Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bayajidda: A little new light?, by Professor Ibrahim Malumfashi

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Jaafar Jaafarhttps://dailynigerian.com/
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Yesterday I was travelling back to base when I saw Abubakar Aliyu Liman’s post and the tags. I had actually read the BBC interview by Professor Abduallah Uba Adamu some hours back and to say the truth, I was amazed at the ‘definitive authority’ of the submission also.

As Liman rightly captured, the Bayajidda legend/history/myth/ or whatever one prefers to call or study it, is an amazing intellectual task. It borders on almost all facets of knowledge; historiography, historicism, cultural geography, myth, religion, politics, war, migrations, states and statelessness, the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms, linguistic studies, and of course genetics and genography.

There is no one perspectives that can capture the essence of the ‘tale’, let alone prove or disprove the thesis. It is so complex and intertwining that any supposition or claim to finality by one-directional scholar will amount to grandstanding.

Researchers are still at it and may well be at it forever. It is that complex. I have been at it nearly 10 years now, and gauging the horrendous efforts made by earlier scholars such as Muhammadu Bello, Richard Palmer, Mahadi Adamu, Bala Usman,  Abdullahi Smith, Murray Last, Dierk Lange, Uba Adamu, Tahar Adamu, and extant chronicles of Kano, Abuja and Daura as well as genetic understanding of the phenomenon and the current Genographic studies and analyses, one is at loss as what to believe. It is herculean task.

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In my own little way, I have completed my book Hausa Da Hausa A Doron Kasa, loosely translated as On The Footprints of Hausa People. It is nowhere exhaustive despite stopping at 490 pages. I had to stop somewhere not because I have reached my final destination. I am currently editing and adding the genographic details obtained after subjecting myself and some relatives to the full test genetic science. This also, as we all know is not an exact study, as data from 5 people cannot suffice for a thorough research. We need to cover about 3,000 people, spread across so many locations, within the West African substratum to the North and Central Africa and even beyond for us to have a better glimpse.

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All I can say is that the history of the Hausa people and nations state is not all about Bayajidda or Daura. It is not about the Hausa language, which studies have shown is not even 700 years old, as entity. It is not about the present people and nations, but the people then and even before then and beyond. I know this because I have just recently unraveled so many things regarding my origin. According to a scientific report about my ancestral roots, about 5,600 – 9,200 years ago, my ancestors lived in West Asia.

According to the report, “these African travelers lived in a time when the Saharan region was changing from a lush land of savannas and woodlands to arid desert.” As the climate changed, “my ancestors moved first to the central Sahara and then on to the Lake Chad Basin. They brought with them the proto-Chadic language. Thus, they are the ancestors of all Chadic language-speaking groups.”

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It is an interesting journey. My genography report also indicates that “geneticists have found men from my lineage at trace frequencies in Europe, about 20 percent of Egyptian Berbers from Siwa. It is about 6 percent of Southern Egyptian male lineages. It is also present at low frequencies in Jewish Diaspora and Saudi Arabian population groups.”

The report continues, “In Central Africa, the lineage is present in high frequencies, as geneticists have found it in the Ouldeme people (96 percent) of Northern Cameroun, Mada people (82 percent) of Western Cameroun, and the Mafa people, (88 percent) in Northern Cameroun and Eastern Nigeria.”

What more can one say? It is just a journey seeking a little new light!

Professor Malumfashi teaches at Kaduna State University

the punch newspaper today

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