Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial political system can be credited to the Holy Jihad fought by Uthman Danfodio in 1804. They can be found in the Northern part of Nigeria covering areas like Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Zaria, etc. The system of government adopted is monarchical in nature popularly regarded as a highly centralized method of administration. Not only that, Hausa/Fulani has also been described as an Emirate system with Emirs as the head of each emirates. There were two headquarters, in Sokoto and Gwandu headed by Emirs of Sokoto and Gwandu respectively. Islamic law was adopted as the guiding principle of the administration. More importantly, Emir is an absolute ruler because there is no principle of checks and balance as epitomized by pre-colonial Yoruba administration.
However, the main political institutions in pre-colonial Hausa/Fulani include the paramount ruler (Emir), Emir’s ministers, District Head (Hakimi), the village heads and the Alkali court.
Emir is the head of an emirate, vested wuth legislative, executive and judicial power. He is an absolute ruler. That is, the Emir is supreme in decision making and whatsoever he ordered must be carried out, though with the tenet of Islamic laws called Sharia. Therefore, the Emir is both the political and religious head because he ensures that the provisions of Sharia are adequately followed without any reservation. Emir’s court was the highest and final. Emir has the right to levy tax and decision made can’t be changed by anybody.
More imoortantly, the Emir had an advisory council who helped in day to day administration of the Emirate. These groups of people were popularly regarded as the Emir’s ministers assigned to various offices for the purpose of administrative activities.
The Waziri can be regarded as the senior official and head of administration. Not only that, he is in charge of all ministries and carry out the day to day administrative responsibility on behalf of the Emir.
The Galadima is best known as the administrator of the capital of the emirate. That is, he is in charge of Emir’s capital territory.
Madawaki can be regarded as the commander of the Calvary (i.e. Commander of the Army). Specifically, he is known as the Modern Day Chief of Army Staff.
The Dogari is known as the chief of police. In the contemporary world, Dogari is regarded as Inspector-General of Police (IG) whose responsibility is that of security.
Maaji stands as treasurer in charge of treasury. That is, Maaji is in charge of inancial activities just like the Governor of Central Bank.
Sarkin Ruwa is the minister in charge of fishery. He organizes fishing festival under the jurisdiction of the Emir.
Sarkin Pawa is the head of butchers.
Sarkin Fada on the other hand is head of Emir’s workers.
The emirate system was divided into a number of districts headed by ‘Hakimi’. However, Hakimi is regarded as district head whose responsibility is that of tax collector. Tax like Jangali (cattle tax collected by the Hakimi on behalf of the Emir). Hence, he is responsible to the Emir. Other taxes collected are Kharaj on land, Zakat on properties etc.
In the same vein, each district is divided into villages headed by village heads. The village heads helps to maintain peace and order in the village administration. He is the one helping the Hakimi to collect tax both of who are responsible to the Emir.
The Alkali court takes charge of judicial administration of the emirate under Islamic tenet called ‘Sharia’. However, this Sharia law is administered by the appointed Islamic judges known as Alkahli headed by Chief Alkali or Grand Khadi.
Finally, Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial administration is highly centralized and hierachical in nature. Also, there is no principle of checks and balance as compared to pre-colonial Yoruba system.