By Imam Ghazali Umar Esq.
Around 999 AD, the place where the town of Bichi lies was a hunting place for some neighbouring Habes that lived in the neighbouring towns of Damargu, Dutsen Karya, Garun Sheme and many other little settlements that existed before the advancement of Bayajidda to Kano from Daura in the year 999 AD as history recorded.
The Habes continued to hunt in the area and sometimes even fished the streams that were very watery and dense at the time. This trend continued and the place started to attract people for a while from the neighboring settlements that existed before Kano the blacksmith established or rather settled behind Dala hills.
Sometimes in 1600 AD, the Habes that used to hunt the area learnt that some traders were using the place as halting and resting area and used to water their beasts. Therefore, some wise and sophisticated among them came up with the idea of establishing dyeing pits in the place and started some trades and crafts in there in. Some used to purchase goods from the caravans and sell same in the famous Kano market, which was then a very developing town and its business prowess attracted many from far and near.
The place continued to act as a resting place and rendezvous for the traders for almost Seventy Two (72) years. In 1672, some Fulani that are generally believed to be Daneji descent arrived the place in search of greener pastures. Being saturated with the place, they halted and reared their cows. The Habes expected the Fulanis to leave the place within short period of time, but to their surprise, the Fulanis continued to stay in the area and even paid homage to the then ruler of Kano King Muhammadu Dadi dan Bawa. On learning that the central government in Kano received those Fulanis with respect, they moved for at least four to five kilometers and established the town of Hagawa in 1675.
When those Fulanis paid homage to the ruler of Kano, one of them Abdullahi Gwargel was appointed Sarkin Fulani. The place which was known as Zango was changed to Bichi as result of dust that rose and engulfed the place from a struggling ox. On seeing such dust, one of the people started to shout “Bushi” “Bushi” “Bushi”. That sound of Bushi was later corrupted to become Bichi.
The first ruler was one Garakisau and he used the title of Mukaddas. He ruled for almost fourty years before his death in 1640. After his death, his son Boka was made the new Mukaddas of Bichi. He ruled for thirty two years before the arrival of the Fulani in 1672. Both Mukaddas Garakisau and Mukaddas Boka ruled the area when it was Zango not as Bichi..
The first Fulani ruler was one Abdullahi Gwargel son Ardo Bube. He reigned for some years before his son Hammiyel was made new Sarkin Bichi. Hammiyel ruled for fifty years before his death in 1720 (sic).
Among the famous rulers of Bichi was the Sarkin Bichi Jibir Agata. He was made new Sarkin Bichi after Sarkin Fulani Maudo son Dugwi was removed and was replaced by Agata. Agata, who was a hero and very strong person, has contributed in the development of his town Bichi.
Among the people that lived in the town were some Tauregs who arrived the town three years after the arrival of Fulani. Kanawa or rather Habes were also among the early settlers in the area and their leader was made to lead the area and also became the first Chief Imam of the town.
During Sheikh Usman bin Fodio’s jihad, Bichi and its people were not left behind. In fact the pioneer leader of the jihad Mallam Danzabuwa was of Daneji clan, whose origin was Bichi and his cousins, brothers, nephews and so many relatives and disciples were part of the holy war despite the fact that he died before it was started. After the jihad, the Danejis were neglected and little of them got appointed before they were extincted.
In 1851, a British cum German explorer Dr Henrich Barth visited the town and described same as very considerable town of Bichi. This showed that the place flourished within a short years. This probably has to do with prayers from different saints that visited the town at different occasions and different locations.
In 1898, Sarkin Kano Tukur spent a night in Bichi before he proceeded to Sokoto before he was captured and killed by another Fulani contingent under Mallam Alu, who was later became emir of Kano in the same year.
Bichi was made a Hakimin Jumla under Barwan Madaki, who was then answerable to Madaki whose base was at Dawakin Tofa. New district of Bichi was created in 1915 and Chiroman Kano Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero was made a new District Head of Bichi.
