History of Bida


Bida is a very ancient settlement.Nobody knows for real when the settlement of Bida was first established.

What is known for sure though is that it was the valleys and the rivers of the Landzun River that attracted the first settlers of Bida to their established on the banks of the river. The Rivers of Bida

It also seems that Bida was originally not a single settlement but actually a cluster of ancient hamlets and villages closely- netted on the banks of the Landzun River.

In those earlier days the Landzun River was of course not the small and diminishing network of streams that we see it is today.

in those days the Landzun was a big river with a network of streams and tributaries that came to serve the cluster of villages that eventually merged to form the Bida settlement.

There was also a prominent Cikan River in those days aside from the Landzun River.

The Bini and Zhitakoro Merger They said the various villages initially have their own separate names until they eventually merged into the single settlement that came to be identifies as Bida.

Bida was at the beginning a population of an ancient Bini Nupe people. At an earlier time in the ancient history of KinNupe the Bini people have migrated down from the northeast, from north-central Nigeria and across the Benue river and its confluence with the Niger to their final settlement on the banks of the River in Central KinNupe – a final location they still occupy to this very day.

But before the arrival of the Binis in Central KinNupe there were the Zhitakoro, with their almighty AtaGara Kingdom, occupying Central KinNupe.

it was the Binis who came and displaced and drove the Zhitakoros out of Central KinNupe to their present location as the Dibos and the Gbagyis in south-eastern KinNupe and the FCT and the FCT and Kogi states.

But the Zhitakoro population was not completely wiped out of Central KinNupe.

It is true that quite a larger section of the Zhitakoro population migrated out of Central KinNupe upon the collapse and fall of their AtaGara empire but a significant population of these Zhitakoro people did remained in Central KinNupe.

As the settler Bini people arrived KinNupe they began to mix and acculturate with the remaining Zhitakoro population that did not migrate out of KinNupe upon the fall of the AtaGara empire.


The Bini and the Zhitakoro begun to mix and intermarry. In the end a new population of the Bini-Zhitakoro people emerged as synthesis of the settler Binis and the indigenous Zhitakoro people.

This Bini-Zhitakoro people were also referred to as the Bini-Zhitako or as the Bi-Tako or Bitako, as it survived into history to this very day, Bidako.

Bidako was the national name of the people that resulted from the assimilation of the settler Bini people into the indigenous population of the ancient Zhitakoro or Zhitako (the Dibo, Kyadya, Kakanda, etc, etc of modern times).

Bidako became a United Kingdom of the Bini and the AtaGara people long after the fall and demise of the ancient AtaGara empire of Central KinNupe.

But this Bidako was not a vibrant or excessively warlike kingdom as its predecessor AtaGara was. In fact Bidako was merely a nation of riverine canoe men navigating and fishing on the creeks and streams of the River Niger and its tributaries and effluences one of which was the Landzun River.


On the banks and valleys of the Landzun River a population of these Bidako people clustered to form the Bidako settlement that became known to us today simply as Bida.

Of course the modern name Bida is merely a shortened form of the more ancient and more pristine name Bidako.

But Bida was also the name of the chief of the Bini people who built a walled fortification in the midst of the Bidako villages that clustered on the banks of the River Niger.

The story is that at a time a leading chief of the Bidako people on the banks of the Landzun built a wall round the central one among the cluster of Bidako villages on the banks of the Landzun.

This walled village became known as the Banin Bida since the chief was styled the Nda Bida or, simply, as Bida himself.

And that was how we came about the small but walled ancient Bini village of Bida which simply remained as such on the banks of the Landzun for a long time unnoticed until the forces of history suddenly flung it unto the limelight of historical events in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

The Dendo Dynasts

Mallam Dendo arrived KinNupe at the beginning of the first half of the nineteenth century and by the middle of the nineteenth century his descendants have established the Dendo dynasty that have variously taken over Raba and Lade as their regional capital cities.

