With over 900 members arcoss generations, the Wanka family is one of the most prominent families not only in Bauchi metropolis but in the entire state.
The family spread through marriages and has connection with hundreds of other families across most of northern Nigerian and beyond, with some living in Europe and other countries.
In Nigeria, they have made impact in various sectors, especially in banking, where the patriarch made his mark. Some of his children and grandchildren followed his footsteps while others have excelled in their chosen fields.
According to Hajiya Amina (Yar Kano), the eldest daughter of the late Wazirin Bauchi, Alhaji Yakubu Wanka and her brother, the Magajin Garin Bauchi, Alhaji Ado Wanka, the Wanka family history which started with their great grandfather, Garba Shadai, can be traced back to 400 years ago.
They said Garba Shadai, a family member from Gidan Alkalin Kano, left for Takai on his way to a place in present day Adamawa State, and later moved to Dutse in present day Jigawa State.
Alhaji Ado Wanka said : “Eventually, he or the family settled at Kirfi in Bauchi. Among his sons were Malam Usumanu, the first Emir in Wanka, who ruled for 50 years. His brother, Mal Yusuf (Dantsoho) had a child, Sarkin Wanka Yunusa, with his wife from Dutse.
“They had close family ties with the Limamin Konas family that migrated from Zaria to Bara, the border town between present day Bauchi and Gombe States where the late Waziri was born.
“Mal Yunusa, our grandfather, married our grandmother, Fatima (Baba Asabe), from the Limamin Jonas family and our father, late Waziri Yakubu Wanka, the pariach of the present Wanka family in Bauchi, was born.”
The patriarch of Wanka family in Bauchi, late Wazirin Bauchi, Alhaji Yakubu Wanka, was born in 1922 at Bara, his mother’s village in Kirfi Local Government Area, a border town between present day Bauchi and Gombe states.
His mother died with her second pregnancy when he was only two years old. He was raised by his great grandmother, Koko, after the death of his mother. His father later took him back to Wanka when the grand mother died.
One of his children, Hajara Wanka, said their father had other siblings from his father including their uncle, the present Emir of Wanka, whom they call “Bappah Sarki”. He is now the head of the entire family. He is in his 54th year on the throne.
Young Yakubu Wanka started Islamic school under Mallam Ali Islamyya in Wanka. However, he was among the first set of pupils in the elementary school built by white men at the nearby village of Cheledi.
His and others’ enrolment into the school was however against the wish of their parents. His mates who were enrolled in the school include the late Sarkin Beni Sulaimanu, late Mal. Audu Dewu, late Wambai Usumanu, and late Abudulkadir Cheledi, among others.
In a recent tribute to her late father, Mrs Wanka while culling from a publication on late Yakubu Wanka, wrote: “Yakubu Wanka was born in Bauchi in 1922. His is the history of a man destined to be great. He went to Cheledi Elementary School, Bauchi Middle School and the prestigious Kaduna College (Now Barewa College). Among his classmates in the college where Alhaji Shehu Shagari who later became the president of the country and Alhaji Ndaji Mamudu a former Minister.
“He started work as a scribe of the Bauchi Native Authority on the recommendation of the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Adamu Jumba. He also worked in Kano on the Groundnut Production Propaganda.”
The late Wazirin Bauchi was brought up under the tutelage of late prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and late Mallam Sa’adu Zungur.
The late prime minister later gave him one of his daughters in marriage.
“On the political scene, he was a member of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) under which he won the election into the Northern House of Assembly and subsequently, the Federal House of Representatives, all between 1952 and 1958,”she added.
He was said to be very close to the Late Saadu Zungur of NEPU and his teacher, late Balewa, who joined the NPC and became prime minister.
He contested and won membership of the Northern Assembly and later a senator and member, House of Representatives to replace Balewa when he became the Foreign Affairs minister before independence.
