Culled from Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook
There is this other side of Maiduguri we seem to have forgotten. Let the good times roll again in that great city. I was quite \fascinated when I read this uplifting piece that I stumbled upon online. Enjoy!
Origin and Meaning of Maiduguri:
The name Maiduguri is from the name Maiduwuri, the name Maiduwuri is referring to the present day Old Maiduguri in Jere local government Area of Borno state. So Maiduguri is a combination of two Kanuri words namely “Mai” and “Duwuri”. Mai is a Kanuri word referring to a King or a leader and Duwuri is from the word Duwu which means a thousand ;hence Duwuri is referring to the plural of a thousand which is thousands, ordinarily its like saying something is in the category of thousands (a thousand in ancient time is the peak of counting bc counting in millions was not known then). So literally Maiduguri (Mai+Duwuri) means “Thousand Kings” thus Maiduguri is a land of a “Thousand-Kings”.
Why Maiduguri is called the Land of the Thousand Kings: During the colonial and pre-colonial eras the African societies and even the global community is not as rich as it is today due to the effect of industrial revolution. In those days ordinary citizens apart from the King /ruler and his children or siblings all other people in a kingdom hardly owns more than One Gown cloth (Babban riga/Kuluwu or Malum-Malum) bc they are expensive thus they are not used as regular wears but rather ceremonial`. However contrary to this practices in the neighboring kingdoms to Kanem-Borno of wearing Gowns only on special occasions here in Borno (Old Maiduguri) which was a town with booming economy and having Islamic scholars as its leaders (the Shehu’s/Sheikh) who pays less attentions on their subjects on issues of who wears what made almost all the indigenes of Maiduguri then to be wearing. the traditional Gowns for their daily activities. So for visitors visiting Maiduguri for the first time as at that time normally gets surprise seeing everybody in the city dressed like a King. Therefor they feel that they are in a Land of a thousand Kings. So that is why old Maiduguri is called Maiduguri. To prove this claim just have a look at the Maiduguri society of today where people are still wearing one of the most expensive traditional clothings in the country when compared to their neighbouring counterparts or states. Just imaging how an ordinary man who is not a governor,a minister or even known to the society wearing a Zanna cap along worthing N 50,000 (fifty thousand naira ) or even above.
It is also important to note that the present day Maiduguri is also called Yerwa bc that was its original name before the name Maiduguri.
Why is Maiduguri called Yerwa : Yerwa is a name derived from the Kanuri word “HERWA” or “Herra “which means a promising or a blessed Land. Experts said it is called Herwa in the first place bc of its close proximity to the seasonal Ngadda River that still passes through it. Remember most of the Kanem Borno capitals like Ngazargamu,Kukawa,Monguno and others were either desert or semi desert cities , so water has a prestige in the kingdom in fact it is even a determining factors 4 creating new settlements.
Maiduguri, is still called Yerwa by its locals, is the capital and the largest city of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria. The city as stated above sits along the seasonal Ngadda River which disappears into the Firki swamps in the areas around Lake Chad. Maiduguri was founded in 1907 as a military outpost by the British and has since grown rapidly in to millions in terms of its population.
A brief history:
The city was actually home to the Kanem-Bornu Empire for centuries. Maiduguri consists of two cities: Yerwa to the West and Old Maiduwuri to the east. Old Maiduguri was selected by the British as their military headquarters while Yerwa was selected at approximately the same time by Shehu Abubakar Garbai of Borno to replace Kukawa as the new traditional capital of the Kanuri people.
Maiduguri is estimated to have a population of 1,197,497 in 2009 as of 2007 and presently 3.3 Million due to the recent past unrest tht pushed the rural population to Maiduguri. Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri, Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups.
The highest record temperature was 47 °C (117 °F) on 28 May 1983, while the lowest record temperature was 5 °C (41 °F) on 26 December 1979.
The Shehu palace:
The Shehu Palace was built in 1907 by the British. The original setleres who were relocated to build the Shehu’s Palace were the descendants of the former Mais of the Borno Empire including the great -great grandchildren of Mai Idris Alauma, some of them were initially moved to Shehuri North to enable the British create space to build the Palace which still stands at the place today. Construction work of the Palace began in the early 1900’s immediately after the defeat of Rabih az-Zubayr in 1900.
