Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, first Premier of the Northern Region is the most revered leader of the people of Northern Nigeria. His tenure as premier of the Northern Region which ended tragically in 1966 has remained a recurring reference point in the political history of the Region and indeed Nigeria. The nobility of his lineage as the son and grandson of two Sultans of Sokoto and a great grandson of the renowned Islamic scholar and reformer, Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio, combined with his destined emergence as the first and most successful political leader of the estimated 18.5 million people of the former Northern Region, conferred on him an incomparable stature in the league of Nigeria’s political leaders.
The most remarkable distinguishing accomplishment of Sir Ahmadu Bello was the legacy of exemplary leadership that enabled him to overcome the inherent formidable challenges of mobilizing and harmonizing the complex ethnic, religious and political diversities of more than 200 ethnic groups inhabiting the vast region. This enviable achievement was further consolidated by the Sardauna’s panoramic focus and tremendous zeal towards the rapid development of the human and economic resources of the entire Northern Region in order to earn a pride of place in the Federation of Nigeria. It was in the process of pursuing these noble and patriotic goals that his innate sterling qualities came to the fore, applauded by all and sundry and yearned for till this day.
Among the outstanding qualities of Sir Ahmadu Bello and his legacy are humility and decency in leadership, prudence and transparent honesty in expenditure of public funds, accessibility to all classes of people, genuine desire to promote unity and common sense of belonging among diverse people of the region, respect for the cultural and religious rights of all citizens, encouragement of hard work and reward for excellence without bias, total devotion to responsibility and duties of office, punctuality, constant monitoring and evaluation of officials and policies, regular working tours of the region to see things for himself, keen interest in the affairs of people, upholding the best interests of people at all times, tolerance of dissenting opinions and promotion of family values, discipline, good conduct and morality, maintenance of law and order and security of lives and property.
Sir Ahmadu Bello’s record of performance as the father-figure and development catalyst of the entire Northern Region has ever since captivated the imagination and inspired the hopes and aspirations of the people of the region, especially in reaction to the evident decline and decay that has befallen the region in the aftermath of the tragic and abrupt termination of his life and leadership in 1966. It is a testimony to the uniqueness of the Sardauna’s personality and leadership acumen that he has remained the standard-bearer and model for assessing his successors at various levels of leadership and for determining the prerequisites for the renaissance of the glorious Sardauna Era. As a result, it has been much easier to recount and revere the illustrious legacies of the era at every opportunity, than to translate tributes into the tangible transformation that is desperately desired.
The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation represents the boldest, decisive and concerted step towards genuine progress in the quest for a feasible programme of action dedicated to creating a framework for institutionalizing the process for actualising the positive transformation of the northern region of Nigeria in line with the legacy of its first Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto.
Although the Premier virtually left no important area of human endeavour and need out of his view, equitable access to qualitative education, a robust and productive agricultural sector, an ambitious programme of provision of socio-economic amenities and strategic infrastructure for development, relevant industrialization policy and human resource development and enhancement stood out as priority sectors. These sectors are still of strategic importance in the quest for the progress and prosperity of the North and its peoples and should therefore be the focal points in the concept and implementation of the resuscitation of the core legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello.
In relation to the scope and modalities for the activities of the Foundation, the main focus is the facilitation of the re-inculcation of the North’s cherished values as exemplified by Sir Ahmadu Bello’s leadership and legacy for reform and the strengthening of service and leadership values for the benefit of the entire people of the region. This is captured in the Foundation’s motto which is “Values in Service”.
The aims and objectives of the Foundation are to carry out research and study on the life and legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello, with particular emphasis on values in service, leadership, development strategies, education, religious and ethnic tolerance and transparency and accountability; to inculcate the Sardauna’s values in the youth of the present and future generations; to encourage and facilitate provision of voluntary services by professionals, communities and associations; to promote the ideals of development and peaceful co-existence and to promote human rights, among others. It will also help/alleviate poverty by promoting skills acquisition and development for the youth, promoting child welfare and economic development of women and providing needy communities with amenities.
The Foundation, which was established as a non-governmental, non-profit-making and non-political organization, will strive to sustain the impressive legacies of the late Premier by engaging in charitable causes for the advancement of his values and development of humanity.