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The Late Brig Gen Abba Kyari (B.1001) A Quintessential BOBA Member

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The death, on Sunday, of Brig Gen (Rtd) Abba Kyari (B.1001) marked the passing away of the last of the BOBA members who served as Governors of Kaduna State, AHMED MORA, writes

There were nine of them, including the incumbent Governor of Kaduna, all having one thing in common, which is having studied in Barewa College Zaria for their secondary school education, at different times. Another common thread among them is that they have all operated from the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the seat of the Government of the defunct Northern Region, North Central State, the old Kaduna State (present Kaduna and Katsina States), and the present Kaduna State.

On Sunday, the longest serving one among them, the late Brig Gen (rtd) Abba Kyari (B.1001), was buried in Abuja after the Janaza in the central mosque, having died on Sunday night.

Between last year and 2017 to date, three former Governors of Kaduna State, who were students of Barewa College, Zaria passed on.

Their Excellencies, the late Alh Muhammadu Lawal Kaita (B.588), the first Old Boy to serve as Civilian Governor of Kaduna State (Oct-Dec, 1983) and the late AVM Moukhtar Mohammed  (B.1250), who served as Military Governor (1975 to 1976) have both passed on in 2017.

On Sunday, the longest serving one among the three and indeed of all the nine, the late Brig Gen Abba Kyari  (B.1001) who served as Governor of the defunct North Central State  (present Kaduna and Katsina States), from 1967 when the State was created to 1975 also passed on.

The Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) had earlier lost the following out of the total nine old students who served either as Governor General, as in the case of the late Sir Kashim Ibrahim (B.73), or Premier of Northern Region,as in the case of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello  (B.87),or as Governor of the defunct Northern Region as in the case of the late Maj.Gen (rtd)Hassan Usman Katsina  (B.669),or as Military Administrator as in the case of AVM Ibrahim Alfa (B.1404), or as Governor of Kaduna State as in the case of the late Alh.Dabo Mohammed Lere(B.1409).

As the President of BOBA, Engr.Dahiru Ibrahim (B.1136) join the members of BOBA in mourning the passing away of a distinguished old student of Barewa College, Zaria, along with the family of the deceased, the good people of Kaduna, Katsina and Borno States, and indeed the north and the country, let us not forget His Excellency, General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR (B.783), Nigeria’s former Head of State, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is presently the chairman of the Board of Trustees  (BoT) of BOBA.

It was Gen Gowon, as Head of State who, on coming to power in 1967, appointed the late Brig.Gen Abba Kyari (B.1001) as the Military Governor of the then newly created North Central State  (present Kaduna and Katsina States).

Gen.Gowon, it would be recalled, equally appointed the then DSP Usman Faruk (B.860), as the Governor of the North Western State (present Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger States), and the late Brig.Gen (rtd) David L.Bamigboye (B.1067), who died recently as the Military Governor of Kwara State (present Kwara State and Kogi States).

Indeed out of the twelve Military Governors in the country from 1967 to 1975, three or twenty five per cent (25%) of them attended Barewa College, Zaria.

It was during the tenure of the late Brig.Gen (rtd) Abba Kyari  (B.1001), that the name, Barewa College was adopted to replace the former name of Government College, Zaria (GCZ), which the College was referred to since 1956.

This took place in 1971, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the College. The College was earlier at inception, the first post primary school for the whole of the then Northern Region  (present 19 States of the North and the FCT); in 1921, referred to as Katsina Training College, Katsina (1921-1933); Katsina Higher College (1933-1938); Kaduna College, Kaduna (1938-2949/1950), and Zaria Secondary School, Zaria (1950-1956).

The date in July, 1974,would forever linger in the memory of the graduating class of Barewa College, Zaria, as those admitted in January 1970 into the then Government College, Zaria witnessed a graduation ceremony for the first and last time in their four years and six months stay in the College.

