Powerful, tactical, clever and a host of other positive praises are without doubt the words anyone would use to eulogize the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria.

Although not restricted to Northern Nigeria, with a population of over 30 million, the Hausa people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. In Nigeria, this large ethnic group can be found between the river Niger and Chad.

The Hausa people have diverse cultures, however, they share similar beliefs and customs that are peculiar to only their ethnic group.

Have you ever wondered or asked yourself how the Hausa people became powerful? 

Now that’s where our tale begins…

This is not some Camelot story, however, it did happen in the land of myth and a time of magic. Did the destiny of a kingdom rest on the shoulders of a young boy? No

Let us take you through the journey of Bayajidda, the mythical ancestor of the Hausa people.

Not many people knew when he was born, but it was said that Bayajidda migrated to the Kanem-Bornu empire in the 9th or 10th century from present-day Baghdad (Nigerian ancestors have a thing with migrating from Asia).

He got married to a very beautiful princess and hoped to live happily ever after, but what is a sweet tale without twists? Bayajidda’s life twist came in the form of his father-in-law; they had too many differences and never seemed to agree on a point.

Due to their differences, Bayajidda was forced to go far away from his home. He left his wife and their first child, hoping that someday, they would be reunited.

His journey took him through different paths and ordeals, then one day, after a long and tiring journey, he arrived in the legendary city of Daura. The first hut he saw was that of an old woman and requested water from her.

The old woman had no water at home and she went into the community to help Bayajidda get water, but no one had water to spare. Upon enquiry, Bayajidda was told that there was a big snake terrorizing the villagers at the village well.

The snake was so brutal that the villagers live by its term and are only allowed to fetch water once a week 

Bayajidda rose with fury, he requested that they show him the village well and he set out to battle the snake. After a life-threatening and action-filled fight, Bayajidda slew the snake.

Bayajidda, the stranger became the talk of the village and every maiden wanted him to become their man. However, Bayajidda himself was lovestruck by the beautiful queen of Daura.

As a reward for his bravery, he was given the Queen of Daura in marriage. The marriage was fruitful and the Queen bore him a son named Bawo. 

Bawo grew up to be a strong man, perhaps stronger than his father. He founded the city of Biram and got married to an equally strong woman who bore him six sons.

Bawo’s sons became the rulers of other Hausa city-states and these states are known as the Hausa Bakwai, meaning Hausa Seven states.


Bayajidda travelled far for his “happily ever after” and found it with a people most hospitable in Daura.

Little wonder, Katsina is known as the home of hospitality and Hausas are well known for their hospitality.

The greatness of the Hausa people has not only been in their numbers but also in their strength, tact and impeccable human attributes.