The Bajju ethnic group is found in the Northwest geo-political zone, with its headquarters in Zonkwa. The word ‘Bajju’ is a short word for “Bnyet Jju” (Jju People) used to refer to ‘Jju’ language found in the Kajju. They are presently found in the southern part of Kaduna State, mainly in Kachia, Zangon Kataf, and Jama’a, among others. The Bjju are predominantly farmers, hunters, blacksmiths and petty traders.
Oral history traces their origin to Bauchi State where they lived in hill caves. They had watchers on the hill to watch out for enemies. The Hausa people refer to them as ‘mutanen duwatsu’ (Mountain people). It is in their search for new lands that led them to migrate to a hill called ‘Hurruang’ in present day Plateau State. On their arrival, the Jarawa, who had formally occupied the hill, migrated to another hill called Tsok-kwon’. On the basis of their cultural and linguistic similarities, the Jarawa, Bajju and Miango are collectively referred to as ‘Dangi’ (relations).
According to sources on the origin of the Bajju, “Two brothers named Zampara and Wai were said to have left ‘Dangi’ settlement and migrated South of the Plateau. The Chawai people of today are the descendants of Wai. Wai settled at a place and named it Chawai. Considering that the forefathers of both the Bajju and Chawai people had family ties made both nations affiliated.
“Zampara migrated further and settled at Hurbuang , which is now called Ungwan Tabo. Zampara had a wife named Adama (who was a Fulani woman) and gave birth to two sons, Baranzan and Akad. When Zampara, their father died Akad left his elder brother Baranzan and stayed near the hills. He did so and became the ancestor of the Atakat people. That was how the Atakat tribe got associated with the Bajju. It was because of this close relationship that the Atakat and Bajju people made it a tradition and a religious law never to intermarry”.
Baranza, who is considered the father of the Bajju, had five children and were as follows: Ankwak was the eldest and had the following children: Kamurum, Akurdan, Kpunyai, Azawuru, Katsiik, Gatun, Byet, Duhuan, Atachab, Rikawan, Chanchuuk, Rikayakon, Zibvong, Kamasa, Ankpang, and Byena.
Tuan was the second of the sons and had the following children: Zankirwa, Atutyen, Kukwan, Vongkpang, Zat, Furgyam, Sansun, Kamantsok, Dinyring, Amankwo, Kpong, Azihuwo, Zantun, Dichu’adon.
Akadon was the third son. He was father to Tsoriyang, Wadon, Rebvok, Abvong, Chiyua. Kanshuwa was the fourth child and he had the following children: Jei, Dihwugwai, Zaguom, Tabak, Baihom, Bairuap, Zambyin. The last of the five was Iduang who had Zuturung, Zunkwa, Zansak, Dibyii, Avo. All of these Barazan’s grandchildren are now clans, with towns named after them.
The Bajju people are known to be resilient who were totally committed to their emancipation from the subjugation of the Zazzau emirate. It is on record that they spearheaded agitation for the granting of freedom from the Zazzau Emirate in the 1980s. In 1995, under the administration of Colonel Jafaru Isah, the Bajju Chiefdom and Atyap Chiefdom were created, thus ending decades of subjugation by the emirate system characterised by exploitation.
Before the opening of a fresh page for the Bajju people, historical events had shaped the historical journey of the people. The era of Jatau Riman and his nephew, Toyring, of Gidan Jatau, now called Farman, represented a new era for the Bajju whose courage and fearlessness in confronting injustice are unrivalled.
While Jatau battled invaders that were determined to hoist Jihad flag, he also negotiated with white district officer in Kachia who eventually made him ‘Madaki’ of Gidan Jatau. His nephew who succeeded him in 1931, Toyiring, proved irreversible in ensuring that the entire Kajju was on the map of the Zaria Native Authourity.
At the death of Toyring in 1957, he was succeeded by his scribe, Mallam Sule Jatau who was promoted to the position of the ‘Wakilin Bajju.’ Farman continued to hold a firm royal position in Kajju after Mallam Kure Labesa got appointed as the secretary to the ‘Kuyanbana Zazzau’ and District Head of Zangon Kataf who later became the first Agwa Tyap, His Royal Highness, Mallam Bala Dauke.
