Kano, COVID-19 And The Call To Copy The Rabius’

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Bala Ibrahim

By Bala Ibrahim

The people of Kano cannot but continue to thank God for the gift of patriotic philanthropists, amongst whom is late Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu, the father of Alhaji Nafiu Rabiu, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, Karami Isyaku Rabiu, and a number of other Rabius, that may be of lesser public prominence.

he dictionary defines philanthropy as the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially, by the generous donation of money to good causes.

The coming of Corona is making the public to understand the place and meaning of good causes, in addition to appreciating the names of those who identify and promote such good causes. For the purpose of this article and the Coronavirus, my pen is going to be Kano state bias.

Because of culture, religion and our unique social setting in Nigeria, our level of giving and propensity to give, are dependent on a number of factors, the principal of which lies with the individual’s values. This means how a philanthropist decides on who to give and how much to give, are hinged on morals, and driven by standards.

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The amount to give, and how to give, depend on parameters like one’s ethical upbringing, the importance of the cause, as well as conscience and doctrine, particularly the developed doctrine of faith, imbibed by the family. When it comes to Islamic religious ideological orientation, the name of Late Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu comes topmost in that revolution.

Perusing through the Wikipedia, it says, Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu was born to the family of Muhammadu Rabiu Dan Tinki, a Quranic preacher from Bichi, who led his own Quranic school. From 1936 to 1942, Rabiu attended his father’s school, learning the Quran and Arabic.

He then moved to Maiduguri, Borno, for further Islamic education. After spending four years in Maiduguri, he returned to Kano, prepared to be an Islamic scholar. In 1949, Rabiu was an independent teacher of Arabic and the Quran, who had among his audience, Ibrahim Musa Gashash. In the early 1950s, while still a teacher, Rabiu began to engage in private enterprise and established Isyaku Rabiu & Sons in 1952.

The Wikipedia went on to illustrate how the late Rabiu sprang to success in business, through the establishment of many companies, that made the history of investment in manufacturing, insurance, banking and real estate.

Khalifa Rabiu was a philanthropist of repute, who had sired many children of eminence in business and similar path of philanthropy, with Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, the chairman of BUA Group, playing the solemn but silent celebrity now.

Perhaps due to the imbibed Islamic etiquette of giving, inculcated in the family by their late father, whose name is constantly resonating in the list of Who is Who among Muslim philanthropists in Nigeria, names like Nafiu Rabiu, Karami Isyaku Rabiu, popularly called IRS, would never be forgotten by many.

In different ways, each had, and is still contributing to the good causes of the public. I had many discussions with Karami Rabiu, on his dreams for a better Kano and a more prosperous Nigeria, through individual constructive contributions.

In his own way, and pursuant to the President’s plea, that members of the private sector should extend a helping hand, in the fight against the Coronavirus, last week, the CEO and Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Isyaka Rabi’u, donated one billion naira to that cause. Good gesture, very good gesture indeed.

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Still feeling unfulfilled, yesterday Tuesday the 31st March, a friend, whom I heard, times without number, eulogizing the good virtues of Abdulsamad Rabiu, and in whose house friends converge every night to eat and pray in the Nasarawa GRA Kano, called to say the man has done it again.

He said BUA, the adopted nickname for Abdulsamad Rabiu, has donated a 3-storey building in Kano, to serve as a befitting COVID-19 isolation centre.

He said already he had instructed his contractors to immediately commence the renovation of the edifice, located along Court Road, Gyadi Gyadi, Kano. The friend said BUA is going to install some state-of-the-art beds and facilities, that would cater for the benefit of those that may contract the COVID-19 disease. This is excellent.

In Philanthropy, actions like these have long been the attested attitude of Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, whose BUA Foundation is famous for many welfare activities, including the construction of a 7,000-square-meter pediatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, and the construction of the Centre for Islamic Studies at Bayero University Kano.

Truly some philanthropists do not set a specific budget for their giving, the amount they spend in any one year depends on the emergence of emergencies. The COVID-19 is an unexpected emergency that came as an epidemic. And philanthropists like Abdulsamad Rabiu are approaching it with humane financial flexibility, for the collective benefit of the public.

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Abdulsamad Rabiu is not alone in this gesture. There are other donors of substance, like Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, that are receiving accolades, but amongst the largest donors in Kano, Abdulsamad Rabiu happens to be youngest, and now the most generous. Thanks to the indoctrination of the late Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu.

In a poser put forward by Kevin Marsh, a medical doctor with a special interest in African philanthropy, and member of a number of international advisory committees relating to malaria and global health research, he asked, “Will there ever be an African equivalent of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?”

I think with the coming of Abdulsamad Rabiu and the support of his siblings, Kevin Marsh’s poser has gotten an answer, as demonstrated in their zeal to cushion the pain of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bala Ibrahim, a Media Advisor writes from Kano