A delegation of 33 students from the University of The Gambia (UTG) recently returned from the Republic of Guinea, after visiting some of the historical places in Futa Jallon area.
The aims of the visit were to conceptualise the geographical scope of the territorial jurisdiction of Futa Imamate after the downfall of Kaabu Empire in 1867; to write a comprehensive and authentic history of Futa Jallon Imamate; and to take pictures of important historical sites, artifacts and other relics for the proposed UTG museum, among other things.
According to a press release from the UTG, this year's research programme was a follow-up to the one conducted in Kaabu Kansala in June2011.The release added that the delegation engaged the elders of Futa Jallon to their memories on the factors and the conditions leading to Fulani migration, and the establishment of Futa Jallon Imamate from 17th to 19th century, as well as the invasion of Futa against Kaabu.
The delegation visited Timbi Medina, where they were introduced to an oral historian who outlined the migration of Fulas after the fall of Phroanic Empire. According to Alhaji Malado Jallow, the historian, Jalunkes were the first settlers in Futa, and they hosted the Fulas. The Fulas, he continued, originated from Australia, Egypt, Tunisia, and finally settled in Maccina, in a place called Dande Jali, and they intermarried with the Arabs who were sent to educate them about Islam.
Addressing the delegates at Futa Jallon highlands, the release went on, the history lecturer and head of delegation, Ensa Touray said the Futa Jallon highlands has both academic and scientific purposes which must be treasured by Africans. He said Futa Jallon highlands served as the creation of River Gambia, River Senegal, and River Niger.
Touray pointed out that the geopolitical entities that were established in Western Europe were based on the geographical contiguity of the regions which resulted to the establishment of independent states and nation states in Europe. He cited the fact that the Europeans were able to establish a united bloc called the European Union. He however argued that the geographical or ecological potentials could earn the regions of the greater Senegambia the independent state system and help them to establish economic union in order to become powerful entities in the world.
Touray said that Futa Jallon is a reflection of the pre-colonial leaders that enabled the leaders of Futa Imamate to establish connection to Kaabu, thereby established their link to Foria region and upper Gambia valley upto Sankulay Kunda, which eventually facilitated the establishment of Futa Imamate.
According to him, colonial regimes should not have partitioned Africa for their selfish interests. He said in the later part of the 19th century when the colonial regimes spread their tentacles on the basis of the geographical realities in Africa with the hope that Africans would one day unite against them, they consequently partitioned Africa and dismembered some of its regions and made them a tiny enclave in which Africans could not come together to establish greater force against any regimes for domination.
He urged the research delegates to reflect on the conditions of both economic and political realities of Futa Jallon to establish a strong political entity for the benefit of their generation.