Hausa Literature Beckons National Integration: An Insight Into Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka by Abubakar Ladan Zariya

    Being a paper presented at the 1st National Conference of Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies on the Role of Language, History and Religion, in the Development, Integration and Security in Nigeria, held at University Auditorium Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, between 1st to 3rd March, 2016

    Hausa Literature Beckons National Integration: An Insight Into Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka by Abubakar Ladan Zariya


    Abu-Ubaida Sani
    Department of Educational Foundations
    Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
    Phone No: 08133529736


    The paper has as gist contending towards integration amidst the traceable motifs of Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka (Poem for Integration of Africa). It explores the conceptual meaning of national integration. Moreover, the paper makes an intersection between Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka and national integration, through making epitomic analysis of some stanzas of the poem. Finally, the paper divulges insinuated ways to promoting efficiency of Hausa Literary works upon elevating national integration. An instance is deliberately designing methodologies to train individuals’ mental power to be able to generate principles and their applications from Hausa literary works to relevant real-life situations (national unity specifically).

    1.0 Introduction

    Hausa literature – like any other literature – has been thematically centered on unity, integration, and peaceful co-existence, among host of others. It is an effective instrument for national development and the promotion of self and national consciousness. The tranquil nature of literature attracts greatly the attention of individuals. Messages passed through poems barely are in vain, for people read or listen to them even just for pleasure. Literary works in many cultural groups are held with great esteem. People from such populations gain self-esteem by seeing themselves represented in books, poems, and folktales among other literary works. Thus, people begin to appreciate others from culturally diverse backgrounds. (Roe, E.F. & Ross, 2010).[1]

    It is obvious that the influence of poetry is indispensable in human’s mind. (A’azamiyyun, 1962). With this, one can conclude that, it is wise using poetry as medium of passing information. This paper sees Waƙar Haɗin Kar Afirka as a call towards national integration. Though the paper’s concern is on the poem rather than the poet, a very brief history of the poet (Abubakar Ladan Zaria) is presented.

    The concept, integration has been variously defined by social anthropologists, historians, and political scientists (Egbefo, 2015). Onwuka, (1982) sees integration as a word, which suggests a process of structural linkage between two or more parts of a system or systems. Its essence can be discerned from the functionalist view of societyOn the other hand, nation is defined as a cultural entity that binds people together on the basis of culturally homogenous ties – common or related blood, a common language, a common historical tradition, common customs and habits (Rodee, in Ibaba, 2009).

     National integration is the awareness of common identity amongst the citizens. It is a process in which citizens with different cultures, beliefs and backgrounds synthesized into a unified whole. The concept of national integration is seen as the process of promoting the values, relations and institutions that enable all people to participate in social, economic and political life on the basis of equality of rights and opportunity, equality and dignity. (Maikasuwa in Ibrahim, 2014). Duverger, (1976) defined national integration as:

    Process of unifying a society which tends to make it a harmonious city, based on an order its members regard as equitably harmonious (Duverger, 1976: 177).

    However, there is said to be national integration if there is feeling of unity, cohesion and solidarity in the heart of people (Weiner, 1965; Onwuka, 1982; Liweiner, 2000; Isiwele 2013; Ibrahim, 2014; Egbefo, 2015). Weiner (1965) holds that integration comes in five different ways: territorial integration, value integration, elite-mass integration, integrative behavior and national integration. These types have a common link in that they point to the fact that integration holds a society together (Egbefo, 2015).

    Abubakar Ladan Zariya and the Poem, Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka

    Abubakar Ladan Zaria was born in 1935 in Zaria of Kaduna State, in an area called Unguwar Gwarbi. He attended Kur’anic School from the age of five where he memorized the Holy Qur’an in about 1946. He joined elementary school in Zaria in 1946 – 1950. (Babangida, 2006). He later moved to middle school, which is now called Alhuda-huda College. Abubakar Ladan Zaria  has worked as veterinary officer at Malumfashi and had served as hide and skin inspector at Kano. He also worked at some publishing companies as distribution assistant. He had more than ten children (both males and females). Abubakar Ladan Zariya died in the year 2014.[2] (Ibrahim, 2006; Zariya, 2009; BBC, 2014; Guibi, 2015).

