Remembering Dr. Bala Mohammad

                                                           Late Dr. Bala Mohammad

The mammoth and violent crowd, like a swamp of locusts in
search of crops for destruction, dispersed and launched into
different locations of Kano City, ensuring that the targets of
attacks were not spared physical devastations.
Rolling out their locally assorted weapons, the anarchists
marched for an aggressive campaign tagged rampage. Out
of sheer brutality and sadism, they exploded with maximum
force looting, destroying and eventually killing at will.
Already, their selected targets included government
properties as well as a prominent figure i.e. Dr. Bala
That was Friday July 10,1981 when a total breakdown of
law and order pervaded Kano and sacked peace and
tranquility for a while. During the dark period, Kano was
taken as a hostage under the Draconian regime of the
rioters who were avenging the query served to the late Emir
Ado Bayero by the late Governor Abubakar Rimi. The
political ‘earthquakes culminated into the gruesome murder
of Dr. Bala Mohammed, a young academician, leftist,
nationalist. His lofty visions, dreams, hopes and aspirations
for a just and egalitarian society also perished in the
political inferno. He was 35 years old and until his
assassination served as the political adviser to the late
Governor Abubakar Rimi of Kano State for nine months.
Dr. Bala’s tragic demise was the handiwork of the
reactionary forces who were uncomfortable with the
progressive ideas for which he lived, struggled and
ultimately paid the exorbitant price. Speaking on the ill-fated
event, Dr. Haroun Al-Rashid Adamu lamented:”People will
understand first that late Dr. Bala’s death is the handiwork
of those people, these reactionaries and secondly that the
unknown about the phenomenon of death is not whether it
is inevitable and will strike at every one of us but how it will
The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Bala’s assassination are very
significant in remembering him with a view to drawing vital
lessons. On the ‘how’ phenomenon and based on an
authentic evidence of his corpse, he was brutally subjected
to killing by fire. As he was busy working in his office, the
ungodly assailants set it ablaze in such a manner that he
was liable to be destroyed like all the other material things
within the office. Poor Bala! He sighted death coming even
before his final breath due to abrupt emergence of
vulnerability that engulfed him in a building surrounded by
ravaging fire.
On the other hand, the ‘why’ of Dr. Bala’s murder generated
different assumptions and explanations. For instance, a
popular insinuation was held that the agents of Bala’s death
released their wrath against him because of their stubborn
belief that he was the architect of the query which,
according to them, dented the image of the traditional
establishment of the Kano Emirate. Perhaps, that
accusation was too cumbersome and obnoxious for Bala
himself also had his root in the same established order in
When Rimi was at the helm of affairs, he radically violated
norms and conventions to allow progressive ideas reign
supreme. Thus, he employed the services of some non-
indigenes seen as radicals to broaden the spectrum of the
progressive movement.
Was Dr.Bala from Bauchi not one of them? Was Dr. Haroun
Al-Rashid Adamu from Zaria not made the pioneer
Managing Director of the Triumph Publishing Company
Kano? Was the late Rufai Ibrahim of Nassarawa State not
crowned as the editor of the Kano based Sunday Triumph?
Clearly, Rimi’s normative system of inclusiveness did not go
down well with the emissaries of doom who apparently
contested that by virtue of statism, Bala was politically unfit
to partake in the politics of Kano. Hence, a golden chance
was laid bare to eliminate him.
Meanwhile, the late Abubakar Rimi provided a more
profound psychological insight as to the basic ‘why’ of
Bala’s killing. Hear him:”The events of Friday July 10 are as
unfortunate as they are sad. But they are events that should
be expected in any struggle between progressive forces and
reactionary forces in this country and everywhere else.”
Indeed, the progressive and reactionary forces are always at
loggerheads. By progressive estimation, Bala dwelt in the
progressive school discussing issues that were
fundamentally viable for human development. He was a
peace broker, innocent and championed the cause of social
justice. His mind was so rare and great that it produced a
prolific book titled: Africa and Non-Alignment- a study in the
Foreign Relations of New Nations. In it, he accuses the
imperialists of not subjecting Africa to technical education
as a result of which the continent relies on the transfer of
technology. The book also contains his sharp criticism on
newly emerging Africa’s leaders. The vital portion has it
that, “New leaders have emerged as the influential who get
the most of what there is to get as indicated by Harold
Lasswell in his book, Politics: Who gets what, when and
Thirty five years after passing away to the great beyond, I
still remember Dr. Asipko Essien Ibok describing Dr. Bala
Mohammed as, “The most brilliant, most versatile, most
electrifying intellectual Nigerian I have ever met.”I also hear
the echoing words of Professor Wole Soyinka depicting him
as “a rare and committed mind.”Rest in peace
Abdu Abdullahi, State Educational Inspectorate and
Monitoring Unit (SEIMU)Dutse,Jigawa State,

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