Sunday, 30 March 2014


The Chief Servant, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu CON presenting the Calendar to the Council

The Chief Servant presenting the calendar and Enyalo (Nupe Arithmetic) Book to the executive council
Following the invention of the Nupe Calendar by Isyaku Bala Ibrahim, and its subsequent publication by the Niger State Book Development Agency (NSBDA), the Chief Servant, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, CON, Talban Minna, and Sodangi Nupe presented the Nupe Modern Calendar before the executive council on 12th February 2014. The council however commended the effort of the inventor. 

Monday, 24 March 2014


23rd Togaya 498 / 23rd Rabiul-Akhir 1435 / 22nd February 2014

from left: Isyaku Bala Ibrahim - Calendar Inventor &seated on the high-table are:Prof. Farouk Abdulrahid Haruna (provost COE Minna) Prof. Muhammed Kuta Yahaya (Commissioner of Information, Communication & Integration), representative of the Hon. Speaker, Niger State House Assembly Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu (Sheshi Katcha) and Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana  (Ratibin Nupe)

from Left: Prof. Farouk, Alh. Abdullahi Adamu (Sheshi Katcha), Prof. M. Kuta Yahaya and Alh. Dangana as they presented the calendar before the audience.

Audience at the calendar presentation on 22-2-2014

Minna city has been bombarded by the media with adverts on the Nupe Calendar presentation, and by 11.00am of Saturday, the day of the presentation at the Niger State Book Development Agency (NSBDA)’s hall, it was ready for the august guests as the empty chairs await their admirers. The earnestness expected of the public was deficient as the waiting continued with empty seats until few minutes to noon when the master of ceremony, Sadisu Mohammed popularly known as the ‘Teacher Eyekondunu’, who holds the title of Etsu Edzó (literally – Nupe Entertainment leader) colonized the microphone signaling the commencement of the programme.

Seated on the high-table facing the audiences were the special guests: Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abukabar who was ably represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, Sheshi Katcha, the Nupe Calendar presenter. Alhaji Y. Y. Sani was represented by Alhaji Yahaya S. Dangana (Ratibin Nupe) as the Chairman of the Occasion; Professor Samuel Kolo Tswanya, Dean of Department of languages, IBB University Lapai was the guest speaker. Professor Farouk Haruna Abdul-Rahid, Provost of College of Education, Minna was the Calendar launcher. Professor Muhammed Kuta Yahaya, the Honourable Commissioner of Information as the Chief Host; BM Dzukogi, Director General, Niger State Book Development Agency as the Host. Others were Chairman, Agaie LGA who was represented; Students of Hilltop School; HillTopArts Centre members; ANA Members etc.

The host was invited to the podium to welcome the guests, BM Dzukogi started by thanking the guests for honouring the invitation, and added that the Agency is actualizing its mandate as 2014 started with stocking the Bookhawker shop, that the second activity was the Nupe Calendar presentation which is on-going and that in few weeks time the Agency will publish 20 writers who have written books in different genres across the state. Alhaji Yahaya Dangana who stood for Alhaji Y. Y. Sani as The Chairman of the programme stressed the importance of the presentation that it was coming not better time than today and wished the presenters a fruitful presentation.

Bagándozhi, Etsu Nupe praised the progresses achieved in recent times in growing indigenous intellectual capacity through documentation of our traditions especially in Nupe Language. He stressed further that a lot need to be done to make sure that our tradition and culture do not go extinct. The leader of the Nupe world commended the inventor of the Nupe Calendar and NSBDA for the promotion of book and intellectuals in the state, he pointed as a step in the right direction. He thereafter presented to the audience the Calendar with the Chairman of the Occasion, guest speaker, and Chief Host.

Professor Samuel Tswanya Kolo Tswanya, the guest speaker took time to explained the efforts of past writers who were not Nupes but did extensive research on the Language such as Professor S. F. Nadal who published the Black Byzantine – The Nupe Kingdom of Northern Nigeria, Nupe Religion etc. and Professor Roger Blench who did work on the plants of Nupe Land and lot more. He also commended the inventor of the calendar and encouraged him to continue to research on the other areas that has not been touched on different aspects of the language and culture. He also advised the NSBDA on the need to adopt some strategic things like mini signposts to correct some of the ills in our societies. Comments like ‘Do not Cheat’, ‘Give peace a chance’ could be written on them and stationed at strategic locations around the state. 

