Before his unfortunate assassination in Nigeria’s first military coup in 1966, Sir Ahmadu Bello was the Sardauna of Sokoto and the Premier of the former Northern region.
The leader of the defunct Northern People’s Congress was born in Rabah, Sokoto state in 1905, and is a descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio.
Other facts about the life of Ahmadu Bello you probably were not aware of are:
He wanted to be the Sultan of Sokoto
In 1938, at the age of 28, Ahmadu Bello made attempts to become the Sultan of Sokoto but lost to Sir Siddiq Abubakar III who reigned for 50 years before his death in 1988. It was the new Sultan that later conferred the honorary title of Sardauna of Sokoto on the young Ahmadu Bello.
He was once sentenced to a year in prison
In 1943, Ahmadu Bello was tried in the Sultan’s court for misappropriating jangali (cattle) for the Gusau region where he was the councillor.
He was sentenced to a year in prison but spent only three months in jail before being freed.
He turned the position of Prime minister
In the 1959 independence elections, Bello led his party, the Northern People’s Congress, to win the majority of parliamentary seats, giving them the mandate to form the government. As leader of the NPC, Ahmadu Bello was expected to become the Prime Minister, but he instead chose to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria and devolved the position of Prime Minister to the deputy president of the NPC, Abubakar Tafawa Bello.
He was a knight
Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 made Ahmadu Bello a Knight of the British Empire (KBE), hence Sir Ahmadu Bello.
He was responsible for many efforts to Modernise the North
As Premier of the Northern region, Ahmadu Bello strove to increase the pace of development in it. He founded the Bank of the North (now Unity Bank and the Northern Nigeria Development Company. He also established the Nigeria Defence Academy (still the only military university in the country) and the University of Northern Nigeria, now known as the Ahmadu Bello University, as well as the 16,000-seater Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna.