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Re: History of Share-Tsaragi and the Igbomina of Northern Yorubaland by SHAReC -------continuation

6.    Igbomina, Foundation of Share and the Title of Olupako

The pre-colonial history of the Yoruba has attracted attention from academically trained Historians and others over the years. Similarly, the History of Igbomina has received considerable scholarly attention [5], [9], [15] – [17]. None of them concluded that the entire Igbominas are Nupes or that the Igbomina are not a Yoruba people as Ndagi and his co-travelers hallucinated and conjectured. The scholars are unanimous in establishing the fact that the Igbominas are homogenous group of Yoruba speaking peoples. Even the work of the highly revered Chief Paul Dada [5], sheepishly quoted but distorted by Ndagi, also offered a comprehensive account of the origin and classification of the people that make up Igbomina and classified Share as the Igbomina Mosan clan.

So, let the already established facts by competent researchers and authorities be again made abundantly clear that Share people are Igbominas (of Ile-Ife especially). One of the authorities succinctly put it thus: “Another group of these Ile-Ife Igbomina lives in the Share Yoruba District in the North East of the Emirate … represents the later northward migration from Aun (Ahun) toward the end of the 18th century” [9]. Do we need to educate Ndagi Abdullahi that the 18th century lasted from 1st January 1701 to 31st December 1800? Furthermore, Hermon-Hodge [10] also confirmed that “…Yoruba including the powerful Igbonna or Igbomina tribe, which extends from neighbourhood of Awtun (or Otun) in the south to Share in the north. Share town consists of two distinct quarters; one Yoruba and one Nupe”.

Meanwhile, versions of oral traditions that established the period of Share’s History, foundation and establishment (as well as its Ile Ife Igbomina origin) abound. However, we will refer only to classical written records and modern researched literature to re-establish and highlight the foundation of Share, described as “the border town of Nupe” by [3]. None of them reported or suggested that Igbominas were Nupe or that Nupes of Tsaragi were the first settlers in Share and its environ; not even William Clarke, the Baptist missionary traveler [18] who visited Share earlier in the late 1850s and made a note of the Yoruba habitants of Share. Gerhard Rohlf, as mentioned earlier, visited Share in 1866 and gave an important account of his visit. He did not notice the existence of Tsaragi apparently because the Yoruba community was much larger than their Nupe neighbors. Later visitors such as Mockler-Ferryman, Samuel Crowther [19], John Milum [20], however, noted and reported Share/Tsaragi as two towns, one Yoruba (Share) and one Nupe (Tsaragi), existing side by side.

Elphinstone [4] narrated that “somewhere about 1800—that certain Igbonas (principally hunters) arrived in the Gudu country from Aun” having fled when the Ibadans broke their town. These Igbonas (or Igbominas) with Awado as their chief man built themselves a village they called Sakama. Awado was saluted by other hunters as “Olupako.” Later, “somewhere about 1808 or 1809”, Awado left Sakamo in company of his people for fear of attacks to build “a new town some seven miles away to the south-west which they called Share, named after the stream which rises at the back of the town”. It is important to emphasize that according to Elphinstone [4], Osojajogi who incidentally was also an Igbona hunter “was already living there”.

Therefore, it is clear that Share had existed before 1808 when Awado migrated there. The plausible explanation for the choice of Share as a permanent abode (for settlement) was its proximity to hills (i.e. Agbonna hill envisaged by Share founders as a source of protection and security in case of attacks) and the stream (soose, a source of water from the hill). It was only “afterwards” that the Nupes also deserted Kpotofu-Taiyenchi and built a new town adjoining Share which they called Sharagi (i.e. the little Share, now called Tsaragi) with Amadu Saba (Madu) as Nda Kpoto (i.e. the Head or Chief). This account was also corroborated by Tijani’s academic study of “Share/Tsaragi Settlement in Nigeria” published in 2008 [21] and several other similar studies [22], [23], etc.

