Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nigeria’s Adamawa Kingdom Invokes Sovereignty, Hints at Unification with Kindred in Cameroon

The king of Adamawa, one of the smaller ethnonational groups within Nigeria, added his voice to the strains pulling the country apart this week when he announced at a national conference that he had the right to take his kingdom out of Nigeria if he chose.  Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdaphar, the Lamido (king; also translated as “emir”) of Adamawa, said, in the midst of a debate over a procedural question, that he and the Adamawa kingdom had sovereignty that overrode Nigerian sovereignty, adding, “My people and the people of Adamawa have got somewhere to go.  I am the Lamido of Adamawa and my kingdom extends to Cameroon.  The larger part of my kingdom is in Cameroon.  Part of that kingdom is today called Adamawa State in Cameroon.  You see, if I run to that place, I will easily assimilate.”

The location of Adamawa state within Nigeria
Nigeria’s Adamawa state and Cameroon’s border one another.  The Adamawa are a mid-sized ethnic group by Nigerian standards, a predominantly-Muslim group in the eastern Middle Belt region who speak a language related to Fulani, one of the dominant languages of the separatist north of Nigeria.

Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdaphar, king of Adamawa
Condemnation of the king’s words came from many quarters.  Chief Gani Adams, national coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (O.P.C.), a Yoruba autonomist movement, said, “I was highly disappointed by his statement; an eminent royal father like the Lamido of Adamawa ought not to make such a statement.  He is one of the most respected emirs we have in Nigeria today.  ...  I seize this opportunity to appeal to the royal fathers, including the emir, to watch their statements.  Nobody should threaten the unity of Nigeria.  ...  We, the Yoruba people, want to remain in Nigeria, but we shouldn’t be threatened.”

But a spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum (N.E.F.) voiced support for the way the king expressed his frustration with the procedures at the annual National Conference.

The flag of the Kingdom of Adamawa.  If they declare independence,
they really might want to think about spicing this up a little bit.
Though Nigeria is riven by Biafran (Igbo), Ogoni, and other autonomy and independence movements, as well as a brutal Islamist insurgency in the north which threatens to divide the country permanently, it is rare for one of the scores of traditional kingdoms in the multiethnic country to claim sovereignty on a monarchical basis.  One exception today is the Calabar Kingdom, farther south along the Nigerian–Cameroonian border, where Efik separatism has been stoked by a border dispute between the two countries over the Bakassi Peninsula and an insurgency by the Ambazonian or Southern Cameroons peoples of the formerly Anglophone portions of Cameroon.

King Barkindo with throne and scepter

[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  The book, which contains dozens of maps and over 500 flags, is now in the layout phase and should be on shelves, and available on Amazon, by early fall 2014.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]


  1. That's Gaddafi's/Libya's old flag isn't it?

  2. Yes, it is, green being the color of Islam, which is the common factor here. Beni, a department in Bolivia, also has a plain green flag, but I don't think Islam is the connection there. Bolivia's subnational flags are insanely simplistic.


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