Muhammadu Dikko

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Muhammadu Dikko was a Emir of Katsina from 1906-1944. Dikko was enthroned by the British colonists largely due to his contribution of service and became an emir who achieved firsts in many endeavors.

Dikko was raised in a period of turbulence and succeeded his uncle as Durbi Katsina, a king maker in Katsina who was also an army commander. At a time in Katsina after the British had arrived, a revolt emerged from Satiru, the revolt was regarded as grave and led to the brief exit of the British from Katsina. After their return, the resident asked the then Emir, Sarki Yero and many leading men to build a fort but they were reluctant, however, Dikko volunteered and rapidly organized men to build the fort. When Yero was removed, Dikko was placed in charge of Katsina town in 1906 and in 1907, he became Emir of Katsina. He was the first Sullubawa Emir of Katsina, the first to visit England, perform the hajj, ride a car and an airplane and open a school for girls, also his domain was the first to have a treasury office.


Early life

Dikko was born to the family of Tamalamai and Muhammadu Gidado, Durbin Katsina. At a young age, he was was taken to the house of his uncle, Fada where he stayed for a while. He was later entered into a Quranic school were he memorized chapters from the Qur'an.

After the death of his father, the Sarkin Katsina Musa confiscated assets of the young Dikko who was by then emerging to become an aspirant to the post of Durbin Katsina like his father. However, the death of Sarkin Musa brought a new lease for the Gidado family. The new Emir, Sarkin Abubakar, decided to consolidate power by removing officials who were deemed to be in opposition to his rule, among them were officials appointed by Sarkin Musa. Sarkin Abubakar also appointed Dikko's uncle and godparent, Sada as Durbin and Dikko himself was given the position of Karshi. After the death of Sada, Dikko succeeded him as Durbi.


As Durbi Katsina, Dikko was involved in defending the emirate and waging battles against other domains in the interest of Katsina. One of his first major task was to keep guard and monitor events in the nearby emirate of kano where rival claimants were dueling to become Sarkin Kano. He was also involved in commanding troops against Maradi, part of the exiled Katsinawa where some Habe leaders and Sarkin Katsina pretenders resided after been driven from Birnin Katsina during the Fulani Jihad.

Another potential threat to Katsina was the British colonists who had captured Bida, Kano and Sokoto and approached the Sarkin Katsina Abubakar after capturing Sokoto for a peaceful or violent reception. Abubakar chose a peaceful reception for the British led by Lord Lugard. When Lugard left, he left behind a garrison which was in need of supplies and some provisions. Sarkin Abbakar was unable to provide the supplies and called upon Dikko to render the services. Abubakar also did not have a cordial relationship with some of the British residents in Katsina. After an issue was brought before Lugard by the resident Olivier, Abubakar was deposed and Yero, son of the late Sarkin Musa was made Emir. A new British resident Herbert Richmond Palmer relieved Olivier of his duties. However, Palmer who was interested in impacting Katsina administration with colonial innovations found opposition in Yero. Palmer also had to contend with a revolt in Sokoto called the Satiru revolt involved Dan Makafo, a blind man who claimed he was a Mahdi. He originally had incited a revolt against the French and thereafter came to Satiru in Sokoto where he teamed with a Malam Isa and attacked Tsoma and defeated a British led force. Herbert Palmer was told to leave Katsina, on leaving he instructed Yero to be responsible for what the British left behind. Yero thinking the British had left permanently, told men to loot the properties. When Palmer and the British returned they needed people to repair damaged structures and fortification and asked Yero and the district head to provide labour and resources. Yero and the district heads where apathetic to help Palmer, Palmer then turned to Dikko who readily provided men and completed a fort in rapid time. Dikko was asked of his reward and he mentioned the kingship of Katsina. When Yero was deposed of incompetence, Dikko was appointed Emir. Dikko's success was helpd by his obedience to authority. His godparent and uncle, Sada before his death asked Dikko to obey the Sarkin, Abubakar. The coming of the British shifted the power equation and Dikko responded with a reluctance to disobey the British authorities and a propensity to support them.


One of the major interest of the British was partly fulfilled as soon as Dikko became Emir, this was the suspension of most of the palace slaves and officials who the British believed controlled the emirate administration and provided much of the drama surrounding palace intrigues. Dikko himself made desirous attempts in touring districts and by 1912, he had consolidated his rule and possessed understanding of administering an emirate full of economic potential. Personally, he acquired large farmlands, horses and cattle while many in Katsina also saw improved lots on their trading and farming activities. He encouraged settles to settle around the acquired lands and surroundings to use for farming.

Dikko made an important appointment with the creation of a Waziri and the appointment of Imam Haruna, Haruna became the gateway between the Emir and the kingmakers many of whom resided in districts as heads. In due time, he had some of his confidants as village heads or district heads, however, the waziri, Haruna was relieved of his post and Zaiyana was made Waziri. Other critical appointments he made at the onset of his reign included Zakari as Iya and district head of Mashi, Usman as Sarkin Sullubawa, Abubakar as Magajin Gari, Umaru as Mutawalli and Amadu as Alkali. His son Usman Nagogo was put in charge of the police.

During his reign, the British administration introduced various taxation systems including the Taki and Haraji systems and also departmentalized the native administration. In the health department, Dikko established a hospital in Katsina initially manned by his children and children of district heads, he also encouraged the construction of the first Jummat mosque in Northern Nigeria.

Dikko was also known for his overseas travel, he performed a Hajj to Mecca by the way of England in 1921, he returned to England in 1924 and 1937. He also visited many middle belt and Southern Nigeria provinces including Ibadan where he was welcomed by Okunola Abass, at Okene, welcomed by Atta Ibrahim, Lagos.

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