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NATIONAL HERO: Sir, AHMADU BELLO Full Biography Life And News

FULL NAME:             Alhaji Ahmadu Bello KBE

DATE OF BIRTH:      June 12, 1910

OCCUPATION:          Politician

                DECEASED
              ( January 14, 1966)

INTRODUCTION  

Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello was a Nigerian
politician, and was the first premier of the Northern Nigeria region
from 1954-1966. He is considered to be a founding father of the modern
Nigerian nation state, which was formed October 1, 1960 when Bello’s NPC
forged an alliance with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC (National Council of
Nigeria and the Cameroons) to form Nigeria’s first indigenous federal
government which led to independence from Britain. Despite his
popularity and political support, Bello chose to remain in the North
instead of accepting the post of national Prime Minister, which would
have required living in the South.
Bello combined traditional leadership qualities with knowledge of
Western governance. Bello’s greatest legacy was the modernization and
unification of the diverse people of Northern Nigeria.

EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND  

Ahmadu Bello was born in Rabbah, Sokoto
State. The son of a district head and heir to the Sokoto Emirate. His
great-grandfather was Sultan Bello, son of the revered Usman Dan Fodio
who founded the Fulani Empire, which was the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ahmadu Bello received his education first at the feet of Muslim masters, studying the Quran, the hadith, and Shariah, then at Sokoto Middle School, the only modern school at the time in the Sokoto province (1917-1926).

He then proceeded to the Katsina Teacher’s Training College. After
spending five years at Katsina, he was appointed by the Sultan as a
teacher in his own former school in Sokoto. In 1934, he was made the
district head of Rabbah within the Sultan’s administration. Four years
later, he was promoted and sent to Gusau to become a divisional head. In
1938, he made an unsuccessful bid to become the new Sultan of Sokoto.
The successful sultan immediately conferred on him the traditional, now
honorary, title of “Sarduna” and elevated him to the Sokoto Native
Authority Council. He first became politically active in 1945, when he
helped to form a Youth Social Circle, which later (1948) affiliated with
the NPC (Northern Peoples Congress) of which he became
President-General in 1954. In 1948, he was offered a scholarship to
study local government administration in England. Ahmadu Bello took the
scholarship, sensing he needed to develop his knowledge about the
process of governance.

CAREER AND LIFE

After returning from England, he was nominated to represent the
province of Sokoto in the regional House of Assembly, and elected. As a
member of the assembly, he was a notable voice for northern interest and
embraced a style of consultation and consensus with the major
representatives of the northern emirates: Kano, Bornu, and Sokoto. As
the movement for independence from the British Empire
gathered momentum, Bello emerged as a strong advocate of federalism as
the system of government that in his view was most suitable for Nigeria.
This was especially attractive to Northern Nigerians, who had a history
of sharing power. Nigeria has some 300 clan groups. He may also have
wanted to protect the North from what he perceived as the possibility of
Southern domination. He also served on the national constitutional
drafting commission as a representative of the North.

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In the first elections held in Northern Nigeria in 1952, Ahmadu Bello
won a seat in the Northern House of Assembly, and became a member of
the regional executive council as minister of works. Bello was
successively minister of Works, of Local Government, and of Community
Development in the Northern Region of Nigeria. In 1953 and in 1957, he
led the Northern delegation during independence talks in London.

In 1954, Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria. In the 1959
independence elections, he led the NPC to win a plurality of the
parliamentary seats. Bello’s NPC forged an alliance with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s
NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons) to form Nigeria’s
first indigenous federal government which led to independence from
Britain. In forming the 1960 independence federal government of the
Nigeria, Bello as president of the NPC, chose—although arguably one of
the most influential politicians in Nigeria—to remain Premier of
Northern Nigeria and devolved the position of Prime Minister of the
Federation to the deputy president of the NPC, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He apparently did not want to live in Lagos and preferred the political climate of the North from that of the South. His disinclination to head the national government also suggests that
he was not interested in power for the sake of power but in serving the
people whose votes had elected him to office.

Bello’s many political accomplishments include establishing the
Northern Regional Development Corporation (NRDC)(subsequently the later
the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation (NNDC), the Bank of the
North, the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) and the
Nigeria Citizen Newspapers. The North was less developed economically
than the South, and Bello argued that it was necessary for the North to
catch up with the South for the sake of national unity. He traveled
constantly across the North, meeting people and listening to their
concerns.

Bellow was assassinated during a January 15, 1966, military coup
which toppled Nigeria’s post-independence government. He was still
serving as premier of Northern Nigeria at the time.

Bello’s many political accomplishments include establishing the
Northern Regional Development Corporation (NRDC)(subsequently the later
the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation (NNDC), the Bank of the
North, the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) and the
Nigeria Citizen Newspapers. The North was less developed economically
than the South, and Bello argued that it was necessary for the North to
catch up with the South for the sake of national unity. He traveled
constantly across the North, meeting people and listening to their
concerns.

Bellow was assassinated during a January 15, 1966, military coup
which toppled Nigeria’s post-independence government. He was still
serving as premier of Northern Nigeria at the time.

