Sokoto: The Seat of the Caliphate

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a).        THE CALIPHATE

A  Caliphate is defined as an Islamic State governed by a Caliph or Sultan. the Caliph exercise both political and religious powers as the states supreme head, he hold the little of AMIR AL-mumin (Commander of the Faithful) and in Hausa, SARKIN MUSULMI.


The establishment of Sokoto Caliphate may look ordinary and incidental, but like all revolutions it had for reaching repercussions. During the 18th Century the area where now Sokoto town stands, lay on the boarders of the three Kingdoms of Gobir, Kebbi and Zamfara. When Shehu Usman first entered Gobir together with his brother Abdullahi and the rest of their followers, Islam had already existed in the Hausa States, but almost all the Hausa Chiefs and rulers were not fully adhered to the teachings of Islam, rather Islam was diluted with such peganistic characteristics an ancestor worship, magic or bori sacrifices to idols, trees, stones and streams. At this juncture or condition the great scholar together with his brother Abdullahi and his son Muhammad Bello’s together with their fellow supported began to preach and teach a more purified form of Islam, to which he was calling those who had ears to hear.

He started from Degel, then move to Gobir, and thereafter to Zamfara Kebi and later the propagation spreaded to all Hausa land including Nupe, Ilorin and Abuja. A powerful reforms movement emerged in the mid 18th Century seeking to purity the practice of Islam and initiate reform in every aspect of government and society. The movement as know was led by a great revolutionist Sheik Usman Bin Fodiyo but included many other scholars scattered widely around. All of them sought to achieve their aims through preaching Islam and calling on rulers to govern according to Islamic principles.


A Fulani revolutionist scholar sought neither riches nor power for himself, but struggled heavily, constantly and tirelessly for the religious and moral welfare of the people. The Jihad broke out because; the successors of Bawa Jan Gwarzo were less tolerant than he to the growing influence of the Shehu. It was during his grandson and his successor Sarkin Gobir Yunfa, the Jihad commenced fully. It started with the Gobir attack on Gimbina and the Shehu’s hijra from Degel to Gudu. This was followed by the breakout of the Jihad which culminated in the conquest of the old Hausa states.

When the Shehu’s followers and relatives realized that there was no room of reconciliation between them and the chiefs, they decided to appoint a leader, unanimously Shehu Dan Fodiyo was agreed on. His younger brother Malam Abdullahi Malam Umaru, Alkamu muhammad Bello are among the first people to pay him a homage as Amirul Mumina (Commander of the Faithful). Then the rest of the community; this historical event marked the beginning of the Caliphate. Then Shehu ordered his followers to make weapons in readiness for the struggle to preserve and protect Islam. The fire of Jihad breakout with many foughted battles among which are the battle of Tabkin Kwato Tsuntsuwa Alkalawa to mentioned just a few, as the result of these and other encounters Sokoto Caliphate emerged from the hand sight of history and evidence of experience, the boundary of the Sokoto Caliphate extended to Kwanni and Maradi in Niger Republic and some parts of Burkina Faso and Benin Republic as well as Cameroon and most of the Northern Nigeria. These included Argungu, Gobir, Alkalawa, Gwandu, Zamfara, Kontagora, Minna, Bida, Kano, Hadejia, Jigawa, Katsina, Zaria, Bauchi, Katagun, Adamawa and Yola. Southwards, it reached Abuja and Ilorin. Of course other satellite towns and cities in the caliphate then were, Kalmalo, Kaura Namoda, Isa, Sokoto, Illo, Yawuri Telgina Agaie and some parts of old Oyo Kingdom of Nigeria. These former empires and Kingdoms were either swallowed up completely or were successfully administered by the Sultan of Sokoto for the next 100 years after the Jihad.

It was with this arrangement the Northern Nigerians major towns of Katsina, Kano Zaria, Daura, Rano, Hadejia, Bauchiu, Kebbi, Gombe, Adamawa, Bida, Ilorin, Misau, Kontagora, Katagun etc were administered and led by Shehu’s most trusted subjects in their capacities as Emir’s flag bearers and war commanders.

The jihad of Shehu Usman Dan Fodiyo has greatly influenced the religious, cultural and hospitable practices of the people. The Jihadist did not only take up arms to defend their religion against the Hausa despotic rulers, but also left behind large volumes of literature on religion, politics, administration, such as medicine etc which are widely consulted in Islamic schools and institutions of higher learning at home and in many foreign countries.