    Thematic Analysis of Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka

    Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afrika (Poem for Integration of Africa) has as major theme, calling towards integration. Other themes include justice, hard work and hypocrisy among others. In the poem, Abubakar Ladan Zariya tried to present acts that are for and those against integration. They could be discussed under the following:

    Factors Encouraging Integration

    Abubakar Ladan Zariya opened the poem by pointing out those factors that promote integration. They include; friendship, love, unity, understanding, seizure from confrontation detestation and mocking of one another’s background. He says:


    Yarda da abota soyayya,

    An cuɗu da juna da sanayya,

    Gorin asali ko jayayya,

    Ba gaba an daina ƙiyayya,

    Ra’ayi ya zo ɗaya an shirya.


    Truth, friendship and love,

    Unified together with understanding,

    Mocking background or confrontation,

    No abhorrence, detestation has stopped,

    Same conscience, reconciled.


    However, he mentions other acts, which must to be avoided for the promotion of integration. They include; rivalry, hypocrisy and correcting of mistakes, as in the following stanzas:

          Kan ƙauna ya kai ba kishi,

    Daga baya abota zai bi shi,

    Daga zaran ga abu ya tashi,

    An shawarta bisa kaushe shi,

    Koko a tsaya kan samo shi,

    Haɗa kai ne babban harsashi.


    If love is to the extent of no rivalry,

    Then friendship follows,

    Whenever an issue arises,

    Is deliberated against,

    Or planned obtaining it,

    Unity is the greatest weapon.


            Sai kam ba masu munafunci,

    Da waɗanda suke nukurar ‘yanci,

    Ra’ayinmu ya zo ba bambanci,

    Mu fahimta mu face wajen faci,

    Don mu more Afirka ƙasar ‘yanci.


     Until in the absence of hypocrites,

    And threaters to freedom,

    Same conscience with no difference,

    We understand, we correct mistakes,

    So as to enjoy Africa, land of freedom.


    Furthermore, he swears that, the disintegration is product of certain acts. Thus, and in the absence of certain social practices in the social living of the society, the society would never achieve integration. They include avoiding being troublesome, acquisition of knowledge and practicing justice. He says:

            Wallahi idan ba son juna,

    Haɗa kai da wuya ka ga ya zauna,

    Kullum ka gano sabon fitina,

    Jayayya ko neman magana,

    Sai an so juna an daina.


    By God, without love,

    Integration hardly stay,

    Every day comes new trouble,

    Confrontation or troublesomeness,

    Shall stop, love shall rain.


             Ilmi babban abu ne gun mu,

    Shi zai kankange mutuncinmu,

    ƙasa shi ne akasin zulmu,

    Da yake buɗƙofar samu,

    Da wuya ka ji ga wasu sun fi mu.


    Knowledge is essential to us,

    Is to be shield our dignity,

    In nation, it substitutes injustice,

    It opens door to prosperity,

    Hardly will we be left undeveloped.


    Factors Leading to Disintegration


    Abubakar Ladan Zaria then accounts for those factors or acts responsible for disintegration. In the stanza below, he shows that integration cannot be maintained with mere gathering and exchanging of words that are useless whenever the gathering is over.

            Haɗa kai ba taro ne ba kawai,

    Ba cacar baki ne ba kaɗai,

    Kowa yai ta faɗar son rai,

    Kan an watse taron nan daɗa sai,

    Ya mace ƙurmus domin ba rai.


    Integration is not mare gathering,

    It is not mere words exchange,

    Taking from one’s perspective,

    At the disperse of the gathering,

    It dies for it has no soul.


    In the subsequent stanza however, he tells that integration is not cooperating to imposture, cheat, disgrace people or promote injustice and rubbery. He says, integration is against all these.


             Haɗa kai ba wai haɗa baki ba,

    A yi zambo ko a yi cuta ba,

    Da wulaƙantar da mutane ba,

    Ko zalunci da fashin kai ba,

    ‘Yanci bai yarda da wannan ba.


    Integrating not cooperating,

    To imposture or to cheat,

    And disgrace people,

    Or injustice and rubbery,

    Integration rejects these.


