Ahmadu Bello and the Challenges of Nation-Building in Nigeria

  • Ibrahim Gambari
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


In many ways, the structural constraints and opportunities of the peculiar trajectories of what became the colony of Northern Nigeria and eventually the federation of Nigeria determined and largely transformed the personal and political agency of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the first and only premier of the Northern Region of Nigeria (1954-1966). By extension, Bello’s personal and political agency also helped in reshaping modern Northern Nigeria, and thus contributed immensely to the shaping of the future of Nigeria. The Northern Nigerian Protectorate, as the British officially called the colony that it formally acquired in 1900, was the largest and most populous of the two regions that were amalgamated in 1914 to form the Protectorate and Colony of Nigeria. As Bello’s biographer, John N. Paden (1986: 6) argues, “One advantage of studying the life of an individual is to try to see how larger-scale changes in society are reflected in a specific case. On the other hand, when dealing with a leader of the magnitude of Ahmadu Bello, the other side of the coin is how much a key individual can influence the redefinition or change values.”


Northern Region Good Governance Nation Building Political Agency Traditional Leader 
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© Ibrahim Gambari 2016

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  • Ibrahim Gambari

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