Lastly, Sheik Usman Bin Fodiyo divided the caliphate into two; West and East. Western part to his younger brother Malam Abdullahi Bin Fodiyo, and Eastern part to his son Muhammad Bello, he later settled at Sifawa to continue his scholarly activities and intellectual direction of the movement and strict adherence to the Malik Code of Laws.


NAMES                                 RULED FOR YEARS                     DIED AGED

  1. Sheikh Usman Bin Fodiyo             13/7                                                    63
  2. Muhammadu Bello                         1817-37                       23yrs               58
  3. Abubakar Atiku                              1837-42                       5/3                   60
  4. Aliyu (Son of Bello)                       1842-59                       17yrs               53
  5. Ahmadu Atiku (Son of Atiku)       1859-66                       7/2/20              59
  6. Aliyu II (Son of Bello)                   1866-67                       1yr                   60
  7. Ahmadu Rufai (Son of Dan Fodiyo) 1867-73                   5/6/6                61
  8. Abubakar Atiku II (Son of Bello)  1873-77                       4/3                   63
  9. Muazu (Son of Bello)                     1877-81                       4/9                   68
  10. Umaru (Son of Aliyu I)                  1881-91                       9/10                 69
  11. Abdurrahman (Son of Atiku)         1891-02                       12yrs               75
  12. Attahiru I                                        1902-03                       6months          62
  13. Attahiru II (Son of Aliyu I)           1903-15                       12/7
  14. Muhammadu Mai Turare (Son of Atiku) 1915-25             9/5                   70
  15. Muhammadu Tambari (Son of Mai Turare) 1924-31         6/6
  16. Hassan (Son of Muazu)                  1931-38                       7/7                   63
  17. Sir Saddiq Abubakar III                1938-88                       50                    85
  18. Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki                    1988-96                       8yrs
  19. Alhaji Muhammadu  Maccido Abubakar III 1996-06       10yrs
  20. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III    2006-date



Sultan Muhammad Bello

As designed by Clapperton    



   Sultan Attahiru I                


 Sultan Attahiru II    


 Sultan Muhammad Mai Turare



Sultan Muhammad Tambari 

Source: Waziri Junaidu History Bureau Sokoto

                                                              Sultan Hassan Muazu

                                                                Sultan Abubakar III
                                                 Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki

                                       Sultan Muh’d M. Abubakar III


                                              Sultan M. Sa’ad Abubakar III


Source: Waziri Junaidu History Bureau Sokoto



                                                 Sultan Hassan Mu’azu

Installation of New Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Attahiru II, Sokoto, March 1903.

 1934 Visit to Britain: The three Nigerian Chiefs Visiting London with their retinue, Seater in the middle is Sultan Hassan Ibn Muazu

Source: Bodleion Library (Oxford)

Featured here is Sir Abubakar III with Nigeria’s National leaders, namely Sir Abubakar 

Tafawa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Awolowo, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Alan 

Lennox-Boyd and Dr. Nmadi Azikwe.

Source:Sir Saddiq Abubakar 17th Sultan of Sokoto

June 1934: Visit to Britain

  1. His Highness Hassan Ibn Muazu, the Sultan of Sokoto
  2. Lord Lugard
  3. His Highness, Shehu Haliru, the Emir of Gwandu
  4. His Highness, Abdullahi Bayero, Emir of Kano.
  5. Malam Abbas, the Waziri of Sokoto
  6. First person on the left at the back is the presentSultan of Sokoto, Sir Siddiq Abubakar

Source: Bodleian Library (Oxford)

A Puzzling Scene for African Potentates: Nigerian Chiefs at the Guildhall observe members of the City Guild penned up, according to custom, during an election of Sheriffs. Three Nigerian Rulers (shown above), the Sultan of Sokoto and the Emirs of Kano Gwandu who had never before left their native land, arrived in London on June 23 to stay until July 11, 1934.

Source: Sir Saddiq Abubakar 17th Sultan of Sokoto


There has been since the establishment of the Caliphate a body of gentle elders who are qualified by descent, convention, tradition and practice to select a person to succeed to the Sultanate upon the demise, resignation or removal of the last occupant of the throne.

