Kano State is located in North-Western Nigeria and created on May 27, 1967, from the old Northern Region. It is bordered to the north-west by Katsina State and to the north-east by Jigawa State, then to the south-east by Bauchi State and the south-west by Kaduna State. Jigawa State was carved out of Kano State in 1991.
Kano had about 10 million people according to the 2006 census figures, and 44 local government areas.
Kano City is the capital of Kano State. The capital comprises six local government areas: Municipal, Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Fagge and Tarauni.
Centre of Commerce is the slogan or epithet of the state. It is true, because the state was the most enterprising in pre-colonial times, and presently only second to Lagos.
According to Bayajidda legend, the Hausa kingdom began as seven states founded by the six sons of Bawo and himself, the unique son of the hero and the queen Magajiya Daurama in addition to the hero's son, Biram or Ibrahim of an earlier Marriage. The States include only kingdoms inhabited by Hausa speakers
- Zaria (Zazzau)
- Biram (Hadejia)
Daura is the second major town after Katsina in Katsina State. It is also popular because it is the home town of Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
I have just a day to explore Katsina for the Durbar Festival which I primarily came to document is the following day and I leave for Kano after the parade. After lodging at the hotel and going out to get a few things, I stayed put in my hotel room while making arrangement for going round the following day. My host in Katsina, Abdulkaque had to go to work the following day.
The morning started with me trying to get across to the keke guy that will take me around town. On inquiring at the desk the distance between Katsina and Daura I decided to hire a cab that will take me around town and then we will go to Daura. Arrangements was made for me by the hotel manager and I got a cab driver/guide that speaks good English and Hausa. This was a big plus for me as I have discovered that you need to understand a bit of Hausa to be able to communicate effectively. After going round Katsina as pointed out in this guide, we set out to Daura.
The trip to Daura is almost two hours and the different views along the way was quite interesting.
Daura is a town and also a local government area in Katsina State. It is said to be the spiritual home of the Hausa people having been the ancient seats of Islamic culture and learning.. It is the second emirate in Katsina State, and is referred to as one of the 'seven true Hausa State' i.e. 'Hausa Bakwai'.
The seven true Hausa States are Biram, Kano, Katsina, Zazzau, Gobir, Rano and Daura, which are ruled by the descendants of Bayajidda's sons with Daurama (the last Kabara of Daura) and Magira (his first wife).
Katsina is a historic kingdom and emirate in northern Nigeria. According to tradition, the kingdom, one of the Hausa Bakwai (“Seven True Hausa States”), was founded in the 10th or 11th century. Islām was introduced in the 1450s, and Muhammad Korau (reigned late 15th century) was Katsina’s first Muslim king. During his reign camel caravans crossed the Sahara from Ghudāmis (Ghadames), Tripoli, and Tunis southward to Katsina and brought such prosperity to the state that it became caught in the rivalry between the great West African empires of Songhai (Gao) and Bornu. In 1513 Katsina was conquered by the Songhai.
Katsina entered its greatest period of prosperity in the early 18th century. Besides being the leading Hausa commercial state, it replaced Timbuktu (Tombouctou) as the chief West African centre of Islāmic studies.
In the 15th century the Fulani herdsmen settled in Katsina and in 1804 the Fulani jihad (holy war) leader, Usman dan Fodio, led a revolt (beginning in Gobir) against the Hausa overlords. The Fulani leader Umaru Dallaji captured Katsina town in 1806 and was named the first Katsina emir with Katsina as his seat.
I set out for Katsina from Kaduna. I left Kaduna the day before Sallah and I have to say that was a wrong move. I got to the garage and there was this huge Crowd of people but there was no free bus, the passengers far outweigh the buses.
My friend interacted with one of the park guide and ask him to get a cab to take me to Katsina. I had to charter a cab to take me to Katsina. When traveling please be aware of the holidays, do make sure it is not a big holiday season.
