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Ex-Presidential Candiate Tofa a True and Irreplaceable Nationalist, Buhari Says

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, led other prominent people in Nigeria and around the world to mourn the candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the 1993

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, led other prominent people in Nigeria and around the world to mourn the candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, describing him as a true and irreplaceable nationalist.

Tofa died at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), in Kano State, in the early hours of Monday after a brief illness. He was buried in-between the graves of his parents at the Hajj Camp cemetery in Kano metropolis. He was aged 74 years.

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, were among prominent Nigerians that attended the funeral prayer.

Apart from the president, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni were among those, who sent early tributes to the deceased.

Buhari, while leading the nation in mourning Tofa, described him as a politician of note, who was also a promoter of Islamic culture and civilisation. The president described Tofa as a true nationalist that would be difficult to replace.

The president said regarding the former presidential candidate, “He was, till the end, a patriot to the core. He envisaged a better Nigeria for all. We pray that this dream and collective aspiration and necessary commitment will not go with him. We owe it to his memory and to the nation.”

He Allah to repose his soul and grant fortitude to the bereaved family and friends, the Kano Emirate Council, as well as the government and people of Kano State to bear the loss.

Buhari recalled that Tofa set up the Bureau for Islamic Propagation (BIP) in the mid-80s that helped to unite Muslim scholars in the northern states, narrowing the differences that characterised their relationships. The BIP also published books and newspapers.

In addition to his tributes, the president sent a four-man delegation to Kano with a condolence letter to Ganduje. The team was made up of Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (rtd), and Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Sulaiman Adamu. It was accompanied by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

In a statement by the Kano State Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, and chief mourner, Ganduje recalled the sacrifices of Tofa, who started taking up leadership responsibilities at an early age, when he was elected councillor in Tofa community in his late 20s, and remained vibrant and dynamic up till the time of his death.

He said as a businessman, trader and philanthropist, Tofa touched the lives of many people, especially, the downtrodden, and expressed the belief that the legacies of the deceased would be approximated for posterity.

Ganduje stated in his tribute to Tofa,

“The legacy of his political beliefs and triumphs will be important footnotes in the literature of Nigeria’s government and politics for generations yet to come.

“He was a great man, a quintessential democrat and outstanding statesman, who has left very lasting impressions both on the politics and political history of Nigeria.”

He prayed the Almighty Allah to grant his soul Aljannah Firdausi and grant Tofa’s family, friends, and associates the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Atiku, in a press release by his media office in Abuja, described the late Tofa as a thoroughbred democrat, whose contributions to the growth of democratic governance in Nigeria is invaluable.

The former vice president noted that throughout his political career, Tofa was a politician, who believed in the power of ideas and ideologies and was never associated with political violence or any other anti-democratic behaviour.

The Waziri Adamawa was in touch with Tofa until his last days

Atiku stressed that the statesman and politician, who had been preoccupied with the state of affairs in Nigeria in recent times, and, especially as it impacted the North, was a “balanced and incisive” personality.

“His style of politics and the panache with which he engaged political opponents will remain classical in Nigeria’s political history and are worthy of emulation by contemporary political actors and the future generations,” Atiku said.

Buni, while describing Tofa as an iconic politician, said in a statement by his Director General, Press and Media Affairs, Mr. Mamman Mohammed, that Tofa was an iconic politician, who shared the values of politics as call to service.

“Late Tofa was a fine gentleman, a true democrat and a nationalist with a definition of politics as a tool for service delivery,” Buni said, noting that Nigeria lost the late politician at a time the country’s democracy needed his wise counsel.

Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano