Northern Nigerian Breaking News

A city has fallen: Tribute to Professor Dahiru Yahya-Kabiru Ibrahim Danguguwa


“The Mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”.  William Arthur Ward.

Professor Dahiru Yahya was one of my favourite teachers and remains a good mentor to this day. In Professor Dahiru Yahya, true scholarship and humility meet.

A generous, charismatic and prolific thinker. I first met him at Bayero University, Kano when I was an undergraduate student in the Department of History. Since that time, Prof as he once said, enjoyed every moment he spent with me.

He believed that young people always have novel ideas and be updated; he would always listen to me as if I was his teacher.

He used to call young people his teachers whenever they told him something new. In one of the moments I spent with him, Prof. told me that ahead (brain) of a professor is just like a city. He, therefore, advised me to value every moment spent with Professors by exploring the city.

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During my MSc degree between 2012-2014, Prof was so keen to read my thesis when I informed him that I was writing on Boko Haram and AQIM.

He helped me with whatever I needed to complete the thesis. A year later, I informed him that I was presenting part of the work in a Faculty seminar. He was so happy and promised to come all the way from Abuja to listen to my presentation. After the presentation, he ushered in intellectual discussions on the origin of ‘Islamic activism’. He even responded to the questions I was supposed to answer. What a great honour!

As a humble person, Prof allowed me to explore his city as much as I could. I wanted to explore more when I informed one of my course mates that I wanted to see Prof to discuss the situation of the country last week. He deliberately shared some of his life encounters with people I considered great men in Nigeria. I have a lot to say on this. Perhaps this is not the right place.

In 2014, Prof and I were having dinner in his sitting room. His wife served us with a variety of foods. After a few minutes, Prof looked at me and said “Danguguwa! You have a masters degree but you have zero experience regarding what women can do” I was single without even a fiancé. He taught me what he jokingly called “makircin mata” .

He advised me not to underestimate the power of a woman. He said “your wife’s money is hers, while your money is for hers. Make sure you take good care of her”

Read Also:Prof. Dahiru Yahaya dies at 75

When one of my course mates wanted him to write a reference letter for him, Prof gave him his letterhead and directed him to meet me. I wrote whatever I thought was right and Prof signed the letter without a second thought. In 2019 during a conference organised by Faculty of Humanities, Yusuf Maitama Sule University Kano, Prof served as a lead paper presenter.

The thought-provoking paper was sent to me for review prior to the presentation. I was confused for I couldn’t even comprehend the content of the paper. How could I review what Prof wrote? He was not happy though.

Prof joined academics almost two decades before I was born. In 2010 Bayero University Kano organised a Festschrift conference in his honour. By that time, he spent four decades teaching in the University. Out of more than seven and a half decades he spent on earth, over half a century was dedicated to teaching, research and mentorship.

Hundreds of students and colleagues attended his funeral today. Hundreds of tributes will be written in honour of the diplomatic and intellectual historian. This six hundred and forty-one words tribute says nothing about Prof Dahiru Yahya.

Allah Ya sa Aljanna ce makoma.

Kabiru Ibrahim Danguguwa, a historian and lecturer with Yusuf Maitama Sule University Kano, writes from, Kano.

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