Tofa: Exit of a Businessman and Ex-Presidential Candidate

By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano

Until the run up to the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, not many Nigerians knew the late Bashir Othman Tofa, despite the fact that he served as national financial secretary of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Contesting in the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged the freest in Nigeria’s history, brought him to national limelight.

Tofa, who died in the early hours of Monday in Kano at 74, was the presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). His party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were the two registered political parties that contested in the 1993 election under Option A4. He was the challenger of Chief MKO Abiola, the presidential candidate of the SDP. The results of the election, in which Abiola was coasting home to victory, were annulled by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Abiola, who was later arrrested, for declaring himself winner of the election and President, by the military regime of Late Gen Sani Abacha, died in detention under the regime of Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Born on June 20, 1947, Tofa had his primary education at Shahuci Junior Primary, Kano and then continued his studies at City Senior Primary School in Kano.

Between 1962 and 1966, he attended Provincial College, Kano. After completing his studies at the Provincial school, he worked for Royal Exchange Insurance company from 1967 to 1968. From 1970 to 1973, he attended City of London College.

His sojourn into politics started in 1976 when he was elected councilor of Dawakin Tofa Local Government Council. In 1977, he was elected into the Constituent Assembly.

In the Second Republic, Tofa was at various times the secretary of the Kano branch of NPN, he later became the party’s national financial secretary and was a national member of the Green Revolution National Committee.

During the Third Republic, Tofa was part of the Liberal Movement which metamorphosed into Liberal Convention when it was not registered as a political party.

Tofa joined the NRC in 1990. In 1993, when the Babangida administration introduced the Option A4 system, Tofa was elected the presidential candidate representing Kano.

During the party’s presidential primary, he defeated Pere Ajunwa, Joe Nwodo and Dalhatu Tafida to clinch the NRC ticket. At the time, he was an ally of Halilu Akilu, the security chief at the time.

His running mate in the election was Sylvester Ugoh, an Igbo. Both were members of the defunct National Party of Nigeria.

In 2011, Bashir Tofa vied for presidential ticket of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), along with the then Kano Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.

Tofa was an author of so many books, businessman, an oil trader and industrialist.

He was also the Chairman of Kano Elders Forum.

His funeral will be held Monday morning at his residence situated at Gandun Albasa in Kano metropolis.

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