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Kano Politics from 1920s to 1983 was an important period in the history of Kano. Kano State has been the nerve centre of political consciousness since the colonial era. This excludes the political evolution of the Kano Emirate before the inception of colonialism. The political activities began in Kano the 1920s when the first friendship association called the Taron Masu Zumunta (TMZ) was founded. Since then, Kano became the centre where cultural, religious, and political associations were being founded such as the radical party of Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU).

The Beginning

The trend of Kano Politics began with the formation of a semi-political organization known as the Taron Masu Zumunta (TMZ) in the Fagge Quarters. The organization was seen as a forum to unite the people of the Fagge area and collectively express their views as to how they should be treated in the provision of welfare services. Also, as a pressure group, the TMZ opposed colonial injustice. The TMZ seemed to be the first move to provide basis for political consciousness in Kano and Northern Nigeria to some extent. All other moves which came later such as the Katsina College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) inaugurated in 1939, Bauchi Discussion Circles (BDC), Zaria Friendly Society (ZFS) , Sokoto Youth Circle (SYC) became irrelevant in the 1940s. But, TMZ survived up to the period when political parties began to emerged in Northern Nigeria in the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

Kano Politics in First Republic 1950-1966

In the history of Kano Politics, since the pioneering of the TMZ, some young elites were motivated. With the formation of Northern People’s Congress (NPC) in 1949, TMZ joined it as a working partner because of its stand to fight against the three vices of idleness, illiteracy, and oppression. Later, the TMZ broke away from the NPC due to differences with the British colonial authorities and the feaudal collaborators. Malam Abba Maikwaru the leader of the TMZ together with his men pulled out of the organization to form an independent political organization whose name was suggested by Alhaji Maitama Sule to be Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) at NO: 14 Ibadan Street in the Sabon Gari area of Kano City in August 1950. The NEPU’s socialist outlook attracted many radical youth elites into the party of which Aminu Kano was the most prominent. Since then, Kano became the center of political opposition against colonialism and autocratic traditional rule.

Gradually, NEPU became dominant party in terms of supporters. The NEPU also attracted people from other Northern provinces due to its socialist liberalism ideology. That was why its motto was ‘sawaba‘ which in Hausa means freedom. By 1952, Malam Aminu became the leader of the NEPU and led the party into a strong opposition to the aristocratic dominated party of NPC. The NEPU’s anti-oppression, pro-emancipation, and progressive programmes for improving the social condition of the common man was considered a threat by the colonial regime and the traditional institutions. This led to the persecution of its members of which almost were youth. However, despite that, NEPU was able to won some seats in Nigerian House of Representatives during the 1959 election. Its leader, Aminu Kano was one of those who won the seat to represents Kano East.

Towards the end of the Nigerian First Republic, in 1963 another political party called Kano People Party (KPP). However, the KPP was less significant in the politics of Kano, as already the NEPU and the NPC have already dominated the scene.

Kano Politics in the Second Republic 1979-1983

After 12 years of Military rule in Nigeria, the then Nigerian Military Government under General Olusegun Obasanjo lifted the ban on politics in September 1978. After the lift, politicians were allowed to form political parties. In the process, five parties were formed as follows :

  1. National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which was an offshoot of the defunct Northern Peoples Congress (NPC)
  2. Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) which was an offshoot of the defunct National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC)
  3. Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) which was an offshoot of the defunct Action Group (AG)
  4. Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) which was an offshoot of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU)
  5. Great Nigerian Peoples Party (GNPP)

Kano became the center where Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) was born. Malam Aminu Kano became the national leader of the PRP and its presidential candidate for the 1979 election. During the campaign for the 1979 election, almost Kano and Kaduna States indigenes became supporter of the PRP.

During the 1979 elections, PRP candidates Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi and Alhaji Abdulqadeer Balarabe Musa won Kano and Kaduna State governorship seats respectively.

In Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi was sworn in as the first civilian Governor. He did his best to improve the lots of the people especially in areas of education and rural development.


After about two years of the beginning of the Second Republic politics, on the other hand, the Kano Politics became hot. Initially, Kano became center of opposition to the Federal government under President Alhaji Shehu Shagari. The Kano State Governor, Rimi in particular became well known critic to the President Shagari in Nigeria. However, around 1981, disagreement in the PRP erupted between the supporters of the PRP leader Malam Aminu Kano and the supporters of Governor Rimi. The Aminu Kano factions were called ‘Tabo‘, while that of Rimi were called ‘Santsi. This disagreement dominated political scene in Kano and led to the occurrence of clashes and violence that claims some few lives among the two factions as well as the vandalization of government properties. For example, on 10 March, 1981, a political violence erupted in Kano city in which Kano State House of Assembly and the house of the Rimi’s political adviser Dr Bala Muhammad were burnt. During the attack, Dr Bala Muhammad lost his life. Also, the disagreement led to the dividing of the Kano Emirate into three and the query of the Late Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero whom the Governor Rimi suspected of taking side with the Tabo faction.

As the 1983 election approached, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi resigned from his governorship seats and together with his entire supporters left PRP to the NPP. Unfortunately, in April 1983, Malam Aminu Kano died. After Aminu Kano’s death, he was succeeded by Alhaji Sabo Bakin Zuwo who assumed the leadership of the PRP struggle in Kano. During the 1983 governorship election, Rimi and Sabo Bakin Zuwo contested the seat very decisively. At last, Alhaji Sabo Bakin Zuwo won the Kano State seat and sworn in October 1983.

Unfortunately, after 2 months, on 31 December, 1983, the Nigerian army seized the power in a coup d’etat. The coup ended the civilian rule, and everywhere in Nigeria including Kano, the political activities were banned.

Ahmad Abdullahi, BA History

My name is Ahmad Abdullahi, I was born on 10th March, 1994 in Garun-Danga Town, Gabasawa L.G., Kano State. I attended FCE Demonstration Primary School from 2002 to 2007, FCE Staff Secondary School from 2007 to 2013, and Northwest University, Kano from 2013 to 2017, where I obtained bachelor degree in History.

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