The prestigious body consists of:-

  1. Waziri of Sokoto, descendant of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodiyo’s daughter Nana Asma’u
  2. Sarkin Yaki, descendent of Aliyu Jedo, the Caliphate’s commander of the armed Forces.
  3. Magaini Rafi, descendent of Dan Fodiyo’s disciple Ummarunmu Alkammu
  4. Magajin Gari, descendent of Abubakar Dan Jada.
  5. The Galadima, descendent of Doshiro a brave fighter in the armed forces.
  6. The Ardo (Fulani word for ruler) of Shuni, descendent of Manuri
  7. The Ardo of Dingyadi, descendent of Mamana.
  8. Sarkin Kabiof Yabo, descendent of Mayijo
  9. The Barade of Wamakko, descendent of Muhammad Maccunga

They are known to have on occasions co-opted other caliphate title to help in their assignment. The last such co-option was of the Alkalin Alkallai. In the exercise which resulted in the selection of Sir. Abubakar III.

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  1. The Sultan as the Chairman
  2. The Waziri
  3. Magajin Rafi
  4. Majin Gari
  5. The Galadima
  6. Turakin Sokoto; Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari
  7. Sarkin Malamai; Late Alh. Ibro Gusau
  8. The secretary of the Sultanate Council.


In the late 19th century the Sokoto caliphate came into contact with the British Royqal Niger Company which was operating in the Niger-Benue Valleys (in Nupeland, Muri, Adamawa etc) these contacts under mind the sovereignty of the Sultan in those parts of his territory where the company was operating. Eventually, hostile relations developed with the Royal Niger Company attacking the Nupe and Ilorin Emirates in 1897.

By this time the advance of the imperialists in Africa was in full swing and the Sokoto caliphate was caught between the drive of the British and the French to territory acquisitions. Once the British Government has taken over the administrative and political functions of the Royal Niger Company in 1899 it undertook the conquest and annexation of all the area that became Northern Nigerian. Kontagora, Bida, Yola and Kano were taken in 1902 and Sokoto in 1903.

Thereafter, the British took over the administration of what is now Nigeria. The Emirates of the former Sokoto Caliphate were reconstituted as administrative units independents of the Sultan whose authority was only recognized in the Sokoto province. But the title of Sarkin Musulmi remained and the Sultan continues today as leader of all Nigerian Muslims, and the most influential traditional ruler in Northern Nigeria.


The area of present Sokoto State as could be seen was the home of many empires and Kingdoms of the Pre-Colonial Western of Sudan. These include Gobir and Kebbi Kingdoms as well as the world-renowned Sokoto Caliphate whose spiritual and political is the Headquarters of the state.


Contrary to the common belief among outsiders, that the area covered by Sokoto State consist of only Hausa and Fulani speaking people, there are also other major and minor groups, which include:-

  1. Zamfarawa:- They live mostly in areas bordering Zamfara state
  2. Gobirawa:- They are found mainly in Sabon Birni, Goronyo and Isa Districts Bordering Niger Republic
  3. Kabawa:- They are predominantly found in Kebbe and Silame Districts Bordering Kebbi State

All these groups are indigenous Hausas and speak no other language but Hausa.

  1. Fulani:- They are found every where in the state and they are mainly sub-divided into two main groups:-
  2. Fulbe Wuro:- Fulanin gida. These are the Fulani who reside in the town. They could be conveniently regarded as Hausanised. They are sometimes called Fulanin Zaure. They are mostly educated elite of the Fulani stock
  3. Fulbe Na’I (Bararo):- The fully pledged pastoral group. They have lighter skin and posses more cattle then the town Fulani. They are mostly found in the bush scattered with their herds all over the state. While the town Fulani are Hausanised, the cattle Fulani still retain their Fulani language and culture.
  4. The Tuaregs: – Tuaregs – Tauregs are other minor groups that have dialects of their own and a distinct culture. They are mostly found in Gada and Illela Districts bordering Niger Republic. They are mostly spotted in the Saharan area driving their camels, wearing black turban.
  5. Zabarmawa: – This is another minor group which has its own dialect and distinct culture. The group is mostly found in Kware District.

Yet, it is well correct to say that most Sokoto people speak Hausa in addition to their sub-groups or culture. And it is relevant to remark that Hausa culture has heavy imprints on the culture of the other ethnic groups. This is as a result of very long contact and interaction of other ethnic groups from Nigeria and outside that resides in the state.