Ahmadu Bello was a practicing Muslim. He married five times. In 1955, he performed the Hajj, becoming Alhaji Ahmadu Bello. From then until his death, he visited Mecca annually to perform the Umrah. He walked every day to his local Mosque
for prayer. He chose “work and worship” as the slogan for Northern
Nigeria. Bello established a reputation for religious toleration. On
Christmas Day 1959 he stated, in a broadcast:

Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races,
tribes and religious who are knit together to common history, common
interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than
the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted
policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favoring one
religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to
preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should
have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates
of his conscience….

Speaking about the vision of Ahmad Bello University, he stated:

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The cardinal principle upon which our University is founded is to
impart knowledge and learning to men and women of all races without any
distinction on the grounds of race, religious, or political beliefs.

PERSONAL LIFE

Ahmadu Bello’s first wife was Goggon Kurya Hafsatu bint Abdulkadir
Maccido, daughter of the Waziri of Sokoto (they married in 1932). His
second wife (married 1934, divorced 1938) was Kande. His third was Amiru
Fadima (married 1934, divorced 1938). His fourth wife (married 1940)
was Goggon Kano Amina bint Abubakar, daughter of the District Head of
Bici. His fifth wife was Jabbo bint Aliyu, daughter of the Sarkin Yaki
of Gwandu (married 1949). In 1952, he married Jabbo bint Aliyu, daughter
of the Sarkin Yaki of Gwandu.

His children were:

  • Muhammad Tambari ibn Ahmadu Bello (son), died c. 1938, aged 2.
  • Inno bint Ahmadu Bello (daughter), born 1942.
  • Aisha bint Ahmadu Bello (daughter), born 1945, married 1956
  • Ahmad ibn Magajingari Usman, Marafa of Sokoto, born 1923, died 1983.

Lubabatu bint Ahmadu Bello (daughter) born June 1966.

LEGACY

Bello’s greatest legacy was the modernization and unification of the
diverse people of Northern Nigeria. He was awarded several honorary
doctorates, including the Doctor of Law from UNN (University of Nigeria
Nsukka) in December 1961. He was honored by the country from which he
had helped to negotiate independence, being made a Knight of the British
Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 just before the end of
colonial rule.

He founded the Ahmadu Bello University (1962) in Zaria, the second
largest University in Africa, which is named after him. He was the
University’s first Chancellor. Nigeria’s 200 naira carries his portrait.
There is a 1995 biography about his first wife, Hafsatu Ahmadu Bello,
who was slain alongside him. His assassination, for which members of the Igbo
tribe were responsible, was one of the factors that led to the
subsequent Civil War (1967-1970) when the Southern province of Biafra
attempted to secede. He wanted both national and Pan-African unity. He
did not waste time blaming the ills of his time on colonialism,
but instead set out to develop his region and to adapt from the West
what suited Nigeria, while retaining those cultural practices and values
that were cherished and integral to Nigerian identity.

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POPULAR QUOTES/SAYINGS

On Destiny 
“I
have never sought the Political Limelight or a leading position in my
country. But I could not avoid the obligation of my birth and destiny.
My great-great-grandfather built an Empire in the Western Sudan. It has
fallen my lot to play a not inconsiderable part in building a new
nation. My ancestor was chosen to lead the holy war which set up his
Empire. I have been chosen by a Free electrorate to help build a modern
state.
From Preface to my life.
On Pride
“They
say that I am proud and impatient. I am certainly proud, for I have
much to be proud of, and not the least the trust that God has given me
to lift up our People from their Primitive conditions into the light of
life and the happiness of conternment. But I am not proud in the
arrogant sense, for I know that I am merely an instrument carrying out
God’s will and pleasure.
From my life. 

 “On Customs and Traditions.

“Our
Customs and institutions are not artificial creations, nor have they
been borrowed ready-made from others. On the contrary, with their roots
deep in the Past, Yet changing to meets the needs of the future, they
are living, growing things. We are proud to our way of life and are
honoured that we have the priviledge of displaying a few of its many
aspects”.
From: Speech in response to the Queens Goodwill message, 1959.
On Knowledge
“U
are unique in that we stand at the meeting Point of two of the major
cultural system of the world. Islamic culture from the East and
Christain culture from the West, and meeting in the Presence of a third
culture, that of the ancient state and empires of African itself. Our
task is to bring about a dialogue between these two cultures and fit
them to Africa, Interpreting one of the other to the Mutual benefit of
all. We should introduce Western ideas and technologies where necessary
but it must be without distripting our existing Spiritual, cultural and
social Values”.
From: Speech on the occasion of his Installation as Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria on 23rd November 1963.
Last Words
“I
am impatient, and who would not be with all that lies before me and the
responsibilities that have been placed upon me? I have a thousands
causes for impatience, but I am not impatient for myself or my family.
All my time I give to my work: my life has been in the service of the
state even from the time that I went to school. For there I was learning
for the future and that future had cought up with me. A new future lies
ahead into which I go, trusting in God’s eternal mercy.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KxGjw_hJNMM/TnNYjOKSuQI/AAAAAAAAABY/Bi0dpD6DC5w/s200/SirAB6.jpg
Ahmadu  with queen of england
The Sardauna with Dr. Nnmadi Azikwe.
Northern Permanent Secretaries (1958-59).

SOURCES:  sakkwatanci.blogspot.com.ng, newworldencyclopedia.org, takemetonaija.com

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