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Sir Shettima Kashim Ibrahim! A Northern Founding Father and a National Giant, especially in the colonial days of Nigeria. Born on the 10th of June 1910, Sir Kashim Ibrahim (as he is popularly referred to today) was a Kanuri politician who was head of the Native Administration in Borno and was a minister for Social Services in the 1950s.

Early Days and Education

Ibrahim was born in Gargar Ward, Yerwa to the family of Ibrahim Lakanmi. He started his education learning Arabic and Quran before attending Borno Provincial School in 1922. In 1925, he was admitted into the Katsina Training College. At Katsina Training College, he earned a teacher’s certificate at the completion of his studies in 1929. The certificate provided him with the opportunity to immediately start working as a teacher in 1929 at the Borno Middle School and by 1933, he had become a Provincial Visiting Teacher. A few years later, He was promoted to a Senior Visiting Teacher and education officer for the province of Borno.

Life and Public Service

He was conferred with the title of Shettima of Borno in 1935 and for a while, he was known as Shettima Kashim. He joined politics in 1951-52, when he was elected into the Northern Regional Assembly, he was nominated from the North as a cabinet nominee. Thereafter, he was appointed the Federal Minister for Social Services and later that of Education.

In 1956, he was appointed as the Waziri of Borno by the then Shehu of Borno. Waziri Ibrahim became the Governor of the Northern region in 1962, which had its headquarters then at Kaduna state. Sir Kashim Ibrahim held that office until the military coup of 16 January 1966 that brought Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi to power. He was eventually succeeded by General Hassan Usman Katsina. He was appointed a CBE in 1960 and knighted KCMG in 1962. As a politician, his allegiances were to the Northern Peoples’ Congress.

He held the traditional title of Waziri of the Emirate of Borno after two previous Waziris had been forced to resign due to multiple challenges, issues and scandals in the Borno local administration. The Waziri is synonymous to the Secretary of the Council.  He was also a close associate of Sir Ahmadu Bello, another pioneering Father of Northern Nigeria’s democracy.

Death and Legacies

Sir Shettima Kashim Ibrahim died on the 25th July 1990. The government house of Kaduna state is named after him: the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, which also serves as the official residence of the Governor of the state. In addition, the Ahmadu Bello University, regarded as one of the largest universities in Sub-Saharan Africa has its library; also regarded as the largest University library in Nigeria and one of the largest in West Africa is named after the great man. The library is called the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Library or KIL. In addition to that, Sir Kashim Ibrahim has several major roads and streets named after him in different parts of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.


 “Ibrahim, Sir Kashim”, in Christopher Osadiaye Orumwese Ugowe, Eminent Nigerians of the twentieth       century, Hugo Books, 2000, p. 155.

Ahmadu Bello, My Life, Cambridge University Press, 1962, p. 31.

The Settlement of 1960: Who was Who” (PDF). Sati Fwatshak and Philip Ostien. Retrieved 2015-08-28.

Rosalynde Ainslie, Catherine Hoskyns, Ronald Segal. Political Africa: A Who’s Who of Personalities and    Parties, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1961, p. 128.


Featured Image Source: Researchgate

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This article was first published on 26th August 2019


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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