Sokoto city was established in 1224 A.H., 1809 A.D. by Sultan Muhammad Bello, the Son of Famous Shehu Usmanu Dan Fodio. It was earlier established as a war camp against the Hausa Forces of Gobir but later it developed into a very big city and center of learning, administration and commerce. It is today the administrative and political Headquarters for the state, in addition to its foremost status as the “seat of the caliphate”. It is naturally peaceful, quite, calm, brotherly and most importantly accommodating.

It is a treasure of rich History, Traditions and Culture as well as center of learning for scholars throughout the length and breadth of West Africa. The town is heavily populated by people who subscribe to Islamic religion.

However, there are a large number of adherences of other traditions and religious beliefs comfortably accommodated. They engaged in their economic, social and religious practices without hindrance or molestation.

Therefore, in the state there are a great number of Mosques for the Muslims majority with a significant number of Churches of different denominations co-existing peacefully with each other. Each respecting the others religious beliefs.



Sokoto State like all other states in the federation can boast of a variety of traditional festivals, some of which are preformed annually, quarterly, periodically or anytime the occasion arises. It is worth however to point out that none of these festivals is performed without a symbolic reason in other words, they are functional festivals.

The festivals can be broadly and conveniently divided into four categories viz: Religions festivals, occupational festivals social festivals and cultural festivals some of these festivals are unique and peculiar to a distinct ethnic group or occupational groups while others belong to the society as a whole.



More than (95%) of the people of Sokoto are Muslims and as such they joined other Muslims all over the world to celebrate three or four annual festivals. They are Eid-el Fitr (Sallah Karama) Eid-el Kabir (Sallah Babba): and Eid-el Maulud (Sallar Maulidi), respectively preformed as arranged in the Muslim Calendar.


This is popularly called “Sallar Azumi” or Karamar Sallah (Small Sallah), designed to mark the end of Muslim fasting of the month of Ramadan, it is an annual evnt which involves wearing of new clothes by the Muslims and marching to Eid praying ground and returning home after prayers for other celebrations, which includes Musics, Mini Durbar, Visit to relations, Parties etc.


The celebration is popularly called Babbar Sallah (Big Sallah). It comes up two months and ten days after the Eid-el-fit. It involves sacrificing of animals for the sake of Allah. It is also an annual event which involves marching to the praying ground and returning home after prayers for other celebrations.


This is the third festival each held annually to celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). The activities during the celebrations include a series of Lectures, Songs, Phrases, Drama, and other activities relating to the lives and teachings of the noble Prophet.



An annual hunting expedition embarked upon by a community armed with their guns, dogs and drums. Such expedition last for days and common among Yabo, Dange and Sabon Birni districts.


Annual farming exercise embarked upon by youths of various communities at the farming of village Head, Hamlet head, or an Imam of the community. It involves drumming, dancing and signing as long as the job last.


It is an annual festival organized by youths of the same age group to celebrate good harvest at the end of the rainy season. They also use the opportunity to pay courtesy call on elders.

The astonishing aspect of this festival is that while the boys go the farm of selected elders, the girls prepare an appetizing dish for there would be husbands and courting begins. It also serves as a forum for them to discuss matters of common interest. It is mostly common among communities bordering Zamfara State.


This is an annual festival performed by the butcher’s youths around October. It involves rigorous dancing to their own type of music, after which the dancer will go into the center of the stage and drink from a big calabash containing Gumba (mixture of millet, Alewa, Kilishi) and finally take his exit.


This is an annual initiation festival organized by the cattle Fulani youths involving dancing and whipping among bachelors to determine eligibility into matrimonial life. It is also a way of testing the endurance capacity of a Fulani boy as he faces so many hardships and rigorous encounters, in the course of rearing his animals.


Another in the series of a test of endurance festival performed annually by the Sullubawa youths is “Doro” or Kicking. It is common in Danger/Shuni, Wamakko and Bodinga districts.

The festival scene is forming a circle in an open space, and two contestants wearing special designed leather shoes, engaged themselves in a leg kicking contest backed up by Ganga musicians. This festival is celebrated after harvest and during wedding, naming or turbaning ceremony.


