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The Kanuris fly their flag again

By Eric Teniola
15 September 2022   |   2:33 am
The pick of Senator Kashim Shettima Mustapha (56), a Kanuri, as APC’s Presidential running mate has put the spotlight on the Kanuris again. We know the Kanuris as dogged fighters.

Shettima

The pick of Senator Kashim Shettima Mustapha (56), a Kanuri, as APC’s Presidential running mate has put the spotlight on the Kanuris again. We know the Kanuris as dogged fighters. 

In the first Republic, six prominent Kanuris were identified as flag bearers. They are Sir Kashim Ibrahim (1910-1990), Alhaji Zaana Bukar Suloma Dipcharima (1917-1969), Alhaji  Waziri Kolo Ibrahim ((26 February 1926 – 1992), Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno (1926-8 July 2016) and Alhaji Ibrahim Imam(1916-April 1980). 

Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim rose to become the governor of the Northern Region in 1962. Although he was not as powerful as the late Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu (1910-1965) or Alhaji Aliyu Makama Bida (1905-1980) or even Alhaji Isa Keita (1912-1994) he was loyal to the end of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello (12 June 1910- 15 January 1966), the Sardauna of Sokoto.  

Shettima Kashim, as he was always known then, naturally became one of the most prominent Northern Region politicians. Among the founders of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), he was elected to the Northern Region House of Assembly in 1951 and from there to the Federal House of Representatives, where he served from 1952 to 1955; later he was in the Federal Senate. He was Federal Minister of Social Services from 1952-1953, and Federal Minister of Education from 1953-1955. In 1955 he joined Sir Ahmadu Bello’s Northern Region Government in Kaduna as Minister of Social Welfare, Cooperatives, and Surveys.

In 1956, however, he returned to Maiduguri to assume the traditional office of Waziri (prime minister) under the Shehu. He carried out very necessary reforms in the traditional local government. He was chairman of the Provisional Council of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for two years before the new university opened in 1962. 

In 1962, he was appointed the first Governor of the Northern Region. He was knighted by the Queen of England the same year. Though greatly respected, he had no real power in that post in the last years of Sir Ahmadu Bello’s rule over the Northern Region. When that rule ended with the killing of the Premier in the first coup of January 15, 1966, Sir Kashim was briefly arrested. On his release, he was appointed Adviser to the Military Governor of the Region, Lt-Colonel Hassan Usman Katsina (31 March 1933-24 July 1995) which however was soon afterwards abolished with the creation of states in 1967-1968.

Sir Kashim Ibrahim served as Chancellor of the University of Ibadan from 1966 to 1977, and then as Chancellor of the University of Lagos from 1977 to 1984. He did not return to politics. He acquired little material wealth and had to sue for his pension as former Governor of the Northern Region. When he died on 25 July 1990 his reputation was shown by the great gathering at his funeral in Maiduguri, and by the appointment of his son, an architect, as Shettima of Borno soon afterwards. He is remembered as an ardent educationist who in spite of his strong traditional upbringing clearly perceived and promoted the values and virtues of modern education. 

Alhaji Ibrahim Imam was the secretary of the Northern People’s Congress and later became a patron of the Borno Youth Movement. He was elected into the Northern House of Assembly in 1961, representing a Tiv district. Prior to his election in 1961, he had represented his district of Yerwa in 1951 after supporting a strike of Native Administration workers. He was born in 1916 into an aristocratic family and his half-brother was the district head of Yerwa. He attended Katsina College and after completing his studies joined the Borno Native Administration as an assistant and later became the supervisor of works in 1950.

While working as an engineering assistant for the Borno Native Authority, he entered the political arena as the founder of the Borno Youth Improvement Association in 1949. In 1951, he contested and won a seat in the House of Assembly defeating Waziri Mohammed. A year later at the inception of the Northern People’s Congress, which later became the dominant party in the region, he was nominated as the party’s secretary-general; he joined a large number of his colleagues from the regional house who enlisted in the political platform of the new NPC. As the general secretary of NPC, he became one of the party’s prominent campaigners and was involved in political tours, travelling for thousands of miles while providing support for the extension of the party through the establishment of branches in various towns and cities in the region.

After leaving the Native Authority, he became a building contractor to supplement his income as an honourable member of the House.

In 1954, however, Imam resigned his position from NPC and left the party, citing the lack of a revolutionary platform for political reform of the local government in the north and also NPC’s movement toward a reactionary and imperialistic political union.

A year later, he joined Aminu Kano’s Northern Elements Progressive Union and in 1956, he became the patron of the Borno Youth Movement, a young organization that had grown out of its member’s disappointment with the native authority in Borno and the scandal of Waziri, Mohammed.

In 1956, he encouraged a fruitful alliance of the movement with NEPU, particularly in Borno where the alliance later won two regional seats. But in a few years, Imam an ambitious politician was in need of resources to organize the alliance in Bornu and in the Northern region left the merger due to the inability of NEPU to contribute enough resources to strengthen the party in the region. He left NEPU and established an alliance with the Action Group of Chief Obafemi Awolowo (6 March 1909- 9 May 1987) and later became the leader of opposition in the regional House of Assembly.

Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, CFR (1926 – 8 July 2016), was a Member of Parliament in 1959, education secretary and councillor for education, works and social welfare Borno, local Government 1959-65. Federal Minister for Air Force and internal affairs 1965-66, federal commissioner for trade and industries 1967-71 minister mines and power, petroleum and energy 1972-75.

Shettima Ali Monguno was also President, OPEC, 1972/1973. He was a Presidential Candidate during the Option A4 Elections in the early 1990s in Nigeria.

In politics, Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri was initially a member of NEPU; he organized the Damaturu branch of the association in 1950 and was the branch chairman in 1951. However, towards the end of the 1950s, Waziri joined NPC and was appointed the Federal Minister of Health in 1958.

In 1960, he was part of the Nigerian delegation to the United Nations when the country was accepted as the 99th member of the organization. In 1962, as minister for Economic Development, he presented to the Nigerian Parliament an ambitious capital expenditure budget over a six-year span based on a projected 4% annual growth in GDP and investment of resources in productive projects to foster development. Among the major planks of the budget, was the development of the Kainji Dam. However, close to half of the capital expenditure resource was to be obtained through foreign aid.

In 1962, Nigeria conducted a controversial census that was rejected by political leaders from the Eastern and Western regions; the office of the census officer was under Waziri’s ministry. Accusations of overcounting were made on all sides, with Waziri accusing the Eastern region of inflating population figures while the southern leaders labelled the Northern head count as over-inflated. The controversy generated by the head count led to the cancellation of the census results and official figures were never publicly acknowledged. 

After the military coup of 1966, Waziri went into private business. During the Nigerian Civil War, he was involved in arms dealing and consultancy and afterwards, he established a defence consultancy firm.

Waziri established a group of companies under the corporate name Herwa which included a tin mining venture in Jos and a soap and flour mill in Maiduguri. He opened a 5 million naira Here clinic in Kano. He was the father to Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim (55).

In 2016, she was made the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari. In October 2018 she defeated her stepson to clinch the ticket of her party to run for Federal House of Representatives.

To be continued tomorrow

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