Ahmadu Bello

Ahmadu Bello, a highly esteemed leader in northern Nigeria, was assassinated during the January 1966 coup organized by junior army officers who were predominantly Igbos.

Ahmadu Ibrahim Bello (1910-1966), also known as Sir Ahmadu Bello, was a conservative Nigerian statesman who played a pivotal role in leading the West African country to independence in 1960 from the British.

He served as the first and only premier of Northern Nigeria from 1954 until his assassination in 1966, during which time he dominated national affairs for over a decade. He was also the leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), which was the ruling party of the Hausa-Fulani elite.

Bello received an Islamic education at home and later attended Sokoto Provincial School and the Katsina Training College. He joined politics in the 1940s and became a member of the regional House of Assembly representing the province of Sokoto.

Ahmadu Bello is best remembered for being a notable voice for northern interests and embracing a style of consultation and consensus with the major representatives of the northern emirates.

In the 1959 independence elections, Bello led the NPC to win a plurality of the parliamentary seats and formed Nigeria’s first indigenous federal government with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe‘s NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons).

As president of the NPC, Bello chose 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.

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