Because of its religious and political importance in the country, Sokoto retains its position as the seat of the Caliphate and so it was the home of numerous pre-Jihad Hausa Kingdoms. It is blessed with several Historical Sites found everywhere. These include relics and ruins of Hausa cites of Kebbi, Gobir and Zamfara, as well as battlefields and tombs of great warriors and scholars of Sokoto Cliphate. Others include artifacts, manuscripts and Archival records of Historical significance. There are about 105 Historical sites and monuments identified. They include among others:-


This Bureau was established in 1973 with the purpose of collecting, preserving and displaying all relics, artifacts. Archieves and manuscripts relating to the History of Sokoto people and its Government. The six department Museum is of international standard housing more than 500, 00 volumes of assorted materials and other Historical treasures.

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This is the Ruins of the old Headquarters of Kebbi Kingdom built in the early 16th century by its famous King Muhammad Kanta. He was the ancestor of the present rulers of Kebbi at Argungu. The total circumstance of the walls of Surame has been estimated by an archaeologist. John Sutton to be about 19 kilometers. Much human labour and resources were expanded in executing the walls, considering its massive stone and earth works.


The Ruins of the Capital City of Gobir Kingdom. This city served as the Capital of Gobir after they finally settled in Hausaland. The Gobirawa were believe to have originated from Arabia in about 10th century through Borno. The city was built during the reign of Ibrahim Babari. Father of famous Bawa Jangwarzo about 70 years before it was sacked by the Fulani Jihadist under Danfodio in 1908. It is wide surrounded with walls.

  1. DEGEL

Shehu Danfodio’s family moved to this place in Maratta his birth place (now in Niger Republic) in 1760, when he was very young. It was a Fulani settlement and a great center for Islamic scholars living in Hausa land at that time, Malam Abdullahi Fodio, Shehu’ Brother was born at Degel and he was 12 years younger thatn Shehu.

It was also at Degel that the light of Shehu’s Jihad was ignited. During the course of his preaching which the Hausa Kingdoms of Gobir did not like at that time, he was threatened by the rulers and he made what the historians called “Hijrah” from here to Gudu a safer place for his preaching with many of his companions called the Jama’ar Shehu. Now Degel is located in Chimola district, Gwadabawa Local Government Area.

  1. GUDU

This is the place where Shehu and members of his community migrated to on the frontiers of Kabbi and Gobir Kingdoms in 1804. Two of his major companions Aliyu Danjedo (his war commander) and Mahmoud Gurdam, has already built a house for Shehu’s family at Gudu at the wake of Hijrah. Under a “Faru” Tree in Gudu Allegiance was paid to Shehu as Amirul-Mumini.


After Shehu’s Hijrah to Gudu in February 1804, many people from all over Hausa land and beyond came to join him and his Jama’a community. Sarkin Gobir Yunfa and his army came to a place called Gurdam and camped so that they could easily attack the Shehu’s community at Gudu.

Eventually, Gobir King, Yunfa and his allied suffered the attack Yunfa’s golden sword was taken and several other war booty. The sword was given into custody to Shehu’s war commander Sarkin Yaki Aliyu Jedo which is being held till today by his descendent Sarkin Yaki at Binji.


This is the site where Shehu Danfodio and his community stayed after they left Gudu in 1805. It was here Shehu sent his famous circular letter to all Hausa rulers informing them about the Jihad and invited them to join him in the struggle . The site is now located few kilometers Eastwards of Yabo town some 35 kms from Sokoto on Shagari Road.

  1. YABO:

This is the administrative Headquarters of the Kebbi Fulani leader, Muhammad Mayijo. He was one of the principla flag bearers of Shehu Danfodio. He joined Shehu at Gudu and witnessed the community victory at Tafkin Kwatto and the sack of Kebbi. He built Yabo and made it his base.

  1. KIRARE:

This is another battle field where the Shehu army fought the Gobir after they left Magabci. During the battle of Kirare in1805, many of the Shehu’s followers were killed. Kirare is now located near Goronyo across River Rima in Goronyo District.

  1. SIFAWA:

This is the town which is considered by Historians as the flag bearer’s town. Shehu distributed flags to many Jihad scholars and wrote a number of scholarly work when he was here. There are the tombs of many scholars, as well as Shehu’s house, mosque and school. Sifawa is a District in Bondiga Local Government.


In the year 1815, Shehu Danfodio left Sifawa his else while Headquarters, to Sokoto, a new town earlier founded by Sultan Bello his son. Shehu spent 2 years in Sokoto and died in 1817.

