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He was the Waziri and closiest associate of the leader of the Yusufawa, Yusuf Dan Abdullahi. When the later died the Cucanawa skillfully stage-managed the ascension of Aliyu to the leadership of the group. He was the most knowledgeable and charismatic of the surviving sons of Abdullahi Majekarofi. It was also believed that Yusuf recommended him as his successor becuse he was a grandson of Sarkin Musulmi Aliyu Babba Dan Muhammad Bello thus making it difficult for Sokoto to attack the Yusufawa (Last 1977: 135-136). The two contenders to the leadership of the Yusufawa, Sarkin Dawakin Tsakar Gida Abbas and Dan Makwayo Shehu had no option other than to pledge allegience to their younger brother.

Aliyu triumphantly entered Kano on Wednesday 16th Safar 1312 AH (19th August 1894) after the defeat of Sarki Tukur who was forced into exile. Sarkin Musulmi Abdulrahman’s effort to reinstate Tukur failed while Aliyu consolidated his position as the new Sarkin Kano. He made many appointments the most prominent was his elder brother Ahmadu who was appointed Waziri, which was the highest title (East and Mani 1979: 52). He also appointed Mahmud, Kwairanga, Sulaiman, Hamza, Abdussalam as Galadima, Madaki, Alkali, Makama and Sarkin Bai respectively.

Aliyu was a brave and industrious warior he invented the sango (explosive), which he used in his miltary engagements. The Damagarawa seriously threatened his authority. They invaded Kano twice in the first instance in 1313 AH (1896) they were heavily defeated but later in 1313 AH (1898) they retaliated and inflicted heavy casualty and defeat on Kano. Eventually Kano was relieved of their nuisance in 1316 (1899) when the French imperialist subjugated them. He was also able withstand Ningi’s aggressiveness, the Ningawa were defeated several times during his reign. The other external threats to his reign were Maradi and Hadejia when they took the advantage of the uneasiness caused by the Kano civil war (Fika 1978: 75-76).

In 1312 AH (29th January 1903), the British imperial expeditionary force left Zaria for Kano. They crushed the brave oppositions mounted by various towns and villages along their way to Kano with all brutality and barbarism. For example they burnt the bodies of Sarkin Bebeji Jibril and seven others after murdering them to show example to resistant ‘natives’. When they reached Kano on 3rd February 1903, an unorganized but courageous resistance confronted them. Sarkin Kano Alu had gone to Sokoto but he was aware of the impending British imperialist invasion. He opted for Hijra (exodus) to avoid bloodshed (Yahya 1986: 3). His exodus was to east where he intended to perform the Hajj (Holy pilgrimage to Makkah). Waziri Ahmadu who was the next in the Emirate hierarchy decided to resist. A decisive battle took place at Kotorkoshi near Gasau where the invaders met the returning Kano army from Sokoto who went with the Sarki to pay homage to Sarkin Musulmi. Waziri Ahmadu and many others were martyred (Fika 1978: 84-100). The British later captured Alu in Niger with the collaboration of their allies the French colonialists of Niger.

Alu was first exiled to Yola where he stayed for a while but was transferred to Lokoja because the Emir of Yola felt intimidated by his presence. Alu had many fadawa (courtiers) who were very charismatic compared to chiefs of other emirates because of the nature of Kano sarauta, which is still usually more glamorous than the sarauata of other Hausa states. When the Yola Mosque was damaged by rains and there was need to repair it Alu ordered his courtiers to participate and the people were surprised to see those better dressed than some of their chiefs were made to engage in manual labor, according to this story the Emir of Adamawa informed the British that he cannot withstand such an Emir (Sulaiman 1999: 5). Alu was thus exiled to Lokoja on the Niger-Benue confluence, where he died in 1345 AH (1926).

Sarkin Kano Alu will be remembered in the history of Kano as an excellent military commander and the most knowledgeable pre-colonial Sarkin Kano. He was well versed in Islamic Jurisprudence he also had a profound understanding of the advanced science of Tasawwuf (Islamic mystism). His book Rad al-Jahla is a clear testimony of his intellectual disposition (Paden 1973).

Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2008 22:13