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  Alhaji Waziri Kolo Ibrahim was a Kanuri businessman from Borno State, Nigeria, who became a prominent politician and party leader during the Nigerian Second Republic. He was one of the original founders and financiers of the Nigerian People’s Party, but in 1978 left the party to form the Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP). As a candidate of the GNPP, he won almost 10% of the national vote in the Nigerian presidential elections of 1979.
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Ibrahim was born on February 26, 1926, in Yerwa, Maiduguri. His father, Baba Alhaji Ibrahim Ibn Mohammed was an Islamic scholar. He named the newborn boy after a friend who was then Waziri of Borno. Waziri’s early childhood was in Damaturu where his father was the imam of a local mosque. He attended Damaturu Elementary School (1936-1939), followed by studies at Maiduguri Middle School (1940-1943) and then Kaduna College, 1944-1947. At Kaduna College, he was a classmate of Professor Umaru Shehu. It was the desire of the then Chief Education Officer of Borno, Kashim Ibrahim that Waziri should enter the teaching service after graduation. However, Waziri did not go further in training after Kaduna College nor did he teach, instead he chose to work with U.A.C. as a trainee manager in 1948. At the firm, he rose through clerical and administrative ranks from acting as a cashier and storekeeper at U.A.C.’s, Maiduguri branch in 1951. He then worked at Jos in 1952 before becoming a labour and staff manager for the Benue Division of Colonial Nigeria in 1953. By the time he left the firm, he was district manager of the Kaduna office. Political and Business Career In politics, Waziri was initially a member of NEPU. He organized the Damaturu branch of the association in 1950 and was the branch chairman in 1951. However, towards the end of the 1950s, Waziri joined NPC and was appointed the Federal Minister of Health in 1958. In 1960, he was part of the Nigerian delegation to the United Nations when the country was accepted as the 99th member of the organization. In 1962, as minister for Economic Development, he presented to the Nigerian Parliament an ambitious capital expenditure budget over a six-year span based on a projected 4% annual growth in GDP and investment of resources in productive projects to foster development. Among the major planks of the budget, was the development of the Kainji Dam. However, close to half of the capital expenditure resource was to be obtained through foreign aid.
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After the military coup of January 1966, Waziri went into private business. During the Nigeria-Baifra War (1967-1970), he was involved in arms dealing and consultancy and afterwards, he established a defence consultancy firm. Waziri established a group of companies under the corporate name Herwa which included a tin-mining venture in Jos and a soap and flour mill in Maiduguri. He opened a 5 million naira Herwa clinic in Kano. He entered the fishing industry after buying out Stephen Tolbert’s fishing concern and in addition, imported frozen fish under the corporate name Nigeria Cold Stores. In 1978, Waziri joined politics again; he co-founded the NPP with members of Club 19 and the Council for National Unity. However, a disagreement arose between Waziri and some party members who were largely disciples of Nnamdi Azikiwe such as Adeniran Ogunsanya. Leaders of Club 19 and Council for National Unity opposed Ibrahim’s ambition of becoming both the party’s chairman and its presidential candidate. The conflict deepened after the party’s first convention in 1978 and subsequently led to his exit from the party. He then formed the Great Nigeria People’s Party. He was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in the 1979 election but was popular in the Kanuri base. His party won the gubernatorial election in Borno where the Kanuri formed a majority, and also nearby Gongola state. Reference   iwei-ng.org.  Wikipedia.org/ Featured image source: Amazon.com
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This article was first published on 10th March 2022

jeremiah

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.


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