Late Wanka was also one of the first members of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He was a Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) from 1976 to 1980, Merchant Bank in 1976, and the Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) from 1980 to 1983.
He was later appointed chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in 1984 and later, Bauchi State Public Service Commission.
“Alhaji Yakubu Wanka’s name was written in gold when on June 1, 1958 his signature appeared on the Nigerian currency which was in circulation that year, replacing the old ones in West Africa,”Hajara Wanka added.
Yakubu Wanka was a prominent figure in the traditional institution. He was given the traditional title of Ma’ajin Bauchi (Treasurer of Bauchi Emirate) by the late Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Adamu Jumba and later became the Magajin Garin Bauchi and subsequently, the Wazirin Bauchi.
“No wonder he used to say his history cannot be told without two people-the late Emir Jumba and the late Prime Minister Balewa.”
At present, apart from that, the late Wanka’s sons have three powerful traditional titles, making them the only family holding such titles, surpassed only by the late Emir Adamu Jumba’s family whose grandson, Dr Rilwanu Sulaimanu Adamu, is the present Emir of Bauchi.
“In terms of royalty, our father was one of the most influential, important and prominent member of the Bauchi Emirate,”he said.
Three of the late Waziri Yakubu Wanka’s children are holding the traditional titles of Magajin Gari, Chigari and Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta.
“I think apart from the emir’s family, it is only our immediate family that is holding three powerful traditional titles. Myself as Magajin Gari, Chigari and Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta respectively,”he added.
Shedding more light on the life and times of his late father, the present Magajin Gari Bauchi, Alhaji Ado Wanka, said his father had maintained close ties with all his friends, mentors, associates and families.
The Magajin Gari described his father as a friend who treated his family and friends as confidants.
Recalling some of their father’s mentors, friends and close associates, Alhaji Ado Wanka said people like Mal Audu Dewu were family friends of their grandparents.
He added that the older children including him were groomed to bring up their siblings like parents would do.
“He trained us to take over from him. The way he related with us showed or collectively and individually shaped our lives and made the family a united one,”he added.
Late Yakubu Wanka had 40 Children, 215 grandchildren, and 194 great grandchildren.
At least, 20 of the children are graduates, others however have masters and other postgraduate qualifications. All the children have at least primary or secondary school certificate.
About 100 of his 194 grandchildren are graduates, 25 are undergraduates while 19 have diploma, NCE or other certificates.
Among the grandchildren there are four medical doctors, 12 engineers, three airforce officers, five bankers, one nurse, one architect, three lecturers and five teachers.
Late Yakubu Wanka married his cousin as first wife. The late Hajit’s Fatima ( Mariga) died after having their first daughter. He married four other wives apart from his first wife.
The late Wazirin Bauchi’s first daughter, Hajiiya Amina Wanka (Yar Kano), is presently 76 years old. She was married to the late Ajiyan Bauchi, Alhaji Adamu Tafawa Balewa.
She did not get much western education as she was married at an early age which affected her studies. She only had elementary education before her marriage. Hajiya was born in Wanka village of Kirfi LGA from which the Waziri family got it’s popular “Wanka” family name.
Late Mohammed Yakubu Wanka popularly known as (Yaya) is the second child as well as the first male child of late Yakubu Wanka (Wazirin Bauchi).
He was born on October 24, 1949.
Late Mohammed Wanka was a chartered accountant and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accounting in both Nigeria and UK.
He held several positions in and outside the country among which are; Country Manager, Nigerian National Supply Company in the UK, Finance & Accounts, National Maritime Authority (NMA) now NIMASA.
Yaya was a philanthropist known for his charitable activities. He died on August 5, 2003 leaving behind 11 children and 10 grandchildren.
His children include: Shamsuddeen Mohammed Wanka, a graduate of Business Administration who works with the University of Abuja, blessed with three children, Abbas Mohammed Wanka, a graduate of Economics who works with the Central Bank of Nigeria, he has two children, Dr Khalifa Mohammed Wanka, a medical doctor who works in the UK, he is married with two children.
