The novel, Sword of Truth by Mervyn Hiskett depicts what only can be described as a revolutionary movement against the Hausa Kings from the 18th to the 19th century. The Islamic movement was centered on the leadership of Shehu Usuman dan Fodio and his commanders. Unlike Shehu, the Hausa Kings lacked leadership and able commanders; and thus, Shehu Dan Fodio’s forces were ultimately successful against the Hausa kings due to this superior leadership.
Mervyn Hiskett reveals in his work evidence that Shehu’s forces and that of the Hausa kings were not in equal footing. In fact, the Hausa kings’ had several advantages over the Shehu forces, at the first stage of the war such as: a very diverse and experienced fighting force, and more importantly not only did the Hausa kings have superior technology but numbers as well, again unlike the Shehu forces. Nonetheless, the Gobirwara army and their allies lacked one essential component, leadership to unite the diverse army. Consequently, this lack of leadership on the part of the Hausa kings resulted in what the author refers to as an inconstant, fickle, and unreliable alliance. On the other hand, the Shehu force was composed of a mostly disciplined and uniform force with an overall strong leadership.
An example, one of Shehu’s many commanders accomplished was Abdullah. In the battle of Lake Kwoto, this particular commander made his mark and proved himself to be an important asset to the movement. According to the novel, Abdullah in this battle demonstrated an understanding of tactics and strategy. Abdullah proved his talents when he correctly anticipated the Gobir forces plan to march onto his camp. Likewise, in another attempt to get the upper hand on the Shehu army, the Hausa kings’ forces sought out to cut the Shehu army’s line of retreat. In addition, the author makes the distinction that the Gobir forces underestimated Abdullah. As it was evident in the night before the battle when the Gobir forces enjoyed luxuries meals and festivities until late into the night. What's more, unlike the Shehu and his army, the Hausa kings’ forces were accompanied by concubines and other luxuries. Subsequently, the lack thereof adequate leadership proved to be an overwhelming flaw, especially in this battle. Moreover, under the commander, Abdullah’s leadership, the Muslim force was able to secure one of the first decisive victories over the Hausa kings.
In addition, Shehu’s son, Muhammad Bello’s leadership proved to be a key in defending the city of Gwandu. The author goes as far to name Bello the actual victor, which is contrary to Shehu’s claim as a key figure in the battle. To shed some light, in this battle Bello was able to overcome his previous setbacks, while being able to command his cavalry flawlessly an amazing feet. Bello, according to the text was able to handle his cavalry in three different ways: first, as a defensive patrol against Gobir’s many probing attacks, then, flexibly, for, under Bello’s leadership they were able to make full use of the…