Bello, Ahmadu

1910–1966
Premier of Northern Nigeria

Bello, Ahmadu

Ahmadu Bello, a Nigerian leader, served as the first premier of Northern NIGERIA in 1954, when the country was under British rule. He was active in the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), a cultural organization that he helped transform into a political party in the early 1950s. Under Bello’s leadership, Northern Nigeria and the NPC dominated Nigeria’s politics at the time of its independence in 1960.

Bello was a direct descendant of the founder of the FULANI empire of Sokoto, a state in Northern Nigeria. He hoped to become the surdauna of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Northern Nigeria’s Muslim population. This position would have given him both political power and religious authority. Bello’s ambitions, however, were cut short when he was murdered by the military during an uprising in January 1966. (See also Colonialism in Africa, Independence Movements.)