On the part of the Calendar launcher, Prof Farouk pointed out that what he has seen today has given him hope that good things are coming from our societies. That he is not aware of any tribe that has its own numeral symbol in the Sub-Saharan Africa let alone Nigeria. He praised the inventor for leading the way, and for been able to adapt the symbols in the Calendar as one of the ways the Nupe Numeric Symbols can be used. He thereafter donated a substantial amount of money to encourage the inventor. And others followed through till the end of the programme by exactly 2.00pm.


11th November 2013

Picture - Members from the right: Mr Simon Ndagi, Isyaku Bala Ibrahim, Dr. Dagaci Mambe, Alhaji Alhassan Wasagi, Amb. Solomon Adama Yisa, Barr. Abraham Yisa, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Dr. Yahaya Abubakar CFR, Prof. Samuel Kolo Tswanya, Alhaji Y.Y. Sani, Mr Theophilus  Sheshi Danjuma, Ndagi Abdullahi, Awal Gata, Dr Muhammad and Ndaiji Nupe  - Member of the Emirate council in charge of tradition arts after the inauguration of the committee on 11th November 2013 at Wadata Palace, Bida, Niger State, Nigeria.

The invited guests assembled at the conference hall of the Wadata Palace, venue of the inauguration by 11:00 am on 11th November 2013. The actual inauguration ceremony commenced at about 11.30am when His Royal Highness, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Dr Yahaya Abubakar, CFR stepped into the hall and sat. The convener of the ceremony, Etan Nupe, Ambassador Solomon Yisa introduced the concept of the committee and why the Etsu invited them to be part of this all important committee.

Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abuakar began by thanking the invited members for honouring the invitation. He stated that Nupe people and the language has a long history which led world researchers from within and outside the Kingdom to write so many things about the language and its people, and that most of these people were not necessarily Nupes. But, they were able to tell the world the greatness of the Kingdom and the Nupe people. He added that most of our traditions and customs are facing the threat of extinction things like Èdìn (coded speech), Ecingi (folktale) etc are not longer heard among the young ones as the elderly have refused to pass the wisdom embedded in them to their children. He explained further that he is tasking the committee to go deep and bring them back to life again and lots more.

Bagádozhi, Etsu then read the goals of the Committee as follows:
i.                     to promote Nupe language and culture;
ii.                   to develop curriculum for teaching Nupe language and history in schools from primary to tertiary education;
iii.                  to produce instructional materials and literature in Nupe;
iv.                 to promote Nupe History and heritage; and
v.                   to encourage research & scholarship in Nupe language and history

He thereafter inaugurated the following people who were drawn from the academics, media, business, writing etc across Nupeland  as the members of Nupe Language Committee:
1.       Professor Samuel Kolo Tswanya – Chairman
2.       Professor Muhammad Abdullahi Daniyan, OFR - Member
3.       Professor Ibrahim Adamu Kolo - Member
4.       Professor Sha’aba Idris Jimada - Member
5.       Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, Kakaki Nupe – Member
6.       Alhaji Mohammad Idris – Member
7.       Alhaji Alhassan Wasagi – Member
8.       Barrister Abraham Yisa, Galadima Alkali Nupe - Member
9.       Pastor Amos Zubairu Tsado – Member
10.   Engineer Ndagi Aliyu, Wambai Nupe – Member
11.   Mr. J. B. Adams – Member
12.   Ambassador Solomon Adama Yisa, Etan Nupe – Member
13.   Alhaji Y. Y. Sani - Member
14.   Dr Muhammad Umaru Ndagi - Member
15.   Dr Mohammad (Shaba Lafiagi) - Member
16.   Dr Abdullahi Mann - Member
17.   Dr Dagachi Mambe - Member
18.   Mr Theophilus Sheshi Danjuma – Member
19.   Alhaji Ndanusa Yunusa Yakubu, Sarkin Nufawa Katsina - Member
20.   Isyaku Bala Ibrahim – Member
21.   Mr Philip Gana – Member
22.   Mr Timothy Sokomba - Member
23.   Ndagi Abdullahi - Member
24.   Mr Jonathan Gana – Member
25.   Awaal Gata – Member
26.   Reverend Elijah Audu Bokungi Saba - Member
27.   Mr Simon Ndagi Nku – Secretary
28.   Malam Usman Yahaya – Secretariat

He therefore pointed out that the success of this committee will to a large extend be the advancement of the language which will make Nupe language to be among the advanced languages of the world. He then prayed that Allah SWT guide and easy their future deliberations and tasks.

