BM’s In Memoriam – Abubakar Imam

The role of the writer in the society is to point out when things are wrong. As such, the outstanding novelist in person of Alhaji Abubakar Imam writes to reform the society and to educate people. He was a proficient novelist and one of the foremost Hausa authors to produce a formal stage of drama. He was said to have authored almost 20 books between 1934 and 1970. Some of his books are used in Nigerian school today such as: Ruwan Bagaja, Magana Jari ce and others. Imam was born in Kagara in the year 1911 at Niger state. He earned his traditional Arabic education and further attended Katsina Training College in the year 1927 to become a teacher. He latter advanced to the Universtity of London’s institute of Education where he received his first degree. He became famous when he sent in a story, Ruwan Bagaja, written in Hausa as an entry for 1933 literary competition. This work caught the attention of a judge – Rupert East, who was then Head of the Translation Bureau in Zaria province.

The judge was enticed with the unique literary style, creative and imaginative prose. Imam left his work as a teacher and joined the Bureau. He won the literary prize in a competition for his books both Ruwan Bagaja and Magana Jari ce respectively. During his visit to England in 1943 as a member of West African press delegation, Imam asked British authorities for more reading materials to educate the Hausa people. As such, he and Rupert East in conjunction with others established a publishing house named Gaskiya Corporation in 1945. He served as the Editor, book production and supervisor of production for many years. Imam ventured into politics in 1952, when he formed the Northern people’s congress along with some other Northern intellectuals. He was elected into the House of Representatives under the 1951 Nigerian constitution. Sa’adu Zungur once called him “Political pilot of Northern Nigeria.”

Culled from Daily Trust / Imran Hassan, Kano

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