Maiduguri is home to three markets which include an ultra-modern “Monday market” that has a spectacular satellite or Umbrella like image view 4rom the above. It has an ancient museum and is served by the Maiduguri International Airport. The city has one of the best layouts in Nigeria. It is connected by road to the republics of Cameroon, Chad and Niger and from Maiduguri goods and services are transported to as far as Sudan and Bangui in the Central African Republic. There were existing historical records of trade with the North African nations of Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. A survey of property markets in Nigeria (2009) positioned Maiduguri as the third most expensive for buying and renting in the country next to Abuja and Lagos. Maiduguri is the principal trading hub for northeastern Nigeria. Its economy is largely based on services and trade with a small share of manufacturing. The city lies at the end of a railway line connecting Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kafanchan, Kuru, Bauchi, and finally Maiduguri. This rail lines were originally intended by the British to convey Ground nuts as well as Hides and skin to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean for upward transportation to Europe. Even though Nguru town of Borno in the present day Yobe state had its rail system as far back as in the 1930s, but Maiduguri got its own rail lines around the 1960s due to the fact that the elders of ancient Maiduguri prevented the rail lines from reaching Maiduguri deliberately through prayers . Because after their “ISTIHARA” (prayers) regarding the coming of the rail lines to Maiduguri it was said that they saw associated problems coming with the rail lines to the city meaning that it might bring with it associated trouble to the City . So their efforts prevented the rail lines reaching Maiduguri in the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s. So we can now say that their guess is proved bc in 2009 the unrest that seriously affected the city actually started from the “Railway compound” behind State-Low-cost Housing Estate. I am not an anti-rail line person, but I was amazed with the level of the forecast or thinking of our illiterate Grandfathers as far back as some 70 years ago that manifested now having direct correlation with the sophisticatef modern science of today which has the ability to forecast future weather patterns ahead of time or even day’s b4 they happened using the most sophisticated gadgets and satellites of our modern technological advanced time.
Maiduguri is known to be a center of Islamic and Quran studies for the past 100 years. In fact for Islamic scholars from the Sokoto Caliphat including Sokoto,Gwandu,Kano,Zaria,Katsina,Hadejia and many others that have not come and studies Islam and Quran in Maiduguri they feel that their studies is somehow incomplete.
So it is not a surprise that Maiduguri based Scholars like late Sheikh El-Miskin,Sheikh AbulFathi,Sheikh Abba Aji,Sayinna Alhaji Bashir,Imam Upchama (Ba Liman),Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh,Sheikh Sherriff Tijjani and Mallam Usman Bida remained popular across the country or the entire sub-Saharan African region. In fact this is one of the reasons that made late Sheikh Mahmud Ja’afar keep acknowledging during his life time that he was greatly inspired by the teachings of Sheikh Abba Aji and the same Sheikh Mahmud Ja’afar after visting Sheikh El-Miskin’s library in El-Miskin house also acknowledged that he has never seen a library that has so much unique collections with some of its books not even obtainable in the market or in the other libraries that he has known in fact some of the books looks new to him.
In terms of modern education Maiduguri has one of the best-equipped university and hospitals in Nigeria. The University of Maiduguri attracts foreign students from neighboring countries especially Cameroun ,Chad,Sudan and Niger Republics. The College of medical sciences is amongst the top 5 best medical schools in Nigeria. Other higher institutions include Ramat polytechnic, Elkanemi college of Islamic Theology, Muhammad Goni college of Arabic and Islamic studies, Lake Chad Research Institute, College of agriculture and College of education among others.
As of 2011, the Future Prowess Islamic School provided a free Western and Islamic education to orphans and vulnerable children, was open to both boys and girls, and was free of charge.
Attractions of Maiduguri: Kyarimi Park,University of Maiduguri,Maiduguri Monday Market, the Maiduguri Museum, Shehu’s Palace, Imam Malik Islamic Center,Indimi Mosque,Deribe Mosque,Deribe Palace,Maiduguri International Airport, Maiduguri Sports Center and the Maiduguri International Hotel (Not functioning now).
The Deribe Palace which is considered as the most expensive House in Africa and one of the best in the World is in Maiduguri. Remember this house hosted King Carlos of Spain,Prince Charles and lady Diana as well as the American President @one time.
Maiduguri served as a home and remains a home to many great business men, scholars, military generals, academicians, technocrats and diplomats; Some of the popular names under this category are Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Waziri Ibrahim, Alhaji Mai Deribe ,Sheikh Elmiskin, Babagana Kingibe, Sheikh Aabba Aji, Professor Umaru Shehu, Shehu Mustafa Elkanemi,Alhaji Bukar Mandara,Alhaji Bukar Bolori,General Abba Kyari, General Mamman Shuwa,Major General Yusuf Brutai, Kashim Ibrahim Imam, Mala Kachalah, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, Mukaddam Bukhari, Alhaji Zanna Deribe, Muhammad Indimi, Alhaji Zanna Dipcharima, Ba’a liman upchama and Babagna Monguno among many many other great personalities not mentioned here that are either residence or indigenes of the city.
The geographical location of Maiduguri is @ Coordinates: 11°50′N 13°09′E. It occupies an area of 50,778 square kilometers. It remains center of trade, learning, culture, Daaba and home of tourism and history.