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By Ndagi Abdullahi

In the year 1839, known as the Year of the Sinsaragi Grass in Nupe history, over two hundred thousand warriors from all parts of KinNupe and even beyond gathered for the Battle of Zunmago, the Mother of all Battles in Nupe history.

I was a participant in that Battle of Zunmago; so I am narrating this story firsthand.

There were armies of the various Tsoede descendants fighting for the EtsuNupe throne, after the unexpected death of EtsuMamman.  These included the armies of EtsuManmasunNyikanko, EtsuTsado the Terrible, EtsuIdirisa, EtsuJimada, and others.

There were also all the various armies mustered by the Fulani Mallams, including MallamDendo, Man Musa Kodogi, MallamBabba of Agaie, Mallam Ibrahim and his brother Manzuma of Lafiagi, and so on.

And there were also freelance armies headed by hardened mercenaries like General UmaruBahaushe and Islamic Jihadists like likeShehu Abdurrahman Gbaji of Mokwa, Man Ndasalati of OkeSunna, and UmaruNagwamatse of Kontagora.

It was a bedlam of warriors of all kinds and types drawn into the inferno of an Armageddon right here in Central KinNupe.

At the exact spot where the town of Zunmago stands today, there, all the various contending forces clashed into one long drawn out battle that lasted for a week on end. Several thousands of warriors lost their lives as one battalion after another was decimated one after the other. KinNupe had never witnessed such catastrophic bloodshed before. Never!

In the long run our army, the army of EtsuJiyako, emerged victorious over all other armies.

Our victory was mainly due to the fact that of all the armies that participated in the Battle of Zunmago, EtsuJiya was the only person in possession of the ancient Tsoede Regalia of Sovereignty. In fact, the Battle of Zunmago was more or less a fight between EtsuJiyako and all other contestants who came to unsuccessfully seize the Tsoede Regalia from Etsu Jiyako.

As the king’s custodian of the Tsoede Regalia, I became very famous throughout KinNupe as the Ndazo Priest of Etsu Jiyako, who used the spiritual powers of the Tsoede Regalia to defeat all the other armies at the Battle of Zunmago.

After the Battle of Zunmago, Etsu Jiyako became the undisputed Emperor or EtsuNupe of the entire KinNupe. We came back to Tsabazhi, which EtsuJiyako built into his capital city, and immediately resumed the tedious work of establishing his territorial sovereignty over the whole of KinNupe.

But all the defeated contestants refused to submit completely to the sovereignty of EtsuJiyako.

They attacked him verbally, physically and spiritually from all angles and from all directions.

They all went and recruited the services of extremely powerful Nupe spiritualists – fortunetellers, oracles, wizards and witches – to spiritually fight and destroy Etsu Jiyako.

 But for the spiritual powers of the Tsoede Regalia, Etsu Jiya will have been defeated spiritually by this barrage of spiritual attacks.

So, Etsu Jiyako eventually asked me to recruit the service of the greatest witchdoctor in the land, the famous witch hunter known as Nnafe.

Fortunately for us Nnafe didn’t hesitate in assisting Etsu Jiyako against all the witches and evil forces that others have mustered against EtsuJ iyako.

The moment Nnafe came to reside at EtsuJiyako’s Palace at Tsabazhi, the entire politico-spiritual calculations of KinNupe changed. All the contending and adversarial forces and power-mongers scampered away and left Etsuiyako alone.

 Etsu Tsado the Terrible personally sent a delegation to come and make peace with EtsuJiyako as he, EtsuTsado, admitted that he could not face Nnafe in any spiritual battle that were sure to follow.

The troublesome Fulani dynasty at Raba was the first to face the brunt of Nnafe’s spiritual powers.

When Nnafe arrived at Tsabazhi to protect EtsuJiyako, the Fulani dynasts, headed by Emir UsmanZaki, at Raba were actually in the middle of a serious military operation to sack Tsabazhi, EtsuJiyako’s capital city.

All Nnafe did was to go into seclusion in the sacred Tsoede Temple at the centre of the city of Tsabazhi. With me as her assistant,Nnafe spent seven days performing some serious spiritual rituals to create fatal division among the children of MallamDendo at Raba.