    Furthermore, he points out illiteracy, laziness, injustice, lust and corruption as causes of integration. He rhetorically asks of what an unjust individual has to say on freedom. He says:



             Dukkan fitana daga jahilci,

    Take tushe nata kau lalaci,

    Shi ke jawo a yi zalunci,

    Da matsawa gun karɓar hanci,

    Duka ba wannan a cikin ‘yanci.


    Illiteracy originates chaos,

    Laziness is its root,

    It leads to injustice,

    And increase in corruption,

    Integration entails none of these.


             Kwaɗayi ke ta da wulaƙanci,

    Shi ke cin ƙarfin adalci,

    Da siyasar nan na faqiranci,

    Ka shaƙe cikinka da zalunci,

    Me za ka faɗa a cikin ‘yanci.


    Lust result to humiliation,

    It over power justice,

    And the politics of destitution,

    You are full of injustice,

    How do you talk of integration?


    He continuous to mention ways to get rid of disintegration thus, injustice to be dissolve, illiteracy to be treated, laziness to be uprooted, begging and fraud to be stopped and unemployment and idleness should be treated. He says, that would make integration enjoyable.

             Sai an manta da su zalunci,

    An zauna an kashe jahilci,

    An tumbuke tushen lalaci,

    Roƙo da bara da tumasanci,

    Na rashin aiki da yawan barci,

    To sai ka ga an more ‘yanci.


    Until injustice is dissolved,

    Illiteracy is treated,

    Laziness is uprooted,

    Begging and fraud,

    Unemployment and idleness,

    Integration will be enjoyed.


    However, obedience to elders and acting in accordance with their orientation gradually diminishing (Bunza, 2013; Abudkadir, 2013). Hence, Abubakar Ladan Zariya considers morals, vanity, aversion and ungratefulness as treats against integration and could cause stagnancy to national development. He says:


             A ƙasa duka kam ba tarbiyya,

    Ba ci gaba sai ta tsaya baya,

    Sai girman kai kaya-kaya,

    Da ƙwafa da rashin tuna can baya

    Ƙan qauye ya shiga alƙarya.


    A community that lacks morals,

    Remains undeveloped,

    With mass of vanity,

    Aversion and ungratefulness,

    A villager is opportune.


    Power of Integration

    Abubakar Ladan Zariya talks about what integration is capable of doing. He shows that with integration as weapon, a community is likely to progress. Whereas disintegration is a great obstacle to progress. He makes metaphorical comparison of integration and weapon to show the power of integration. He says:


    Turawan mulki sun tashi,

    Mun kakkaɓe hannu ba bashi,

    Su ne a Afirka muke kishi,

    Haɗa kai ne yau mai kaushe shi,

    An samu haɗaɗɗen harsashi.


    Colonizers have left,

    We are free with no debt,

    They, we are jealous of in Africa,

    Integration is the way out,

    A powerful weapon.


    In the subsequent stanza, he metaphorically compares integration to cane, which is capable of making effect if stroked. He says:


             Saura a Mozambi da Angola,

    Da Gini sun saura cikin wahala,

    Haɗa kai ne babban bulala,

    Wallahi da zaran mun tsala,

    Duka sauran za ka ga sun lula.


    Remain Mozambique and Angola,

    And Guinea in difficulty,

    Integration is the cane,

    By God, as we stroke,

    The rest would take to their hills.


    He however affirms that, integration is precaution to chaos, when he says:


             Da mun haɗa kanmu Afirka duka,

    Ba ka jin kyas wani ya yi haka,

    Sai mun so juna ba shakka,

    Sannan mu fice wannan halaka,

    Da rashin haɗa kanmu ya zo da haka.


    If we integrated in Africa,

    Not will you hear any chaos,

    Until we love one another,

    To escape this disaster,

    Caused by our disintegration.


    Moreover, Abubakar Ladan Zaria shows that, integration attracts tourist. He adds that, the tourist could notice no lapse to condemn in such an integrated country.


             Duka ɗa an so shi ya inganta,

    Ƙasa ta tarar da waɗansunta,

    Za su yi sha’awa su ziyarce ta,

    Da ƙafarsu su zo su yi kallon ta,

    Komai ba mai iya kushe ta.


