Let me thank the Northern Writers Summit for putting this Special Tribute together in honour of my very long standing brother, friend, colleague and everything positive in the Department of English of the University of Maiduguri which we helped to build for decades. I served the Department for thirty four years(1980 – 2014) I worked with Abubakar for thirty one years in the same Department. Easy going, he was and full of energy, talent and courage.
All these special qualities or attributes find lively and creative expressions in his literary creativities: Poetry, Prose and Drama. As someone very close to this young and brilliant man, full of life and talent, l am most shocked with his tragic death when many positive things were knocking at his doors. At his death, many calls flooded my ears across the country and beyond in tears as l was turned into a senior mourner.
This situation initially left me confused as I turned my grieved eyes to Professor Razinat Mohammed (our strong student and later colleague in Unimaid, now Head, Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Abuja) with the issue over the need for us to do something in honour of late Dr. Abubakar Othman. It was then she drew my attention to what Northern Nigerian Writers Summit was doing to honour him.
The thirty-four years l worked together with Tanure Ojaide (partly), Abubakar Othman, Razinat Mohammed, H. Balami, ldris Okpanachi formed a coalition of North East Creative Writers that were up in arms against the military oppression. So many important literary works against the military have emerged from this block of daring writers from the North East Nigeria. On this list not all: Generals Without War (2000) of ldris Amali, Eaters of the Living (2007) of ldris Okpanachi, The Palm of Time (2010) of Abubakar Othman (where “Peace Time Generals” reside) are lively and fearless poetic testimonies against the military.
To this writer, the current tribute to our departed friend, brother and colleague is a welcome initiative and the beginning of the journey to immortalize Abubakar Othman. Both speakers, Professor Razinant Mohammed, a long standing colleague of Abubakar Othman, and Dr Wale Okediran, a close friend of the late Othman, are in eminent positions to pay glowing tributes to our late Dr. Abubakar Othman. LET US ALL JOIN THEM.