Wisdom is an Asset (Magana Jari Ce listen, rendered more loosely by Rupert East as "[the] ability to tell stories is a valuable possession"[2]) is a trilogy of novels by Abubakar Imam of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate, jointly regarded as one of the most significant literary works authored in the Hausa language. The first part was published by Northern Nigerian Publishing Company Limited in 1937,[3] the subsequent two parts by the Zaria Corporation.[4][5][6][7] Magana Jari Ce is listed on the Nigerian secondary school curriculum as recommended reading for the subject of Hausa language and culture.[8][9]

Magana Jari Ce/Wisdom is an Asset
AuthorAbubakar Imam
PublisherNorthern Nigerian Publishing Company Limited
Publication date
1937 (Part 1)[1]
Publication placeNigeria



After winning a literary competition organised by Rupert East in 1933, Abubakar Imam embarked on a successful career as a writer, starting with his 1934 debut novel Ruwan Bagaja. During the same six-year stay in Zaria, he penned and published the Magana Jari Ce series.



The novel tells the story of a young prince and his pet parrot Aku. It also depicts royalist and royal life within Hausa emirates, where royalist struggle for royal title inheritance, which makes them optimistic to make plans to inherit imperial, royal and noble ranks. The story begins with the story of a rich emir who has a kingdom but unfortunately doesn't have a child that will inherit his wealth and become the future king. Fortunately for the emir, a traditional sheikh dreams that if the emir will gather together 40 imams to pray for him for about 40 days, God will answer their prayers and bless him with a child. The result was the birth of Musa, the young crown prince and heir to the throne. When Musa is about 12 years of age, an emir from Sinari kingdom sends his visier to Emir Abdurahman, the father of Musa, proposing a marriage engagement to his daughter Princess Sinaratu. This marriage proposal upsets Sarki Abdurahman, which makes him disgraced the visier of Sinari by telling him unpleasant statement and send him out of his kingdom disgraced.

Upon what happened the visier to Sarki Abdurahman tends to join hand with Sarkin Sinari to fight his own emir in return of a throne, he sent his slave to direct them into the kingdom by following unknown route to come inside the kingdom and overthrow the emir. The plan was unsuccessful and Emir Abdurahman wished to retaliate. As Sarki Abdulrahman must leave to go to war, he left his visier on the throne to rule over the kingdom, not knowing that his visier is a traitor to the kingdom.

Upon his leaving, the visier decided to kill the crown prince and, hoping for the emir to die in war, would make him the righteous heir to the throne. Crown prince Musa's father left the palace to fight, having ordered his most trusted slaves to protect his son against any internal traitor who might harm the prince.

The crown prince's pet parrot, Aku, has knowledge of the past, present and future, so the parrot entertains the prince with stories, so that he does not leave the palace in pursuit of his father and expose himself to danger.



The characters include

  • Sarki Abdurahman the royal Emir, father of the crown prince Musa and grandfather to Mahamudu.
  • Waziri the visier to Sarki Abdurahman who couch allegiance to Sarkin Zinari to invent the kingdom in return of making him the crown emir.
  • Musa the crown prince, son of Sarki Abdurahman.
  • Mahamudu the son of the daughter of Sarki Abdurahman, and a childhood friend of Crown Prince Musa, also son to the 70-year-old commander of the kingdom. As a small boy, to inherit the position of his father, he would have to fight side by side with Emir in war.
  • Waziri Aku which means parrot, is a pet of the crown prince Musa, who later became the visier to the royal Emir. He is the storyteller to the young crown prince to take away his curious emotional feelings and to deviate the crown prince from leaving the palace to follow his father into battle, which the visier would like to take advantage of killing the crown prince outside the palace.
  • Sarkin Zinari, Abdulaziz dan Shehu Mukhtar, the rival emir to Sarki Abdurahman, who was upset as a result of declining his wedding proposal to Musa son of Sarki Abdurahman and for disgracing his visier whom he sent for the proposal.
  • Sinaratu daughter to the Emir Sarkin Zinari, who he wants to marry prince Musa.
  • Wazirin Sinari the visier to Sarkin Zinari, He was disgraced by Sarki Abdurahman when he was sent with marriage proposal. He remained loyal to his emir unlike the visier of Sarki Abdurahman.

See also



  • Furniss, Graham (1996). Poetry, prose and popular culture in Hausa. International African Institute. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute. ISBN 978-1-4744-6829-9
  • Muhammad, Abdulwahab (2015). A Semantic Analysis of Lexical Devices in Abubakar Imam Magana Jari Ce (1. Aufl ed.). Saarbrücken. ISBN 978-3-639-86078-8.


  1. ^ "Ba A Mugun Sarki Sai Mugun Bafade: Tokaci Daga Magana Jari Ce (1937) Na Uku Na Abubakar Imam (llI)". Leadership Hausa Newspapers. 2018-03-17. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  2. ^ Bargery, G. P. (April 1943). "Magana Jari Ce. 1940. Zaria: Literature Bureau. 3 vols. Illus". Africa. 14 (2): 99–100. doi:10.2307/1156394. ISSN 1750-0184. JSTOR 1156394. S2CID 146844105.
  3. ^ Imam, Alhaji Abubakar. Magana jari ce: littafi na biyu. 1965 [1939]., retrieved 2021-08-11
  4. ^ "Foreign influences and their adaptation to the Hausa culture in Magana Jari Ce by Abubakar Imam / Beata Jeż, Stanisław Piłaszewicz". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  5. ^ Imam, Abubakar (1965). Magana jari ce. Zaria [Nigeria]: Gaskiya.
  6. ^ "Magana jari ce: Littafi na biyu na Alhaji Abubakar Imam - Sauti - Bakandamiya". bakandamiya.com. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  7. ^ "Magana Jari Ce - AbeBooks". www.abebooks.com. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  8. ^ "'Magana Jari Ce ta fito da martabar Bahaushe'". BBC News Hausa (in Hausa). 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
  9. ^ Muhammad, Abdulwahab (2015). A Semantic Analysis of Lexical Devices in Abubakar Imam Magana Jari Ce (1. Aufl ed.). Saarbrücken. ISBN 978-3-639-86078-8. OCLC 932035914.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)