The Adara People of Southern Kaduna: Beautiful People, Beautiful Culture
Linda Musa (Zaria)||
Situated just south of Kaduna City is one of the largest ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna with over 300,000 native speakers – a set of beautiful and hospitable people called the Adara, otherwise known as the Kadara. The Adara are predominantly found in Kajuru and Kachia Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, though a great number of them are found in the eastern part of Minna, Paikoro and Muya Local Governments of Niger State, and the northern part of Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. Because of their wide spread distribution, the Adara people speak different dialects which include the Adara, Eneje, Ekhwa, Azuwa, Ada, Ajuwa, Azuah or Ajuah dialects.
Like most tribes in Southern Kaduna, and perhaps Nigeria, there is no any documented historical account as per the origin of the Adara people, and until that is done, we will base our assumptions solely on oral tradition and folklore, of which three accounts exist. While one account traces their origin to the Dala Hills in Kano State, the Adara of Ankuwa maintain that they migrated from an area around the Jos Plateau. Moreover, the Adara of Kufana claim descent from ancestors who emerged from a cave at a place called Moisin. From Moisin the ancestral Adara moved to Kufena, the great rock six miles from Zaria, from where they were later driven southwards by the Hausa incomers to their present territory.
In 1760 A.D. according to Hausa folklore some Beriberi hunters founded the Habe village of Kajuru nearby but the Kajuru people had no dominion over the Adara. Slave-raiding and warfare between Kajuru und the surrounding Adara was common. After the Fulani conquest of Zaria in 1804 which the Habe of Kajuru unsuccessfully resisted, the Northern Kadara paid nominal tribute (gandu) to the Fulani Ruler of Zaria through one of his titled slaves, the Shentali. In the latter half of the 19th century the rulers of Zaria made repeated slave-raids on the Adara from bases at Kachia, Kagarko and Kajuru and from Zaria city itself.
Whose account are we now to believe? One striking thing about the three accounts of the history of the Adara people is that they all trace their origin to the hills – Dala, Jos Plateau and Kufena. It is of no wonder that the Adara still occupy hilly and mountainous areas.
One remarkable phenomenon about the Adara people was their administrative and justice structure even before the coming of the Europeans. In the pass, in both Kajuru and Kachia Districts, the Adara organized themselves in villages, each under a Village-Area Chief called the Agwom who presides over the Ihere (Adara Native Court) whose members are Village Chiefs. The Court was mainly concerned with marriage and paternity cases. These Courts, however, seem to have been introduced circa 1933, approximately when the Emir of Zaria, Ibrahim, decreed that in future wives seeking to divorce must observe the Muslim practice of Iddah, by which a divorced woman spends three celibate months in the home of her parents or guardian before divorce is legally complete, a measure which obviates paternity disputes concerning her next child.
At no time since 1900 as A.C. Francis points out, have all Adara been subject to a single administration, or been treated as an administrative unit. Before the recent creation of two new chiefdoms in Adara land with Kachia and Kajuru as their headquarters Northern Adara were ruled by their former enemies the Habe of Kajuru, while Southern Adara were administered by District Heads of Kachia appointed from Zaria.
Another thing of historical relevance about the Adara was their architectural system. The Ugarurule and Ebo are huts used for ritual, and objects of ritual importance are stored there. The Ute (clans) always have both and their major segments sometimes have Ugarurule of their own; also the ante-room usually being of little depth and half open like a verandah. Clan Ugarurule are more elaborate and often have a walled ante-room, roughly rectangular in ground-plan with a stout pole supporting the roof in the inner circular room.
Close by the Ugarurule is found the Ekop, or tomb, in which clan members and their wives are buried. All clans have more than one Ekop but there is usually one Ekop close by the Ugarurule. The Adara Ekop is of a type similar to the “decanter-shaped graves” among certain more southerly tribes of Southern Kaduna, such as the Atyap and the Aegworok. It is of no wonder that the German expatriate chose to build the Kajuru Castle in Adara land in 1978.
- Clan hunting known as Ehwa is a dry-season activity, undertaken by all initiated community males of a clan under clearly specified leaders;
- Pot-making in the dry season is the great craft of women. Several types of pot are made, the largest being the ishu (an undecorated conical pot for brewing beer about 3 feet tall, with a mouth having a diameter of approximately fifteen inches). Another, the isuwo, or round pot, for serving beer has a slightly flattened bottom , and three knobs for lifting and is usually decorated by scratching with dry grass before firing;
- Fishing (ubam) at the start of the dry season due to the lack of running water. Rights to fish in some of these pools are owned by individuals and inherited by the eldest son. Such pools are opened each season with fishing-bee (anubam) called by the owner. Until the pool is opened by this anubam it is an offence to fish in it, and such offenders are brought to the Community Chief who fines them a pot of beer. Fishing is otherwise used as a pursuit of women often seen in small groups;
- Farming is the principal occupation among the Adara men and women. Among the common and most stable food crops grown are Guinea corn, millet, maize, rice, cotton, groundnuts, tobacco, sugar cane, ginger, yams, beans and soy beans as the main cash crops. Another important aspect of agriculture engaged in by the Adara is animals rearing such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
The Adara people believed in the existence of a supreme being, creator of the universe. He could be reached through six much lesser gods found in the ancestral world, spirits of certain animals, stones and a host of impersonal forces. These gods lived on sacred mountains and each god had particular thing they do. Today, like other tribes in Southern Kaduna, the Adara are predominantly Christians with a good mix of adherents to both Islam and Traditionalists.
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