Actually the choice capital city was Raba which the Dendo dynasts have taken over from the Tsoede dynasts with Usman Zaki as the first Emir of the Dendo dynasty with Raba as his capital city.

Umaru Bahaushe and Bida

But Usman Zaki’s restless and rebellious junior brother, Masaba, will just not let things be peacefully in the Nupe Nation.

Masaba provoked Usman Zaki and Etsu Tsado one against the other and then sided with Etsu Tsado to sack and raze Raba to ashes in the disastrous Battle of Raba from which Usman Zaki escaped death in the whiskers.

Usman Zaki fled to Gwandu and Masaba declared himself the new Emir of Nupe with his capital city at Lade. But Masaba had hardly settle down to consolidate his rulership barely two years later when he was himself violently and disgracefully ousted from power by his own War General Umaru Bahaushe.

Umaru Bahaushe chased Masaba out of KinNupe and declared himself the new Emir of Nupe. And for nine solid years Umaru Bahaushe ruled over KinNupe with undisputable powers.

However, Umaru Majigi, the son of Mamman Majigi the first son of Mallam Dendo, came back from Gwandu to engage Umaru Bahaushe in a series of battles that eventually saw the young prince Umaru Majigi being pursued along the length and breadth of KinNupe by the far more experienced General Umaru Bahaushe whose gargantuan army was, in any case, far too great for the ragtag collection of mercenaries that the foolhardy Prince Umaru Majigi have marshalled.

General Umaru Bahaushe chased the Prince Umaru Majigi around until the prince took refuge in the small but walled Bini village of Bidako or Bida on the banks of the Landzu River.

General Umaru Bahaushe besieged the walled Bini village and waited patiently for hunger and starvation to force the young Prince Umaru Majigi into surrender.

Luck, however, ran out for General Umaru Majigi when, as he waited on the walls of Bida, different armies from different directions under the various Etsu Nupes and various Nupe Emir contenders – including Usman Zaki from Gwandu and Masaba from Ilorin – suddenly marched on Umaru Bahaushe’s army.

General Umaru Bahaushe got drowned in the Gbako River while trying to flee the various armies concentrating on him from all directions.

Usman Zaki and Bida

After the death Umaru Bahaushe all the power stakeholders of KinNupe convened a second Raba Convention in the year 1856.

At this Second Raba Convention, attended by the Emir Halilu of Gwandu, it was unanimously agreed that Usman Zaki be allowed his Second Term as the Emir of Nupe. Thus was Usman Zaki reinstalled for his Second Term as the Emir of Nupe.

And it was unanimously agreed at this Second Raba Convention that Etsu Isa should be recognised as the legitimate and paramount Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation. The condition of Etsu Isa was, however, a token and ceremonial one actually.

First the office of the Emir of Nupe, occupied by Usman Zaki, have by then completely overshadowed the office of the Etsu Nupe, now occupied by Etsu Isa, which have been rendered completely obsolete.

Secondly, even though the Fulani Dendo dynasts claimed to have recognised Etsu Isa as the paramount Etsu Nupe of the entire Nupe Nation, they still held him captive as a prisoner of war. Imagine a prisoner-of-war Etsu Nupe.

In any case it was also unanimously agreed at this Second Raba Convention that Masaba should be the turbaned as the Sarkin Fulani.

And Umaru Majigi was unanimously turbaned as the Yerima to Usman Zaki. Interestingly enough the new Emir Usman Zaki decided to chose Bida as his new capital city.

His reasons for shifting the capital city of Nupe from Raba to Bida are many and variegated.

Usman Zaki’s first reason for choosing Bida as the new capital city is that Raba have been razed to ashes beyond repair during the disastrous Battle of Raba in 1841.

Then Usman Zaki also chose Bida because of the strategic location of Bida in the valleys of the Landzun River in such a manner that a massive and sudden attack along the River Niger upon Bida is impossible – the unfortunate fate that destroyed Raba.

