The word Kaduna is said to be a corruption of a Gbagyi word/name for a river. Another version of the etymology of the name is a narrative linked to the Hausa word for crocodile – but this is contested by the Gbagyi people known to have lived in the area for centuries. It is therefore indicative that the name, Kaduna, was taken up by Lord Frederick Lugard and his colonial colleagues when they moved the capital of the then Northern Region from Zungeru to Kaduna in 1916. This move of the colonial office to Kaduna started in 1912-1918/20 with the initial effort having been made in 1902 from Jebba to Zungeru.At the start of British colonial rule in northern Nigeria the people groups who live in the area became ‘Northern Nigerians’- a construct which continues even today. By 1967 these people groups again were carved into ‘North Central State’; this was the case until 1975 that ‘Kaduna State’ was formerly created by the then military leader, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, with all distinct identities amalgamated into one state without a referendum.
The state hence is the successor of the old Northern Region of Nigeria, which had its capital at Kaduna which is now the state capital to about 6.3 million people (Nigerian census figure, 2006).In 1967, the old Northern Region was divided into six states in the north, leaving Kaduna as the capital of North-Central State, whose name was changed to Kaduna State in 1976. Meanwhile, Kaduna State was further divided in 1987, creating Katsina State. Under the governance of Kaduna are the ancient cities of Zaria, Kafanchan, and Nok, the area where Africa’s earliest civilization is recorded to have been excavated. The most intriguing aspect of this area is that the colonial construction and its post-colonial successor called ‘Nigeria’ hardly documented the history or the method of how Kaduna state’s people groups encompassed in these constructs define and identify themselves as such the people groups who populate the area have lived in near oblivion or obscurity as they often are thought of as Hausa people.