Sultan is the official name of the Muslim king with the head palace in Sokoto state. The kingdom was founded by the first Sultan otherwise called ‘Calph or Sarkin Musulmi’ in Hausa in the person of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio.
The kingdom had many other emirates in the northern part of Nigeria under its control as it was the central government established by Dan Fodio after his jihad (War) in 1804.
Eleventh Sultans ruled the caliphate after the demise of Danfodio before the British colonialists conquered the kingdom to form colonial government.
The Sultans who were all descendants of Danfodio included Muhammad Bello, Abubakar Atiku, Ali Babba Bn Bello, Ahmadu Atiku, Aliyu Karami, Ahmadu Rufa’i, Abubakar Atiku II, Malam Muazu, Umar Bn Ali, Abdulrahman Dan Abubakar, Muhammad Attahiru I and Sultan Attahiru II who was the last to rule before the defeat of the caliphate by the British forces who later turned it to sultanate and answerable to them.
He died in 1903 at Mbormi battle ground in Bajoga, Funakaye local government area of Gombe state.
It was the place the British soldiers fought with the 12th Sultan and his warriors in an effort to conquer the Hausa land for the purpose of colonialism.
The British government amalgamated the northern and southern part of the country in 1914 as one indivisible nation.
However, it was not easy for the British colonialists to oust the sokoto caliphate as they had to wage a spirited war against the caliphate. The fight which ensued between the then king Attahiru and the British soldiers took place at Mbormi battle ground where the Attahiru who struggled to defend the caliphate and the commander of the British army Major F.C Marsh all died in the war.
It is pertinent to know that Attahiru ruled the caliphate from October 1902 until March 1903. He was the last independent king of Sokoto as after the conquer of his kingdom, the caliphate was abolished and turned into a sultanate which became under the control of the colonial government.
The colonialists used traditional rulers for indirect rule where they passed any information or policies to the people through the traditional institutions.
By so doing, the sultanate and all kings under it became answerable to the British colonialists.
Our correspondent gathered that since after the defeat of Sultan Attahiru at Mbormi battle ground, the place became a cultural heritage site in Gombe state.
This is because it hosts the graves of sultan Attahiru, the British forces commander Marsh and their soldiers.
Mbormi battle ground also has rich archeological remains of the history of the conquest and resistance by the caliphate.
According to the Gombe state ministry of information and culture, the site is of significant, historical, archeological, spiritual, memorial and nationalistic values.
It said, the place is a tourists attraction site where people go to celebrate the fallen heroes ‘for their bravery and martyrdom’.
According to a 2017 report on the cultural heritage of Gombe state compiled by Aliyu Abdu and Dipo Alafiatayo, a copy obtained by our correspondent, the state of conservation of the site is good. However, there seems to be some infringements on the tomb of Major Marsh but the graves of the Sultan and his chief imam are well preserved.
Also, the place is being used as farmland thereby disturbing the archeological potentials of the site.
More so, our correspondent learnt that the immediate past administration of ex governor of Gombe state Ibrahim Dankwambo had commenced work for the upgrading of Mbormi battle ground as a befitting tourists attraction site but the project has stopped after he left government.
Our source stated that the previous government had intended to fence the entire place, build a mosque, library, reception and other facilities to make it a standard tourists attraction centre.
Other state residents who spoke with our correspondent on the place explained that a lot of people nowadays do not know about that historic battle ground.
One of them Malam Hassan Tijjani opined that if the place is revamped, it will make people especially the younger generation to know about the place, its history and the history of the traditional institutions before the advent of colonialism.
He added that apart from attracting tourists, it will make Bajoga town more popular as people from different places in and out of the state will troop to the place to view it.
He advised the state government to not only upgrade the place but advertise it with a view to popularizing it.
Aside the Mbormi battle ground, Gombe state also has other historical places such as the tomb of Modibbo Amada who was one of the disciples of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio and founder of Akko town. People do visit the place to pray for the late traditional leader.
The states has some historical hills including Duwatsun Jukunawa, Dutsen mai lamba in panda district, Akko local government and Dutsen Dele in Balanga local government where some people were believed to live on it in the ancient time.
These and other historical places in the state can promote tourism as an alternative source of revenue generation in the state if properly harnessed.
When asked if there is plan by the present administration to revamp Mbormi battle ground, the Gombe state commissioner of Information and Culture Julius Ishaya Lepes declined comment.
But Mbormi battle ground was listed as one of the five Nigerian sites that has been proposed to be enlisted into the World Islamic Heritage list, along with Hubbaren Sheikh Danfodio (Sheikh Danfodio’s tomb), Gobarau Minaret, Sheikh Alimi Mosque complex, and Fanisau Palace Mosque.