And it was quite safer, from security perspectives, to start a new capital city all over again away from the court machinations and perennial palace coups that have became the hallmark of royal life at Raba over the decades.

In any case Usman Zaki simply remained at Bida with the gargantuan conglomeration of armies that have transformed the erstwhile small, but walled, Bini village of Bida into a massive war camp during the sustained campaign against the late General Umaru Bahaushe of, as the Dendo Dynasts now claim, usurper memories. Usman Zaki laid out a master-plan for the town-planning design of Bida as the most befitting capital city in the whole of the West African sub-region.

The streets and boulevards of the new capital city were planned and designed in such a manner that more than half a century later Professor Leo Frobenius could still rate Bida as the greatest city in the whole of the Central Sudan.

Unfortunately Usman Zaki died in 1859 only three years into his Second Term as the Emir of Nupe and, that, at the height of his building Bida into the greatest capital city in the whole of the Central Sudan.

Etsu Masaba and Bida

Masaba became the next Emir of Nupe and he retained Bida as the new capital of Nupe. Masaba’s expansionist and commercialist style of rulership immediately transformed Nupe into far a greater economic power that instantaneously attracted massive and untold wealth and infrastructural development to Bida the capital city.

And, Masaba’s lengthy Second Term, for fourteen prosperous years, from that 1859 to 1873, saw the transformation of Bida into the Splendour of the Central Sudan.

So prosperous and prestigious became Bida that it, incredibly enough, became the envy of other Nupe-Fulani emirates including those of Agaie and Lapai which led to serious clashes between Masaba and the rulers of Agaie and Lapai.

Bida became the commercial and economic headquarters of the Central Sudan to such and extent that the British have to send a trade high commissioner, in the person of W.H. Simpson, to be permanently stationed at Bida to oversee and protect the gargantuan volume of commercial and trading activities that became the norm between the British and Bida from that time of Etsu Masaba onward.

The warlike Masaba also transformed Bida into the military superpower of the entire Central Sudan. In the days of Masaba there was no any other emirate, kingdom or power in the whole of the Central Sudan that had the military power of the Bida Emirate.

Bida was the singular military superpower of the Central Sudan in those days. Even the entire Sokoto Caliphate complex was wholly dependent on the Bida Emirate for its economic and military integrity. Masaba died in 1873 and was succeeded by Umaru Majigi as the new Emir of Nupe.

Etsu Umaru Majigi and Bida

By the time Umaru Majigi became the Emir of Nupe Bida was already a great capital city rivalling many other great capital cities in the Central Sudan.

But Umaru Majigi had this unparalleled passion for the transformation of Bida into a greater capital city.

It was Umaru Majigi who deliberately decided to give excessive attention to the perfection of the three royal palaces that bedecked Bida as among the Great Wonders of the Central Sudan to this very day.

It was also Umaru Majigi who expanded and built the Great Night Market for which Bida became famous throughout the West African sub-region. The point here is that Umaru Majigi became the Emir of the Nupe Nation at a time when Bida have, as a capital city of Nupe, already accumulated enough wealth, power and fame to have raised it unto the pedestals of the greatest power in the whole of the Central Sudan.

This fact is illustrated, for instance, by the incident that it was to this same Umaru Majigi, as the Emir of Nupe, that the Emir of Gwandu came seeking for assistance against the Giro rebels who almost brought the Sokoto Caliphate to an untimely end in the early 1880s.

It was the Bida forces under Umaru Majigi who went up north and conquered the Giro rebels, thereby saving the Sokoto Caliphate.

The Sokoto Caliphate had become, in reality, a dependency of the superpower Bida Emirate.

So great did Bida become in those days that rebellions against its widespread sovereignty began to increase. In just the eleven or so years of Emir Umaru Majigi he had to contend with many rebellions two of which were the cataclysmic rebellions of the Efa Gbagba rebellion of 1876 by Etsu Baba and the 1882 Ganigan Rebellion of the Kyadyas.

