Warrior King. HRH Ibrahim Nagwamatse (CBE). Sarkin Sudan and First class Emir of Kontagora (1880-1929) pictured here dressed for war.

He was the only ruler in Nigerian history who squared off to Lugard, put up a big fight, was arrested and exiled and reinstated back to his throne. Years later, he was awarded the honours of Commander of the British Empire at an elaborate ceremony in Zungeru in 1909 witnessed by all the other Emirs and Chiefs of the Niger Province.

He was irrepressible, defiant and remained indomitable in the years of British captivity in Yola and later Lokoja. In his absence, his vast territory became ungovernable to his British conquerors who could not bring the disparate tribes and chiefdoms under his suzerainty to heel.

In the end, faced with the inevitable disintegration of the territory, Lugard ate humble pie and reinstalled him back on the throne of his father in 1906. He died peacefully in 1929 and lies buried in the emir’s palace in Kontagora.

Happy remembrance day everyone!

Hassan Usman Author

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