On the seventh day, at the completion of Nnafe’s rituals, the news broke out that Masaba and EtsuTsado have turned their gargantuan armies upon Emir UsmanZaki and laid siege on the latter at Raba. These were the same gargantuan armies they were planning to jointly use to lay siege on EtsuJiyako at Tsabazhi.

That was the beginning of the fatal and disastrous disunity that raged between the Fulani dynasts for over a decade until the death of General Umaru Bahaushe.

The story of Nnafe’s magical and spiritual powers spread even more far and wide and all the enemies of EtsuJiyako left him alone now that they knew that he had Nnafe by his side.

But Nnafe became so powerful that it got to a stage that EtsuJiyako could not do anything until Nnafe was consulted as the spiritual oracle or medium.

It is a bizarre scenario. The entire Nupeland bowed down before the feet of EtsuJiyako as the Almighty EtsuNupe, nobody knowing that this same EtsuJiyako was scared stiff to death as a spiritual prisoner in the hands of Nnafe, the High Priest of the EtsuNupe.

Then Nnafe began to see me as a stumbling block to her exercising absolute powers over EtsuJiyako!

So, Nnafe decided to get me out of the way. She asked me to hand over the Tsoede Regalia to her but I refused. I had deliberately hidden various elements of the Tsoede Regalia in various unknown places such that they can never be stolen as a whole. And the spiritual law is that the true spiritual powers of the Tsoede Regalia could not be fully tapped until they are completely assembled in one place.

Nnafe was in a dilemma – she had spiritual powers to instantly kill me, but she dared not do that because she wanted the Tsoede Regalia intact.

That was when I came to the shocking realization that if Nnafe did get the Tsoede Regalia intact, she would not only kill me but also kill EtsuJiyako and then declare herself the new EtsuNupe of the whole of KinNupe!

We have made the mistake of our lives by inviting Nnafe to come to Tsabazhi as Nnafe is now proving to be even of greater than danger than the contending EtsuNupes and Fulani Emirs.

Both EtsuJiyakoand I knew that our fates were sealed unless we found an ingenious way out of Nnafe’s deadly spiritual hold on us.

So, one day, and in a desperate move, I mustered the greatest of my own spiritual powers and, without telling EtsuJiyako, I embarked on the spiritual suicide mission of confronting Nnafe in the spiritual realm by teleporting myself into the astral world through a dream.

As our ancestors taught us generations through generations down to ours, the Nupe spiritualist can consciously separate his subconscious spirit from his physical body through the performance of a set of ancient Nupe rituals and spiritual exercises known as the Farakun.

As a high degree member of the NdakoGboya cult lodge, I had access to the most potent of the Farakun rituals. I secretly gathered all the Tsoede Regalia in one single place and taking them with me, I performed the necessary rituals and then transmigrated spiritual self through a dream into the astral world.

In the astral world, I met Nnafe waiting at the waterfront village of Baro. She was waiting for the strange demonic beings known as the White men or the Kwarwan.

Some demonic spirits from the land of the White man, headed by a demon-incarnate called Lord Lugard, were coming through the dream world to strike whatever evil deal they had with Nnafe.

I pounced upon an unprepared Nnafe and, with suicidal bravado, I instantly started wrestling with Nnafe in a fight-to-death mortal combat.

Nnafe was totally taken aback by my surprise attack on her in the spiritual realm. I got her off guard as she was distracted by her waiting for the meeting with the evil spirits known as the White men.

Nnafe was also rendered powerless by the Tsoede Regalia in my possession.

In fact, it was the power of the Tsoede Regalia that I used to eventually overpower and mortally wounded Nnafe.

As Nnafelaid dying, she told me that even though I had succeeded in preventing her from taking possession of the Tsoede Regalia and becoming the EtsuNupe of the entire KinNupe, she had activated a spiritual force that would unleash a greater disaster in the form the White men coming from Europe on the Nupe people.

She said the White man would come and destroy the Nupe Nation and reduce it to being a slave to all the tribes Nupe ruled over in prehistoric Nigeria.

I waited till the mortally wounded Nnafe was dead before I transmigrated myself out of the dream world back into the normal world, where I was awakened to the news that Nnafe had just died in her dream apparently from a deadly nightmare.

TAURARUWA