10 Facts You Should Know About Malam Aminu Kano

Updated: Nov 18, 2021
By Bello Abdullahi
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Aminu Kano was a popular and respected Northern Nigerian politician, who fought for the democratization of Nigeria and was amongst the front liners in the anti-colonial struggle and freedom of speech. In the 1940s, he led a socialist movement in the northern part of the country which opposed British rule and demanded an independent Nigeria.

Despite those numerous contributions, not much is known about this legend. On that note, here are some facts you should know about Aminu Kano.

13 Amazing Facts about Malam Aminu Kano

1. Aminu Kano Belong to a Lineage of Scholars and Aristocrats

Malam Aminu Kano Yusuf was born on the 9th of August 1920 to the family of Mallam Yusuf and Rakiya at Sudawa, Gwale Local Government. His Father, Mallam Yusuf was of the Gyanawa Fulani clan, an esteemed lineage known for producing many judicial scholars. Mallam Aminu Kano’s mother was from the Fulata Borno family of Mamman Zara, an Islamic Scholar.

His paternal grandfather Hassan, was a wealthy merchant. It is a puzzle to people as to how he became a political activist despite being from a wealthy and knowledgeable lineage.

2. He Was Friends with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Mallam Aminu was a close friend of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and both were among the seven offered scholarships in September of 1946 for a year’s study at the University of London’s Institute of Education alongside Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who later became the only known Nigerian Prime Minister.

Despite being friends with the Prime Minister, Mallam Aminu Kano had contrasting ideologies on how to fight the colonialists. This however didn’t stop their friendship, to the extent that Mallam Aminu Kano was amongst the country’s chosen delegates to the UN at the bridge of Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

3. Aminu Kano Formed the First Teachers Association in Northern Nigeria

After their return from England in March 1948, Mallam Aminu Kano formed the Northern Teachers Association (NTA) being the first successful regional organization in the North.

But because of his known reformist ideologies, he included conservatives like his friend Tafawa Balewa, who was the Vice Chairman to avoid a faceoff with the authorities.

4. Aminu Kano is a Disciple of Sa’adu Zungur

Aminu Kano was a disciple of Sa’adu Zungur, a brilliant leading reformist from Northern Nigeria. This is one of the less known facts about Aminu Kano. Mallam Aminu was under the mentorship of Saadu Zungur and got some of his reformist ideologies from the latter.

5. He Found the Bauchi General Improvement Union, One of the Political Associations in the Region

Mallam Aminu Kano alongside Sa’adu Zungur and Tafawa Balewa founded the Bauchi General Improvement Union (BGIU), which started as Bauchi Discussion Circle.  

It is considered by some that the BGIU was the first political party in northern Nigeria. Although it had a short life span because of Mal Aminu’s attack on the indirect rule.

6. Aminu Kano Was Once a Member of NPC

Despite his oppositional and stance towards the NPC through his opposition party NEPU, Mallam Aminu Kano was once a member of the party! This is one of the facts you should know about Aminu Kano.

Whilst in Sokoto, Malam Aminu joined Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa, the Northern Nigeria association that later became the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the ruling party in the First Republic.

7. He Was Not the Founder of NEPU

Despite being associated with the radical Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), Aminu Kano wasn’t the founder of the party. NEPU was founded by leftists; Mudi Sipikn, Magaji Dambatta Bello Ijumu, Raji Abdallah and the poet, Sa’ad Zungur on 8th August 1950.

Aminu Kano only joined the party in time for the party’s convention in 1953, where he became the party’s leader. NEPU, partnered with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) – later the National Council of Nigerian Citizens to win the Federal House of Representatives.

8. Aminu Kano Once Rejected a Bribe When Serving as the Federal Commissioner of Communications

While serving as the Federal Commissioner of Communications during the Civil War, Aminu Kano was also in charge of war procurements. He awarded many lucrative contracts, and never collected any bribe. In fact, a foreign company gave him a commission during a trip, as gratification for contracts they got. Aminu Kano immediately paid the said amount in the federation account when he came back!

He later served as Commissioner of Health between 1971 and 1974.

9. Aminu Kano Was the First Presidential Candidate to Choose a Female Running Mate

In 1979, after the military ban on political parties, Mallam Aminu Kano emerged as the presidential candidate of their newly formed party, where He served in the capacity of President, Edward Ikem Okeke was the Deputy President and Sam Ikoku was the Secretary-General. The party was considered the Second Republic reincarnation of NEPU, leaned towards a populist framework.

In 1979, the same year he emerged as the presidential candidate of the PRP, Aminu Kano lost to Shehu Shagari, Nigeria’s first Executive President. His party did however win two gubernatorial seats in Kano and Kaduna.

Amongst his social ideologies in the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), was to promote equality. This led him to give him the platform to choose a woman, Mrs. Odinamadu, as his vice-presidential running mate in the 1983 elections. This was the first in Nigeria.

He however didn’t make it to the elections as he died from a stroke.

10. Malam Aminu Kano Left Few Things Upon His Death

Despite his status as a leading politician, Aminu Kano only left; one radio, one TV and one farm land. He had no account anywhere in the world and left only a few nairas under his pillow the day he died.

The Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies popularly called Mambayya House, has its name derived from the nickname of the late Malam Aminu Kano’s mother whose residence is located at No. 57/58 Kofar Ruwa Road, Gwammaja Quarters, inside Kano City.


Nigeria cannot be the same again because Aminu Kano lived here.

Chinua Achebe

The above was the tribute popular writer, Chinua Achebe paid to Aminu Kano when he died. At the time of Aminu Kanos’s death, Chinua Achebe was Deputy National Vice President of the PRP and one of his close associates.

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