Emir Umaru Majigi died in 1882 after successfully building Bida into the most beautiful and most powerful capital city in the whole of West Africa.

Etsu Maliki and Bida

That very year 1882 Etsu Maliki was immediately turbaned as the new Emir of

Nupe after the death of Umaru Majigi. Etsu Maliki came to power at a time when Bida was the greatest, largest and richest city in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact Etsu Maliki, on the authority of Professor S.F. Nadel, became the richest Etsu Nupe and hence the richest man in Black Africa in those days.

And Etsu Maliki was so ambitious about building Bida into a greater city. Etsu Maliki was more or a intellectual and an Islamic scholar and wasn’t that warlike but he was surrounded by his zealously war generals including Mayaki Ndajiya, Shaba Mamudu and Abdulkadiri. These people helped Etsu Maliki in brigning the Ganigan War to an end.

They also helped Etsu Maliki in arresting and executing the leaders of the Kyadya people who initiated the Ganigan War against Bida with the aim of bringing Bida and the Dendo dynasts to an end ever since the days of Etsu Umaru Majigi.

Etsu Maliki also attacked, subdued and almost destroyed the Lafiagi and Tsonga emirates because he accused the royalties of these two emirates of siding with the rebellious Kyadya and, together with Sierra Leonian merchants, of providing the Kyadya rebels with the weapons which they used to fight the Ganigan War against Bida and the Dendo dynasts. Etsu Maliki imposed the infamous Ajele taxation system on Lafiagi and Tsonga as a punishment.

Etsu Maliki also extended and expanded Nupe territory into a significant section of Yorubaland using the southern Nupe emirates of Lafiagi, Tsonga and Tsaragi as his war launchpads. A large section of the Yorubas became a subject people to the Nupes all over again.

Etsu Maliki also firm up the power and sovereignty of Bida by increasing the population of the Bida Emirate through the establishment of almost 400 new villages, or tungazhi, in various parts of KinNupe.

Professor Michael Mason discussed this in exhaustive detailed when he talked about the clientale serfdom system used by the Etsu Nupe to resettle prisoners of war and other displaced populations brought into KinNUpe to concentrate the population of KinNupe by the Etsu Nupes.

With these war success story and experience Etsu Maliki was able to further consolidate the power and reputation of Bida as an indomitable and almighty superpower in the Central Suda, that is, ancient Nigeria and its neighbouring country.

Bida became the military powerhouse of the entire Central Sudan and every city state, nation or people in ancient West Africa feared Bida and dreaded the Nupe people.

Towards the end of the reign of Etsu Maliki the pernicious and imperialist influence of the British gradually became a menace to the Nupe Nation which was the only superpower that the British saw as a real threat in the whole of the Central Sudan.

Etsu Maliki was completely opposed to the imperialist and colonialist designs of the mischievous and double-speaking White men.

Etsu Maliki died in 1895 and was succeeded by Etsu Bubakar as the new Etsu Nupe.

Etsu Bubakar and Bida

But Etsu Bubakar was even more opposed to the devilish White men colonialists and it is no wonder that just some two years into his reign as the new Etsu Nupe, that is in 1897, the British viciously attacked the very city of Bida in what is today known to historians as the Battle of Bida.

The British deposed Etsu Bubakar, he actually fled Bida in the face of the invading British army; the British then installed the more pliable Etsu Makun in the stead of Etsu Bubakar.

But the moment the British left the people of Bida ousted Makun from power and reinstalled Etsu Bubakar as their legitimate Etsu Nupe. The Royal Niger Forces, calling itself the RWAFF under Frederick Lugard the Anti-Nupe, came back and re-depose Etsu Bubakar again and reinstalled Etsu Makun again.

