He attended Katsina College and the University of London's Institute of Education. He first came to repute when he submitted a play (Ruwan bagaja) for a literary competition in 1933. 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. 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. Alh imam was also the author of Magana jari ce with the help of some collections provided by East, and Tafiya mabudin ilmi a book he wrote on his experiences after a visit to London.