Thursday, 6 March 2014


- Nupe Year 498an - after Nupe Kingdom was founded in 1531 at Gbara
- Dangizhi (Cats) adorned the first image
- Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Dr Yahaya Abubakar appeared on the 4th image with Etun Egbazhi kin Nupe

Tuesday, 4 March 2014




There is one important phenomenon which chases a being. It gradually hunts and brings it down as predetermined. It is an experience that everyone should be conscious of. It is simply called time. Time is well known conqueror of the living and to a large extend even the non-living. BM Dzukogi, a philosopher of our time defines it as, “Time is the permanent determinant of how, when and what becomes of actions, processes, events, man and the environment.” So in essence man is aware of the fact that he is in transition the very day he stepped into the world. It is however propelled by a constant doting of the second which gradually eat-away the time he is expected to spend on earth. It therefore becomes important for man to tract events and actions in a manner to be able to tell, move or recount actions of the past, present and future. The past may be gone; the present is here while the future is pregnant with lots of aspirations.
            The idea of Nupe Lunar Calendar project is aimed at promoting the way our people structured their activities which covered the 12 months in the past and how it became a concept of awareness, currently. This is an idea that was muted on 20th November 2013 on my usual contacts with BM Dzukogi, and we muted the idea in an attempt to sell to the public the calendar and the most importantly the new Nupe numeral symbols.
On 22nd November 2013, I met him (BM Dzukogi) for the second time on the calendar issue; he then made an interesting statement that it will be preferable if we have our own numeral symbols on it, stating that it will be more dramatic and attention-grabbing too. I immediately informed him of the numeral symbols I had invented on 29th April 2012, shortly after my Enyalò  (Nupe Arithmetic) book was published. He was amazed to see it and sought that we use it immediately.
However, the first written document on the Nupe calendar was in Banfield & Macintyre’s Nupe Grammar Book published in 1915. It documented the days and the months, and the various activities and festivals in each of the Nupe month in the calendar year. These festivals became symbols or names of months which could be traced to the time Nupe people used it in the past, orally and greatly influenced when the kingdom embraced Islam as its religion. The only evidence we have of our Islamic heritage could possibly be in the 15th or 16th century of the Gregorian calendar reckoning. That is around 9th and 10th century of the Hijrah (Islamic) calendar.
For centuries, Nupe people used the moon for counting the days which were primarily to celebrate their pagan feasts, rites and rituals of the old Nupe religion such as Gunnukó (fertility god), zhiba (god of commitment),  Sako (hunting ritual), Wásá (snake medicine festival), Tsari/Gànì (strength/power/wrestling contest festival), Dzakó (the god of Ndaduma) etc. The fixed months of the festivals or rituals were Etswa Gànì, Etswa Tógàya, Etswa Gunnukó/ Gunnu/ Egunnu, Etswa Wásá, Etswa Dzakó and others. They were largely oral in recognition to celebrate the festivals through the constant and gradual phenomenon of appearance and disappearance of the moon, tracked through mere observation and counting of 29 or 30 days for a month.
So the Pagan calendar was later overshadowed by the Islamic calendar as most Nupe people converted to the new religion.  The names that still reflect the past pagan festivals were rejected while those that were ordinary were retained by the Islamic orientation of the kingdom. Some retained ones are: Etswa Gani, Eyazhe, Eyazoci, and Togaya.

The efo (a day) is the same with the western or Arabic day systems of second, minute and hour. Efo is not tracked in 24hours instead a comprehensive tracking is employed based on the phase-to-phase changes within the day which broadly comprises the Yigidi (day) and the Yèshi (night) periods. These periods are further broken into Yisàká/fafa (dawn), Lazhìn (morning), Yigidi-tinya (sunrise), Yigidiwó (midday), Lózùn (evening), Sadu (midnight), and Sadugándu (deep-night). However, efozhi (days) of the month are not tentatively grouped in weeks,but counting of the days are done to meet up with daily and monthly engagements i.e. fixed market days, feast days or any important schedules/activity known to each community.