With the granting of freedom from the Zazzau Emirate by Col. Isa Jafaru in 1995, it was clear that the Bajju, who were hitherto under the ‘Kuyanbana Zazzau’ who was answerable to the Zazzau Emirate, were set to select their first monarch. Thus, Dr Nuhu Bature, a Jos-based businessman and strong advocate for the Bajju Chiefdom, was selected as the first ‘Agwam Bajju’. He died on 18th December, 2021
The creation of the various chiefdoms in Southern Kaduna, including that of Baranza’s children, led to the emergence of newly created royal houses made possible by political exigencies. New challenges in creating these ruling houses of the various chiefdoms became more complex as politics became the main factor in determining who becomes a monarch. Without any royal antecedents, those with long legs, as it is said in Nigeria, could breast the tape in the contest for new traditional chiefdoms.
The new edict bill on the reform of the traditional institution in Kaduna State and signed into law seeks to replace the colonial laws. Apart from aiming to inject some kinds of improvements in the selection of a new chief/emir after the demise of an existing one; it spells out certain conditions on the roles of monarchs in line with present democracy. One key fact is that kingmakers from various ruling houses/clans must assemble to vote for a new chief/emir. It is clearly stipulated that once a reigning monarch is dead; the clan from which the dead monarch comes from is barred from seeking to become the new emir/chief.
In this case, it is obvious that all aspirants from the late Agwam Bajju’s clan are not eligible to contest. According to the edict passed by the governor, kingmakers as represented by ‘Gados’ in Kajju are expected to vote for the new monarch. Out of the applicants in the race for the position of ‘Agwam Bajju’, the three names of applicants with the highest scores are to be forwarded to Governor el-Rufai for his choice.
Considering the new template evolved in the selection of a new ‘Agwam Bajju’, some of the criteria have raised dust, with some insisting that it would be difficult for implementation. More intriguing is the alleged screening of the applicants by a four-man committee-led by Alhaji Sani Galadima that was sent by the Kaduna State Ministry of Local Government Chieftaincy Affairs. Also in attendance to witness the screening which took place at Agwam Bajju’s palace were the Chairman of the Zango Kataf Local Government, Hon. Francis Sani and the Acting ‘Agwam Kajju’, Mr. Augustine Agwan and the five ‘Gados’.
The following criteria were identified for scoring candidates: Personal integrity (20%); Accessibility and ability to foster peace among the people (20%); Experience as District Head (10%); Public/Private service experience (15%); Experience as Traditional Council Member (5%); Possession of minimum educational qualifications B.Sc/HND (10%); Emotional stability (10%) and Age (10%), thus making the total scores to be 100%.
The scores for the candidates as purportedly approved by the four-man committee have invaded various social media platforms. Dr. Sankey Yakubu, Professor Ngai E Suleiman. Chief Joseph Jatau, Chief Iliya B. Duniya and Chief Luka K. Yakubu lead the aspirants’ scoring list. .
However, there are posers: How do you score a candidate’s personal integrity and his ability to foster peace when those doing the screening have not come in contact with them? How do you score candidates with PhD and also a Professor less than B.Sc/HND holders? Why do you give more scores to the elderly than the younger candidate in terms of age? Were the five ‘Gados’ who are the kingmakers allowed to assess applicants without interference by state officials that stormed Zonkwa for the screening? More importantly: Are the ‘Gados’ or kingmakers competent to assess the applicants?. How do you effectively screen a candidate for the new ‘Agwam Kajju’ by simply referring to his curriculum vitae? These and many questions remain unanswered as the Bajju await the emergence of their new paramount ruler.
It is in connection with these above questions that the Bajju Development Association (BADA) in a statement, signed by its President, Mr Habila K. Madaki, called on the Bajju to discountenance the purported result of the selection process.
There’s no doubt that applicants for the vacant stool of the ‘Agwam Bajju’ are eminently qualified, but the need to ensure fairness and equity in the selection process, devoid of politics, may be what is urgently needed for the unity of the Bajju Nation.