I finally got into town and met with a friend of a friend who lives in Katsina. He was quite calm, and we went hotel hunting, I finally got one and I settled in. The following morning, armed with my list of places to visit, I asked for a cab. I got a good driver that was patient, speaks English and Hausa which was really cool. We set out on our adventure for the day.
The day trip was divided into two, Katsina and Daura. These are places you need to visit when you are in Katsina.
KATSINA CITY GATES: There are seven city gates in Katsina. Security is the most important function of the wall in the city, especially in areas where there are rich mineral deposits. The pattern of the walls are same throughout the Hausaland, mud and burnt bricks with water obtained from nearby streams were used for constructing the walls.
As modernization became the IN thing, the wallls were rebuilt with bricks and concretes except for one which is still in mud shape.
The gates are namely, Kofar Durbi, Kofar Marusa, Kofar Guga, Kofar Kwaya, Kofar Sauri, Kofar Kaura and monumental gate called Kofar ‘Yandaka where Sir Fredrick Lord Luggard the then Governor–General of Nigeria entered Katsina through in the year 1903.
The city of Kaduna is the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria. It is a trade centre and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agricultural areas with its rail and road junction.
According to history, Kaduna was founded by the British in 1913, became the capital of Nigeria's former Northern Region in 1917 till 1967.
Sir Frederick Lugard was the first British governor of Northern Nigeria and he was the one who chose the present site of Kaduna due to it's proximity to the Lagos-Kano railway.
Kaduna has grown to become one of the major cities in the Northern Region and it's followed by Zaria which has the prominent Ahmadu Bello University campuses and is home to the Emir of Zazzau.
If you find yourself in Kaduna, here are a few things to do in Kaduna.
NOK MUSEUM: This is situated in the famous NOK town which is in Southern Kaduna. It is where the famous Terracotta heads were first discovered.
MATSIRGA WATERFALLS: This waterfall is situated in Madakiya area, not far from Kafanchan, which also is in Southern Kaduna.
The source of this beautiful waterfall is said to be from the springs on the Kagoro Hills, which is not far from the waterfall. The springs form four different natural funnels from which the water cascade off the sheer rock cliff about 30 metres to form a large pool at the bottom.
During the rainy season you can not get close to the waterfall but you can move closer during the dry season.
On arriving Kaduna by train via Rigasa, I took a cab to town to meet up with a friend.
After a while we set about looking for a hotel for my stay. I can hear you asking why I didn't book a hotel online before leaving Lagos.
As part of my safety plans I prefer a local telling me the safest part of town to stay, that is where I will book a room. I am not familiar with Kaduna, so it's better to rely on the expertise of a resident.
We went to about two hotels, mind you I was on a budget, but I did not like any of the place. Then my friend remembered that the Air Force has a guest house. So we went there to check it out. So there is a hack when you stay in the Command or Air Force Guest House. If your friend or relative is an officer with proof of identity, you get a discount. The place is secure, right in the middle of town, with okay amenities (I am still on a budget here).
That settled, I got down to organising a guide and ride for my trips. As usual I do have a list which i showed to my friend. Arrangements was made for the following morning.
My ride came around the following morning and there was an issue. My driver do not speak a word of English, and his colleague was able to pass but not enough to have a conversation.
My trips were in Northern Kaduna, Southern Kaduna and Kaduna town itself.
So we started off with Southern Kaduna which is the Nok Museum and the Matsirga waterfall.
It was about two hours and thirty minutes drive to Nok junction, we asked for direction to the museum. It started raining heavily as we got to the museum and luckily for us we met Mr John Fom, the assistant chief protection officer. His duties includes protecting and preservation of the cultural artifacts that are left, ensuring the safety of museum visitors and preserve the buildings. We got talking and he told me about the history of the museum and the Nok culture after which he then took us into the gallery to see the pictures depicting the story of the Terracotta.
