Meet Late Alhaji Abdu Fari, multimillionaire, famous trader, contractor in Katsina
Late Alhaji Abdu Fari Katsina 1919-2014: Abridged Biography, By Dr Sani Abdu Fari
Late Alhaji Abdu Fari, whose name was Abdullahi, son of Kafarda Muhammadu Gidado, son of Kusada Muhammadu Bello, son of Bebeji Muhammadu Gidado, son of Mallam Ummaru Dallaje (the first Ameer of Katsina), son of Abdulmumin Abubakar (Mummuni), son of Abubakar Muhammadu (Garba Madambacin Gabas), son of Muhammadu Magoshi was born in the year 1919 at Unguwar-Madawaki in Katsina town. He attended Liman Audi Islamic School, Unguwar Liman Katsina for Qur’anic education.
Late Abdu Fari started trading at the age of fifteen, among other trades, receiving Kolanut from one of the then leading business women in Katsina and his Uwar-daki Hajiya Baika (mother to Alhaji Iron Baba, Alhaji Dahiru Saude and Alhaji Raben Baika, all of blessed memory) and due to his trustworthiness and sincerity, she gave him the name Dan’amana Dan-Hamsin. From Katsina, he used to sell Kolanut as far as to the towns of Danmusa, Dutsinma and other neighbouring markets. Late Abdu Fari also happened to be supplied with Kolanut by his other Maigida Alhaji Gani Dan’aware (father to late Alhaji Musa Gani Katsina). Dutsinma town was one of his centres for trade where he learned the art of tailoring at the residence of Malan Wowon Labon Didi. He also bought clothes and other goods to sell at other major markets such as Batsari, Safana, Kusada, Dankama, Kaita, Jibia etc. on returning home to Katsina. He later moved to Jos where he expanded his business to include farming, general goods sales and tailoring.
Late Abdu Fari stayed in Jos for few years and having realized enough capital to further expand his trade, he moved to Ile-Ife town in the year 1943 where he re-invested in Kolanut dealership, sending large sacks (Huhu) to northern Nigeria markets. He also sent Kolanut back home to his elder brother late Alhaji Musa Kafarda (then popularly known as Musa Maigoro) by train via Funtua town. He became a seasoned Kolanut trader, opened branches for Kolanut business at Ijebu-Ode and Iteku towns which were other centers for Kolanut trading and later moved to Ibadan where he opened a large warehouse for storing and transporting to all parts of the north. He lived at Sabo quarters in Ibadan for over twenty years, a famous area known to be the dominant settlement for northerners, and as a result he and his wives became fluent in Yoruba language.
Late Abdu Fari performed his first pilgrimage along with his father in 1956 at the age of 36 and in that year he was introduced to late Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto while boarding the same plane from Lagos to Jidda via Khartoum. Some of his business associates in Ibadan included Alhaji Muhammad Fari Kano, Alhaji Tanko (father to Alhaji Labo Tarka), Alhaji Barau Mai Fanka, Alhaji Jibrin na Madugu, Alhaji Ali Bagobiri, Alhaji Sani Mashal, Alhaji Mamman Mai kekuna(Kano), Alhaji Bako Jagindi, Alhaji Lawal na Kadiri Kura Kano, Alhaji Abdu na Idi Gora, Alhaji Mamman Dan Mai-Teba, Alhaji Dan-Baba Mijin Maigari, Alhaji Mamman Alabura Bamalle, Alhaji Mamman Ifo (Late Sarkin Yakin Katsina), Alhaji Ubaidu, Alhaji Danlami Na-mai-kalango Ibadan, Alhaji Dauda Kambari, Alhaji Kari Borno, Alhaji Garba Sagadan, Alhaji Mudi dan-Zaki (the then chairman NPC Ibadan), Alhaji Garba na Bara Dan Sukuwar Dawaki, Alhaji Dikko dan Sarkin Hausawa Ibadan and many others. During the 1966 unrest, there was so much tension in the country as a result of the murder of Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna the then premier of Northern Nigeria; therefore, he had to finally leave Ibadan with the rest of his family, though some of the family members were living in Katsina.
Late Abdu Fari finally returned home to Katsina in the year 1967. Having established his transactions with substantial capital, he then expanded his business to other sectors which included farming, contract and transportation. He ventured into transportation having had an affectionate friend and close associate (late Alhaji Halliru Kafur, Hali Brother) who was the then General Manager UTC Kano. They also had a joint spare parts company called Automotive Parts Industry (API) in Kano. Some of his early contracts on return home included the construction of Ajiwa Dam water channels to parts of Katsina, Bakori Dam, Bakolori Dam, Gangara Secondary School, Ministry of Works Mani, GGSS Kankia, WTC Katsina, Fertilizer Stores across the towns of Safana, Dutsinma and Katsina etc., BATC workshop Katsina and many others.
Late Abdu Fari became a seasoned transporter in Nigeria and West-Africa at large with an established reputation; transporting farm produce, cattle, fertilizer, petroleum products and general goods across all parts of Nigeria. He was the chairman of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Katsina Branch, civilian chairman of Road Safety Katsina area and he was a member of Police Community Relations Committee. He had connections with foreign automobile manufacturers from Germany, Holland, USA and England as a result these companies are periodically sending their product catalogues to his address as part of his recognition as an international transporter which could be seen when browsed on the internet using his name. Other businesses at home included being one of the leading agents for Katsina Steel Rolling Mill, Sokoto Cement, Ashaka Cement, Lever Brothers, Northern Nigeria Bottling Company, etc.
He was a member of the Katsina Emirate Council. This came as a result of the respect, trust and affection that existed between him and the late Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Usman, which also extended to the reign of the current Emir, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman. The long existing bond and affection could be seen at the death of late Abdu Fari when the Emir was at the deceased house for hours and was lamenting on his character as one who was truthful, religiously-minded and honest, the Emir bemoaned the great loss to his Emirate, Katsina State and Nigeria at large. Late Abdu Fari was also a member of the Gidauniyar Jihar Katsina under the leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) since it was established until his death.
His commitment and passion for western education was so clear and it became his foremost priority to personally and fully sponsor his children, relatives, neighbors and even house-helps both males and females up to university level, and before his death many of the children and relatives hold Bachelor Degrees, Master Degrees and PhD in different fields obtained from various universities such as Bayero University Kano (BUK), Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU), University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS), University of Zululand South Africa (UNIZULU), University of Abuja (UA), Zoom Technologies Institute Hyderabad India (ZTI) and Linton University College, Malaysia (LUC).
Many of late Abdu Fari house boys (almajirai) were enrolled into Arabic Teachers College Katsina (now SUNCAIS) under his scholarship. As a result one of them is now a PhD holder and about four of them now hold Master degrees from BUK and UDUS respectively, while others, up to 47 in numbers are currently teaching or working in various primary and secondary schools and ministries across Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Jigawa States. These efforts and determination could be adjudged as a great sacrifice and service to humanity.
I cannot end this without adding few words about late Abdu Fari’s commitment to his religion. Despite numerous daily business activities, he was always mindful of his religious obligations, especially offering the five daily prayers in congregation. Anytime he was seen driving to or from his house and or office, it is believed that prayer time was approaching. This also became his routine, year in year out until his last breath. Late Alhaji Abdu Fari in his efforts to promoting Islam and Islamic education built many mosques and Islamic schools across Nigeria and Niger Republic mostly through information received from scholars, Da’awah committees, and sometimes from village heads and Imams, among the people who helped in that regard were late Sheikh Imam Lawal of Katsina central mosque, Sheikh Malan Abbate, Sheikh Yakubu Musa Hassan and Alhaji Sani Danballaje. Other efforts in the community included maintenance of the conditions of graveyards across Katsina metropolis. May his soul rest in eternal peace, shortcomings be forgiven, and good deeds be accepted and rewarded by Almighty Allah (SWT), amen.
Late Abdu Fari died at his Inwala Quarters residence along Kofar-Kwaya Road in Katsina at about 13:50hrs on Wednesday, 29th October 2014 at the age of ninety four (94yrs). He was survived by four (4) wives and forty three (43) children [20 Men and 23 Ladies] and many grandchildren.