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Aminu Kano’s unfinished ‘war’, 40 years after

Once upon a time, there lived Malam Aminu Kano of blessed memory. He possessed extra-ordinary and tremendous human qualities doctored for social reforms, and as…

Once upon a time, there lived Malam Aminu Kano of blessed memory. He possessed extra-ordinary and tremendous human qualities doctored for social reforms, and as such, he was the first person to be described as the African Revolutionary by Alan Feinstein. Indeed, Aminu Kano was a living phenomenon and the aura of his name was overwhelming.

His admirers fondly branded him the Gandhi of Nigeria. The reason for that labelling was his ideology of reforms through non violence and boycotting materialism which borne resemblance to that of Mahatma. He was popularly presented as the friend of the talakawa by the media for pragmatically identifying with their yearnings and aspirations. And of course; he was revered and passionately addressed as Malam by his faithful disciples who drank from the same spring of political ideology.

Aminu Kano was royalty by birth yet, he assaulted the feudal lords system for an egalitarian society to free the common man from bondage. This was the reason a former Emir of Zaria opined that the greatest havoc Malam did to the traditional institution was mobilising the talakawa to say no. He was an untiring advocate for a new social order with a compelling drive. Malam’s striking achievements in mobilising the general populace to resist oppressive systems did not go down well with the established order, the colonialists and their local allies. It was this blatant anti-establishment struggle that earned him the recognition of great intellectuals who rendered him their support wholeheartedly.

Right from adolescent, he launched an ideological war to offer his striving a universal meaning, which fitted him awesomely into the purposes of a desirable change for a dignified living. As he grew up, he got himself enmeshed in the midst of oppressive systems at many levels of social living. There were the colonialists and their internal collaborators who were holding sway then. The native authorities were also a high class of human exploitation.

FCT, Kano, Kaduna, others likely to observe below-average rainfall — NEMA

Aminu Kano’s unfinished ‘war’, 40 years after

Sadly, Aminu Kano’s mind was hurt by man’s injustice to man. That was how the politics of freedom was injected into his blood veins until his last day.

The environment that Aminu grew up in was too hostile to human progress. It was very socially awkward to be ignored. It was an environment that did not recognize the face of progress but only the forces of social dislocations. While many were unaware and uncurious about living in degradation, his ideological force questioned the validity of the reactionary setting and exposed its pronounced flaws.

He did that to enhance the value of his political reliability and sustainability. A history of the political trends of the first and second republics showed him as the most ideologically consistent political activist.

It was not an easy task as he understood the dire consequences of his revolutionary attitude. But he maintained a balanced trajectory with the full backing of ideological stubbornness. It was not surprising that right from the momentous days of the NEPU to the PRP, Malam represented a new class of people whose collective dignity was usurped by the agents of underdevelopment and exploitation.

At a time when many politicians were afraid of being labelled as extremists, Aminu seized the opportunity to lift his radical politics very high. Its unique quality was the ability to battle systems, values and norms that were detrimental to human emancipation. When he called his party the People’s Redemption Party, it was the season of not only redeeming the common man, but also the redemption of even the judges who were unfairly treated. Therefore, he had a broad mind setting on the question of justice establishment across the different strata of the society.

Aminu was a multidimensional personality who had undergone diverse life experiences. At one time, he explained that “my stay in England had hardened my soul in elevating the truth, freedom and above all human rights for which the world fought fascism.”

He also described the colonial powers and its allies as “piled corruption, misrule, slavery under another garb, naked nepotism, tyranny, impoverishment, unnecessary retention of hereditary parasites and shameless exploitation.”

An official biography published after Nigeria’s independence testified that Malam Aminu faced difficulties in his bid to improve the lives of the people, including his imprisonment in Kano prison in 1954. It happened when the colonial police searched his house and charged him with rebellion against the Queen of England. His offence was being an author of a speech reported in Daily Comet newspaper that European colonial masters came to unjustly take away the riches of Nigeria.

While in jail, he was revered by fellow prisoners to the embarrassment of his jailers. He described his prison encounter in this way: “The smell of the prison house was perfume to me; it is a channel through which one has to pass before achieving victory against imperialism. They may laugh at us now, but their laughter is only for a short time. Forces are working fast to overthrow them, we must never falter, meander or submit, but go straight ahead on the road to freedom.”

After his release, he confronted another bad practice. All freed prisoners were expected to pay homage to the powerful Emir by visiting him as a sign of respect. Aminu never did that. He was rebellious of that human degrading practice and taught the traditional institution a good lesson which other affected persons must practically demonstrate.

Malam left a befitting message on exemplary leadership when he refused to use an electricity generating plant. Many people had wanted him to make himself feel comfortable by not living in darkness. Surprisingly, he responded thus, “how would it look for everyone to be in darkness except the leader’s house? Is that good leadership?” Aminu retorted.

Malam did not live for nothing. He lived and fought for something; the freedom of man through eradicating injustice. He battled the colonial system and its local content. While he was occupied with the political battle of enthroning a masses-oriented government at both the federal and state levels, he suddenly answered the call of his creator and departed to the great beyond on Sunday, April 17, 1983. It was a life full of odyssey.

This piece goes beyond remembering and extolling his excellent traits. But the greatest question is: who can continue from where Aminu Kano stopped? May his soul continue to rest in peace!

Abdullahi wrote via [email protected]


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