Mallam Aminu Kano: Nigerian politician and anti-colonial activist

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Mallam Aminu Kano was a greatly reputable northern Nigerian politician, reformist and educationist. He worked energetically in support of democratisation, women’s empowerment and freedom of speech. Right from the 1940s, he led an Islamic movement in the northern Nigeria in opposition to British rule.

Aminu Kano’s Anti-Colonial Campaigning

Aminu Kano was frequently at loggerheads with the social government. He attacked the government for its abuse of levies as well as its exploitation of Nigeria for Britain’s advantage. His opposition led to the British contriving different styles to silence him. One similar tactic was the offer for him to study in England. The social government also tried to buy him with different posts, including the editorship of a review and a job as a financial accountant for the government, but Kano simply saw these as tricks.

While at the Teaching College in Bauchi, he spoke freely on political issues and extended his educational horizon by engaging in colourful political and educational conditioning beyond his formal tutoring duties. His first journal, Kano, Under the Hammer of the Native Administration, expressed his grievance with British rule when his father, Yusufu, was denied appointment as Chief Alkali of Kano. It was at this time that he began writing for a few of the country’s journals and magazines. He was a member of the Bauchi General Improvement Union along with Tafawa Balewa as well as clerk of the Bauchi Discussion Circle, a group whose conditioning was afterwards constructed as a result of an attack by Kano on British circular rule.

In 1949, he was transferred to the Schoolteacher Training Centre in Maru, Sokoto (now the College of Education in Maru, Zamfara State) to be its headmaster. When the British discovered he’d expanded his anti-colonial agitations they offered to assign him to the University of Oxford as a speaker in Hausa, a post which he swiftly turned down. During this period, he also established an organization to facilitate the quality of Koranic seminaries in Northern Nigeria.

The moment Mallam Aminu Kano proffered his resignation letter from the services of the social government to go into full-time politics, he wrote ‘’ I’ve seen light in the far horizon. I intend to match into its full circle, either alone or with anyone who cares to come with me.”

From then on, he did not looked back; he plunged into politics until he kicked the bucket on April 17, 1983.

Some top quotes of Aminu Kano

1. The system doesn’t have to be pure, but it does have to work

2. Any one who wants to be a leader must be a servant not the boss of those who he wants to serve

3. He who allows himself to be arrested for a crime he did not commit will be expelled from the party, but if he resists and comes to us in a stretcher he is a hero

4. I’ve seen light in the far horizon. I intend to match into its full circle, either alone or with anyone who cares to come with me

His Life Before Politics And Anti-Colonial Campaigning

Mallam Aminu Kano was born in 1920 to the family of Mallam Yusuf, an Islamic scholar of the scholarly Gyanawa Fulani clan and a mufti at the Alkali court in Kano. In September 1946, he was offered one of seven scholarships for a time’s study at the University of London’s Institute of Education alongside Nigeria’s first and only prime minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

After his return from England, Kano formed the Northern Teachers Association (NTA) in March 1948, the first successful indigenous organisation in the history of the North. To avoid trouble with the authorities (a concern due to his anti-colonial opinions and reformist ideas), he decided to include rightists similar to Shettima Ajiram and Tafawa Balewa in the organisation’s leadership (Ajiram was its first chairman and Tafawa Balewa its first vice-chairman). Kano was the general clerk of the organisation. Although there was formerly a Nigerian Union of teachers  in the south of the country, Kano wanted to establish an organisation that would be free of possible Southern domination.

Reformist Ideas

Kano had founded the Northern Elements Progressive Union as a political platform to challenge what he felt were the autocratic and feudalistic conduct of the Native Northern government. He was especially critical of the ruling nobility, including the Emirs who were substantially Fulani. The strength of his platform was strengthened incompletely because of his background as his father was an Alkali in Kano who came from a lineage of Islamic ministers, he had deep knowledge of Islamic ideas on equity which he used to a great effect during his political juggernauts. Numerous talakawas (commoners) and migrant petty dealers in the north supported his communication. Some of the tradesmen latterly manned the services of NEPU. He also sought to use politics to produce an egalitarian northern Nigerian society.

Northern Nigeria during the pre-colonial and post-colonial period was marked by a societal gulf in which the nobles and feudal class subjugated the talakawas to crucial oppression and exploitation. The commoners were made to pay intense extravagant levies and forced to give free labour by tilling land possessed by the feudal class. Kano called on the people to repel despotism and to fight to be regarded as humans with freedom and quality. The talakawas joined NEPU en-masse, making the original authorities and traditional autocrats particularly uncomfortable with the party’s testament.

Due to NEPU’s call for the liberation of the talakawas, thousands of its members and sympathizers were judged without trial, forced into exile and tortured.

Aminu Kano didn’t join politics to acquire wealth, but the liberation of the talakawas was foremost in his docket. Freedom, equivalency and quality for everyone were what he fought for until the end of his life. At the time of his death, Kano left behind an eleven-time old son and only N114 in his bank account. He’d spent his whole life serving the people. His struggle yielded numerous achievements; for instance, people were no longer forced to cultivate any feudal land without pay. Levies similar to asharaji ( formal duty) and jangali (cattle duty) were abolished. The children of talakawas could acquire education to whatever position they asked and political positions were opened to all; these were two boons preliminarily reserved for the nobles and feudal class simply.

People all over Northern Nigeria were encouraged by Kano to know their rights and to laboriously share in the democratisation of the nation. There was freedom of speech and expression, which they had preliminarily been designed.

Another major idea of his was the bifurcation of ethnically- grounded parties. This conception was well entered by his support base of petty dealers and tradesmen, men and women who were substantially settlers searching for trade openings and who participated in many ethnical parallels with their host communities. He also proposed a financial system that favoured heavy taxation of the rich in the region and was specially one of the many leading Nigerian politicians who supported equal rights for women.

Aminu Kano’s indelible benefactions to Nigeria

Mallam Aminu Kano along with Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mallam Yahaya Gusau, and Chief Joseph S. Tarka, was in General Yakubu Gowon ‘s press during the Civil War (1967-1970). In fact, he was in charge of the war procurements, in addition to being the Federal Commissioner for Health and Dispatches at striking times in that military government.

When he went to Sudan and saw how Islamic seminaries were incorporated into ultramodern education, he came to Kano to set up the first model of Islamiyya academy. His topmost concern in his life was how to get everyone informed and successful. Mallam Aminu kano was a clairvoyant who was well ahead of his time.



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