We make bold to state that Sharegi or Sharagi (as Tsaragi was known) was a derivative of its larger Yoruba town, Share. After all, it is well known that the suffix “gi” in Nupe language symbolizes a smaller or little version of the active word. So, the plausible meaning of Shara-gi (or Nda-gi or Nnagi, for instance) is apparently obvious. However, the name Share-gi or Shara-gi proven to mean “the little Share” upon the addition of the suffix “gi” to “Share” would later be changed to Tsaragi (meaning small river or a stream, ostensibly referring to Soose stream, from where Share originally derived its name).

Also, the meaning of Olupako and Nda Kpoto was given in [21] just as we refer readers to [3] and [20] for various spellings of the name "Tsaragi as well as [14] for various accounts of the origins of the names of Share and Tsaragi. [14] which provides much other information on Share/Tsaragi is one of the first dissertations on Share to earn a university degree. Amusa’s final year project [22] conducted at the University of Ilorin, the MSc dissertation of Alabi [23] conducted at the University of Lagos and several other juried articles also confirmed that the “early inhabitants and founders of Share were Yoruba of Igbomina descent”. These works provide more information about the history of Share. [23] puts the date of Awodo’s migration and settlement in Share at 1797, despite the fact that he met Osoja already living in Share.

When Bishop Samuel Crowther visited Share/Tsaragi in 1871/72, he noted and reported how “Saregi” (i.e. small Share) was deserted for fear of being invaded and held captives; “they fled to Ilorin farms for refuge” [19]. Similarly, both Mockler-Ferryman [3] and Milum [20] who visited in 1879/80 and 1889 respectively gave useful information and materials on the description of typical Yoruba family compound, type of houses in Share, the population, religion and major industry of Share people at the time. Temple [24] noted the major industry of Share people to include dyeing, weaving, pottery production, pigs breeding in large numbers (later abolished as Islam spread) etc. These accounts were also confirmed by [14].

7.    Sharagi (Tsaragi) was Founded after Share

The foundation of Sharagi (i.e. the little Share, Share Nupe or Tsaragi) has been mentioned earlier, but this section is necessary for more emphasis. Nupes (or Igbominas, or any other tribe or group) can have their ancestral histories dated back to the Ancient History, medieval ages or the earliest human settlements. People, all over the world, have all migrated from one place or the other. It is on record that in the 18th Century, a party of Nupe hunters moved from Mulia to Mokwa and consequently crossed the Niger to settle at Gudu (or Ogudu). Gudu was later invaded and its people driven out by Estu Nupe army [4]. Kpotofu-Taiyenchi (ruined now) was then built by one of the three parties that fled Gudu and had Alhaji (Ladzi Jubril) addressed as Ndakpoto as their chief. About 1800, some Igbonas (Igbomina) hunters led by Awado arrived and built a village adjoining Kpotofu-Taiyenchi called Sakama. Awado left Sakama for another town called Share where he met Osojajogi who “was already living there”. It was much later that the Nupes (probably in 1826, i.e. during the reign of Amadu Saba) also “began to desert Kpotofu-Taiyenchi” and “built themselves a new town adjoining the Igbona Town and called it Sharagi” with Amadu Saba as Nda Kpoto [4]. This further underscores the fact that the settlers of Tsaragi only made it to their present spot and location after Share was already founded and established. This is the correct narration which readers are free to verify.

Suffices it to point out that Abubakar succeeded Amadu Saba as Nda Kpoto “about 1856” and reigned till 1902/3. This can be verified on page 87 of “Kwara: Positioning the State of Harmony within the Centenary History of Nigeria” (under “Genealogical Trees and Successions of Traditional Rulers/Chiefs in Kwara State”) published in 2013 by Kwara State Government [25]. Ndagi and others may lay claim to whatever aboriginal narration that suits them. But the well documented and respected Nupe History cannot be changed overnight by their whims and caprices, neither can they alter the narrations of fact that Sharagi was founded after the establishment of Share. Again, we refer readers to Gazetteer of Ilorin [4] for the History of Sharagi which Ndagi and his paymasters are struggling to distort and falsify, just as the Gazetteer of Nupe [26] is recommended for the comprehensive History of Nupe. We expect Ndagi and his coconspirators to be proud of their History and stop exhibiting inferiority complex tendencies.

