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History, the historian and intellectual honesty: A tribute to Prof Haruna Wakili

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Prof Haruna Wakili

Kabiru Haruna Isa, PhD

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it”~Haruki Murakami

It was in January, 2020 when ASUU-Chairman, Bayero University, Kano (BUK) branch informed me of the ailing condition of Professor Haruna Wakili.

As a good tradition of the branch, whenever any of its members is sick, members of the executive council (EXCO) will pay them a visit to show empathy.

I was part of the ASUU team that visited Wakili just before he embarked on his medical trip to India.

While in India, I, and of course my colleagues, would occasionally send him goodwill messages which, to our delight, he replied giving us hope that he was responding to treatment.

BUK DVC dies at 60

I was away in Katsina last week Monday when I received a call from my HOD, Prof Dalha Waziri, informing me of the return of Wakili to Nigeria.

He also told me that there was a plan to visit him on Wednesday, at the National Hospital, Abuja.

I could not resist such an opportunity, stressed as I was.

We therefore left Kano on Wednesday 17 June and arrived Abuja on the same day, braving the dilapidated condition of the Kano-Abuja road and the general insecurity now associated with travel within Nigeria.

When we entered his hospital room, my hope to see him in an improved condition dissipated immediately.

I saw him covered on the sickbed that was to be his deathbed and he couldn’t know we were there as he had gone far in the journey that turned out to be his last.

Three days later, it was on a ‘dark and unforgettable Saturday’, the 20th of June, I received a traumatizing call from his niece confirming my worst fear that he had died.

It wasn’t unexpected, though.

An inspiring teacher

Prof Wakili was my teacher and a colleague at the Department of History, BUK.

My first contact with him was when I was admitted through direct entry into BUK to study BA History.

He was the then Acting Director, before he was subsequently confirmed as the substantive Director, of the Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House (later rechristened the Mambayya House, Center for Democratic Studies).

The undergraduate students in our Department, especially those who were in level III, were narrating different stories about his personality, the courses he taught and his teaching methods.

I registered with his course, HIS3308 Comparative Historical Methodology, which was a core course that all students majoring in History must take.

He introduced us to advanced historical methodology and the new trends of inter-disciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity and cross-disciplinarity.

More importantly, he made us to appreciate, grasp, love and value scholarly pursuits, the practice of history and the historical enterprise.

He made sure that his students worked assiduously and diligently to understand their subject matter and the role and relevance of history to individual, family unit, society, state formation, nation building and human development.

He used history class to instill self-respect and self-pride in his students and always encouraged them to never settle for less or accept the position of inferiority in the face of parasitic commercialization and commodification of university education.

I remember his intellectual and historical pontification whenever he was on the podium.

He always tried to justify that history was the queen of all disciplines on the account of its centrality to all fields of study.

No discipline can do without history; and any society that ignores history does so at its own peril; it is the be-all and end-all of human existence, functional operation of university education and knowledge production.

On intellectual honesty

In addition to the above, and at a closer level, Professor Wakili was my BA dissertation advisor when I was in level IV.

I vividly remember my first meeting with him.

He appeared serious, as was characteristic of him, and briefed me about his personal principles and work/research ethics.

One of the important issues raised that I will never forget was the need for any student of history, aspiring to become a historian, to suppress primordial sentiment and at the same time to always imbibe/symbolize intellectual honesty.

There was arguably, nothing within the four walls of university that gave him pleasure like intellectual discourse, scholarly disputation, research, identification and nurturing of talents.

He had the patience of sparing his precious time to respond to vexed questions of his supervisees.

In one of my subsequent encounters with him as my supervisor I asked him to shed light on what he meant by intellectual honesty. He responded in a most exquisite and philosophical way.

He explained that it was all about being truthful and sincere about the past, reporting what actually happened and acknowledging your sources as accurately as possible.

He was fond of quoting Samuel Eliot Morrison thus: “no person without an inherent loyalty to truth, a high degree of intellectual honesty, and a sense of balance, can be a great or even a good historian”.

A passion for administration

Professor Wakili was adamant and uncompromising when it came to academic standard and excellence.

He always gave the best and expected nothing less in return.

He persistently emphasized that his students had to conduct original research and at the same time drew their attention to the gravity of the crime of plagiarism.