This time around the British forces forcibly banished Etsu Bubakar to Lokoja where his was to spent the rest of his life and where his tomb can be seen to this very day.

In all these crises Bida as a polity and as a metropolis rapidly deteriorated from being a great and famous capital city to being a degenerate and fallen ghost town from which all and sundry fled. To this very day Bida has never truly regained its lost glory ever since those bleak 1897 days.

From that year 1897 to 1901 Bida was reduced to an unfortunate state of anarchy and utter confusion all due in no small measure to the machinations of the British colonialists who were simply out to use their infamous divide et imperia scheme on the Nupe Nation.

The British played the Nupe royalty one against the other – in particular they set up the overambitious Makun against Etsu Bubakar on the one hand inside the Bida polity and then, outside Bida they mobilised the ancient Kyadya and Yisa Nupe peoples against the Bida Emirate. The defeat of Bida at the Battle of Bida was brought about and effected by the British through this two-pronged approach: first they succeeded in retaining the Bida army with Makun at Ogidi somewhere in today’s Kogi State then they also mobilised the Kyadya leaders from supporting the Bida authorities against the British forces at the right psychological moment in the peak of the battle between the RWAFF and the Bida forces.

In any case Bida was bombarded by the Maxim Gun, the first machine gun in history, purposefully and custom designed in the war foundries of England for the war with Bida. The advanced military weaponry and the internal and external dissensions and betrayals by variously provoked factions led to the wholesale defeat of the Bida forces under Etsu Bubakar.

Etsu Bubakar fled Bida and the British forces came in and install Makun as the new Emir of Bida. Etsu Muhammadu Makun thus became the first White man appointed Emir of Bida.

But when the Bristish left Etsu Bubakar came back, deposed Etsu Makun and drove him out of Bida. However, the British came back, chased Etsu Bubakar out of Bida, then recalled and re-installed Etsu Makun as the new Emir of Bida.

Etsu Muhammadu Makun and Bida By the time Frederick Lugard the Anti- Nupe had reinstalled Etsu Makun as the new Etsu Nupe the Colonial Government have already been established and Bida became an unwilling ‘dependency’ or ‘protectorate’ of the British Government. This way Frederick Lugard, who became the First Governor General of the New Government, was able to use all the administrative and colonial powers at his disposal to destroy Bida and reduce the Nupe Nation into a joke of its glorious past.

Etsu Idirisu who was a prisoner under the Dendo dynasts in Bida was freed by the British and was assisted by the British to establish a new emirate, Patigi Emirate, for the Jimada section of the Tsoede dynasty, at Patigi just across the banks of the River Niger.

Etsu Kolo Yisa, of the Majiya section of the Tsoede dynasty, went and establish himself as the new Etsu Nupe at Zugurma with the indirect support of the White men colonialists.

The Colonialists also excised the Yagba, Kakanda, Bassa and Bunu people from the servitude to the Bida Emirate and ensure full independence from the overall Nupe Nation for these various people who are actually Nupes themselves.

All these were deliberate machinations by the White men colonialists to balkanize and weaken the Nupe Nation in general and the Bida Emirate in particular. As the late Professor Idris Abdullahi painfully demonstrated, the Nupe Nation, and the Bida Emirate in particular, was deliberately and mischievously balkanised into puny polities and districts.

But Etsu Muhammadu Makun tried his best in developing Bida under British rule. It was during his reign that the Native Authority of British rule was established in Bida and, to be fair to Etsu Makun, this brought about a lot of development along modern lines to Bida. In any case Etsu Makun died in 1916 and was immediately succeeded by Etsu Muhammadu Bello as the new Etsu Nupe.

Etsu Muhammadu Bello and Bida By the time of Etsu Bello Bida was already and totally prostrated before the bloody talons of the British Colonial Government and it is no wonder, therefore, that under the reign of Etsu Bello there was an influx of European traders and expatriates who came and set up commercial and trading posts all over Bida metropolis.

