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  Aminu Kano was born in Kano on August 9, 1920, to the family of an Islamic scholar, Mallam Yusufu, a lineage known for producing judicial scholars, and Rakiya, a Fulata Borno family of Mamman Zara. Despite his near upper-class background,  Mallam Aminu Kano lived an exemplary stoic life which toed the line of his Talakawa Philosophy until his demise on April 17, 1983. He was also a highly respected politician in Northern Nigeria while also pursuing democratization, women’s empowerment and freedom of speech. Aminu Kano’s politico-economic philosophy largely influenced notable figures such as Michael Imoudu, S.G. Ikoku, Edward Ikem Okeke, Abubakar Rimi, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Sule Lamido and Ghali Umar Na’Abba by virtue of leading the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) in the 1970s.
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Aminu Kano viewed the major problems of Nigeria from the position of a class struggle and he proffered ways – albeit crude – of changing that power dynamic between the Upper class and the Talakawa (commoners). Buttressing some of Aminu Kano’s ideals about  saving the Talakawa (commoners) are some of the quotes attributed to him below;
  1. “That owing to this unscrupulous and vicious system of Administration by the Family Compact rulers, there is today in our Society an antagonism of interests manifesting itself as a class struggle, between the members of the vicious circle of the Native Administration on the one hand and the ordinary ‘Talakawa’ on the other.”
This statement dating back to pre-independence Nigeria reflects a similar scenario playing out in the Nigerian polity of today. There is an antagonism of conflicting interests manifesting between the upper class and the lower class in the society just like it happened between the colonial masters and native Nigerians.
  1. “That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the ‘Talakawa’ from the domination of these conduits, by the reform of the present autocratic political Institutions into Democratic Institutions and placing their democratic control in the hands of the ‘Talakawa’ for whom alone they exist.”
The above statement further breaks down how this class struggles between the cabal/exploitative elites and the ordinary Nigerian can be resolved and closing the inequality gap.  Aminu Kano advocated for a solution that will allow the marginalised Talakawa groups to take control via democratic reforms. However, the inherent problem with this proposition is that the Talakawa groups are not necessarily organised and expertly enough to execute these democratic reforms on their own. This brings back the commoners at the mercy of the aristocrats.
  1. “All parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the Talakawa (commoners) is diametrically opposed to the interest of all sections of the master class, a party seeking the emancipation of the ‘Talakawa’ must naturally be hostile to the party of the oppressors.”

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Aminu Kano further juxtaposed the interests of the Upper class (cabal/exploitative elites) and the Commoners (Talakawa), and he found them eternally conflicting. Therefore, Aminu’s recommendation for wresting control from the dominant parties is by the Talakawa being continually hostile to their oppressors. That the Nigerian elite class continue to exploit the disadvantages of the Talakawa (commoners) or the masses even with its suppressive socio-economic policies is never in doubt. Whether Aminu Kano’s ideals are practicable or realistic in modern Nigerian settings will continue to be a subject of debate. Notwithstanding, the Talakawa masses may have to resolve to collaboratively lift one another out of the economic slavery subjecting them to Aristocrats mercy before they can be totally free. Source: Wikipedia Featured image source: HistoryVille
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This article was first published on 17th August 2021


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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