8.    Conclusion

Citing verifiable works of scholars, diligent researchers and others, we have established that Igbominas are Yorubas not Nupe (even though about 2% have been classified as Nupes). Share was established by the Igbominas extract of Yorubas before Tsaragi came to adjoin them years after. We were tempted to further engage Ndagi in what he termed “superior scholarly firepower and scholastic campaign”, however, his writings revealed nothing but conjectures, deliberate distortions, misinformation and misquotations. It will therefore be needless to further engage such a low personality with no iota of academic integrity. His so-called “extensive references to historical and scientific research materials mostly sourced from Yoruba and Igbomina historians and scientists” to lay claim to his imaginations are nothing but attempts to obfuscate his audience and obliterate Share Igbomina’s glorious heritage.A call for legal actions against Ndagi especially by those he deliberately lied against and distorted their researched works won’t be misplaced. Besides, his degree certificates also deserve a re-check as he has proven to be a dishonest, fraudulent and deceitful researcher. He is a bad ambassador of Assi University, Benin Republic, where he claims to be an Associate Professor. Researchers and students (especially of Nupe History and Afrocentrism) should be wary of Ndagi Abdullahi as he is scientifically dubious, socially fraudulent and lacks academic integrity.

9.    Our Stance; On a Final Note

There are a lot of problems, yet interesting things, over identity. For instance, it has been reported that the word ‘Yoruba’ was not a Yoruba word, but was first attested to in a treatise by Ahmad Baba (16th century Songhai Islamic scholar) [27]. He used the word ‘Yariba’ in 1613 to refer to the people of the ancient Oyo Empire (people who live in the South). Hausa did not give themselves the name, neither was the word ‘Ibo’ (or Igbo) given by the Ibos (Igbos). Unsurprisingly, there is no history of any distinct race called Nupe. The word ‘Nupe’ originated from the Arabic word ‘Nefiu’, an equivalent of fugitive in Hausa (see page 83 of [26]). The British Royal Family descended from German and the Swedish Royal House is French. Turkey was not inhabited by Turks during 90% of Turkey History and there are more Poles living outside of Poland than Syrians in Syria. Only recently, Americans were governed by the son of a Kenyan man for eight years. Their current president, Donald Trump, is the son of a Scottish immigrant woman. He is married to a Slovenian wife and divorced from a Czech. So, we actually live in a blended world that was discovered by Portuguese and Spanish sailor. Anyone can come from anywhere, but the content of people’s characters is what matters the most. The Quran is clear about man’s creation and existence: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you” [28]. Ndagi and his sponsors should know that persistence use of ethnicity as a tool of negotiations has proven to be corrosive. The world is moving faster beyond the docile and primordial sentiments bordering on ethnicity.

We simply cannot continue to deploy hatred and animosity using tribal or ethnic differences. The Middle East called the cradle of civilization with over 8,000 years’ history cannot boast of a United States of America’s development which is only about 240 years old today. How relevant is history vis-à-vis economic development? In this period of globalization, what should bother us is environmental value, not genetical values. What should bother us is community development and emancipation from poverty, lack of quality education and other shackles of under development bedeviling vast majority of the people. We can place premium over economic relevance and viability and how plethora of unemployed youths can be gainfully employed. This should not undermine the importance of history and its knowledge, however, history becomes irrelevant if all it brings is rancor, violence and under development. Ndagi, his commission and their sponsors may continue to hold a feisty and combative stance; ours is a conciliatory filled with incurable optimism, but not without debunking falsehood and clearing misconceptions.

SHAReC is the Heritage and Archaeology Committee of Share ([email protected])


Bibliography and References

[1] Elisabeth de Veer and Ann O'Hear (1994). Gerhard Rohlfs in Yorubaland. History in Africa, 21, pp 251-268 doi:10.2307/3171888.

[2] Rohlfs, G. (1872). Gerhard Rohlfs' journey through North Africa from the Midlands to the breasts of Guinea, 1865 to 1867, 2nd half: from Kuka to Lagos. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, Supplement No. 34 (Gotha, 1872).

