ARTICLE: Who are the Nupes - By Adamu Idris Manarakis

Manko Adamu Idris Manarakis Nupe Language Presentation at New Horizons Nursery and Primary School Minna.

It was marvelous as the Children complied as usual by putting their hands together for manarakis. When he mentioned Etsu Nupe's name; Alhaji Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, everyone stood up to mark a great tribute as we are known with.

"If the indigenous languages were used to communicate in our daily activities, learning would be faster and more effective." by A.I.M
He said;
"All Protocols meticulously observed, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Standing before you is my humble self, ADAMU IDRIS MANARAKIS NIW - Tashiru Nupe
By God's grace, I shall be discussing the aboriginal Nupe People, their socio cultural activities and norms.


WHO ARE THE NUPES? Research shows that Nupencizhi or Nupes originated from Nubia to the current areas of their settlement. Researchers discovered that most languages have their aboriginal roots for communication before generation upon generation corrupted some languages to be what we see today. The ancestor of Nupencizhi or Nupes was Ugba bin Annafi who was originally from Nubia. He migrated to different areas before he finally came to Nigeria to settle. His ancestral language was Nubia, then Nufa and now it has been totally corrupted into Nupe. Nupe is one of the languages of KWA GROUP of Africa which included many other languages like Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ejaw, Hubris, Shuwa, Kanuri, and others. Researchers also stressed that Nupe people came from Massar or Egypt. The proof of this is the ancient glass industry of Nupe Land. The industry is still active in it, is the existence of many artifacts at Masaga in Bida, Niger State of Nigeria. Nupe people before 15th century settled at riverine areas of Niger - areas or Nigeria in West Africa. They were people with unique culture, headed by a traditional leader called Ezhitso or Zhitsu as we call them today. When Nupencizhi got to Nigeria, they first of all settled at Nku, then Nupeko, then, Essan, then Ewu, then Tafyan, then Yessa, then Kpanjuru, then Gbara, then Gaba, then Yida, then Towagi, then Bida and later spread all over the country. The above mentioned communities were politically independent of one another. However, they were strongly linked together economically. Nupes had over 500 villages and towns as a result of disputes back then. What mostly led to the establishment of a new village was as a result of either the elder brother in the family wanting to be the head first, to rule the community or the younger brother desirous of being the head first to rule the community. They were impatient to one another. Some instances were as a result of traveling, farming, witch craft and waging of war against each other. You can notice villages in kin Nupe today that have similar names. Some have only slight differences like:-
1. Wasagi of Agaie LG, Wasagi of Katcha LG, Wasagi of Gbako LG,

2. Tafyan of Agaie LG, Tafyan of Gbako LG. Another examples are

3. Sallawu woro, Sallawu Gbako, Kuci woro, Kuci Gbako etc
These show that the above named villages have the same roots but later got separated due to disagreement within themselves.


Nupes are classified in to three categories:-
1. Nupe Bini,
2. Nupe Kin takozhi,
3. Nupe Gede.

1. Nupe BINI comprises of Bida and its axis, Agaie and its axis, Katcha and its axis, Lavun and its axis, Gbako and its axis, Edati and its axis, and Lapai town.

2. Nupe Kin Takozhi comprises of, Basange, Dibo, Kupa, Kakanda, Abawa, Sokun, Egba etc.

3. Nupe Gede, Comprises of Mokwa and its axis, Zugurma, Raba, Patigi, Lafiyagi, Tsonga, and Tsaragi.
Nupe Bini which is the central Nupe Language for communication is almost the same with Gede. 

The differences are not that deep, unlike those of the sub-groups of Nupes, that's Nupe Kin Takozhi that understand Bini and Gede and can speak the dialect accurately.


1. Eboci be Ezowa e, - Rice and Beans,
2. Ekwa - Pap,
3. Dankuwa,
4. Mashe,
5. Gbwarwagi,
6. Kuli,
8. Edzu,
9. Kara, 10. Efan etc.

1. Efo Nupe - Nupe Day,

2. Efo Gani - Local wrestling day

3. Efo Rigata - Fishing day,

4. Efo Enu - Farming day,

5. Efo Ecima Doko - Horse Racing day etc


1. Ndakogboya - Masquerade,

2. Guguyagi - Masquerade with hand,

3. Kuti Langba - Dirty Masquerade

4. Kuti Nyizagi - Female Masquerade

5. Kuti Bagi - Male Masquerade

6. Enyamaci - Magician,


Nupes celebrate wedding for as long as one week before the main day. You can notice the signs from the far and close-by villages through burning, drumming and a long flag, etc.


1. Enya dukun or Tanbari

2. Enya Gale - Three set of Drum

3. Enya Evogi or Kalangu Drum

4. Enya Bisan - Bamboo Drum

5. Enya Mangara - Calabash Drum

6. Enya Gbangbani - Pan Drum

7. Kakati

8. Kulegi etc


1. Kube ebo e or Barika

2. Tsankan

3. Enya Egba

4. Enya Etsu etc.


1. Sogba - A child from the shrine

2. Tsubenya - gods given child

3. Ebo/jinda - An appreciation of the gods

4. Gana - Competitor

5. Kolo - Brave and helpful.

Nupe people occupy several towns and villages across the states of Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. A good number of Nupe speaking people can also be found in other towns across the country with a considerable number of them being in Kaduna, Kano, Benin, Onitsha and Lagos.

Anthropologists have observed that the Nupe ethnic group is the second largest minority tribe in Nigeria.

This gift no doubt is from God Almighty and must be appreciated by all Nupe sons and daughters. 
The gift of Number is a potential that must be harnessed to its fullest for the benefit of the Nupes and the nation at large.

 Indeed, the population of the Nupes and it's Sub-tribes is sufficient to propel the political advancement, economic development, and social upliftment of the entire populace. 

The only impetus towards achieving the underlining goals is however, the unity of purpose amongst the Nupe people.
Though, Nupe people are known to have attained several heights in different fields of endeavors in Nigeria and are believed to be ethnocentric wherever they find themselves, the unity of purpose for the common good is still lacking.

If truth must be told, the traditional institutions of Nupe people are working tirelessly to ensure that Nupe Cultural activities progress day in day out. On this regard, we must say kudos to Etsu Nupe Alhaji Dr. Yahaya Abubakar for introducing Nupe Cultural Day 11 years ago. The Etsu Nupe did that to bring all Nupencizhi together irrespective of their religion and location. And if you look at this initiative, its not only existing across Nigeria, it's also included a fiesta of wedding ceremony, naming ceremony, schools cultural days like the one we are celebrating today and others. Finally, I will like to call on parents to encourage their children to go to school. They should speak their mother tongue at homes and other places. When children speaks their immediate language, learning is always easier.

I also wish to thank the management of New Horizons Nursery and Primary School, the indefatigable Headmistress; Hajiya Fatima Popo Ola, members of staff, students and parents for this wonderful opportunity to stand before you all and deliver this brief talk on History and Culture of the Nupe People.

Thanks for listening. And in case you wish to enroll your children to learn how to read and write in NUPE, we teach Nupe Language every weekend, precisely on Saturdays at Fati Lami Abubakar Institute for Legal and Administrative Studies, Kpakungu Minna Niger State, by 9:00am. Once again, I am Adamu Idris Manarakis (Nupe Indigenous Writer) and Tashiru Nupe.

I wish you a successful Maiden Cultural Day Celebration.

Post a Comment

Comments Posted by our Readers/Visitors do not reflect that of Northerly Media and Her Affliates, People are advised to be Civil while drawing their own discernment hence we are not to be hold liable for any inciting comment(s)

Previous Post Next Post