History of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, Nigeria’s First Hausa Newspaper

History of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, Nigeria’s First Hausa Newspaper

Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, an ingenious northern newspaper, which arguably created the standard of contemporary Hausa writing, which mixed both the Hausa form of writing using Arabic letters known as Ajmi and the Roman form of writing in order to carry along to two kinds of literates in the colonial Hausa days.

Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo is said to be a documentation of the Hausa people and the perspective they held regarding World War II. The newspaper became the longest indigenous language newspaper that existed in Nigeria.

What is the Meaning of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo?

Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, a term coined for a Hausa based newspaper and periodicals which means “Truth is worth more than Kobo”.

The concept of the newspaper started in 1936 when the government of Northern Nigeria wanted to find a better means of passing information and the newspaper was officially launched in January 1939 and immediately started publication right after, which was under the auspice of the Gaskiya corporation, which was earlier known as The North Regional Literature Agency (NORLA).

When Was Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo Founded

Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo was founded in the late 1936, when the government overseeing Northern Nigeria was interested in ways to reach out to its citizens about their various activities. This became imminent when rumors began to spread around the country that the British colonial masters were intending to handover Nigeria to Hitler, who was on his world conquest.

To curb the wide spread of fear and rumors flying around the country, a suggested solution was to create a medium of disseminating information in a way that would be easily comprehendible by most citizens in the North, which was how Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo came about.

Gaskiya was important for providing information about World War II to Nigerians, and the stand the British were taking and planning to take in order to curb the tension that was consuming the minds of the populace.

The headquarters of the newspaper, was in Zaria which was where the Gaskiya Corporation was situated, and where the periodicals were also published. The paper played a great role in increasing the popularity of the war happenings and the effort the Government was putting towards the war effort during the early 1940s.

The first Editor of the news paper was Mallam Abubakar Imam Kagara, who was a well versed and incisive man and was just the perfect fit for the job. He did an almost perfect job that the newspaper, Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo is argued now to have set a standard in Hausa writing; from spelling, to the grammar implored in the periodicals, as well as the style and vocabulary used.

The New Nigerian Corporation (now New Nigerian Development Corporation – NNDC), which was a company set to take over the management of companies and entities in Northern took over the management of the Newspaper in January 1966.

For How Long Did Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo Last?

Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo has the longest life span of all indigenous language to have set up a newspaper outlet. It operated entirely in Hausa from 1939-1965, and in 1965, the Gaskiya corporation had an English version titled Nigerian Citizen. In 1966, after which the NNDC took over amongst many things changed the name to New Nigerian. In the sense of being purely a Hausa based newspaper, it lasted for over 26years before taking another form.

The NDDC set up a corresponding plant in the Southern part of the country in March, 1973, alongside that of Kaduna. They concurrently sold the newspaper in both Kaduna and Lagos which improved the wide distribution of the paper.

However, when 12 states were created in the North by the Federal Government in July 1967, possession and control of the company became that of the Northern states, and was temporarily under the Interim Common Services Agency (ICSA). The Federal Government in 1975 took full control of the company and was placed under the Federal Ministry of Information.

It is currently under the 19 Northern states as it was handed back to them in 2006.

Achievements and Success

Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo has recorded tremendous success from its inception. Amongst them is the ability to reach a wide range of readership from the populace, thanks to the creative idea of introducing the Ajmi scripting of Hausa letters. Also, amongst their many achievements is the role they played in the Nationalistic fight.

Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo became a popular outlet to discuss contemporary issues, as was well utilized by one of the front liner Nationalist, Sa’adu Zungur, to mention a few and how it became an outlet to educate people.

It was also a landmark achievement through the successful establishment of the Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo, on the clear reason that it was the first attempt by the Government to set up a newspaper.

The Northern Nigerian Kingdom of Kumbwada Where Men Can’t Rule

The Northern Nigerian Kingdom of Kumbwada Where Men Can’t Rule

Men mostly rule most northern kingdoms. The kingdom of Kumbwada is one exception. Only females can sit on the ancestral throne.