He was generous with his collections and lent his rare books to his students.

He engaged his students and prodded them to think rationally and critically.

He had passion for administration and recorded huge success as a Director of Mambayya House.

This success catapulted him to the position of the commissioner for education in home state, Jigawa State, where he midwifed the establishment of the state owned Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa.

After serving as a commissioner, he was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (administration) in BUK, the position he held up to the time of his death on 20th June, 2020, at the age of sixty.

I will conclude with the words of American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “it is not the length of life, but the depth of life”.

The impact he made on the university system, education sector in Jigawa state and young academics in Nigeria will ever serve as memorials and ‘depth of his life’.

May Allah have mercy on his soul.

Kabiru Haruna Isa, PhD teaches at the Department of History, Bayero University Kano.

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Opinion

[Friday Sermon] IPOB Killings: An Invitation To Another Civil War In Nigeria!

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day – then to proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! The terrorist group and Members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Sunday mercilessly killed 12 people from the Northern Nigeria, including a pregnant woman, her four children and eight others at Isulo, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The slain woman was identified as Harirah Jibril, 32, while the four children were identified as Fatimah, 9; Khadijah, 7; Azizah, 5 and; Zaitunah, 2.

The terrorists waylaid them on their way back home after a visit to Orumba North. The slain woman was a native of Adamawa State.

And as I’m talking to you now all Hausa people from the North have completely deserted Ihiala, following heightened attacks on non-natives in the area.

The unprovoked evictions, attacks, killings, destructions of properties and other forms of violations against northerners in various parts of the South East had resulted from the hate campaigns and propaganda being conducted by regional and ethnic agitators.

These killings followed other coordinated attacks on northern traders and haulage trucks, killing some people and destroying millions worth of properties including the truck.

We strongly condemn these killings. It is brutish, horrendous and barbaric. No family deserves to be wiped out in this manner.

And we call on the security agencies to smoke out the killers and bring them to justice. At the same time, we ask all men of conscience to speak up and condemn this barbaric killing.

For peace to reign and to avoid reprisal killings in other side of the country our people must have the liberty to exercising their freedom of movement in Southeastern part of the country, we’re law abiding citizens, we, therefore, warn that these killings should stop forthwith, as the blood of our people can’t be used as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria as one.

Once again, we wish to call on security agencies to intensify efforts in ensuring the lawless elements behind the killings are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

We also appeal to our people in the North not to retaliate. Because vengeance will only ignite a cycle of violence. Nigeria needs peace at this crucial time. Therefore, nobody should embark on reprisal killing please. It will only compound the problem.

Respected brothers and sisters! One of the distinctive characteristics of the times we live in is the overwhelming presence of bloodshed, crisis and violence in our societies. Whether it is an IPOB attacks and killings to our people in Dei-Dei Abuja and southeast, or a tribal and religious attacks, or a kidnappings where innocent people are held at ransom to achieve political ends, we live in an age, where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.

Such is the all-pervasive nature of indiscriminate violence, that terrorism is considered as one of the prime threats to peace and security in our societies.

The word terrorism came into wide usage only a few decades ago. But one of the unfortunate results of this new terminology is that it limits the definition of terrorism to that perpetrated by small groups or individuals. Terrorism, in fact, spans the entire world, and manifests itself in various forms. Its perpetrators do not fit any stereotype. Those who hold human lives cheap, and have the power to expend human lives, appear at different levels in our societies. The frustrated employee who kills his colleagues in cold-blood or the oppressed citizen of an occupied land who vents his anger by blowing up a school bus are terrorists who provoke our anger and revulsion. Ironically however, the politician who uses age-old ethnic animosities between peoples to consolidate his position, the head of state who orders “carpet bombing” of entire cities, the exalted councils that choke millions of civilians to death by wielding the insidious weapon of sanctions, the terrorist group like IPOB, who are killing the northerners living in their areas, are rarely punished for their crimes against humanity.

It is this narrow definition of terrorism that implicates only individuals and groups, that has caused Muslims to be associated with acts of destruction and terror, and as a result, to become victims of hate violence and terror themselves. Sometimes the religion of Islam is held responsible for the acts of a handful of Muslims, and often for the acts of non-Muslims!