The house where Shehu lived in Sokoto called “Hubbare” is today one of the most important Historical monuments in Africa. It houses his personal resident and that of members of his family. At the entrance of this house one would be confronted by a round shaped room which was Shehu’s school called “Jingirde Shehu” That is the place where he dedicated the remaining days of his life teaching, preaching and writing. Shehu and six other Sultans were buried there.


This city is a historical site established during the reign of Sultan Muhammadu Bello as a Military Strategic camp against the incursion of Gobir forces into the captured territory of the Caliphate. The town later became one of the administrative headquarters of the Caliphate where five Sultans lives and died.


During the Shehu’s days at Degel, Chimmola was only a small settlement. During the time of the 5th Sultan Ahmadu Dan Aliyu, he decided to transfer his administrative headquarters to Chimmola, as a military strategy and protection against Gobir incursion from the North. The Sultan lived here and was buried in this compound. Three other Sultans from Atiku branch of the family emerged from this house.


This is a place where the parents of Hauwa’u Danfodio’s mother lived when they left Maratta. Hauwa’u died at Marnona and was buried there together with some family members.


At this place in March, 1903, Lugard British Colonial Army under Majhor Morland defeated the army of 12th Sultan Attahiru I. It was on the outskirt of Sokoto city and was originally surrounded with palm trees hence the name “Giginya”. The Sultan decided to migrate and resisted British invasion and was eventually pursued eastwards to a place called Bormi in the present day Gombe State.  At this place, Bormi the Sultan and many of his followers were killed by the British Army in June, 1903.


This is official residence of the Sultan of Sokoto, when Sokoto was built in 1808, the palace was build and was occupied by Sultan Bello who built the city. It was originally built with mud and stones.


There are eight city gateways to Sokoto. The walls surrounding the city was started in 1808 during the time of Sultan Bello, and was probably completed during the time of Sultan Aliyu Babba.

Walls constructed around the cities for security reasons. It was meant to protect the cities from incursion and surprise attacks by enemies or wild animals. The eight city gates in Sokoto are: Kofar Rini, Kofar Tarammniya, Kofar Atiku, Kofar Aliyu Jedo, Kofar Kade, Kofar Dundaye, Kofar Kware and Kofar Marke.


The Shehu Danfodio’s Mosque was built in 1815 when Shehu left Sifawa and came to stay at Sokoto. It is very close to his official residence. It accommodates a large number of worshipers on Fridays. It is probably the largest Friday mosque in the Caliphate at its inception.


Sultan Bello Mosque in Sokoto which was built in 1808 along with the city itself is located at the opposite side of the Sultan Palace. It was also renovated with modern structures during the time of Sir. Ahmadu Bello through the donation from Arab countries in 1962. It was officially opened after its renovation in 1962 by Imam of Madina Sheikh Abdul-Aziz.

  1. SATIRU:

This is a place where one of the fiercest wars took place against the British invasion in Sokoto Caliphate. The people of Satiru under one Dan Makafo decided to revolt against the colonial administration of Lurgard in early 1906. Eventually, war broke out between Dan-makafo and the British Army where both suffered many casualties. The British invaded the area and sent Satiru people away and the place remained deserted till these days.


It was a Provincial Secondary School, which probably started by Colonial administrators Major Burdon in 1912 many high ranking political leaders in the country passed through the school, and was the oldest in Sokoto province. Among its students were Sir. Ahmadu Bello. Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alh. Ibrahim Dasuki, Alh. Muhammad Maccido etc. The administration building of the School is a Colonial legacy and Historical site.


This is the officials residence of all British Colonial residents in Sokoto, probably first occupied by Major Burdon in 1912. It was also used in the Late 60’s by secretaries to the Governmnet of Sokoto. It was located at the “British Quarters” in Sokoto along Sultan Abubakar Road. Some Sultans of Sokoto were turbaned at this residency during the Colonial period. It was probably last used by Mr. Carrow, the British Colonial Commissioner in the 1950’s.


This is both geographical and Historical location in Gada local Government Area of the State. The Rock formation is believed to contain ancient fossils remains and might provide evidence to the origin of pre-Historic life.



This dam site is located in the Historic town of Goronyo form where the title is derived. The dam is one of the largest in West African sub-region and was built in 1981 along the River Rima to boost the irrigation of large number of farmers.