No one dared sit on the throne. The only ones who did so died mysteriously within weeks of ascending the throne.

Kumbwada is Located in Which state?

Kumbwada is located in Sabon Kabula in Munya Local Government Area of Niger state. The throne is situated in Dangunu Emirate Council. Kumbwada is an ancient town with a rich history.

The ancient city was conquered by Princess Magajiya Maimuna of Zaria two centuries ago. That is when the curse on male rulers started.

Why Men Can’t Rule in Kumbwada

When Maimuna left her brother in charge of Kumbwada as the ruler, he immediately fell sick and died within weeks. The same happened with another brother. That was when princess Magajiya decided to stay and rule herself. She reigned for 83 years.

Many believe this to be a curse placed on any man who dared sit on the throne. The mere thought of doing such is enough to cause great harm to one.

According to late Sheikh Aminudden Abubakar, a popular Islamic scholar in Kano and founder of the Da’awah Foundation; “Once there is evidence of the use of black magic in any situation, Islam considers it a deviation which must be reversed,”

This seems to be the only explanation in a region where it is alien to see females rule.

Who is the Current Queen of Kumbwada?

Hajiya Hadiza Ahmed is the current queen of the Kumbwada Kingdom. She has been on the throne for over 20 years.

Queen Hadiza, fondly called ‘Magjiyan Kumbwada ‘ by her subjects inherited the throne from her late grandmother, who reigned for 73 years. She died aged 113. That is quite impressive for a monarch in northern Nigeria.

Currently married, she, however, still discharges her marital duties.

I’m the chief here but I discharge my domestic duties as a wife and mother. However my husband knows his limits, royalty is royalty,” Magajiya was quoted to have said.

How The People of Kumbwada React to a Female Queen

The people of Kumbwada have no trouble accepting Hajiya Hadiza as a ruler. In fact, to many, it is a divine act that can’t be changed.

We can’t live without a leader, and the fact that any male rulers that ascend the throne die quickly and mysteriously while female rulers reign for many years makes our case a peculiar one. This is an exceptional situation none of us can change.

Musa Muhammad, the chief imam of Kumbwada

The queen performs all the duties normally entrusted to the male rulers. She settles disputes over farmlands and petty theft, and marital disputes. She doesn’t take lightly cases of domestic violence. The queen once threatened to imprison a man for beating his wife.

“Men sometimes say the women provoke them, so that is why they beat them,” she says. “I tell them that there’s no justification, whatever happens.”

This apparently worked, as there are no longer domestic abuse cases in Kumbwada.

The Heir Apparent to the Kumbwada Throne

Magajiya had five children, three of which are girls. It is widely believed that a queen becomes barren immediately after she ascends the throne. Now married to a businessman, Magajiya had 5 children from her previous marriage, three girls.

Idris, the oldest child, is also the heir apparent to the throne of Kumbwada. While her oldest son is still alive and pays his courtesy daily at the court, he has no intention of succeeding his mother.

“He won’t survive it”, his mother says.

Instead, the oldest daughter is always at her side, grooming her for the task ahead of her.

Magajiya also believed there had been a failure of leadership in Nigeria, specifically by men.

It’s my most ardent wish. I think the problems in Nigeria have become intractable. Let’s try a woman. Men have failed.


Even though the queen of Kumbwada is successful and well-loved by her citizen, she still has some regrets.

My only handicap is that I don’t have a Western education, because, in my time, people didn’t educate their daughters. I’m not educated in a modern way, but in the traditional way, I have wisdom in my dealings with people. I’m proud to say that it would be hard to find someone educated who could rule as well as I can.

The queen, currently in her late seventies, is still hale and going strong. What do you think of the ancient kingdom of Kumbwada? Tell me in the comments!