    Every citizen is expected to be righteous,

    A nation should have tourist –

    Willing to visit her,

    Themselves, for exploration,

    Nobody can repute her.


    Points of Consideration

    Abubakar Ladaan Zaria calls attention to important issues. Thus, issues to be taken into account. He points that outsiders hypocritically originate most pandemonium. He also shows that, some indigenous citizens who are desperate are helping them. He tells how some developed malice on the integration of Africa, thus begun to create pandemonium.

             Yau ga wasu nan su ke nukura,

    Don mun san ‘yanci mun nasara,

    Wasu ma a cikin nasu sun fara,

    Haɗa gulma tsakani don a kara,

    Ko oho gama kuwa sun dara.


    Today, others developed malice,

    For we are independent, with victory,

    Some of them have even started, -

    Conspiracy so that we disintegrate,

    Of no use, for they have lost.

    He then calls attention that all forms of chaos that arises are the arts of strangers, thus, because they are jealous of our integration.


             Kan ka ji faɗa yau ya tashi,

    Wasu baƙi ne ke kawo shi,

    Don sun ga haƙiƙan sun tashi,

    Haɗa kanmu suke daɗa kishin shi,

    Komai kuwa sa yi su bashe shi.


    Today, if chaos arises,

    Strangers originate it,

    For they are actually no more with us,

    They are jealous of our integration,

    They must give up at last.

    In the next stanza (24), he tells of hopeless individuals amidst our community who joint hands with strangers to destabilize the community. He, in the last line of the stanza urges us to fight against that their mission.


             Da waxansu suke haɗa ma gwuiwa,

    A Afirka akwai wasu ‘yan yunwa,

    Da suke karvar kurɗi da yawa,

    Rikici duka su ke jawowa,

    Ku mu tashi hana su da gaugawa.


    They are even collaborating,

    Desperate some are in Africa,

    Who receive huge amount,

    They originate all chaoses,

    Let we stop them immediately.


    He affirms that they are rivals to freedom, rude and fraud and they are against integration and justice. They also promote discrimination.


             Su ne manyan maƙiya ‘yanci,

    Da suke ƙuƙƙulla munafunci,

    Da rashin kunya da tumasanci,

    Ba su son haɗa kai ba da adalci,

    Su ke kawo mana bambanci.


    They are rivals to freedom,

    Whom plan hypocrisies,

    Rude and fraud,

    They are against integration and justice,

     Originating discrimination amongst us.

    Talking about chaos and those indigenous individuals that cause it, he affirms that they have masters who pay them so that they destabilize their land by themselves. He pointed that they make misleading suggestions that are full of lies. He says:


             Wasu na can su ne manyansu,

    Su ne ke ba su kuɗaɗensu,

    Su baje dakinsu da hannunsu,

    Su bugo ra’ayoyin ƙaryarsu,

    Jama’a ku mu tashi mu yaƙe su.


    Their masters are far away,

    They send them money,

    Destabilize their homes themselves,

    Forming misleading suggestions,

    Wake up, let stop them.


    Relevance of Waƙar Haɗin Kan Afirka to National Integration

    Abubakar Ladan Zaria was a Hausa man from Hausa community (one of the major languages in Nigeria), (Ibrahim, 2006; Zariya, 2009; Guibi, 2015). The central setting of the community in one way or the other likely influenced his mental power and experiences. Whatever he might say could then have elements of cultural influence (CNRS in Science Daily, 2014).[3]

    However, before 1914, Nigerians were living separately in their various kingdoms and empires. Many of those kingdoms and empires were under powerful rulers, while some others were under headless power structure. The social aggregate that metamorphosed into Nigeria included the Oyo, Kanem Borno Empires, Benin Kingdoms and many others (Ekundare, 1975; Coleman & Roseberg, 1966; Etim & Wilfred, 2013).

    The emergence and resurgence of ethnic, religious and minority tensions and conflicts as well as cries of marginalization in all sections of the country are clear indications that the issues of national integration and inter-group relation is not yet resolved in Nigerian State. In fact, linguistic, ethnic, religious and regional differences are constantly getting louder voices against national issues (Usman, 2015: 2).

