When the idea of of forming the Abuja Round Table, the parent body of AR Chat Room, was mooted by a group of nine, namely, Dr Bello Halliru, Mahmoud Yayale, Attahiru Bafarawa, Barr Tanimu Turaki, Adamu Waziri, Ibrahim Shema, Ahmed Makarfi, Lawal Batagarawa and myself, I was mandated to approach and invite Bashir Tofa to join us. Bashir was my good friend and I have read quite a number of the books he authored, especially the History of the Propets in Islam, which are extremely educating and illuminating, thus my fondly calling him Ustaz!
He told me he was writing another 500-page book also on Islam and promised that I would be the first to receive a copy. Allahu Akbar, he never lived to fulfill that wish!
Back to the gist of what I want to write. I visited him at his castle and told him about the group and, as expected, he asked about the objective of the group. I told him the names of the members and our concern and worry about the seeming division in Northern Nigeria and the emerging cracks threatening our legendary unity in diversity with serious security and economic consequences. I informed him of our desire to identify like minds to dialogue and restore the trust and common bond among the various components of Northern Nigeria irrespective of our religion or tribe as per the dream of our founding fathers!
The Bashir I know who will do anything and sacrifice anything for Northern Nigeria did not disappoint me and instantly jumped at the idea. And so the birth of Abuja Round Table and subsequent AR Chat Room.
I knew Bashir Tofa as an extremely courageous and fearless person and above all highly knowledgeable. His able leadership qualities of Abuja Round Table and AR Chat Room eloquently testify to that.
His loss is not only to his family, the good people of Kano and Nigeria but will leave a huge gap in the service of Northern Nigeria by Abuja Round Table and Chat Room!
May Allah comfort his family and give them the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss.
We pray to Allah to admit Bashir into Aljanna. Ameen.
Alhaji Sule Lamido is a former governor of Jigawa State.
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