WHY IBRAHIM TAHIR WAS CONTROVERSIAL -SON, THE NEW TALBAN
The late Tahir was known not only for courting controversy but also for his huge frame, intellect and generosity. The senior Tahir, a sociologist and lecturer at ABU, Zaria, was a colourful politician. He was the President of the Nigerian Red Cross Society before his demise in Egypt last year. Daily Sun spoke with the new Talban. Excerpts:
As the new Talban Bauchi
As a proper Muslim I feel most grateful to Almighty Allah for the blessing He has bestowed on me by giving me the chance to serve as the new Talban of Bauchi. I thank God and extend my gratitude to the Emir, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu. I know it is a worrisome task because of the cavity that the late Talban left by his demise.
He did a lot to propagate the title of the Talban. He was an embodiment of humanity. He lived a life that is larger than life and Talban was well known beyond Bauchi State. He was well cherished beyond Nigeria and, he was accomplished all over the world. To fill in to his shoes is not something that can be done overnight. It will in fact take decades. But I thank God that I am young enough to have seen what the Talban has done and I have a long way to try to emulate him.
Talban is service to humanity
A critical underlying point in service to humanity of the late Talban is that he was president of the Nigerian Red Cross, a non profit organisation and a humanitarian organisation. All that the Red Cross is concerned with is giving succour to the homeless, the helpless, to victims of flood, and epidemics, violence and even war. The Red Cross is in units or segments of the army all over the world. So, I will do my best to serve humanity.
Was your father controversial?
I want to throw caution to the wind in answering this question. Maybe someone will say as his son I am not supposed to say he is controversial. But my own personal opinion is that he was extremely controversial. But this does not necessarily mean it could be positive. But the thing is that if there was a weird-wind of opinions, decision or action or movement of people to the left, Talban moved to the right in the sense that he didn't move with the crowd.
He found his reason and jurisdiction for his opinion. Whatever opinion he championed was based on perception of his from the religious ethics or legal ethics. I have never found Talban pursuing an agenda that is either illegal or blasphemy. Sometimes I found myself as a youngman thinking this old man was unnecessarily chasing an agenda that people would never agree with.
Your father was never amassed wealth. He died without building a house. How did his lifestyle affect his children?
Yes, it is true that the Talban was generous to a fault and gave out virtually everything. There was never a time that you would come to the Talban for help you would always get it. The only thing that would stand between you and getting something from the Talban is if he did not have it. He would give you a promise and I assure that if you chased him for 10 years, he would make sure he fulfilled that promise. His generosity flowed from his passion.
He had a lot of empathy for people's situation and conditions and sufferings. Once he was approached with a rather desperate or helpless situation, he would find it difficult not to help you even if it was at the detriment of his own livelihood. When you run your life so to say in such a way, it is difficult for you to build a hut talkless of a house. When you start building and somebody comes with a request the money you are supposed to spend in buying the windows and the doors, you will start giving it out.
Talban never built a house in his life actually. The impact so to say was not necessarily in deprivation of our own survival. Talban made sure that not only his immediate family but even his extended family member had what was necessary for them to have. We had a humble life, it was not flamboyant, not rich but we did not lack. We had the best of education.
We ate and dined the best of meal. But in as far as storing of money or riches, money, collecting assets, Talban never did that. But we cope in such a way that we are still reaping the benefits of his generosity because he was well known and cautious to everybody. Those seeds of hospitality and kindness have blossomed into a big forest now for us to reap.