has prevented the creation of a tightly centralized or- ganization. Its disparateness only increased following his death on September 11, 1992. Indeed, he had acted as something of a lynchpin. And even though he was quickly succeeded by his son, Dr. Ahmed Gummi, a highly respected Islamic scholar in his own right, his removal only increased the devolution of influence and authority to local leaders and sheikhs.24
Yet even so, the group remains committed to much the same agenda set down by Abubakar Gummi 40 years ago. It seeks to advance the agenda by many of the means that Gummi pioneered. As well as being an active teacher, Gummi made good use of the pulpit to promote his beliefs. From the early 1970s onwards, he appeared regularly on television to comment on religious festivals and issues. Of course, some of this national exposure came to an end when he died, as it was tied to him personally and the result of his reputa- tion as an Islamic scholar. Yet, while it lasted, it helped establish the Izala as a definite force within northern Nigerian society. Izala members have not shied away from confronting their rivals in the Qadiriyya and Ti- janiyya head on. Numerous times throughout its exis- tence, its young men have clashed with the Sufis on the streets.
Yet their methods are not as violent as those some- times used by Zakzaky’s followers. In truth, the IMN is unique among those groups that make up the Islamist movement in Nigeria, as it cannot rightly be described as salafist. For while it has a few Sunni members—some of whom undoubtedly harbour salafist sympathies—it is in the main a Shiite organization. Zakzaky’s career as an agitator and would-be revolutionary began when he was at university. While a student at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in the late 1970s, he became a leading