Alhaji Babayo Yakubu Wanka
Late Alhaji Babayo Yakubu Wanka (Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta 1) is the fifth child of late Wazirin Bauchi, Alhaji Yakubu Wanka. He was born on June 1, 1952.
He had his primary and secondary education in Bauchi, and graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
He started his civil service career in the Bauchi State civil service in 1977 and later transferred to the federal civil service in 1985 as a Grade Level 14 officer. Late Wanka served in several ministries and parastatals.
He worked in the office of Head of Service of the federation, ministries of transport, environment, education, National Salaries and Wages Commission, customs, immigration & prison pension office.
He was a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru.
He was turbaned as the first Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta by the Emir of Bauchi in 1991. He had two wives with who he had 16 children, two of who are now late.
Late Babayo Wanka has five grandchildren namely, Hayatudeen Yakubu Wanka, Hauwa Yakubu Wanka, Hafsat Yakubu Wanka, Hamza Yakubu Wanka and Aisha Jubril Wanka.
He retired from the Federal civil service in 2010 as a director. He died on July 11, 2015.
The sixth child is Alhaji Aminu Yakubu Wanka (Yaya), a chartered accountant who has worked in various places.
He has 16 children and two grandchildren. Seven of the children are graduates.
Speaking on his elder brother, Aminu, the Magajin Garin Bauchi, Alhaji Ado Wanka, described him as his mentor who treated him both like a brother and a son.
The Seventh child of Late Wazirin Bauchi is the Magajin Garin Bauchi, Alhaji Ado Yakubu Wanka.
He was born on January 6, 1955. He holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering (1977) and a masters in Business Administration (1984) both from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and Switzerland Institute of Management Development, Lousanne. Alhaji Ado Wanka followed his father’s footsteps. He is a seasoned banker with over 30 years experience.
He started his career as a process engineer with Ashaka Cement Company Plc in 1978. Upon completion of his MBA, he joined the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) (1985-1988), participating actively in new business development and monitoring of NNDC’s quoted and unquoted investments.
He also served in various capacities in the oil and gas industry, among which, as the Acting Head of New Business Development and later, the Head of Strategic Planning of the NNPC from 1988 to 1991.
He was the Executive Director Finance and Administration and Executive Chairman of the Nigeria-Sao Tome Joint Development Authority from 2006 to 2008.
Alhaji Wanka began his banking career in 1988 with the then Citibank Nigeria before moving to FSB International Bank Plc (1991-1997) and Gamji Bank (ITB) where he rose to become an Executive Director and CEO respectively.
He was also with First Bank of Nigeria as an Executive Director, where he spent about eight years. He joined Unity Bank in 2008 where he was Executive Director and retired as the Managing Director/CEO in August 2013.
Alhaji Wanka had at different times served on the boards of several companies. Some of the companies include: Benue Cement Company Plc, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, First Trustees Ltd, First Registrars, Vmobile (Airtel), Kakawa Discount House, First Kapital Assurance Ltd, etc.
He is currently the Chairman of APT Securities and Funds Ltd, APT Pension Fund Managers Ltd and a director of Arewa Metal Containers (ARMECO) Ltd.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) (NIM), Institute of Management Consultants (IMC), Institute of Credit Administration (ICA) and Institute of Chartered Management Accountants (ICMA).
He is also a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Chemical Society. Ado Wanka was a delegate to the 2014 National Conference. He is married with eight children.
The late Wazirin Bauchi’s Eighth child is Hajiya Khadija Wanka (Yalwa), the wife of the late Alhaji Hassan Mai Warwaro in Jos. She is blessed with five children and five grandchildren.
The nineth child is Hajiya Hafsat Wanka (Ladi).She is married to the late Malam Gajere and is blessed with three children and four grandchildren.