Could it be possible that Islam, whose light ended the Dark Ages in Europe, now propound the advent of an age of terror? Could a faith that has over 2 billion followers the world over, and over 10 million in America, actually advocate the killing and maiming of innocent people? Could Islam, whose name itself stands for “peace” and “submission to Allah Almighty”, encourage its adherents to work for death and destruction?

For too long, have we relied on popular images in the media and in Hollywood films, for answers to these pertinent questions. It is now time to look at the sources of Islam, and its history to determine whether Islam does indeed advocate violence. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus do He command you, that you may learn wisdom.” [Qur’an, 6:151]

Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Qur’an, 5:32]

Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with killing of all humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.

Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that one deals with the enemy nobly on the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows:

“Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” [Abu Dawud]

“Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

During a war, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed:

“She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?”

Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.

While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word ‘jihad.’ The term ‘jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day.

The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. So jihad is literally an act of struggling. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that the greatest jihad is to struggle with the insidious suggestions of one’s own soul. Thus jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to Allah in all aspects of life.

Secondarily, jihad refers to struggle against injustice. Islam, like many other religions, allows for armed self-defense, or retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you one who will protect; and raise for us from you one who will help!” [Qur’an, 4:75]

Thus Islam enjoins upon its believers to strive utmost, in purifying themselves, as well as in establishing peace and justice in the society. A Muslim can never be at rest when he sees injustice and oppression around him. As Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Islam enjoins upon all Muslims to work actively to maintain the balance in which Allah created everything. However, regardless of how legitimate the cause may be, the Glorious Qur’an never condones the killing of innocent people. Terrorising the civilian population can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.

Even Western scholars have repudiated the myth of Muslims coercing others to convert. The great historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” [Islam at Crossroads, London, 1923 page 8]

Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up until they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and/or Jewish populations.

This is not surprising to a Muslim, for his faith prohibits him from forcing others to see his point of view. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hear and know all things.” [Qur’an, 2:256]

Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Glorious Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” [Qur’an, 49:13]

Thus, it is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is threatened with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.

Fellow Nigerians! If you can remember, the same thing taking place today of hate campaigns, maltreatment, attacking and killing the northerners by Igbo people was what ignited the 1966 Nigerian civil war.

In August 1965 five Igbo Majors were beginning to plot a coup against incumbent Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The coup was planned because the Majors as reported, were dissatisfied with the governments actions and that most Nigerian politicians were of Hausa or Fulani descent. In a memoir written by coup plotter Adewale Ademoyega he wrote:

“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places, that seek bribes and demand 10%; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs.”

The coup plotters had five goals to achieve, to Strike simultaneously in regional capitals, arrest leading politicians-kill any who resist, avoid reprisals-kill all senior army officers, prevent troop movement-block Niger and Benue, and form a new Government. They planned to strike right before the Commonwealth Conference so that Tafawa Balewa would be distracted from any suspicious army movements.

In the weeks leading up to the coup Major Kaduna Nzeogwu carried out reconnaissance on Ahmadu Bello’s house in Kaduna. Nzeogwu often took his men on a night-time training exercise known as “Exercise Damisa” which was in actuality a practice run for a military coup. The commander of the 2nd Brigade, Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, became irritated with the night-time exercises and reprimanded Nzeogwu in a telephone call to keep exercises a safe distance from Ahmadu Bello’s house. Although Ademulegun complained about the commotion he had no idea of the exercise’s true purpose. Nzeogwu’s control over his troops was so little that he had to conscript young soldiers from the Nigerian Military Training College at Kaduna. In the early hours on January 15, 1966 Nzeogwu decided to turn “Exercise Damisa” into a full blown military coup. Nzeogwu led his men to a bush adjacent to the house gates and informed them of their real mission. Nzeogwu and his men blew open the house gates and conducted a search of the residence, hunting for Ahmadu Bello Sardauna. After losing his temper at his initial failure to locate him, Nzeogwu found him with his wives. Ahmadu Bello was shot along with one of his wives who tried to shield him with her body. Also Ahmadu Bello’s faithful bodyguard came to defend him with a bow and arrows but was also shot.

