No one can contest the depth and veracity of Professor Dahiru Yahaya ‘s knowledge, especially in the fields of historiography and philosophy of history. His students, colleagues and associates could as well attest to my claims.
The last time we met was in my office where we had extensive discussion on a new book project he was undertaking. The book is on the historiography of Islam in Kano, and Hausa land by extension.
From the discussion, the book promises to be controversial and explosive, but would definitively provide fresh insights on the nature of early Islam in Hausa land through Prof. Yahaya’s deliberate efforts to establish painstaking empirical details and irrefutable facts.
I could recollect how I kept insisting that he should be snappy in putting finishing touches to the book and bring it out without further delays.
Little did it occur to me that was not to be. That would be my last encounter with Professor Yahaya who I got very close to in his forage in Ahmadu Bello University as the occupant of Bala Usman’s Chair.
But as if I had some premonition, I lately raised the same concern over the delay to bring out Prof. Yahaya’s book with one of his youngest students and associates, who also happens to be a colleague of mine, and radiatingly an upcoming intellectual. He is none other than Nadir Abdulhadi Nasidi.
I asked Nadir to mount pressure on Prof. Yahaya to bring out that book. More so now there’s the urgency to do so considering the soaring confusion in the house of Islam.
Again, from our discussion with Prof. Yahaya on that fateful day I was made to understand that the book has deliberately set out to address in clear and unambiguous terms the historical, ontological and epistemological contestations in the Islamic world in the specific context of the ancient city of Kano.
Of course, we cannot deny the fact, if we are sincere with our faith, that there’s a brew of serious crises of legitimacy manifesting in multiple Islamic sects and tendencies in northern Nigeria.
Adieu our teacher of teachers, a Professor of Professors. May your academic legacies of uncompromising pursuit of truth be sustained by all of us in the Nigerian academic community. Amin!
Professor Liman writes from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria