In the build up of Third Republic gubernatorial and state house elections, in the summer of 1991, then as a child of seven or eight, I attended a political rally which held a stone-throw away from my father’s house at Bakin Kasuwa in Kankia.
The candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) for Katsina House of Assembly, a fair-skin fellow, exuding with youthful exuberance addressed the gathering. I later learnt his name was Bishir Babba.
I left the place mesmerized by the Babba’s speech prowess and oratorical skill. Almost thirty years after, the memory still lingers in my mind.
Babba made it to the state house and wrote his name in the golden book of history. Though elected on the platform of NRC, then the ruling party in Katsina state, he never hesitated to challenge any wrongful act by the house leadership or state governor the attitude that set him against the power brokers in the state, consequent upon which he was kidnapped. I could vividly remember how Kankia was shut down until he was released. The rest they say is now history.
After he contested and lost twice, in 2004, he was elected as the executive chairman of Kankia Local Government on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, the position he occupied until 2011.
During his reign, Kankia Local Government saw tremendous changes in almost all spheres of human life; education, health, agriculture, housing, sport and religion.
Albeit he was from Babba Kaita house, an aristocratic family in Kankia, Bishir chose simple and austere lifestyle and identified with ordinary people than elites. This attitude couple with his comical behaviour no doubt endeared him to the people and curved him a niche in the political space of Kankia Local Government. He was known for his zero tolerance for corruption and strong aversion to injustice and nepotism. His tenure as chairman saw rise in adherence to rule of law and due process.
This political disciple of Alh Lawal Kaita was to many of us a role model and mentor from whom we emulated many positive virtues.
Until his death, he was a permanent Commissioner at Katsina state Civil Service Commission.
His death yesterday at Saudi Arabia threw the people of Kankia and beyond into sudden mourning. He might be dead physically, but his legacies will live on to immortalize him. May his soul rest in perfect peace amin.