Wednesday, 25 January 2017

MAMMAN DIKE: LONGEST SERVING ROYAL DRIVER EVER TO THE SULTAN


Dike Okwuosa born in Umuezia village of Asaba, in the nineteen century ago. His journey to Sokoto began right in Asaba when he joined Lord Lugard’s Royal Niger Company as a cook and steward. He followed Lugard to Minna,, where he was taught how to drive a car. When the company’s traders and administrators moved North to conquer the area, Dike was taken along as driver, cook and steward.


MAMMAN DIKE at 140 years old


At Zaria, after Sokoto had fallen, Dike was asked by the colonial officers to proceed to Sokoto and deliver a Ford T-model car to Atahiru 1, the new Sultan of Sokoto installed by the British. He was to return to Zaria, but on getting to Sokoto, fate played a trick on him. He was implored to stay and teach the Sultan and his aides how to drive the car. He stayed behind in Sokoto and became a Muslim during the reign of Sultan Tambari who, like Atahiru 1, was deposed by the British. Then, he dropped Okwuosa, his father’s name, picked Mamman, when naturalized and became a native of Sokoto. He married two Hausa women, wiped out his root as well as his previous life which included his wife and children in Asaba. He served as a driver to six Sultans- Atahiru I, Atahiru II, Muhammadu, Tambari, Hassan and Abubakar sadiq, III, the longest monarch since the caliphate was established by Uthman Dan fodio. He was his cook as well as his companion and confidant. Both of them have been friends during the reign of Sultan Hassan, Sadiq’s uncle to whom Dike was a driver. They were at Talata Mafara when the news of Hassan’s death was broken. While Sadiq went to answer the call, the care of the family fell on Dike, who also transported the family to Sokoto when Sadiq was made the new Sultan.

Atahiru 1, his first master

Giving this background, a bond of friendship, confidence and trust was easily established between these two fellows. So much was the confidence reposed in Dike by Sadiq that Dike was given absolute privileges, such as going to Abubakar Sadiq’s wives with messages from him, entering his bedroom and acting as a channel through which the late Sultan could be reached by visitors. In fact, this confidence it was that gave Dike the license to supervise the building of the present palace, where Dasuki now resides.

Abubakar sadiq, III, the longest monarch
 since the caliphate was established by 
Uthman Dan fodio and Dike's best boss



As at when this photo was taken on January 18, 1989, he must have lived for over 140 years, spending over eighty years in the royal household of Sokoto Kingdom.
He had thirteen kids,  six boys and seven girls. One of them, Muhammed, who is now about 87 years old, took over Mammman’s role in the palace administration. Another worked with the Customs in Daura, Katsina State, while another was a civil servant, worked  at the Federal Secretariat, Sokoto, all his kids speak Hausa. Dike now rests in peace.

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