BRIEF HISTORY OF deba emirate

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Deba monarchy is one of the oldest traditional monarchical systems in Nigeria. It was founded long before the scramble and partition of West Africa in 1885, long before Usman Danfodio jihad in the 17th and 18th century, and even long before the coming of the colonial masters to Africa in the 15th century. Its monarchy was established in 1375 with its first monarch or King called Kuji in Nyimatli language. The Mishelku’s group (i.e. the royal descendants) who were said to have migrated from Middle East brought with them animals, spears, a copy of the holy book of (Quran) and assorted kinds of clothes and met the aborigines group such as Bu̱rnyi and Shaba with Bu̱rnggu̱na as their head. As the leadership group began to expand, the title of kuji (king) was introduced as the administrative head of Deba.

The first monarch known as Kuji Pilɓangmu ruled from 1375 A.D. to 1384 A.D. and wielded power over his territory with its boundaries at a town known as Kalshingi in the west to Jagali in the east, and from Ɗola in the north to Panda in the southern part of the present Gombe state.

Deba Empire was made up of many different settlements before the middle of 14th century A.D. when the settlements were amalgamated under the leadership of Kuji Pilɓangmu. As an autonomous kingdom in its own right, thirty two kings ruled Deba kingdom as monarchs from Kuji Pilɓangmu 1375 A.D. to Kuji Buba Maji 1897 before colonialism debunked it and reduced it to the status of a village head. It is important to state here that this relegation consequently reduced Deba territory to its present stage. Deba was never conquered or subjugated by any ethnic group in history, but has consistently resisted many invasions into its domain. Thus the famous Usman Danfodio jihad had little impact on the administrative existence of Deba. Oral tradition shows that during the reign of kuji Maji (1882 1897), the Emir of Misau, Mai Saleh attempted to attack Deba but proved abortive. Mai Saleh was subsequently killed during his second expedition at Tula Wange in 1898.

Deba has maintained a cordial relationship with its neighbours from time immemorial. For instance, apart from serving as cradle of civilization among other Tera and non-Tera ethnic communities, it was strategically located as center of commence and linked Gombe to the South East with Tangale Waja and other communities. Traders from faraway places like Kano and Borno came to transact in slaves and other commodities in Deba town through the well established caravan route. Perhaps this could be one of the reasons of its close relationship with Gombe Emirate. Thus, during the reign of Muhammadu Kwairanga, the Emir of Gombe (1844-1882), he was said to have gotten married to a Deba princes daughter of Kuji Atuman. Furthermore, Haruna the seventh Emir of Gombe was said to have married Halima, the daughter of kuji Zaura the 33rd kuji of Deba. Similarly, Atiku, a son to Galadiman Gombe took his wife from Deba, and were blessed with children among whom was the late Alh Muhammadu, the district head of Akko. The British occupation 

 of Yamaltu was delayed until 1950 because of power tussle among the potential contenders (i.e. Deba and Gwanyi). The choice of village head of Gwanyi was favoured amidst protest. Deba therefore, continue to remain as village area under the district head of Yamaltu until 1977 when Deba district was created alongside Pindiga. As a result of that, more hamlets within Deba district were upgraded to the status of village areas. In addition, the district head of Deba was equally addressed as Sarkin Deba and Hakimin Deba to differentiate him from other district heads that were appointed by the Emir of Gombe.

of Gombe in 1903 after the defeat of Sultan Attahiru Ahmadu 1 at the battle of Bormi brought Deba kingdom under the Gombe Emirate in 1907. However, Deba continued to maintain its status as chiefdom with envoys being sent to supervise the ban of slave trade in the area, starting with Galadima Bubawa who was later deposed by the British for financial allegations. Therefore, Galadima Barunde was posted as an envoy to Deba until 1921 when the district headquarters was transferred to Kumo. In-between that period Yerima Jalo acted as envoy in Deba for some months before his transfer to Waja district, and was later removed from office for financial allegation. It is important to note that the making of Deba as the district headquarters of Akko was ascribed to the urban nature of Deba as it is more cosmopolitan than any other settlement in Gongola valley. In addition, it was strategically located on traffic junction connecting Gombe with Adamawa state through Numan. By and large, it is among the largest trading centers that earned the town the name “Deba Birnin Tera.” In a nutshell, Deba has never been part of the Emirate system until 1907 when the British brought it under Gombe Emirate for the purpose of indirect rule system. Later, the administrative reforms initiated by the British colonial authorities led to the creation of Yamaltu district in 1936 comprising all the 14 Tera settlements (i.e. Deba, Hinna, Kurɓa, Gwanyi, Zambuk, Difa, Kwali, Kinafa, Waɗe, Shinga, Luɓo, Kwadon, Liji, and Lano) used under Galadiman Gombe. The administrative reform which cut across the northern Nigeria was to make tribes more autonomous. This development brought the transfer of other Tera towns (i.e, Gwanyi Enclave comprising Gwanyi, Shinga, Waɗe and Hinna), which were in Biu division back to Gombe division in 1935. The aim was to make Tera ethnic groups into a single kingdom with its constituted village areas a potential heir apparent to the throne of district head of the newly created Yamaltu district. However, the appointment of the district head