    The challenges to national integration (in Nigeria) could be discussed under the sub-headings thus; social, political, economical and miscellaneous (Etim & Wilfred, 2013).

    i-       Social factors: Nigeria’s greatest hindrance in the march towards becoming an organic state is religious intolerance (Etim & Wilfred, 2013). Edosa, (2014) quoted Onyeoziri thus:

    Loyalty to the Nigerian state remains at best reluctant while stability has continued to elude the system. Inter-communal or ethnic hostility and even open violence have increased while the constant complaint of marginalization tells its own story of the declining sense of belonging that exists in the land. These are eloquent symptoms that the policy of federal character is not producing the desired effect. And it is easy to think of many reasons why (Onyeoziri in Edosa, 2014: 67).

    Therefore, ethnicity, social exclusion and disadvantage, illiteracy and religious intolerance remain the major hindrances of national integration in Nigeria, socially. (Ferguson, 2008; Etim & Wilfred, 2013; Edosa, 2014; Udoh, 2015).  

    However, Abubakar Ladan Zariya calls upon getting rid of such differences, so as to promote stable integration. He urged for forgetting about backgrounds and other differences of one another. In stanza one, he says:

    Yarda da abota soyayya,

    An cuɗu da juna da sanayya,

    Gorin asali ko jayayya,

    Ba gaba an daina ƙiyayya,

    Ra’ayi ya zo ɗaya an shirya.


    Truth, friendship and love,

    Unified together with understanding,

    Mocking background or confrontation,

    No abhorrence, detestation has stopped,

    Same conscience, reconciled.


    In stanza ten, he points at some elements of disintegration resulting from social factors. He concludes that, those elements are hindrances to integration. He says:


                                        Ƙyamar juna da yawan gori,

                                        A Afirka akwai su tsubi tari,

                                        Da ƙwafar zuci da yawan fahari,

                                        Da muke gasarmu da inkari,

                                        A cikin haɗa kai su ne sharri.


                                        Aversion and reproach,

                                        Is rampant in Africa,

                                        Humming and arrogance,

                                        On which we compete and insist,

                                        Those are evils in integration.


    In stanza eight of the poem, he points that integration does not mean cooperation by some groups for selfish interest. He says that is against integration.


    8-      Haɗa kai ba wai haɗa baki ba,

    A yi zambo ko a yi cuta ba,

    Da wulaƙantar da mutane ba,


    Ko zalunci da fashin kai ba,

    ‘Yanci bai yarda da wannan ba.


    Integrating not cooperating,

    To imposture or to cheat,

    And disgrace people,

    Or injustice and rubbery,

    Integration rejects these.


    ii.      Political factors: Etim & Wilfred, (2013), holds that, the urge to meet the financial need of the Northern protectorate of Nigeria, was the most compelling reason for the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914. However, the assertion appears to be mere political. Recently, there have been speculations that if care is not taken, Nigeria may disintegrate in the next 15-25 years. This speculations may not be confidently disputed owing to the fact the political elite-corps, right from time immemorial, seems to have violated the principles of national integration. This includes the problem of leadership vacuum in Nigeria. A Leader with a vision of where to take Nigeria to in the 21st century would have enhanced greater nation-building. However, it is no longer a hidden fact that leadership in Nigeria, whether military or civilian, have often been selfish and devoid of good governance. There is certainly no rallying point for all. A National referendum on unity is becoming a necessity if Nigeria is to get more united as a nation. An effective federalism would serve as a balance between centrifugal and centripetal forces. What the current trend of violence is imprinting on the psyche of Nigerians is that the government security apparatus is incapable of guaranteeing the safety and security of its people. (Etim & Wilfred, 2013; Udoh, 2015). Udoh quoted Bouvier thus:


    A political corporation is one, which has principally as its object, the administration of the government, or to which the powers of government, or a part of such powers, have been delegated. (Bouvier in Udoh, 2015: 2-3).


    Abubakar Ladan Zaria points, how integration could be encouraged and maintained with the presence of judicious politics. He says politics of destitution and injustice causes disintegration.


