Education: Why Kano ancestors stoned Driver Gwalagwaje, Part I

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Gwalagwaje

Last Updated on April 17, 2022 by Memorila

In the year 2202, Barbushe and other Kano ancestors gathered at the foot of Dala Hill to decry the state of their descendants’ education

It is in the year 2202 and two days to the eid day. All descendants of Barbushe are emigrating to Dala Hill to answer a summon. Our great, great, great grandfather, Barbushe, has awakened from his grave. For the past two years, he had been turning, turning in his grave. No tranquility!

I was also awakened by the cries of my great, great grandson! 

This gathering was a Mecca of sort, streets after streets, you will see traders with their different wares, calling out in different pitches for buyers. Houses around the hill have been converted to hotels for the emigrants.

Women and children weren’t left out. All those who died since Barbushe’s time till date have resurrected and assembled at the hill.

There I saw Sarki Rumfa and my good old friend, Malam Aminu Kano. His disciple Rimin Gata was there too.

Even that boy who is emulating Aminu Kano by adorning red caps. What do you call him? Kyan..kyas..o.. Yes! Kyankyaso.

I also saw Audu Bako!

Ya ku jama’a, Barbushe has instructed me to inform you that Audu Bako has been conferred with the honorary citizenship of Dalaland. This is because he performed creditably well during his time as the military driver of our land, even though he is from Niger state…

Sorry! One of my great, great granddaughters, Dijangala, corrected me yesterday. 

“Point of correction please Baba,” she said. “Bako is from from Argungu, Kebbi State. Ethnicity, Bakabe.”

Point of correction accepted!

You know during our time, these imaginary lines of discord called 19 states in northern Nigeria weren’t there. There was only one Arewa, in truth and in deed.

Please forgive this feeble old man!

Furthermore, as you are all aware, Dala descendants are still enjoying the fruits of Audu Bako’s labour, more than 50 years after he had left office. May Allah enrich Dalaland with more of his kind!

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Also gathered at the foot of Dala Hill were all past and present emirs of Kano, from Bagauda, Warisi, Gijimasu, Nawata and Gawata, Yusa (Tsaraki), down to the current Do-as-I-say.

Why the summon

Why did our great, great, great grandfather, Barbushe, call for this great assembly? 

The invitation that reached me stated that the agenda for the summit is to “discuss the deplorable state of education in our ancestral land, Dala,” which you children of nowadays call Kano. At the education summit, we will also try to offer ways out of the conundrum. 

Well, that is, if the children of today will follow the wisdom of greyed and grizzled old men and women, who saw the day before yesterday, yesterday, today and hence could forecast what will happen tomorrow. 

History tends to repeat itself. As the Spanish philosopher George Santaya puts it, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But as I have heard from the grapevine, the current chief driver of my land, Gwalagwaje, has ears from Aunty, made by her and for her alone. It is also rumored that he has nose for green bucks and eyes wide open for any plot of land.

What frightens me most is he is said to be bulldozer of people that do not fan his ego. People cite Kyankyaso and Sunu as case studies.

Dala hill
Barbushe Education Summit at Dala Hill

Anyways, but since we are the foothill of Dala, we have Barbushe back in his shrine, “No weapon fashioned against us shall prosper!” And let’s I forget, if found guilty, we shall pray for Gwalagwaje’s deliverance at this education summit!


Right now, Barbushe is inside Tsumburbura’s shrine meditating and supplicating. 

With the coming of the new Arab’s religion, our dear oracle, Tsumburbura, had been relegated to the background, removed and thrown away like used tissue paper.

Most children of Dalaland are now bearers of that foreign religion from Middle East. But it seems the creed is only on their lips; it doesn’t extend to their hearts.

If not, how do you explain the atrocities being perpetrated in my land today?

During our time, if a Dala man swears “Aradu” or “Kwarankwatsa dubu”, our brethren from the southern part of Nigeria takes that as revelations.

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But if the children of today swears “Wallahi tallahi, billahi lazi” or say “insha Allahu” that they will do something, just take it with a pinch of salt.

I can remember, precisely 30 years ago, while I was still hibernating, my descendants reported how a conman who was seeking their votes promised to build taps of fura and nono for them. Poor children! They gave him their votes. And it turned out to be a hoax.

When I heard the story, I just waved it off with the back of my hand as another tale by moonlight. 

Why should I salivate over pumps of fura and nono? My good deeds pay me visits every day with gallons of honey, milk, alcohol and even chicken from the Garden of Eden.

Why do I need to salivate over falsehood when my offspring had built schools, wells and planted trees in my name, which sends commissions to me till this day?

So, my children don’t be deceived by wolves in sheep’ skins, dubious politicians who promise to give your children ‘free’ and ‘compulsory’ education.

Did you see their children or the children of their children or the children of their children’s children in such schools? No!

Don’t be gullible. Pay heed to your history!

Enters Barbushe 

Legend has it that our hero and ancestor, Barbushe was a great warrior and hunter. He alone will hunt an elephant, sling it on a stick and ferry it to his home, Tsimburbura’s shrine.

It is also stated that he doesn’t come out from the shrine unless twice in a year, that is on eid days. And anybody that goes into the shrine, other than him, faces a sudden miserable death.

Whenever Barbushe comes out, it is to pass on messages and blessings from the oracle and receive supplications on its behalf from Dala descendants.

Even though there is no more Tsimburbura on Dala hill, the culture is already imbued in our psyche. Hence the reason why we are convening this year at the hill site to send our cries through Barbubshe to the Most High.

Right now, Barbushe is still locked up in the shrine, supplicating! But this time not to Tsimburbura. But to Allah!

“Kulin, kulin fito!” That’s Barbushe talking in tongues as he emerges from the shrine.

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And we all echoed, “Gauta!”

“Shirin ba ci ba!”


“Tsinki gewaya!”


“Koma gewayawa!”


“Ja ya dauko, ja ya dauke!”

“Dan Fulani da kayan giginya…”

And so on, we answered Barbushe as he led us through a popular sing-a-song.

The issues

After the ululation and the rejoicing had died down, our forefather, holding a staff in his hand, cleared his throat and with his deep voice, roared out:

“O ye children of Dala!”

We answered, “Na’am Baba!”

“We are gathered here today not to celebrate. But to grieve. To grieve over the current state of education in our dear Dalaland,” Barbushe continued.

“For the past few years, I have been inundated, day and night, by the weeping of my descendants. They lament that the current driver of my land is taking them on a dangerous course to the abyss.

“At first, I didn’t want to believe them, because it is not everything a child says, you as a parent will rush to reprimand the accused. But these complaints had been pouring in from left, right and centre that I couldn’t even have a good rest in my grave.

“I felt this was not an issue to be swept under the carpet. It needs to be investigated.”

Barbushe paused for a while, strained his neck, looked around and concluded, “This is reason why this assembly at the foot of our legendary Dala Hill was summoned.”

The whole congregation responded, “Allah Ya kara maka daukaka baba Barbushe!”

The complaints

Barbushe shifted unto his right leg and called out, “Let whoever has any grievance against Driver Gwalagwaje come forward and lay his or her complaints.”

The whole place was eerily quiet as none of the descendants was bold enough to step forward in order not to cross the chief driver.

But out of the blue, a bold offspring from the local government which you have to open your mouth wide to pronounce, Dankani, stepped forward…

Click to read the response of Dankani here>>

Series NavigationEducation: Why Kano ancestors stoned Driver Gwalagwaje, Part II >>

Faruk Ahmed

Faruk Ahmed is the founder of Having previously worked with National Review magazine, he is a keen watcher of political events.

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