Abubakar Imam, a piece of intellectual colossus in Nigeria

Abubakar Muhammad Imam

Abubakar Imam O.B.E C.O.N L.L.D (Hon.) N.N.M.C. born on 1 February 1911 in Kagara, Niger State, was a Nigerian writer, journalist and politician from Kagara, Niger State, in Nigeria. For most of his life, he lived in Zaria, where he was the first Hausa editor of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, the pioneer Hausa-language Newspaper in Northern Nigeria.

He attended Katsina College and the University of London’s Institute of Education. He first came to repute when he submitted the play Ruwan Bagaja for a literary competition in 1933. The judge in the competition was Rupert East, the head of a translation committee. He liked his writing, accentuated by the vivid knowledge of native norms and vegetation and mixed with his literary style of wit and imaginative prose.

In 1939, together with Robert East and a few others, they started the Gaskiya Corporation, a publishing house, which became a successful venture and created a platform for many Northern Nigerian intellectuals. The exposure of many premier writers in Northern Nigeria to the political process influenced Imam to join politics. In 1952, with the formation of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), together with Umaru Agaie and Nuhu Bamalli, they formed the major administrative nucleus of the party.

Alhaji Abubakar Imam was also the author of Magana Jari Ce with the help of some collections provided by East, and Tafiya Mabudin ilmi a book he wrote on his experiences after a visit to London.

He died in the year 1981.


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