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5.3e(v) Interview on Magaji Gari and Galadima Gari

Who was the interviewer: Mallam A.B. Adua

Date: 10th January 1990

Where the interview took place: Magajin Geri’s Compound, Surulere, Ilorin

Compound of the informant: Magajin Geri’s Compound, Surulere, Ilorin

Approximate age of the informant: 62 years

Any other relevant details about the informant: He is the present Magajin Geri and a direct descendant of Wahu (said he is one of Wahu’s sons).

Whether the informant was completely cooperative or not; and if not, why: He was very cooperative (with the usual “inducement”).

Whether the informant wishes his/her name to be withheld or not: Not averse to his name being published.

If not, what is the name of the informant? Alhaji Olarogbe

Names of any other people present at the interview: There were a few children present. They were apparently also learning the family history through the interview.

1 In the 19th century, what were the functions of the Magaji Gari? (1) He was an administrator in the Emir’s office; (2) He carried messages between the Emir and Sokoto royalty.

2 What are the functions of the Magaji Gari today? (1) He collects taxes; (2) to settle any matter that needs attention between the Emir and the Baloguns, and between the Emir and the public; (3) to see to peace and tranquility in the town; [?] (4) to give advice to the Emir on all matters before they are discussed with the Chiefs; (5) at the death of an Emir, he alone makes the announcement—either to the Sultan of Sokoto or to the Chiefs in Ilorin; (6) Magajin Geri is also the one who announces the name of a new Emir.

3 In the 19th century, what were the functions of the Galadima Gari? He was an adviser to the Emir.

4 What are the functions of the Galadima Gari today? He is also an adviser—the role he has played over the centuries.

5 I have been told that in the 19th century, Magaji Gari was a slave title. Is this correct? No, he was not.

6 I have been told that in the 19th century, Galadima Gari was a slave title. Is this correct? No, it wasn’t.

7. Have you ever heard of the Kuranga lineage of Magaji Gari family? Yes. [on the Kuranga lineage, see also “More about the Kuranga lineage” below]

8 If so, how many people from that lineage have become Magaji Gari? Two people—Abu and Sule.

9 Who was the last Magaji Gari from the Kuranga lineage, and when? The last was Sule. When?—not known.

10 I have heard that the Kuranga lineage is descended from a slave of Wahu, the first Magaji Gari. Is this correct? No. Kuranga was a friend to Wahu and not his slave. Wahu was in Ilorin for about 80 years before he asked Kuranga to join him.

11 But I have also heard that the Kuranga lineage is descended from a son of Wahu, the first Magaji Gari. Is this correct? No. Kuranga’s family came from Raba via Sokoto while Wahu’s family came from Bunza.

More about the Kuranga lineage

“Kuranga was a friend to Magajin Geri Wahu. Kuranga came from Raba via Sokoto while Wahu came from Bunza via Gwandu. Kuranga followed his friend, Wahu, to Ilorin, and Wahu, the Magajin Geri, gave Kuranga a place to settle—at Gboroko and Afon. Abu was the first son of Kuranga. He lived at Gboroko. When Magajin Geri Wahu died, his sons were too young to assume the post and responsibilities of their father’s position. As Abu, the first son of their father’s close friend, was already grown up, Wahu’s family sent for Abu and asked him to act as Magaji. He acted in this capacity for several years and, at a stage, he was too old to attend his official functions. He therefore asked his younger brother, Sule, to act for him. Sule and Abu were the only sons of Kuranga who ever occupied the position of Magajin Geri. Later, Mohammadu Sada, the son of Wahu, became Magajin Geri. Another of Wahu’s sons was Moha