SA’ADU, Mallam Zungur

FIRST NORTHERN OPPOSITION LEADER He was born in 1914 in Ganfuwa in Bauchi to the then Imam of Bauchi Muhammadu Bello. Comingfrom a strict Islamic religious family, he started Qur'anic education early in life and being a gifted child memorised theQur'an in no time. He was later to have a mastery of Islamic religion and law. Sa'adu enrolled in the Bauchi Provincial Primary School in 1920 and was admitted into the Katsina Higher College in 1929. In 1934 he was admitted to the newly established Yaba Higher College in Lagos as the first government sponsored Northerner to study outside the Northern Region. This made him the first Northerner to study Pharmacy at a time when Western education in Northern Nigeria was nascent. For refusing to continue at Yaba College on the grounds that the school did not allow him to specialise in Chemistry and Biology, he was posted to the School of Hygiene in Kano as apunishmentin 1935 to train asa3"' Class Sanitary Inspector. However a month after reporting in Kano, he was found to be for above the standard of the school and so became a Teacher instead of a student. In 1939 Sa'adu Zungur now a very promisingyoung man was posted to the newly established School of Hygiene, Zaria. That sameyear he established the Hausa Youth Keep Fit Class in Zaria. Twoyears later in 1941 he spear-headed the formation of the Northern Nigeria Youth Movement (NNYM) which later became the Zaria Friendly Society (ZFS) and later the Northern Provinces General Improvement Union (NPGIU). In 1942 seeingthe %ealof activism of theyoung man the authorities posted him from Zaria to the sleeping sickness control service in ruralAnchau in order to tame his sociopolitical tendencies. Ayear later (194 3) he was invalidedfrom government service on medical grounds. He was down but he was not out because in 1944 he was active in the formation and activities of the Bauchi Discussion Circle (BDC). Following the proscription of the BDC Sa'adu Zungur again spear-headed the formation of the Bauchi General Improvement Union (BGLN) in 1945. It was about this time that he organised the first collective petition to a Native Authority in Northern Nigeria (Bauchi NA) against the denial of the right to assembly. By 1946, he was already a full time Nationalist as he accepted to be the Bauchi Provicne Correspondent of the Nationalist newspaper "The West African Pilot' of Dr. Nnamdi A^ikiwe. Again about this time Sa'adu Zungur spare-headed the first Public Mass Demonstration in Northern Nigeria against the itinerary of the then GovernorJohn Macpherson's tour which excluded Bauchiperhaps to dodge the activitiesof BGIU led by Sa'adu Zungur, Aminu Kano and others. Seeing the %ealandcommitment ofSa'adu he was promoted theNorth-East Zone Correspondent and later Chief cCorrespondentfor Northern Provinces of the West African Pilot. This was in 1947. That sameyear together with Raji Abdullah and Abubakar Zukogifounded thefam'iyyarAl'umman Natjeriya ta Arewa (Northern Elements Progressive AssociationNEPA). In 1948, his name was already recorded in history as aforefront Northern Nationalist to have the guts of joining a Southern Natioanlist Party the NCNCof which he was General Secretary from 1948 to 1951. It was in that capacity that he travelled to London with Dr. A^ikiwe as membersof the NCNCprotest delegation to the Colonial Office to demandfor Self determinationforNigerian. The sameyear 1949 he was at the joint convention of fam'iyyar Mutanen Arewa a Yau' leading to theformaiton of the Northern People's Congress (NPC). Actually itwas Sa 'adu Zungur whoproposed the name and was unanimously adopted. Earlier in 1948 he hadfounded the Lagos branch of the fam'iyyar AHummar Natjeriya ta Arewa'. In 1950, Sa'adu again particiaptedin the declaration of the Nrothern Elements' Progressive Union (NEPU) and served as the body's Legal Adviser. That sameyear, he composed his famours poem, *Arewafamhuriya koMulikiya? His last major work in verse was the Poem, fihadin Neman Sawaha otherwise known as "Wakar Addakari. This was in 1956. This foremost Nationalist died in 1958 after aprolonged battle withillhealth. "I have tried toput the thoughts of the destiny ofNorthernNigeriabehindme . *ric ana tend to mi own immediatepersonal affairs. And!cannot Igo totted with rnghts:!get up with them. Thei are were, when I experience oht Sa'adu Zungur 1944
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