Etsu Bello was himself a businessman and he actually became very wealthy. He was the first Nupe man to own a car and many other Nupencizhi became owners of cars during his time. Etsu Bello thus ensured that roads are constructed throughout the length and breadth of the Bida Emirate.

Etsu Bello was also a great leader who greatly helped the masses and brought the benefit of rulership to the grassroots level. He thus became very popular among the masses.Etsu Bello reigned for ten years until his death in 1926.

Etsu Saidu Mamudu and Bida

Etsu Muhammadu Bello was succeeded by Etsu Saidu as the new Etsu Nupe in 1926.

Etsu Saidu was said to be a pious, Islamic-minded, Etsu Nupe who was able to institute some Islamic reformations in the administrative system of the Bida Emirate.

Etsu Saidu was the first to lay the foundations of the first three-arms zone in Nigeria. The Wadata Palace, Secretariat and Court that are still there for all to see in Wadata, Bida, were first established by Etsu Saidu with the assiatnce of the Colonial Government. Etsu Saidu died in 1935.

Etsu Bakudu

Etsu Muhammadu Ndayako, popularly known as Etsu Bakudu, became the new Etsu Nupe after Etsu Saidu.

Etsu Bakudu was one of the most remarkable Etsu Nupes in modern Nupe history. Despite the debilitating handicap of having to rule under Colonial domination he was able to significantly develop the Bida Emirate and to move the Nupe Nation forward in a modernistic manner.

Etsu Bakudu was a popular Etsu Nupe well loved by the masses as he took all the time to personally interact with and honour the masses and the lay people.

He was the first Etsu Nupe to started giving royal titles to eminent Nupe people who are not members of the royal families and he recruited these titled non- royal Nupencizhi in his cabinet council. He also used to personally toured the Bida Emirate and sit down with villagers and other townspeople in all the nooks and corner of the Bida Emirate in order to discuss with them and know their problems and plights.

He personally visited both Lagos and London in order to appraise himself of the nature of the modern world. He was the first Etsu Nupe to sit and personally discuss with the Queen of England. He was also the first, and so far only, sitting Etsu Nupe to write a book. He wrote a book titled ‘Njin Etsu Nupe’.

Etsu Bakudu was able to bring a lot of modern educational developmental, infrastructural developments into the various aspects and facets of the Bida Emirate. He also witnessed the Independence of Nigeria from the British. Etsu Bakudu died in 1962.

Etsu Usman Sarki

Etsu Bakudu was succeeded by Etsu Usman Sarki. Etsu Usman Sarki was a highly charismatic, intellectually-minded, sophisticated but controversial figure.

Etsu Usman Sarki was the first Etsu Nupe to acquire Western education and he was, by the standards of those days, a highly educated individual. He in fact rose to the enviable position of a Federal Minister in the Federal Civil Service before he became the Etsu Nupe.

Etsu Usman Sarki had all the energy and charisma to move the Nupe Nation forward, and was indeed capably doing so, when he was controvertibly dethroned due to a lot of allegations of misrule against him in 1969.

Etsu Bello

Etsu Musa Bello became the new Etsu Nupe in 1969 after the deposition of the controversial Etsu Usman Sarki. Etsu Musa Bello had a peaceful and relatively prosperous reign until he died seven years later in 1975.

Etsu Umaru Sanda

Etsu Musa Bello was succeeded by Etsu Umaru Sanda in 1975 as the new Etsu Nupe. Etsu Umaru Sanda had a prosperous and lengthy reign that lasted for twenty-eight solid years from that 1975 up to his death in the year 2003.

The reigning Etsu Yahaya Abubakar became the new Etsu Nupe in 2003 after the death of Etsu Umaru Sanda.

Muhammad Umar

I'm Muhammad Umar undergraduate students of Ibrahim badamasi babangida UniversityLapai ( IBBUL ).

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