When Abdullahi Bayero became emir of Kano in 1926, his son Muhammadu Sanusi who was living with him in Bichi was made Chiroman Kano and District Head of Bichi. He stayed there up to 1944 when he became head of administration in the Kano emirate and moved to Chiranci in the city. His brother Dan’iyan Kano Aminu replaced him in Bichi. When Sanusi became emir in 1956, problems arose between the duo and the latter relieved the former. He therefore appointed his own son Wamban Kano Abubakar as District Head of Bichi. He lived there till his death in 1978. Another Basullube in person of Danburan Garba Bayero was appointed by the then emir of Kano Ado Bayero to lead Bichi. For some political reasons he was relieved from service and Yusufu Bayero was brought to Bichi. In 1991, he was transferred to Dawakin Kudu and Idris Bayero was appointed as new Hakimin Bichi. Idris Bayero rose through the ranks and held the title of Barden Kano.
The Sullubawa of Gidan Dabo whose their second home is Bichi created a very sound and good relationship with the natives to the extent that they are now part and parcel of the town. They are part of Bichi by birth as well as by social and political grounds. The late Amir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero once told a gathering during Quranic graduation ceremony of Ihya’u Ulumuddeen Islamiyya in Bichi that; “If Kano is his gown, Bichi will be the pocket of that gown”. Tho indicates how important the town is to him and to the entire Sullubawa and Gidan Dabo. The way some intellectuals praised the town and shown how important it is to them and their masters also signified how significant it is to them. The likes of Alkali Usaini Sufi, Danmakoyon Kano Mallam Yusuf son Mallam Bashari son of Galadima Yusufu Maje Garko and many more others mentioned Bichi and how enthusiastic they were to the town.
The incumbent Kano state government created new emirates in June, 2019 to bring the government close to the people. Bichi is among the newly created emirate and Wamban Kano Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero was appointed as the first emir of Bichi. He stayed in Bichi and created a very good rapport with his people and the people love, respect and revere him. He was made the new emir of Kano after dethroning Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi ll.
Chiroman Kano Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero was elevated to the position of emir of Bichi in June, 2020. Sarkin Bichi Nasir Ado Bayero is very great and highly intelligent person whose aim and ambition is to see that his people and emirate move to a higher place. Since his appointment, he has being in touch with so many entrepreneurs and he is inviting them to invest in his emirate.
Bichi as a town witnessed so many development after it was made an emirate. This development ranges from educational, infrastructural, social, moral and economical. Thousands got employed in the federal government. Road networks were constructed courtesy of the member of the Federal House of Representatives, Engr Abubakar Kabir FOE. The likes of Mallam Yusuf Magaji, Prof Armaya’u H. Bichi and Dr Abdullahi Ibrahim give tremendous contribution to the development of people of the Bichi emirate. To be candid, their contributions are unquantifiable. There are also many more who in one way or the other contributed to the development of the town as well as the emirate in general.
It is also noteworthy that many historic towns were brought together under one emirate and people are happy with the union. Though it is not new in political history to place a minority over majority or non natives over natives, in the newly created Bichi emirate history repeats itself and in some places a little change was adopted. After jihad, Dambazawa were forced to rule Dambatta and this triggered the duel of Dantunku who was later left Dambatta and lived in Danzabuwa before settling in his newly created emirate of Kazaure. Yarimawa were subjected under Dambazawa. In Dawakin Tofa, Bambarawa became answerable to Yolawa who had no any historical trace in the area. Their place of origin in Kano is Yola village of Bichi. Even in Bichi, despite the presence of Danejawa, Sullubawa were made Hakimai in the area and today they became part and parcel of Bichi.
Apart from Kano city I doubt if Sullubawa has any strong base like Bichi. They are our brothers and part of us. They are our leaders and the good people of Bichi emirate love and revere them.
As coronation and handing over of staff of office to the emir of Bichi draws nearer, people need to know that Bichi as a town and emirate was not made in a day. It is very historic and its contribution to the development of Kano as a state is of no match to any. I am using this medium to congratulate the emir of Bichi Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero on this coming grand occasions of handing over staff of office and giving out his daughter to her matrimonial home come August, 2021. May this union brings fruition to both the families and the town.
Allah ya taimaki sarki ya daukaka masarautar Bichi.
Imam Ghazali Umar Esq,
Chairman, Bichi Discussion Circle and Secretary, Bichi Emirate Development Association (BEDA).