Hajiya Zainab Wanka (Azumi) is the tenth child. She is married to Alhaji Yakubu Sabon Kudi. She is also blessed with 11 children and 41 grandchildren.
Ummulkhari Yakubu Wanka (Habiba) is the 11th of the late Wazirin Bauchi, Yakubu Wanka. She was born in 1956. She married to the late Alhaji Hamid Danlami and is blessed eight children.
Hajiya Fatima Yakubu Wanka (Ikko) is the 12th child of the Wankas. She was born in October 1956. She got married to Alhaji Hamidu Jambil in June 1975 and they are blessed with 12 children.
Alhaji Sadiq Yakubu Wanka is the 13th child who was born on October 15, 1958. He is married to Hajiya Jummai Sadiq wanka and they are blessed with nine children.
He attended Syracuse University New York from 1982 to 1985 and obtained an MBA from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1991 and obtained the ANAN professional certificate In 1997. He was a branch manager at Inland Bank in 1998 and was appointed Commissioner for Finance in Bauchi State in 2007.
Muazu Sadiq Wanka holds Masters in Public Administration (MPA), and works at the Federal High Court.
The 22nd child of the late Wazirin Bauchi, Alhaji Yakubu Wanka is Amina Wanka (Bahiya) who was born on March 18, 1965. She is married to Abdullahi B. Shehu, a retired Director with the Federal Civil Service. They’ve been married for 37 years and are blessed with 6 children.
The 24th child in the late Yakubu Wanka’s family is Yusuf wanka (Chigarin Bauchi). He is a business man married with 3 children.
The 25th child is the late Lubabatu Wanka. She was a banker and a graduate of Economics from the University of Abuja. She died of breast cancer on February 5, 2015.
Umar Wanka is the 25th child of the Wanka family. He is an insurer who started working with Yankari Insurance Company in Bauchi and later moved to Lagos with another company, NASAL Insurance Company in Abuja. He is currently running his own firm in Bauchi. He is married with 5 children.
Another child Zainab Wanka, a business woman in Bauchi, followed by Ahmed Wanka.
Hassan Wanka, an employee with the Bauchi State is the 27th child who was also married with three children.
The 31st child of the Wankas is Hauwau Wanka. She had five children from her first husband, Alhaji Maula Aliyu Azare.
Hajiya Bilkisu Wanka is the 32nd child of late Wazirin Bauchi. Balkisu is married to Alhaji Rabe, a retired Director at the CBN from Katsina State.
Child number 34 is Ibrahim Wanka, a graduate working with Bauchi State government. He is married with two children.
The 36th child of Late Wazirin Bauchi is Ba Musa Wanka.. He had his first degree in Public Administration from ABU Zaria. He started working as a DSS officer before moving to the banking industry. He later worked with PENMAN Pensions and APT Security Funds. He is currently working with the NHIS. He is married and has one child.
Sulaiman Wanka is the 37th child of the Wanka family and the grandchild of te late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. His mother is the daughter of the Late Prime Minister. He had his first degree in International Studies from ABU Zaria. He started as a business man and now works with the Federal Ministry of Health. He is married with 3 children.
Abbas Yakubu Wanka is the 38th child. He had his first Degree in Political Science from University of Maiduguri. He is a lecturer at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) Bauchi. He is also married and has a son.
Child number 39 in the Wanka family is Hajiya Hajara Wanka, She is the only active politician among the late Waziri’s children. She is also the granddaughter of Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
A graduate of Political Science from ABU Zaria, she started as a freelance journalist and an entrepreneur. She was a treasurer in the Daily Trust Writers’ Forum. Hajara entered the public service when appointed as a special assistant to former governor Yuguda on Multilateral Donor Agencies, NEPAD Coordinator. She was promoted to Senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals in the same year. In 2012 she was appointed a consultant to the Federal Ministry of Finance on YouWin, and was later engaged as NPHCDA consultant. Number 40 and the last child of the family is Ainau Yakubu Wanka, who is now 40 years old.