[3] Mockler-Ferryman, A. (1892). Up the Niger. George Philip and Sons

[4] Elphinstone, K. V. (1921). Gazetteer of Ilorin Province. London: Waterlow and Sons Limited.

[5] Dada, P. O. A. (1985). A Brief History of Igbomina (Igbona). Ilorin, Matanmi Press.

[6] Michael, A. O. (2014). The Survival of Igbomina Indigenous Political Structure Under the Ilorin Emirate System in the 20th Century, Kwekudee,

[7] Usman, A. (2007). Enclosed Walls in Northern Yorubaland, Nigeria, Africa Update, Vol. XIV, Issue I (Winter 2007): Nigeria Enclosures, Arizona State University,

[8] Usman, A. (2016). Enclosures of northern Yorubaland, Nigeria. G. Emeagwali and E. Shizha (Eds.), African Indigenous Knowledge and the Sciences, 153–158. Sense Publishers.

[9] Report of Minority Commission Northern Nigeria (1954). “Recommendations on Local Government Reforms in the Igbomina Area”, Appendix S.

[10] Hermon-Hodge, H. B. (1929). Gazetteer of Ilorin Province. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

[11] Meyerowitz, E. L. R. (1943). “The Stone Figures of Esie in Nigeria.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol. 82, no. 479, pp. 31–36.

[12] Aleru, J. O. & Adekola, K. O. (2008) Exploring Frontiers of Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management: Untold Stories of Esie Soapstone Figurines. African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, ISSN 1933-8651

[13] Ezenagu Ngozi, O. Tabitha and Iwuagwu Chinonso (2014). Nigeria sculptural tradition as viable option for tourism promotion: an assessment of Esie mysterious stone sculptures. Global Journal of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, European Centre for Research Training and Development United Kingdom, Vol. 2, No. 5, pp. 55-69, July 2014.

[14] Yakubu, J. A. (1987). "Share and Tsaragi Relations from 19th and 20th Centuries" (B.A. dissertation, University of Ilorin).

[15] Falola, T. (1991). "Contemporary Chronicles: Igbomina in Print," in Toyin Falola, ed., Yoruba Historiography (Madison, 1991), 183-206.

[16] Ibiloye, E. O. (2010). Diplomacy and Emirate Formation: The Integration of the Igbomina into the Ilorin Emirate in the 19th Century. African Nebula 1 (1), February 2010.

[17] Ibiloye, E. O. (2011). The relevance of migration to settlement pattern in Igbominaland. African Journal of History and Culture Vol. 3 (3), pp. 32-37, April 2011.

[18] Clarke, W. A. (1972). Travels and Explorations in Yoruba land 1854-1958. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.

[19] Crowther, S. (1872). Niger Mission: Bishop Crowther's Report of the Overland Journey from Lokoja to Bida, on the River Niger, and Thence to Lagos, on the Sea Coast, From November 10th, 1871, to February 8th, 1872 (London, 1872).

[20] Milum, J. (1881). Notes of a Journey from Lagos up the River Niger to Bida, the capital of Nupe and Illorin in the Yoruba country, 1879-80. Royal Geographical Society, London.

[21] Tijani, A. (2008). On Ethnic Identity: A Study of Share/Tsaragi Settlement in Nigeria (1830 -1967). J. Soc. Sci., 17(1): 51-57.

[22] Amusa, A. O. (2016). "Share-Tsaragi Relations in the 20th Century", a Final Year Project, History and International Studies Department, University of Ilorin, 2016.

[23] Alabi, S. (2019). The History of Share (1797-2015), MSc dissertation, University of Lagos

[24] Temple, O. (1967). Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. C.L. Temple (Ed) 2nd ed.: New York, 444-453.

[25] Kwara: Positioning the State of Harmony within the Centenary History of Nigeria. Published in 2013 by Kwara State Government

[26] Dupigny, E. G. M. (1920). Gazetteer of Nupe Province. London: Waterlow & Sons Limited

[27] Frederiks, Martha, “Miʿrāj al-ṣuʿūd ilā nayl ḥukm mujallab al-Sūd”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 1500-1900, General Editor David Thomas. Consulted online on 10 July 2020

[28] The Qur'an: Al-Hujurat, 49:13.


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