Fatal Courage in a Frontier Empire: Power Politics During the Reign of Emir Momo in Ilorin, 1891 – 1895
Leadership is generally understood to mean the capacity of any individual to influence or determine the direction of his followers towards a common goal. A courageous leadership takes a keen interest in pursuing a vision that may benefit the state in the short or long term. Objections often arise to the vision of a leader and such may even come from the members of the ruling class. A leader would necessarily need to carry along his coadministrators and their followers in the design and pursuit of any vision. This paper focuses on the vision of Emir Momo in the governance of Ilorin during the latter part of the 19th century and the nature of power politics during his administration. It discusses the situation in Ilorin before Momo, his emergence and how Ilorin was governed under him. It specifically addresses the endemic nature of power contest between the Emir and his chiefs which had severe implications on internal peace and stability of Ilorin in the period before British intervention. The extreme pursuit of power politics between Emir Momo and the chiefs degenerated into a fatality that culminated in the suicide of the Emir.
Keywords: Ilorin, Momo, Frontier Empire, Power Politics