Kaduna Mafia

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Kaduna Mafia is a name given to a loose group of young Northern Nigerian intellectuals, civil servants, business tycoons and military officers residing or conducting business in the former Northern capital city of Kaduna during the end of the first republic. However, it is different from the American version of the Mafia. It is believed the resentment of competing interests led to the creation of the acerbic idea of a clique gaining headway through its closeness to power and thereby approximating resources of the state under the banner of capitalism. The group supposedly achieved most success during the first era of Obasanjo's government, where many of its members were appointed to key positions of power and used its alliance to obtain patronage and disburse favor to friends and associates. The term Kaduna mafia was supposedly popularized by a columnist, Mvendaga Jibo, who favored the old clique of rulers in the Yakubu Gowon and Balewa administration.


Nigeria's Foundation[edit]

The historical genetic configuration of most modern African states is dominated by a coherent theme of an exploitative, cultural bourgeoisie who engage in chicanery and the ability to make docile the common man in order to engage in its greedy and selfish intentions and acquire power which is then used partly to mitigate against any opposition from cultural and political enemies. These states were originally made up of varied cultural, ethnic and racial groups with little intent to come under the same political tent under the principles of equity or fairness in the rocky political, economic, and social terrain. The new colonial nation-state, a mixture of different religious, ethnic and cultural groups forced to unite without a common external enemy then becomes exposed sometimes violently to its inherent cultural, religious and ethnic cleavages. A fertile and emerging force of clientele economics, capitalism and favoritism based on cultural affiliations becomes a weapon that can be used to foster an individual's self-interest. The exploitation of the inherent cleavages by elites based on their own selfish and provincial interests becomes a political weapon to gain a strong foundation against destructive attacks from other groups, gain a strong foothold in the economy and weaken fair criticism based on viable objections. This is magnified by the herd support given to ethnic or provincial politicians and leaders.


The origins of the Kaduna mafia revolves around the demise of the first republic. The loss of many northern leaders in the coup prodded a group of northern civil servants to rally around and oppose the new government of General Aguiyi Ironsi. The group, a diverse mixture of aristocrats and civil servants who were predominantly Muslim and based in Kaduna. Many of its members were educated at the famous Barewa College in Zaria, and had demonstrated a certain level of managerial competence in comparison to some of their older contemporaries. They were known for their intelligence, commitment to the traditional values and socio-political interests of Northern Nigeria and their internal camaraderie. Members were involved in varied aspects of the Nigerian nation, they were bank directors, ministers, military colonels and owners of business; their main differentiating symbol was the prominence of economic interest as a driving factor in their activities.


  • Shehu Shagari, Beckoned to Serve Heinamann
  • Patrick Fagbola, Kaduna Mafia, Heinemann 1987,
  • Bayo Ogunjimi, The Herd Instinct and Class Literature in Nigeria Today, A Journal of Opinion > Vol. 20, No. 2 1992
  • Shehu Othman, Classes, Crises and Coup: The Demise of Shagari's Regime, African Affairs > Vol. 83, No. 333 1984)
  • Josephn Kenny, Sharīa and Christianity in Nigeria: Islam and a 'Secular' State, Journal of Religion in Africa > Vol. 26, Fasc. 4 (Nov., 1996)