AbdulRaman Mustapha Bida (1908-1989)

Alhaji Abdulrahman Mustapha Bida was born and brought up in Bida. He was born into the family of Mallam Mustapha. He had the privilege of being enrolled into school for western education after the famous “Katun Katamba” which at the time was compulsory for every child growing up. Alhaji Abdulrahman Bida attended Sabon Gida School in Bida between 1918 and 1922 and then proceeded to Sabon Gida Middle School, also in Bida between 1922 and 1925. 

“Baba Dispenser” as he was popularly known was determined to make his parents proud and join the league of the early northerners to be educated, this patriotic zeal to study in order to serve the northern region that was at the time short of civil servants and professionals in the various areas of needs inspired him to proceed with his education, this time to the famous Katsina College (Barewa College) and finally to the School of Pharmacy, Zaria and Lagos between 1929 and 1933.

AbdulRahman Mustapha Bida

He joined the Federal Ministry of Health after graduation and was posted to Kano General Hospital as a Pharmacist. He was at the Kano General Hospital for 13 years between 1933 and 1946. He would later traverse the length and breadth of the country between 1946 and 1955, serving in different General Hospitals as a Pharmacist, rendering service to humanity. Baba Asibiti was later transferred to the General Hospital Minna where he rose to the position of Chief Pharmacist in 1959. Towards the twilight of an illustrious career in the civil service, he returned to his native Bida at the Bida General Hospital where he drew the curtain on a career that spanned over three decades of dedicated service to the nation. He was in Bida between 1959 and 1967 when he retired as Chief Pharmacist.

Late Abdulrahman Bida was a politician of high repute who participated actively and played a prominent role in the birth of political parties even before Nigeria’s independence. He was the first President of Northern Element Progressive Association (NEPA), which was said to be the first political party in Northern Nigeria. The political party was established sometime around 1946. Its emergence ignited some panic amongst the colonial imperialists who would later admit the association had succeeded in arousing the political consciousness among the northern people across ethno-religious lines. Leaders of the association such as Abdulrahman Bida, Habib Raji Abdallah and Abubakar Dzukogi among others were active members of NCNC and NPC, it was the experience they gathered during their NCNC days that informed the creation of NEPA. The British feel threatened by the formation of such a movement and immediately disbanded the association by dismissing its leaders and members who were government workers.

The leadership of NEPA, not giving up on their Nationalist agenda, moved to Lagos where they joined the ZIkist movement where they intensified their nationalist activities. It was from such gatherings that the Northern Elements Progressive Union emerged and was launched in Kano in 1950. The party actually flagged off its activities as a Northern based political party; a regional party with a deeply Nigerian nationalist outlook. It was a platform that represented the interests of the peasant farmer, the working class, craftsmen, nomads, tradesmen and other petty producers who would later identify with the party.

Abdulrahman Bida led Habib Raji Abdallah, Abubakar Dzukogi ,  Saadu Zungur, Mallam Aminu Kano and many others too numerous to mention to form what would later become a leading opposition political party in the north. He delivered a famous speech during  a public lecture organized by the Zikist movement calling on the people to shake off their fear of those in authority and to come all out to challenge the local bureaucratic lack of self control and British exploitation.

Baba Asibiti was highly respected because of his bold and strategic approach to issues. When the former Nigerian President, Alh. Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari visited Bida in 1983 for campaigns and presentation of his manifesto, contesting for the presidential seat; he described Abdulrahman Bida as the best in politics in Northern Nigeria of their time.

 A First Republic politician and one of the early educationists from the North. He was one of the first Northerners to study Pharmacy as a profession especially at a time education in Northern Nigeria was still finding its way into the region.

As Chief Pharmacist, Baba Dispenser was exemplary in his leadership style; a blend of religious, modern and traditional values rolled into one.  He was a man of impeccable character with a track record of proven trustworthiness and integrity.

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