Abubakar Imam

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Abubakar Imam was a Nigerian writer and journalist who was the first editor of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo. He was an outstanding journalist but to some also controversial as a result of his insistence on not signing a document in London signaling Nigeria's intention for independence by 1953 when he was on a trip as a West African press delegate with Nnamdi Azikiwe and I.B. Thomas . He was also affiliated with the Northernisation policy which became more mainstream in the political thinking of Northern Nigeria during the pre-liberation and liberation period.


Early life and education

Imam was born in Kagara, present day Niger state. He was educated at Katsina Training College. He was a year behind Ahmadu Bello at the school.


Imam first came to repute when he wrote "Ruwan Bagaja"for a literary competition in 1933, among the the entries in the competition were Bello Kagara's 'Gandoki', Balewa's 'Shaihu Umar' and Muhammadu Gwarzo's 'The Eye of the Enquirer'. The judge in the competition was Rupert East, the head of a translation committee, he liked his writing, usually accentuated by the vivid knowledge of native norms and vegetation and mixed with his literary style of wit and imaginative prose. In 1939, together with Robert East and a few others, they started the Gaskiya corporation, a publishing house, which became a successful venture and created a platform for many northern intellectuals to draw forth their voice. The exposure of many premier writers in Northern Nigeria to the political process influenced Imam to join politics. In 1952, with the formation of the Northern People's Congress, together with Umaru Agaie, and Nuhu Bamalli, they formed the major administrative nucleus of the party.

However, he still contributed to the development of Gaskiya. He served as an editor on book productions and as a deputy superintendent of production.

In 1961, he became the chairman of the Public Service Commission.

Ruwan Bagaja

Imam's book, 'Ruwan Bagaja' was one of the earliest to showcase examples of Hausa imaginative prose writing. The book drew inspiration from Hausa oral stories and foreign literary books. Ruwan Bagaja takes the reader from a real world of man and boats traveling to and fro to a different environment where the protagonist sinks into a lake only to encounter water spirits who cure him of his blindness and bring him back to the land while on his way searching for the 'Water of Cure'.

It was Imam's completion of the book that got him interest from the literature bureau especially Rupert East who got him transfered to the bureau.


  • Dayo Duyile. Makers of the Nigerian Press...... p 308-310
  • Graham Furniss. Poetry, Prose and Popular Culture in Hausa. p 21-26