So we have to be very very careful in order to avoid another civil war in Nigeria. Because if the killing of northerners in southeastern Nigeria continue, I’m assuring you that anything can happen…

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 26, 1443 AH (May 27, 2022).

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Opinion

Tribute to a late colleague, Baballe Mukhtari Fagge

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Abdu Usman

lnnalillihi wa ina ilaihi Rajuun

Allahu Akbar! Allahu!! 

It is with deep sorrow and grief that we received the report of the death of our beloved friend and colleague in the journalism profession Malam Baballe Mukhtar Fagge. 

Aged 67, Malam Baballe Fagge passed away on the eve of Sunday night at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano (AKTH) after a protracted illness and his remains buried Monday morning at Tarauni Central Graveyard, Kano.

A veteran broadcaster, pioneer staff of then CTV (ARTV), senior reporter at Radio Kano who earlier served at American Embassy Kaduna until his last minute of breath was working with Express FM Radio.

Malam Baballe Mukhtar Fagge, a hardworking and committed personality who devoted most of his life to the development and progress of his community and people of Kano State, is survived by a wife, many children and relatives.

Indeed, the deceased will be long remembered by his colleagues, particularly those in media circles who either work or had in contact with him at various points.

At this juncture, we once again extended our condolences to the deceased’s immediate family as well as entire members of NUJ across the country.

May Allah SWT forgive his shortcomings and grant his family strength and courage to bear the sad bereavement. Amin.

Hakika munyi rashin aboki. Allah ya jikansa da gafara ya kuma ba wa iyalansa da ‘yan uwansa da sauran abokansa hakurin rashin. Amin.

Abdu Usman

is a former Press Secretary to former Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi 

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Opinion

Pillars slips into relegation as team plays home matches in Abuja 

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Jamilu Ubah Adamu

Before the kick-off of the current campaign of the Nigeria Professional Football League season, no one ever envisaged four-time elite Nigerian league winners, Kano Pillars, would be battling relegation.

But football can be cruel, at times, as the Sai Masu Gida are presently dashing points both home and away, and are doing everything physically and spiritually never to avoid the shame of relegation to the lower league.

Pillars who are seen to have the largest fan-base in the local league have only ten matches remaining to play before the end of the season. Five of those matches are home, while the remaining are on the road. With their current poor performance, it’s unlikely that the Sai Masu Gida would win all five home matches and snatch some vital points on the road to guarantee safety, unless the impossible happens.

This is made even more complicated owing to the fact that they have been playing their home games on away territory, lacking in the ever vociferous support of their untiring and undying fans.

It is, however, hoped that the former League and Aiteo Federation Cup champions would defy the odds by ensuring they do not falter in their remaining ten games, whether home or away.

Sitting at the 19th position with 29 points from 27 games and a suspended three point deduction by LMC, due to a reoccurrence of violence by their fans, the world of football is keenly watching how the cash-strapped club will respond to their current predicament, and should it happen, it will be one of the wonders in club football, not only in Nigeria but across the globe, in modern times.

For the large followers of the Club and lovers of football, they would not want to see Kano Pillars relegated as they command a huge aura of history in the domestic elite league, including producing the likes of Super Eagles’ captain, Ahmed Musa, and legendary Rabiu Ali (Pele), to mention but a few.

Below is Kano Pillars’ remaining Fixture:

1. Kano Pillars vs. Heartland FC – Home.

2. Remo Stars vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

3. Kano Pillars vs. Dakkada FC – Home.

4. Plateau United vs. Kano Pillars FC – Away

5. Kano Pillars vs. Wikki Tourists FC – Home.

6. Abia Warriors vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

7. Kano Pillars vs. Enugu Rangers Int’l – Home.

8. Rivers United vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

9. Nasarawa United vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

10. Kano Pillars vs.Shooting Stars – Home

The above fixtures are pretty cheeky and difficult to predict Kano Pillars’ ascendancy over their opponents, making it difficult to assuage that  relegation won’t stare at their face this season.

But as earlier explained, football can be cruel and it’s an  unpredictable sport.

As a son of the soil and unrepentant fan of the Sai Masu Gida, I wish them all the best in their endeavours!!!

Jamilu Uba Adamu

is a football analyst and can be reached via +234 803 207 8489

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