Tijjani Abubakar El-Miskin


Note: Date of Birth to be verified. An obituary prepared by Bala Muhammad and published in the Daily Trust, Nigeria notes: Deputy Secretary General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs Professor Tijjani Abubakar El-Miskin was a veteran journalist and prominent civil society activist. El-Miskin was Deputy Secretary General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Borno State Pilgrims Welfare Agency, a position he was appointed to in 2013 when Governor Kashim Shettima reconstituted the agency's board. He was also a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Maiduguri and a former Director General of the Nigeria Arabic Village at Gamboru, Borno State. One of the country's most versatile Muslim clerics, teachers and activists, Professor El-Miskin once taught at the Nigeria Defence Academy in Kaduna. He was very prominent at academic and Islamic lecture circuits and has hundreds of seminar papers to his name. His father, the prominent Tijjaniyya cleric Sheikh Abubakar El-Miskin, died in Maiduguri last November at the age of 100 and the Professor was selected to head the Order. Professor el-Miskin was also a member of the committee of traditional rulers, retired military officers, academics, businessmen and former public officers set up by the Northern States Governors Forum two years ago to work for reconciliation, healing and security in the troubled North East region. I first met el-Miskin in a quarter of a century ago in Lagos at an occasion we were both invited to speak - he was Guest Speaker and I as one of the discussants. He was by then already an established academician and orator. Needless to say, I was then just a rookie academic. While he spoke, my mouth would definitely have been agape in awe and shock - he was that good. For those who may not know, el-Miskin spoke more languages than most, if not all, linguist or polyglot Nigeria had ever produced. Plus or minus, count his native Kanuri, Hausa, Fulfulde, Shuwa-Arab, Arabic, then English, French, and I think Spanish and some German. He was that good ma sha Allah. Professor el-Miskin was an exceedingly good man. He was, above all, extremely humble. When back in 2006 I had cause to invite him to be guest speaker at the Second Anniversary of the organisation I once headed in Kano State, A Daidaita Sahu, he immediately accepted over the phone. I was shocked, knowing how busy such people could be. I offered that perhaps he would check his diary and get back to us? 'No,' he had said. 'For an occasion like yours, all other Diary entries are now secondary.' Allahu Akbar! At that occasion, on September 11, 2006 at the Sani Abacha Indoor Stadium, Kano, I had escorted the Professor to greet the late Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero who was by then seated awaiting then Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau who was just about to enter the arena. After their greetings, the Emir called el-Miskin closer. I couldn't hear what they were discussing, but I noticed el-Miskin was breaking into a broad smile while the Emir, despite his taciturnity, was also broadly smiling. There seemed to be lots of familiarity. The professor was later to tell me they had the usual Fulani versus Kanuri banter with the Emir, and the latter later asked after the aged father of the former, Shaikh Abubakar el-Miskin, a foremost Tijjaniyya Leader in Borno. As to what made the King laugh, el-Miskin didn't tell me. Later, when he was seated next to Mallam Shekarau, their familiarity took centre-stage, and I was eclipsed completely, despite the programme being 'mine', so to say. The Professor was at ease with all.

Compiler: Bala Muhammad

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