As the name suggest, Bulbul is an unusual warm spring. This is of particular significance to tourist due to the beautiful location and serene landscape, which gives extensive facility for location.

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A very large Lake, which provides natural recreational facilities at its surroundings. The spring water is warned during cold season and cold in temperature period. It stretches from Kware, some 18 kilometre from Sokoto to Kainuwa near gwadabawa. The Lake runs through out the year.


This is a Five Star Giginya Hotel equipped with all modern facilities of an international Hotel. Located along Western bye-pass Sokoto. The Hotel provides accommodation, conference facilities, modern restaurant, recreational centres, swimming pools, souvenir shops, etc. to the Tourists and visitors to Sokoto. It was built in 1981 during the administration of Late Shehu Kangiwa. Other Hotels that are of tourist attraction include:- Shukara Hotels, Sokoto Hotels, Sokoto  Guest Inn International, Dankane Hotel, Mabera Guest Inn, Catering Rest House, Rima Hotels, Tudun Wada Guest Inn, Rima Valley Hotel, and Zumunta Hotel.


This is one of the tourist attractions in the State. The idea of constructing a new market in Sokoto emerged in 1978 owing to the numerous problems relating to fire out breaks, security and congestion at the old “Yardole” market.

The market is designed and provided with modern facilities and over 5,000 permanent stalls built with concrete and more than a thousand additional structures. The construction which was carried out by Keupers Nigeria Limited, an Italian Company was completed in 1980.


Another tourist attraction in the State is the annual Romo Fishing Festival at Romon Sarki in Tambuwal Local Government Area of the State. The fishing festival has attracted a lot of tourists both from Nigeria and outside and is being sponsored by the State Government now that the Argungu Festival had moved to Kebbi State.


This is an open-air theatre built in 1985 just near the Government House, Sokoto. The theatre is provided with modern Cultural facilities and is capable of accomondating 5,000 spectators at a time. It is under the auspices of the State History and Culture Bereau.

Many important cultural and performing arts like Music, drama etc. in the State are conducted at the theatre. The open air space gives adequate Ventilation to suppress the heat environment especially at night. The gardens and parks facilities surrounding the theatre give a much more recreational favourbale atmosphere to the tourists.


These are War Danciers. A cultural performing group from Yabo. Their heavily costumed outfit and their dances could also be traced back to the Jihad period by warriors of Sarkin Kabbi Mayijo. He was Shehu War Commander, and a flag bearer.


These are the Sultan’s permanent traditional musical  outfit for specific royal dignity and functions. Compose and sing praise songs for the Sultan, mentioning his lineage, his great deeds thereby boosting his ego. Their musical instruments include, Tambari, Ganga and Kalangu, and “Mabusa” Trumpeters whose main function is to remind the Sarki by sounding their trumpets on Thursday night about the great Jummu’ at prayers, coming up on the following day.


Fulani dances for the male folks include Dansharoro, Namadai, and Sharo. The most exciting is Dansharoro performed by Fulani Youths during naming ceremonies as they dance to Kalangu music with sticks in one hand, hopping continued in their traditional Sawaye sewed into Binjima and trousers.

The Female Dancers are: Maitsoka bai-rasa wutar gashi (meaning He who has a flesh of meat, will not lack fire to roast it) “Tumbudi – Tumbudi, Mai-da–nono”. The most fascinating of the female dances is the Tumbudi – which is performed as a maiden dance in the house of the groom.


This dance steps is performed by the youths and adults of the Bugaje communities found in Dukamaje, Zango near Kyadawa and Dan Biroma in Wauru and Gada Districts.


This is one of most attractive cultural activities found all over Hausa land Durbar probably originated from India and Pakistan. It is a sequential procession of decorated and colourful horses, camels, donkeys etc. displayed by the cavalrymen to showcase their Gallantry during the wars.


Sokoto State is endowed with many Arts, Crafts, Trades and traditional Occupations. These crafts are seen in different areas and traditional settings in the State.

Sokoto City itself was categorized in a traditional set up according to various crafts engage in the city. Some of these crafts are special international and tourism attractions. They have gone along way in the improving the economic life of the people. Some of these crafts commonly found in the State include:


This craft involves iron production, manufacturing of implements and tools as well as weapons for hunting, farming, household cutleries etc.