. This development made Sarkin Deba to become a member of Gombe Emirate council until the year 2000 when the status of the district head was upgraded to an Emir. The chronicles of Deba monarchs, village heads, district heads and Emirs listed below depicts the high position Deba monarchs occupied before the coming of the colonial masters and the subsequent unfortunate relegations of this monarchial system to village head and the subsequent raising of this famous empire to the status of Emirate

CHRONICLES OF DEBA MONARCHS
VILLAGE HEADS, DISTRICT HEADS AND EMIRS
CHRONICLE OF DEBA MONARCHS

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S/NMONARCH NAMEDATE
1PilɓangmuC. 1375-1384
2Wafuɗa1384-1398
3Boshom Pilɓangmu1398-1415
4Bamtala Wafuɗa1415-1428
5Zhomzhom1428-1439
6Ghafa Boshom1439-1457
7Yema Zuri Boshom1457-1472
8Zhana Zhomzhom1472-1492
9Ghwara zhomzhom1492-1504
10Njong Khundi1504-1519
11Ruma Zhana1519-1522
12Bara Yema Zuri1522-1538
13Maji Dakidaki Ruma1538-1558
14Mele Ghwara Bara1558-1565
15Vama Bara1565-1575
16Gwalam Maji Dakidaki1575-1587
17Jimdimi Mele Ghwara1587-1599
18Nggazhi Nggazhi Vama1599-1612
19Tundum Gwalam1612-1627
20Gomtol Nggazhi Nggazhi1627-1638
21Maikada Tundum1638-1653
22Ali Maikada1653-1693
23Zaura Ainaɓa Gomtol1693-1754
24Maji Zaura Ainaɓa I1754-1765
25Mele Aisa Zan1765-1790
26Jipi Zaura Ainaɓa1790-1800
27Zaura Zuma Dake1800-1852
28Atuman Mele Aisa Zan1852-1856
29Wana atuman1856-1866
30Maji Zaura Zuma Dake II1866-1882
31Mari Maji1897-1916

CHRONICLE OF DEBA VILLAGE HEADS

S/N

NAME

DATE

1

Zaura Buba

1916-1950

2

Maji Buba III

1950-1957

3

Usman Maji

1957-1976

CHRONICLE OF DEBA DISTRICT HEADS

S/N

NAME

DATE

1

Usman Maji

1977-1984

2

Col. Abubakar Waziri Mahdi (Rtd)

1984-2000

CHRONICLE OF DEBA EMIRS

S/N

NAME

DATE

 

Lt. Col. Abubakar Waziri Mahdi (Rtd)

2000-2007

2

QS. Ahmad Usman Mohammed

2017 – to date

TRIBES FOUND WITHIN THE EMIRATE 

S/N

DISTRICT

TRIBE

ORIGIN

LOCATION

1.

Shengete

Tera

Yemen

Deba

Fulani

Katsina

Daji

Kanuri

Borno

Zongomari

Waja

Balanga

Dangi waja

Hausa

Daura

Tudunwada Ilu

2.

Borna

Tera

Yeman

Deba/Rarab

Fulani

Dukku

Wuro Maccu

Waja

Balanga

Awak

Awak

Kaltungo

Rarab Awak

3.

Kuto

Tera

Yemen

Deba

Fulani

Adamawa

Saruje

Hausa

Zamfara/Sokoto

Zamfarawa

Kanuri

Borno

Saruje Bare bari

4.

Nono

Fulani

Katagum

Nono

Tera

Yemen

Rarab

Hausa

Katsina/Sokoto

Nono Mal. Isa

Tangale

Kaltungo

Kidda Adoni

Bolawa

Fika

Garin Tafida

5.

Lano

Tera

Yemen

Lano

Waja

Balanga

Lano

Hausa

Katsina/Kano

Ge-Lano (Dumbu)

6.

Lambam

Tera

Yemen

Lambam

Waja

Balanga

Ge – Lambam (Kuntaru)

Hausa

Katsina/Sokoto

Lambam, Ge – Lambam

7.

Kanawa

Fulani

Adamawa

Jannawo/Kanawa

Kanuri

Borno

Poli

8.

Wuro Birdeka

Tera

Yemen

Amatai

Waja

Balanga

Tila

Tagale

Billiri

Jagali

Fulani

Adamawa

Wuro Malami

9.

Kunnuwol

Fulani

Adamawa

Kunnuwol

Waja

Balanga

Jamari

10.

Kuri

Hausa

Katsina/Zamfara

Kuri

Tera

Yemen

Kuri

11.

Wajari

Tera

Yemen

 

Waja

Balanga

 

Hausa

Sokoto/Zamfara