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9.1f Jimba, Alhaji Safi. A Short History of Ilorin. Ilorin: Jimba Book Productions Company, 1981. The author (d. 2019) was a prominent lawyer and author, and a member of the Jimba family of Ilorin, which was founded by an elite slave warrior.

In order to avoid any possible copyright problems, instead of quoting at length from the book, I have prepared the summary that I present below:

In A Short History, Alhaji Safi Jimba understandably evades the question of the slave origin of his family, although it is confirmed by other sources, notably Samuel Johnson’s History of the Yorubas. See, e.g., my article, “Elite Slaves in Ilorin in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, 2006: 271). Yet, at the outset, he allows a hint of this origin to creep in, in his dedication of the book to Ilari Ogun, his grandfather (Short History, iii), the word ilaribeing suggestive of “a comparison with the slave officials of that name in Old Oyo” (“Elite Slaves,” 271; also in this Archive, Section 2.2b(iii).

As for origins, Alhaji Jimba simply states that the founder of the Jimba family was “a Kamberi from Ibeto, a village in Kontagora area of Sokoto State” (Short History, 4). He claims, rightly, that his ancestor was one of the most important warriors in Ilorin, noting that major examples of his leadership included his role in the capture of Old Oyo (Short History, 4, 5) and “his success in maintaining the Offa Gate . . . near Jimba-Oja . . . against Ibadan intrusions” (Short History, 6). He was well known throughout Yorubaland, and was compared with major Yoruba generals (Short History, 4-5). However, Alh. Jimba concedes that his ancestor was “just” an army commander, “not a Balogun” (Short History, 6).

The author of the Short History claims that Jimba was in charge of much of Ilorin’s “great arsenal, gun powder and heavy weaponry” (5). He seems to be referring to the first Jimba, but the wording quoted here suggests that the claim would be more appropriately made with regard to a later head of the Jimba family, in the late nineteenth century.

In a further claim, Alh. Jimba asserts that the title of daodu (“Daudu Abdusalami”) was conferred on the first Jimba in 1838, by Emir Abdusalami (Short History, 5), and that in 1839 the emir gave Jimba the right to create his own titles, such as balogun, ajia, galadima, and mejindadi (Short History, 6). However, it looks perhaps more likely that the daodutitle and the right to create other titles were conferred later, by Emir Aliu: in  the 1980s, the incumbent daodu told researcher Stefan Reichmuth that it was the second head of the Jimba family, that is, Lasaki, son of the first Jimba and head of the emir’s guard, who was given the daodu title after defeating Balogun Fulani Usumanu’s revolt in the 1870s (see “Elite Slaves,” 250-251, note 15).

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