             Kwaɗayi ke ta da wulaqanci,

    Shi ke cin ƙarfin adalci,

    Da siyasar nan na faƙiranci,

    Ka shaƙe cikinka da zalunci,

    Me za ka faɗa a cikin ‘yanci.


    Lust result to humiliation,

    It over powers justice,

    And the politics of destitution,

    You are full of injustice,

    How do you talk of freedom?


    In the subsequent stanza, he tells the leaders that:


                                        Mulkin kai ba son kai ne ba,

                                        Ba miƙƙafa a ci daxi ba,

                                        Ba alƙawarorin ƙarya ba,

                                        In da masu irin wannan a gaba,

                                        ‘Yanci bai tsinana komai ba.


                                        Self-governance is not selfishness,

                                        Isn’t being reluctant and transgressing,

                                        Isn’t false promises,

                                        If these are being done in future,

                                        Freedom is useless.


    ii-     Economic factors: The Southerners have the perception that the economic power of the country is in their hands. Division of labour, which is usually considered only an economic fact, is also a moral fact (Durkheim, 1968). The rise in crime wave in Nigeria since the mid-1990s was as a result of unemployment, economic decline, and social inequality, which are abetted by inefficient and corrupt police and customs forces (Robert in Udoh, 2015). The idle minds became devil’s workshop. These people, who are mostly youth are easily recruited into militant groups and trained in to rob, kill, kidnap, smuggle, highjack and other forms of criminal acts, leading to disintegration. (Udoh, 2015).


    Abubakar Ladan Zariya further describes, economically, how a nation is supposed to be. Thus, citizens should be employed so as to discourage, begging, proud, idleness and that tourist should be willing to explore it.


                Sai an manta da su zalunci,

    An zauna an kashe jahilci,

    An tumvuke tushen lalaci,

    Roƙo da bara da tumasanci,

    Na rashin aiki da yawan barci,

    To sai ka ga an more ‘yanci.


    Until injustice is dissolved,

    Illiteracy is treated,

    Laziness is uprooted,

    Begging and fraud,

    Unemployment and idleness,

    Then freedom will be enjoyed.


    However, in another stanza, he says:


                Duka ɗa an so shi ya inganta,

    Ƙasa ta tarar da waɗansunta,

    Za su yi sha’awa su ziyarce ta,

    Da ƙafarsu su zo su yi kallonta,

    Komai ba mai iya kushe ta.


    Everyone is expected to be good,

    A nation should have tourist –

    Willing to visit her,

    Themselves, to explore her,

    None can repute her.




    If effectively utilized, it would be interesting how significantly Hausa literature could help in promoting national integration. As a media, it stands opportunity to be used in passing moral, cultural, political to mention but some, messages with regard to integration (as well as other phenomena associated with politics, economics and religion among others). It could be seen from the stanzas quoted above, which discuss the factors that promote integration, those that hinder the existence of integration, powers of integration and indeed draws our attention to a phenomenon thus, not to let others disintegrate us. Therefore, is a challenge to government and educators to maximize this opportunity. Perhaps, Hausa poems of this type should be appropriately incorporated in the school syllables so that their messages are learned.


    1-      Teachers and other educational personals should bear in mind that poems help forge a mass of people into unified society. However, as they provide awareness on traditional attitudes and values of different cultural groups. That helps in knowing the culture and traditional practices of one another, thereby promoting mutual respect.

    2-      Teachers should guide students to generate principles and their applications from the various poems to real life situations.

    3-      Poets should be called upon to the importance of thematically integration based poems.

    4-      Teachers should be guiding students to be able to have integration of the theoretical studies (poems) with practical examples (real life situations).

    5-      While dealing with poetry (Hausa poetry in particular), rote learning should be discouraged. Without understanding the contest, there cannot be transfer of learning (from the poem to real life situation).


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    [1] Multi-culture literature helps readers’ value people from different races, ethnic groups and cultures (Roe and Ros, 2010).

    [2] That means he died in his 79th  years of age, (1935 – 2014).

    [3] Regardless of our personal values, we base most of our self-esteem on the fulfillment of the dominant values of our culture…” CNRS (Center National de la Recherche Scientifique),