20 Less Known Facts About Sir Ahmadu Bello

Updated: Apr 14, 2022
By Bello Abdullahi
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Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, the first and only premier Northern Nigeria ever had, was a visionary leader who revolutionized ideas and plans for Northern Nigeria. Sir Ahmadu Bello was the leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), which meant he was the de facto Prime Minister by laws of the party. Still, he chose to become the premier of the North to ensure an adequate level of development reached his people. Despite having a different ideology from Sa’adu Zungur, he still wanted him to join the NPC for the collaborative development of Northern Nigeria. Nigeria still suffers from the loss of such an iconic legend. In his honor, here are some lesser-known facts about Ahmadu Bello.

20 Facts About Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto

1. At the very young age of 28, Sir Ahmadu Bello attempted to become the Sultan of Sokoto after the death of the then Sultan Hassan Dan Muazu in 1938. A bid he lost to his cousin, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III, one of the longest-serving Emirs who reigned till his end in 1988.

2. Not a very known fact about Ahmadu Bello is that he is a great grand descendant of Muhammadu Bello, the son of Sheikh Usman Danfodio. This was a title he cherished very much.

3. Despite losing the Sultan’s bid to his cousin, he was then made the Sardauna (Crown Prince) of Sokoto, a chieftaincy title. He was promoted to the Sokoto Native Authority Council because he espoused high morality and intellectuality. These titles, by default, made him Chief Political Adviser of the Sultan.

4. In 1943, Whilst serving as a Councillor in Gusau, present-day Zamfara, Ahmadu Bello was accused of misappropriating Jangali (Cattle tax). He was later exonerated after serving three months in Prison

5. Ahmadu Bello came from a royal family, as his father was the Head of Rabah, which didn’t hinder him from being highly educated in the Islamic tradition at the early age of four. He was mentored in Quran, Islamic Jurisprudence, and prophetic traditions. This was the common practice of descendants of the great Islamic Sheikhs, Muhammad Bello and his father, Usman Danfodio.

6. At a very young age, then known as Ahmadu Rabah, Sardauna attended Sokoto Provincial School and, afterward, the then Katsina Teacher’s Training College (now Barewa College, Zaria). He graduated in 1931 and took up a teaching profession at the Sokoto Provincial School.

One of the facts about Ahmadu Bello is he was once known as Ahamdu Rabah
Ahmadu Rabah (Sir Ahmadu Bello) standing 2nd from right with his classmates at the Teachers Training College, Katsina in 1931.

7. As is familiar with most royals, it is not a strange fact about Ahmadu Bello that he was a decorated and accomplished horse rider. He also loves other sports, including Fives.

Sardauna playing a game of Fives as Premier

8. Within a short period, Sardauna was put in charge of the Sokoto Province to oversee its 47 districts. By the year 1944, he was back at the Sultan’s Palace to work as the Chief Secretary of the State Native Administration, which meant he held the traditional Islamic title of Sardauna and a British Colonial Office. This appointment was in line with the British Policy of indirect rule.

9. In the 1940s, Sir Ahmadu joined the Jam’iyya Mutanen Arewa party, which later became the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) in 1951, a name coined/translated to English by Sa’adu Zungur.

10. He traveled in 1948 to England. Four years after his appointment as Chief Secretary of Native Administration, he secured a study scholarship to England, where he studied Local Government Administration, which was a knowledge that gave him a better understanding of the workings of the western world.

11. In 1952, after his return from England, Sir Ahmadu contested and secured a seat in the House of Assembly of the country’s Northern region. When a new constitution came into being, he was appointed as an Executive minister of Survey and Works. He was also a minister of Works, Local Government, and Community.

12. A fantastic fact about Ahmadu Bello was that he adopted a style of rulership by consulting and seeking the consent of some of the significant representatives of the then Kano, Borno, and the Sokoto Emirates.

13. With a short period in the House of Assembly, Sardauna became identified as the voice of northern interests. He was chosen amongst the team that redrafted the Richards constitution, which skyrocketed his fame, as he was asked to take up leadership of the NPC.

14. Ahmadu Bello is credited with bringing forth a lot of developmental initiatives in the North. These include; the Northern Regional Development Corporation (NRDC), which subsequently became the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation (NNDC), the Bank of the North, the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), Hamdala Hotel, and more.

Ahmadu Bello admiring the plan for Hamdala Hotel in Kaduna
Ahmadu Bello admiring the plan for Hamdala Hotel in Kaduna

15. Sir Ahmadu Bello established the Ahmadu Bello, Zaria, in 1962, the second largest University in Africa, which was named after him. He is the University’s first Chancellor.

16. Ahmadu Bello has received many significant honors during his life, including honorary doctorates of Law from UNN (University of Nigeria Nsukka) in December 1961 and an honorary degree from the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo in 1962. Queen Elizabeth II made him a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1959 before colonial rule ended.

17. Sir Ahmadu Bello was assassinated by an Igbo soldier, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, at his residential home along with his most senior wife, Hafsatu, on 15 January.

18. Another fact about Sir Ahmadu is that as the Premier of northern Nigeria deposed the then Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi I. The deposing was said to be related to the fact that the Emir belonged to the Tijjaniyah Sufi order, while the Sardauna and the ruling Sokoto house belonged to the rival Qadiriyah sect. Sanusi was the grandfather of Muhammadu Sanusi, the 14th Fulani Emir of Kano and former Central Bank Governor.

Sir Ahmadu as the Premier of northern Nigeria deposed the then Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi I.

19. Sir Ahmadu believed in female education and as Premier, encouraged parents to allow their children to attend school.

Sir Ahmadu believed in female education

20. Another fact about sir Ahmadu Bello is that the information about the 1966 Coup reached him. Akintola, the Premier of the Western Region had approached Sardauna with the information, immediately after the Sardauna returned from Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage.

He instead refused to flee the country as his counterpart from the West suggested. They were both killed on Ramadan, 15th January 1966.


1. Who killed Ahmadu Bello?

Sir Ahmadu Bello was assassinated by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu an Igbo Nigerian Army officer who was still serving as the Northern premier in a coup that overturned Nigeria’s post-independence government.

2. When was Sir Ahmadu Bello born?

He was born on 12 June 12 June

3. Was Ahmadu Bello a Fulani?

Ahmadu Bello’s family spoke the Fula language, married into Fulbe families, and became the Fulbe scholarly caste.

4. Where was Ahmadu Bello from?

Sir Ahmadu Bello was born in Rabah, a Local Government in the province of Sokoto

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1 Comment

  1. Usman Mukhtar

    Thank you for the history, I have learnt alot with this post


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