani nomads, headed by Usman dan Fodio (1754 – 1817), a religious leader, revolted against their hausa overlords and took power. Their movement extended all around the community and its environs, of what was to become Northern Nigeria and Northern Cameroon today.
Community Condition/Means Of Earning
Agriculture is the community’s predominant means of income in the Nigerian economy. The indigenes produce such food and crops crops like millet, guinea corn, maize, rice, potatoes, cassava, groundnuts and beans for consumption and produce wheat, cotton and vegetables for cash.
Local crafts such as blacksmithing, weaving, dyeing, carving and leather works also play an important role in the economic life of the people of Sokoto. As a result, different areas like Makera, Marina, Takalmawa and Majema; which are most notable for these became important undoubtedly.
Also, Sokoto is also one of the fish producing areas of the country. Thus a large number of people along the river basin engage in fishing as well. They are equally well blessed with natural and mineral resources. Agro allied industries using cotton, groundnut, sorghum, gum, maize, rice, wheat sugar cane, cassava, gum Arabic and tobacco as raw materials can be established in the area so as to aid easy access to these.
As a result of the irrigation water from Goronyo Dam, Lugu, Kalmalo, Wammakko and Kwakwazo lakes among others, large scale farming can also be practiced in these parts, using these dams as a means of viable water supply.
Earth minerals such as kaolin, gypsum, limestone, laterite, red mills, phosphate both yellow and green, shade clay, sand etc., are available in commercial quantities. Mineral based industries using these raw materials could be established in the state too.
Their is absence of the dreaded tse-tse fly on the open grassland which benefits both wild life and domestic animals. Sokoto ranks second in livestock production in the country’s animal population of well over eight million. The availability of these economic potentials provides good investment opportunities, particularly in agro-allied industries such as flour mills, tomatoes processing, sugar refining, textiles, glue, tanning, fish canning among others.
Their Culture And Lifestyle
In terms of culture, the community is homogeneous in the sense that the people of the state are Muslims and the doctrines of the Islamic religion provides them with a code of conduct and mode of behavior.
Their system of dressing is also of Islamic origin. The two major festivals they observe namely, Eid-el-Fitri and Eid-el-Kabir are celebrated all over the Sokoto state every year. The former marks the end of the Ramadan fast, while the latter features the slaughtering of rams in commemoration of an act of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).
Traditional wrestling (Kokawa) and boxing (Dambe) are the two sports enjoyed by the Hausa while the Fulani and the Sullubawa tribe entertain themselves with Sharo and Doro respectively. Important visitors to the state are usually treated to the grand or mini durbar, an event involving the parade of heavily decorated horses and camels mounted by men in full traditional military and cultural regalia.
It is equally worth noting that this community has an estimated population of 2.5 million according to respected sources.
Also, Apart from the Hausa and Fulani tribes who are both prevalent in these parts, there are also the Zambarmawa and Tuareg minorities. All these people speak Hausa as their common languag while Fulfude is spoken by the Fulanis.
Thanks a million for the time devoted to going through every bit of this article. The next part which be brought to you in no distant future would now focus mainly on the community rulers and their religious custodians, their electricity status and the ways in which improvements can be achieved in the community.