The northern part of Nigeria has one of the if not the most beautiful landscape views, I will keep saying this.
On taking account of States visited in Nigeria, the Northern part and some part of the South-East are yet to be covered fully in my travel diary.
So i set forth on planning my trip. After a long project that took about two months, I was set on a break for a while. I looked at the calendar and decided some days before Sallah will be great. Covering the Durbar festival in Kano this year was high on the list. I set out for Abuja from Lagos, had a sleepover and head out for the train station in Idu.
I went online to check the schedule for the train ride to Kaduna from Abuja. I did not want to leave with the first train so i opted for the second trip. You can check the train schedule at http://nrc.gov.ng/ to know the station, departure and arrival time as well as fare.
The website is fair to navigate but there is room for improvement.
I arrived at the train station with the aim of getting a first class ticket but I was told it's fully booked. So I paid for coach which cost N1,300, while first class is N3,000. Your ticket has your seat number like in the plane as well as your coach number. You can not just sit in any coach you have to follow the procedure.
Visiting the northern part of Nigeria is high up on my list when I made my travel list for the year. Yes, I always make travel list which comprises of festivals, States, Cities, Countries I want to visit in the year and then the struggle to achieve them sets in.
I am always conscious of places I am not conversant with especially when language barrier is key. The northern part of Nigeria has some of the if not most beautiful landscape scenes i have seen so far in my traveling the country.
On my list was capturing the big Durbar in Kano this year. It is said that Kano holds the largest and biggest Durbar gathering in the whole north. So i set out to cover three States in 10 days. The States were Kaduna, Katsina and Kano.
I am a list person whenever I am traveling, this has always helped me with achieving my trips. Before I left Lagos I had mapped out my list for the three States, and gotten associates that will help me over there especially with translation.
There are three castles in Ghana and several forts along the coast of Ghana and were built by Europeans and were all used for trans-atlantic slave trade.
The first of the castle is the Elmina castle. It is built around 1482 by Portuguese, under the Leadership of São Jorge da Mina. The second one is the Osu castle in Accra. It used to be the seat of the government of Ghana. It was built in 1661 by the Danish. The last and the youngest castle us the one in Cape Coast, which was built in 1665 by the British. By age, the Cape Coast is the youngest castle.
The cape coast castle was built when Slave Trade was at its peak. When built, a dungeon has the capacity to take a thousand men, separated from 300 women at a particular time. The slaves were held in the castle for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of three months depending on the availability of the British ships to take the cargo away.
This history is never told to pass judgement. It is never told to pass accusing fingers at a friend, No. It is never told to open old wounds or to remember the sufferings that our forefathers went through. But it's simply told to educate one another. The history is told because of education.
These were the words of my guide in Elmina Castle, Elmina Town in Ghana. The history of the trans-Atlantic Trade is not complete without visiting Ghana. Ghana has three castles and many forts that were dedicated to the Slave Trade. The castles are Elmina, Cape Coast and Osu in Accra.
This story is a bit touchy to write because it was not a pleasant one but it is a story that must be told to help us question how we live with ourselves everyday.
Driving into Elmina one can not but notice the coastal line on both sides of the road and on entering the town, the history is evident with some of the old architectural buildings that lined some part of the streets and also the main occupation of the people of the town, Fishing.
Elmina castle is a hot tourism spot and is not far from the Elmina fish market which also serves as the major market. It has all the trappings of people trying to sell you something once you are spotted. One cannot dismiss the colourful array of fishing boats that are at the pier nor dismiss the smell of fish that fill your nostrils.
You have to cross a sort of gangway that is above a big gutter to get to the doorway of the castle. Payment of 30GHC is paid at the gate as a foreigner, mind you identification is very important at these places if you are to pay the local price.
I was asked to join a group and a tour guide was assigned to us. About two other tours were ongoing but it was seamlessly done in such a way that teh tours do not affect each other. Our tour guide introduced himself and the tour began.