This craft is responsible for weaving cloth for the people. It is also long in History. Some of these clothes are made of cotton thread and they provide both for men and women; adult and children. This craft has been tremendously improved to meet the souvenir requirements of tourists from Nigeria and outside.


This crafts is meant to give different impressive colours to clothes. In a traditional set up, a well is dug and plants of indigo are used with some chemicals and then clothese sunk into the watercolour to give attractive colours to the clothes. In modern times, drums are used to heat the chemicals. This crafts has also been improved in modern times to meet up the modern challenges.


This is a very unique craft with Sokoto. The State  is blessed with the popular “Moroccan leather” which is very strong. When a goat is killed the hide is taken to the Tanney after which the skin is sold to Madunka’ leather goods who would in turn make different goods and souvenirs for the tourists.


This is another Craft which has gone international in Sokoto, because of its richness in Moroccan leather and other reptile skins. Sokoto is heavily visited by tourists and a home of different variety of leather goods and souvenirs.

  1. ‘Magina’ pottery production:

This Crafts is responsible for producing various items made of earth used especially in our homes. Some of the items produced include Pots, Jugs, and Spinners etc.


This Crafts is a very important aspect of the Sokoto tradition ‘Shigifa’ big mud house usually serving as entrance to our house are locally built through this craft. When the house or mosque is completed, it is usually decorated using various architectural designs and motifs.


This crafts is mostly practiced by women, whereby the calabash brought after its harvest is decorated with symbols and designs. They give a very impressive scene for the internal decorations of our homes especially Fulani ethnic groups.


This is another craft, which is mostly engaged by women with raffia Materials. Mats, Fans, Calabash covers, etc are some of the items produced through this craft.


This is yet another important craft found in Sokoto city. It is where by materials used in the decorating horses are produced in large quantity and sold tro markets both in and outside. Some of the items produce through this craft include ‘Saddle; ‘KalfaZuru’, ‘Ragama’ etc.


Sports are another very important aspect of our culture and thus has attracted tourists through the years. Some of the traditional games common in Sokoto include:


Dambe is a local boxing tournament between two contestants of the same category or age-mates in a test of wise. It is normally a game of Rundawas’ Butchers. But these days some non butchers do it as a business, while others do it for pleasure.


This is a traditional wrestling between two able bodied young men, locked in a first power. A participant floors his opponents to become a winner. In Sokoto, it is performed after harvest in an open Space. Such game, commands respect for the winner within his age mates and the community in general. The game has also been improved to meet up with modern requirements of tourists.


This is a game common amongst the hunters of Yabo, Mamman Suka, Sanyinna areas of the State. It is an archery competition organized within hunters themselves to know the most accurate shooter.

It also serves as a shooting exercise and training ground to the young ones. It is organized by placing static objects and moving ones, while the contestants stand in a line, some distance away and in Nigeria as simply conservatives. They are to course noble people who always submit and put their destiny in the hands of their creator. They are however adaptable to the modern changes in the World so long as they do not impede to their religious obligations.



Historical, Cultural and Tourism Sites of Sokoto:

A Submission for Arts and Crafts Directory by Muhammad Bello Idris (2004).

The Fulani Empire of Sokoto: By H.A.S. Johnston (1967).

The Hausa Culture: An Article in Zaruma Magazine (1982)

The Book of Cuisines for Sokoto: A Submission for NAFEST (1985).

Hausa Community in Crisis: (M.A. Thesis) by A. Alkali A.B.U. Zaria.

Sokoto Caliphate: (PhD. Thesis) by Abubakar S. A.B.U. Zaria.

A.S. Malami (OFR) (1989) Sir Siddiq Abubakar III 17th Sultan of Sokoto.

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Gboyega Adedeji
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Mentored By Jesus Christ | Writer | Inspiring Speaker | Publisher | Coach | Builder | CEO @ | President/CEO at Centre for New Dimension Leadership | Entrepreneur | Husband & Father. Engaging me will change you!

Gboyega Adedeji

Mentored By Jesus Christ | Writer | Inspiring Speaker | Publisher | Coach | Builder | CEO @ | President/CEO at Centre for New Dimension Leadership | Entrepreneur | Husband & Father. Engaging me will change you!

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Sokoto: The Seat of the Caliphate

by Gboyega Adedeji time to read: 25 min