55 years after Sardauna, where is the North?, by Mainasara Kogo Umar

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On the 12th Day of June, in the year,1909, the Family of Sarkin Rabah Ibrahim and Maryamu, gave birth to a child named Ahmadu, who like his nickname, Gamji, turned out not only to be the greatest source of shelter, food, security, unity and general progression of life for Nigeria of his lifetime and beyond but indeed remains as the most celebrated human being of post-independent Nigeria.

He began demonstrating leadership brilliance at the age of 16-year-old when he emerged best at the Katsina Teachers’ Training College.

At the age of 25-year-old, he got appointed as a District Head. At 29, he contested to become the Sultan of Sokoto. At the age of 40-year-old, he was a member of the Regional House of Assembly.

As National Chairman of the Northern People’s Congress, NPC, in 1957, he gained not only majority seats in the National House of Representatives for his Party, but sent one of his disciples, the Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to head the Government as the Prime Minister. He extended the hand of fellowship to Alliance with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC, on the accord of which Zik became the Head of State.

This alliance gave them the landslide win in the 1959 Parliamentary Elections that saw them winning a majority of Parliamentary seats. This same year, Queen Elizabeth knighted him as “knight of the British Empire”, entitling the use of SIR before his name.

After the independence, Sardauna remained in the North, as its Premier, administering the present day 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, as one Region. As Premier, he achieved, among many others:

1.Northern Nigeria Development Company, NNDC
2. Bank of the North
3. Ahmadu Bello Stadium
4.Northern Nigeria Investments Limited
5. Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria
6.New Nigerian Newspapers & Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo
7.Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria
8.The Kaduna Polytechnic
9.Bachita Sugar Company Limited
10. The Apex Mills Limited
11. Arewa Textiles Limited
12 Cement Company of Northern Nigeria
13.The Sharadda, Bompai, Challawa, Kakuri and Kudenda Industrial zones
14. The University of Northern Nigeria, stretching from Samaru to Funtua, on 4 October 1962, The names changed to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
15.The Nigerian Defence Academy
16. The Kaduna International Airport
17. The construction of various secondary schools.colleges, Libraries and Adult literacy Centres
18 The Northern Nigerian Marketing Board
19. Construction of Roads linking ALL the District and Provincial Headquarters
20. Construction of Standard Hospitals in all the District and Provincial Headquarters
Etc, Etc., Etc!
His greatest achievements centred in unification of the diverse people of the North with justice and fairness in giving them security, education, food, shelter, cultural upliftments, trade and commodity exchanges and employments. He never segregate on basis of tribal or religious sentiments; everyone in the north had one identity: “NORTHERNER!!.”

His closet neighbour was late Michael Audu Buba and his most beloved boy was Sunday Awoniyi, whom he often called “Danladi”. He assembled a team of competent technocrats from all parts of the North to have achieved what the combined team of Leaders of the present-day Northern state(19 states and Abuja) have not achieved in the 55 years after his assassination.

In the month of August 1965, some 5 “Majors” of Nigerian Army began meeting, the result of which at 2.00 am on Friday,15 January 1966, led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeagwu ( a young officer nurtured by the Sardauna) and Emmanuel Ifeajuna, staged a military coup, killing the great Sir Ahmadu Bello, with other 22 top brass politicians, among whom was the late Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

The Coup was centred in Kaduna, Ibadan and Lagos. This resulted in the August counter-coup, 30-month-old civil war,e.t.c., the rest is in history. May their souls rest in peace.

Since the death of Sardauna, the North has not gotten his replacement, why? The answer is simply because those leaders if the Sardauna team consider their involvement in politics as a sacred service to God through humanity. They lived, worked and died for the people.

The only legacy they left for the north, that of leadership has been misplaced by their successors as avenues to enrich self, cronies and associates, through manipulation of the bureaucratic privileges.

May God accord the Sardauna, who was killed leaving only 200 pounds in his bank account and his disciples, God accord them palaces of abode in your kingdom.

May Allah evolve new leaders with the Sardauna vision, philosophy, principles and fear of God for the present and future generation of the Northerners.

Mainasara Kogo Umar is a lawyer, the former national secretary-general of Gamji (Sir Ahmadu Bello) memorial club and is an International Analyst on Democracy and Nation Building.

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