Potiskum Emirate

Potiskum Emirate
Traditional state
Potiskum Emirate
Coordinates: 11°43′N 11°04′E / 11.72°N 11.07°E / 11.72; 11.07Coordinates: 11°43′N 11°04′E / 11.72°N 11.07°E / 11.72; 11.07
Country Nigeria
State Yobe
Emirate Potiskum
  Emir Umaru Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya

The Potiskum Emirate (or Pataskum Emirate) is a traditional state in Nigeria, with headquarters in Potiskum, Yobe State. The emir holds the title "Mai". The emirate was founded in 1809. In 1913 the British colonial rulers merged it into the Fika Emirate. In 2000 it was again made an independent emirate. Both the Fika and Potiskum emirates have their headquarters in the city of Potiskum, and there are continued disputes over land and authority.

Original emirate

The Potiskum Emirate was organized by the Ngizim people, who had subjugated the Karakare people.[1] The state was formed in 1809 by a Chief of the Ngizim named Mai Bauya or Buyan.[2] In the 19th century people of the Misau emirate often raided the Kerikeri country. The Misau Emir Amadu (1834–48) captured the capital, Potiskum. Usuman (1848–61) and Sale (1861–85) also raided the Kerikeri.[3] In 1901 the Potiskum Emirate became part of the British Northern Nigeria Protectorate.[2]

Within Fika Emirate

The neighboring Fika Emirate had been founded by the Bolewa, said to be Kanembu in origin. They moved to the area and subjugated the local Ngamo people.[1] Fika town, the traditional capital, is about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Potiskum. The Emir of Fika is one of the leading traditional rulers in the north of Nigeria.[4] In 1909 the western part of Potiskum was merged into the Fika Emirate, and on 13 May 1913 the eastern portion was also merged into Fika.[2] At the time of merger the Fika Emirate had a population of 25,400 including Bolewa, Gamawa, Kerikeri and Shira people, with an area of 990 square miles (2,600 km2). The Potiskum Emirate had a population of 11,500 with an area of 320 square miles (830 km2).[5]

The Fika Emirate thus had authority over the Ngizim and Karakare people of Potiskum.[1] The Bolewa claimed title to the land which the Ngizim and Karekare also claimed. This has resulted in a complex series of intrigues and disputes still unresolved in the early 21st century.[6]

During World War I (1914–18) there was some unrest against the colonial rule. In 1915 Potiskum town was captured by a rebel leader from the Fika emirate, although the emir remained loyal to the British.[7] The rebel had been dismissed as Potiskum district head by the British. He managed to hold Potiskum for some time before government troops accompanied by dogarai from Kano and Maiduguri defeated him in late May 1915.[8] In the 1920s the main east-west road was built through Potiskum, which became a commercial and political center.[4] The emir's court moved to Potiskum in 1924.[6] In the 1950s the Ngizim and Karekare Union political association represented the subject people of Bornu province, allied with the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). The ruling Bolewa tribe was identified with the dominant Northern People's Congress (NPC).[1]

The Potiskum emirate was recreated by Yobe State governor Bukar Ibrahim on 5 August 1993, when he split the state's four emirates into 13. This change was reversed by the military regime of Sani Abacha that took control later that year.[9]

Modern emirate

In his second term after the return to democracy, on 6 January 2000, Yobe Governor Bukar Ibrahim re-implemented the new emirates, adding Gazargamo, Gujba, Nguru, Tikau, Pataskum, Yusufari, Gudi, Fune and Jajere.[9] There had been only four emirates when Yobe State was created. Now there were thirteen.[10] The Emir of Fika, Muhammadu Abali, protested at the break-up of his emirate and took the government to court, but eventually accepted the change.[9]

In May 2007 the Emir of Potiskum, Umaru Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya, thanked the people for contributing N32 million of the N51 million used to build his new palace.[11] The ultra-modern palace was commissioned by outgoing Governor Bukar Ibrahim.[12] The palace was the scene of a gathering in January 2009 of political leaders including Senate President David Mark, former Senate Presidents Anyim Pius Anyim and Adolphus Wabara and many more, paying tribute to the governor of the state, Senator Mamman Bello Ali who had just died.[13] In June 2010 the Emir of Potiskum gave the title of "Turakin Potiskum" to the state's former commissioner of finance, Alhaji Mohamed Hassan, in recognition of his contributions to the development of the state.[14] In March 2011 Emir Umaru Bubaram gave his support to the campaign of Ibrahim Geidam for a second term as Yobe governor on the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) platform.[15]

In July 2010 Emir Umaru Bubaram supported a proposal by the Emir of Fika, Muhammadu Abali, to convert the old Potiskum Prison into a museum.[16] In August 2012 during Ramadan the Pataskum Emirate Council distributed bags of millet and guinea corn to needy people under the Islamic Zakat program. The food had been donated by people of the emirate.[17]

In May 2012 more than thirty people were killed in an attack in the Potiskum Market. At first linked to the Boko Haram sect, it was later thought that armed robbers were responsible. Emir Umaru Bubaram visited the scene and condemned the attack.[18] On 10 November 2014 a Boko Haram suicide bombing in a Potiskum secondary school caused the death of over 40 students.[19] This was one of several incidents in the recent insurgency. An angry mob refused to give soldiers or the State Police Commissioner access to the scene of the incident. The emirs of Fika and Potiskum said they had called on elders in their respective domains to educate the mob on the need to allow security personnel to operate.[20]


From 1809 to 1858 the rulers took the title Kachalla. They were:[2]

  • 1809–17 Bauya I
  • 1817–20 Awany (Awani)
  • 1820–25 Kuduskunai
  • 1825–30 Dungari (Dangari)
  • 1830–32 Dawi (Dowi)
  • 1832–33 Darama (Kunancibai)
  • 1833–34 Mele
  • 1834–35 Malam Bundi I (died 1835)
  • 1835–56 Mizgai
  • 1856–58 Jaji I

From 1858 the rulers took the title "Mai". They were:[2]

  • 1858–66 Nego (Nejo)
  • 1866–93 Namiyanmda (Numainda)
  • 1893–1902 Gabau (Gubbo)
  • 1902–09 Bundi II
  • 1909 – 13 May 1913 Agudum

Rulers under the Fika emirate were:[2]

  • 1913–19 Jaji II (1st time)
  • 1919 – 1924 Vungm
  • 1924–27 Gankiyau
  • 1927–33 Bundi III
  • 1933 (3 months) Jaji II (2nd time)
  • 1933–57 Bauya II
  • 1957–84 Hassan
  • 1984–93 Shuaibu

Rulers of the Pataskum emirate from 1993 to 1995 were:[2]

After an interregnum from 1995 to 2000, the emirate was restored on 6 January 2000. Rulers since then:



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