Therefore, below are the ways Nupe people counted days that make up a month backward or forward:
The forward counting of days:
1.      Nyina/today
2.      Esun/tomorrow
3.      Sòkpazhìn/ in two days’ time
4.      Efogunni-nyina /in three days’ time
5.      Efogutsun-nyina/ in four days’ time
6.      Efogutswanyi-nyina/ in five days’ time
7.      Efogutwabà-nyina/ in six days’ time
8.      Efogutòtá-nyina/ in seven days’ time (a week in Arabic or western reckoning)
9.      Efogwegi-nyina/ in fourteen days’ time
10.  Efoshi be nìní-nyina/ in twenty days’ time
The backward counting of days:
1.      Yábaci / Eyábaci – last year
2.      Aguntswaguta – three months ago
3.      Agunfogwegi/two weeks ago
4.      Agunfogutòtá/a week ago
5.      Agunfogunni/three days ago
6.      Tsotaci/a day before yesterday
7.      Tsuwó/yesterday

A Week
As I pointed earlier, before the advent of foreign religions in Nupe land, Nupes counted days without the week, and no names were given to days that made up the week as we have them today. So the current names of days that make up a week were adopted with advent of Islam. So, the days of the week has an Arabic source as enumerated below:
Átènin/ Ithnayn/ (Monday)
Tàlátà / Thulaathaaʼ/ (Tuesday)
Làrùba/ Arba’aa’ / (Wednesday)
Àlàmí/ Khamīs / (Thursday)
Jímà/ Jumu’ah / (Friday)
Àsíbì / Sabt / (Saturday)
Ladè/ Aḥad / (Sunday)

The months are strictly according to the lunar appearance on the sky and the counting is done from the first day crescent appearance till it disappears on the 29th or 30th day of each of the months. There could be some overlap in some instances. And in all, there are twelve months:
1.      Èyázheci/ Ninfu – it is the month of torches (návùn) and feast of filled bellies (Ninfu)
2.      Etswa Bedzo-Gànì – month before local wrestling /combat
3.      Etswa Gànì -month before local wrestling /combat
4.      Tógàya – the first month of Tógàya
5.      Tógàya-Bàci – the second month of Tógàya
6.      Etswa Bedzo Azun-Ezagbakozhi – the month before the old people’s fast
7.      Etswa Azun-Ezagbakozhi – the month of old people fast
8.      Etswa Bedzo-Azun – the month  before general fast
9.      Etswa Azun – the month of general fast
10.  Etswa Sálagi – the month small feast
11.  Etswa Bedzo Èyázoci/Sálakó – the month before the end of year
12.  Èyázoci/Sálakó – end of year month / big feast month

There are six seasons (Nadel, 1942: 409) in the Nupe agricultural calendar which are:
i.                    Gbama/first rains season/
ii.                  Zuzunka/rainy season/
iii.                Elemàgi/heavy rain season/
iv.                Sabaká /growth season/
v.                  Gbanferè/cold season
vi.                Banagun /hot season/

The Nupe year counting is tied to the year the Kingdom was founded in 1531  by Etsu Edegi or Tsoede (Nadel, 1942.406) at Gbárá which is equivalent to the year 937AH (Hijrah Lunar calendar) which if we deduct 937 from the current year of 1435, we would have 498 Lunar years since Nupe Kingdom was founded. In the alternative, it is possible to calculate the years using a solar year by deducting 1531 from the current year 2014 which will give 483years in the solar reckoning. And to make it a lunar year, divide these years 483 by 33 (that is, in every 33 years, the lunar years will be a year ahead of the solar year or Gregorian year) which will give 16 years addition. When it is added to 483, it gives a total of 498 lunar years. So, 498 is the number of years since Nupe Kingdom was founded (AN). Hence that is the way Nupe year 498AN was arrived at.

The essence of the calendar is principally to enable one to be very conscious of time, and to judiciously use it to his benefit, and to the benefit of others. It should serve as radar to enable us remember and record the past, the present and plan for the future.

Banfield, A. W. &Macintyre, J. L. (1915).A Grammar of the Nupe Language, Together with a Vocabulary. London: Richard Clay & Sons Limited.

Dzukogi, BM. Artistry of Time in Creation. New Nigerian Newspaper. Kaduna: February 23, 2002

Ibrahim, Isyaku Bala (2012). Enyalò (Nupe Arithmetic). Minna: Gandzo Enterprises.

Lamtabbet, R.  Arabic Days of the Week

Nadel, Siegfried Frederick (1942).The Black Byzantine: Nupe Kingdom of Northern Nigeria. London: International Institute of African languages & cultures.

The Year 1531. (accessed on 24 November 2013).


Presented by ISYAKU BALA IBRAHIM At The Conference Hall of Katsina State Secretariat Complex, Katsina On ...