– Abu Abdullah Husain bn. Ali [as].
These are the ageless words of Imam Husain bn. Ali-the symbol of struggle,sacrifice and martyrdom-the affectionate grandson of Muhammad al-Mustapha[sa]. He said these words at the plains of Karbala-the station of his martyrdom.
I met Abba Ahmad Gwadabe when I gained admission to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria-Nigeria in 1989 to study Mechanical Engineering. He was then a 200 level student at the department of Chemical Engineering. After my registration I settled down in my apartment with my roommates at the ICSA-Ramat Hall. Naturally I said my prayers at the Ramat Mosque which in those days was the bastion of conflict between proponents of revolutionary Islam and defenders of reactionary Islam. Some few days after my arrival I stood up after Isha prayers and addressed the congregation. I spoke about American Imperialism and neo-colonialism and denounced Saudi Arabia as an American colony and its leaders as American puppets.The defenders of reactionary Islam opposed my assertion and the congregation was divided between supporters and opponents of my views. After that when I came out of the Mosque the first person that shake my hand was Abba Ahmad Gwadabe.
That was the first time I met him.In the subsequent years that follows we became very close due to our ideological affinity and inclination to revolutionary Islam as expounded by the late Imam Khomeni[q]. I discovered that Abba was pious, humble, generous, kind and hospitable.He was brave and courageous in his actions and deeds imbibed with the spirit of simplicity and humanness. We formed a triangular friendship together with his classmate, MUhammad Ciroma.We shared great moments together,moments that I will cherish for as long as I live. He was more pragmatic and tolerant than us then,he admired our idealism and we cherished his realism at the service of idealism.
I visited Abba at his hometown,Dutse in Jigawa State,and he accorded me the greatest hospitality.At nite Abba took me to the house of the Representative of Shaikh El-Zakzaky in that town and while there we met someone they fondly called ‘Allarama’ he was a Hafiz of the Qur’an.I was introduced to them and we discussed extensively about Islamic struggle and sacrifice. They asked me alot of questions about Shi’ism and the concept of Wilayatul Faqih[Guidianship of the Scholar].Shiism was new in the movement then and there were alot of misconceptions among brothers.We left there after mid-nite and we walked home. The next morning Abba took me to the park for my departure to Kaduna via Kano.At the park we met the Representative and Allarama waiting for us and we greeted. It was a moment of love and brotherhood and they bade me farewell.
The Abacha dictatorial Government arrested Shaikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in the last quarter of 1996 on trump-up charges. Peaceful protest marches were organized to protest the unjust arrest of the Shaikh. In one of those protest march Abba ‘disappeared’ and was never seen again.He was in the company of his two other companions that saw me off at the park in Dutse when I visited. The vehicle they were in was found at a local police station and the police vehemently refused to give any information about the occupants. Our later investigations revealed that Abba and his companions survived the demonstration but they were murdered at the Kaduna-Zaria toll gate by Mobile Policemen stationed at the gate on that faithful day.
The murderers of our friends, made sure that we did not see the dead body of our friend nor to know where he was buried but they were ignorant of the fact that in our ideology every-land is a graveyard. Despite the movement of time of days becoming months, months becoming years, years becoming decade, the memory of Abba Ahmad Gwadabe remained fresh in our hearts and it will remain so until when we join him never to part again.
My last prayers for him is the prayers of Muslim bn. Aqil[r]-the Messenger of Husain[as]-when his companion died on their way to Kufa. “O Allah! congregate him with the Martyrs of Islam and your righteous servants, for you listen to supplications.”
Rest in peace our beloved friend!