During the colourful ceremony, which was graced by DSP Usman Faruk (B.860), the then Military Governor of the defunct North Western State as the Special Guest of Honour, the Late Brig Gen  (rtd)Abba Kyari, as the Military Governor of the defunct North Central State was, as should be expected, the Chief Host. The author of this article was among the graduating class.

For whatever reason, there were no graduation ceremonies for the final year students from 1970 till the one organised in July, 1974 by the Principal of the College, the British born Mr.E.P.T Crampton of blessed memory.

I recall the excitement by all the graduating students, and who were particularly impressed with the sight of the beautifully decorated uniform of the former Military Governor of the host state, the late Brig.Gen (rtd) Abba Kyari (B.1001).

As fate would have it, three members of the class were to eventually be admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy  (NDA), Kaduna, and all successfully passed out and were commissioned and had attained the rank of Generals before their retirements at different times.

They are Lt.Gen AB Dambazau,CFR, PhD (2474),the present Minister of Interior who had served as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at one time; and His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni(B.2612), the Sultan of Sokoto, and President General of  the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs(SCIA) of Nigeria, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees  (BoT)of BOBA. He attained the rank of Brig. Gen before his subsequent selection and appointment as the Sultan of Sokoto.

The third, the late Air Commodore (rtd) MA Yahaya, who passed on last year was a fighter pilot with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and had retired before his death after a prolonged illness.

Perhaps, the late Brig Gen Abba Kyari (B.1001) had inspired them, along with other members of the 1974 graduating class who also joined the Armed Forces through the Short Service route and were commissioned Officers before their retirement.

In this category belong Col(rtd) Rotimi Samson(MB,BS)(B.2546)and Wing Cmdr SA Tijjani (rtd)(B.A)(B.2580).There were others who were of Other Ranks.

Surely, the late Brig Gen  (rtd)Abba Kyari  (B.1001)was  proud of Barewa College, Zaria. The plot upon which the National Secretariat of the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA), at Unguwan Sarki,GRA,Kaduna was sited, was given to the Association by the late Governor and remain as the only landed property of the Association.

The BOBA House and the shops built on the side of the plot are all the landed property of the Association, courtesy of the late Governor.

The Late Brig.Gen (Rtd) Abba Kyari  (B.1001), was a member of the Board of Trustees  (BoT), a position he willingly accepted and was dutifully exercising his role as a member, until recently, when due to health challenges, he could not attend meetings of the Board and other events of the Association.

To Sen Abubakar Abba Kyari, a Barewa Old Student and a serving Senator representing Borno Statemand his other siblings, as well as the children of the late Brig.Gen Zakariya Maimalari (B.572),the children of the late Col Kur Mohammed  (B.627),and many others whom the late Brig Gen  (rtd)Abba Kyari  (B.1001),bred and took as his own, you should, along with all members of the Barewa Old Boys Association hold your heads high as the late Governor has had a fulfilled life.

Hajia Gumsu Abba Kyari, the widow of the former Governor should equally be consoled on reflecting on the many good deeds her husband has left as legacy for mankind.

Perhaps, due to the immense personality of the late Governor, a mammoth crowd witnessed his Janaza in the National Mosque.

Among those from the BOBA family were Engr. Dahiru Ibrahim, the National President, all the way from Kano; Dr Umaru Abdulmutallab, the immediate past president of BOBA; Gen AJ Kazir, the first vice president; Gen AB Dambazau, the minister of Interior; Secretary General, Alh.Lawal Garba; AVM (rtd ) Ibrahim Shafi’i; Col Abba Maimalari; the former Governor of Jigawa State, Alh. Kabir Sani Abdullahi; Ambassador Kashim Ibrahim; Mohammed Kur Mohammed; Air Cmdr Atiku (rtd ) and many others witnessed the Janaza and, or were in the house of the deceased to pay their condolences to the family, most of whom had flown to Maiduguri after the burial.

May Allah (SWT) grant the late Brig Gen Abba Kyari  (B.1001), a special place in Al-Jannah Firdausi, amin.

– Mora  (B.2511) writes from Kaduna and is the Secretary General of BOBA.





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