Kano is one of the ancient states in Nigeria, located in the northern part of the country. Kano State is often referred to as Jihar Kano in the Hausa language, which serves as the historic kingdom and traditional emirate in northern Nigeria.
Kano State was created on May 27, 1967, carved from the old northern Nigeria, and it is bordered by Katsina State to the northwest, Jigawa State to the northeast, and Bauchi and Kaduna state to the south. Thus, the capital city of Kano is Kano.
The national census conducted in 2006 reveals that Kano is the most populous state out of the 36 states in Nigeria, with an estimated population of 9,401,288 as recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2016. Additionally, Kano, which is the capital of Kano State, is also the second largest city in Nigeria after Lagos State.
In this piece, Naijabiography narrates the history of the creation of Kano State, the culture of the Kano people, as well as their economy and political structure.
According to legends, Dalla Hill, a long-gone village, served as the foundation for the Hausa Kingdom of Kano. Small chiefdoms had existed in the region before 999 when Bagauda—the fabled hero Bayajidda’s grandson—became the first king of Kano and ruled until 1063. Thereafter, Muhammad Rumfa came to power in 1463 and held the throne until 1499.
History has it that Muhammad Rumfa expanded the Sahelian Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace), reformatted the city, and encouraged notable citizens to become Muslims, all of which contributed to the city’s further Islamization. Up to the 1805 Fulani invasion, the Hausa state maintained its independence.
The kingdom’s capital was moved from Sheme to its current position during King Gajemasu’s reign (1095–1134). Islam was brought to Kano in the 1340s by Malinke academics, who were from the Mali Empire. The first Muslim monarch of Hausa may have been Yaji, who ruled from 1349 to 1385. Around 1400, Islam was held responsible for Kano’s defeat of Zaria; however, King Kanajeji later renounced this accusation.
The Sokoto Caliphate was established at the beginning of the 19th century as a result of a jihad led by the Fulani Islamic leader Usman Dan Fodio that devastated much of northern Nigeria. Thus, the empire’s most prominent and wealthiest province was Kano. With huge percentages of the population being slaves long after the Atlantic slave trade had been abolished, this was one of the last significant slave civilizations.
Meanwhile, the Kurmi Market, established in 1463 CE by the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Rumfa, was a significant early commercial hub in the area. Later leaders helped Kano become one of Africa’s most important commercial hubs. History has it that Emir Ibrahim Dabo implemented a number of administrative changes during the reign of the Kano Emirate in an effort to boost trade in the area.
However, due to the invasions by the Hausa Sultanate of Maradi, leaders of the time urged traders to leave Katsina. Thus, Kano benefited the most from promoting the kola nut trade by the Jihad leaders of the Caliphate, with an estimated $30 million in annual revenue. Thus, research reveals that during the pre-colonial era, craft industries also developed and boosted the province’s wealth.
The area then became a part of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate following a British conquest that culminated in the Battle of Kano in February 1903. Later, Kano was included in Nigeria’s Northern Region. On May 27, 1967, the state of Kano was founded. Also, Jigawa State was created in 1991 after a portion of Kano State was divided.
People and Culture
Kano State’s population, according to the national census of 2006, is estimated at 9,401,288. Furthermore, the state is mostly inhabited by Hausa and Fulani people. Also, in Kano State, the dominant languages spoken by the people are Hausa and Fulfulde.
The capital city, Kano, is one of the seven medieval Hausa kingdoms, and the majority of its populace is Hausa. Kano was very cosmopolitan centuries before British colonialism, with permanent communities of Arabs, Berbers, Tuareg, Kanuri, and Fula.
Festivals such as the Dubar Festival are celebrated by the Kano people. Durbar, also known as Kano Durbar, is hosted by the Emir of Kano. It is known by the people as a festival celebrated with the aim of displaying culture, tradition, and religion, which marks the two annual Muslim festivals (Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha).
Kurmi Market, Kantin Kwari Market, Sabon Gari Market, Kofar Wanbai Market, Galadima Market, Kurumi Market, Yankura Market, and Dawanau Market are just a few of the numerous big marketplaces that can be found in Kano today. Many of these marketplaces are focused on a particular good, like grains or textiles.
The major methods of agriculture in the state’s outlying districts are commercial and subsistence farming. While groundnuts and cotton are grown for export and industrial use, millet, cowpeas, sorghum, maize, and rice are some of the food crops grown for local use.
Meanwhile, the groundnuts grown in the state were one of the main sources of income for the nation both during the colonial era and for a number of years after independence. Also, garlic, soybeans, cotton, sesame, gum arabic, and chilli pepper are all important agricultural products grown in Kano State.
According to the research published in 2018, both temperature and rainfall are anticipated to rise with climate change, stressing crops more and necessitating more climate change adaptation in agricultural operations.
Furthermore, it is said that Kano State, in terms of industrial activities, is the second-largest industrial centre in Nigeria after Lagos, as well as the largest in the northern part of the country. Thus, the state invests in industries such as textiles, tanning, footwear, cosmetics, plastics, enamelware, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and furniture, among others.
The current governor of Kano State is Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, who first became governor in 2015 and was re-elected for a second term in 2019 under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the same vein, the deputy governor of Kano State is Nasiru Gawuna, who was inaugurated in August 2018.
Furthermore, there are 44 local government areas in Kano State. According to research, the state has the highest local government areas in Nigeria. These local governments include Fagge, Dala, Gwale, Kano Municipal, Tarauni, Nassarawa, Kumbotso, Ungogo, Dawakin Tofa, Tofa, Rimin Gado, Bagwai, etc.
Modern-Day Kano State
Many kingdoms and empires have flourished in what is now Kano State, including the Kingdom of Kano, which was based on Dalla Hill and lasted from 1000 AD to 1349. However, the modern Kano State is now an attraction for tourists.
These tourist centres include Kurmi Market (established in the 15th century), Kano’s centuries-old city wall, Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace, the oldest continuous site of authority in Nigeria), Kano Zoo, Dala and Gwauron Dutse, and Gidan Makama (Kano Museum).
Furthermore, Kano State also invests in education, thereby establishing some institutions, which include Bayero University Kano (founded in 1977), the Kano State University of Technology (founded in 2001), and the Nigeria Police Academy Wudil (founded as the 37th federal university in 2011), among others.
There are some prominent people in society that are from Kano State. These individuals include Sani Abacha (the 10th Head of State of Nigeria), Aliko Dangote (Nigerian business magnate and philanthropist), Rabiu Kwankwaso (former minister of defence of Nigeria), and Murtala Muhammed (4th Head of State of Nigeria), among others.