ALHAJI ABU KYAFI; THE FIRST RICH MAN TO OWNED A CAR IN KATSINA.

by Musa Gambo kofar soro.

In katsina the first man to owned a car was Alhaji abu Kyafi of kofar Sauri katsina and he was the first to be turbuned by emir of katsina Muhammadu dikko, as “sarkin kudin katsina.”

Alhaji Abu Kyaf was also the first appointed traditional councilor of finance in the Katsina emirate, during the long reign of Emir Muhammadu Dikko (1906-1944) of blessed memory.
Taking the history back again, Abu Kyafi grandpa Malam Umaru migrated from Kukawa in Borno province in the year 1820 and settled at Katsina in the same year. He settled at the present day Kofar Saauri with his wife.
While there, Malam Umaru ventured into local trading and otherwise. Within some few years to come by, he had had a number of issues, among which were: Malam Na-Maska who was famous, well known in Katsina city. Perhaps, Na-Maska lived between the periods 1835 to 1896. Na-Maska engaged into Quranic study, were he eventually rose to traditional Islamic teacher at Kofar Sauri. But, admitantly, the family’s major occupation was kolanut trading, marketing.
Then, Malam Na-Maska had issues, among which were : the eldest, Madugu Isah, born in around 1848,Shu’aibu, Iliyasu and Abu Kyafe.
Madugu Isah was a magnanimous merchant and often led many caravans in the Saharan trading, most particularly the kola hawking. It was even claimed that Madugu Isah led Abu Kyafe into businesses of kola, that even after the death of Madugu, he had to go further to expand the business.
Kyafi was born in the year 1870, and was perhaps Dikko’s near contemporary. They woke up together at Kofar Sauri. The later years saw Kyafi transporting kola from Accra, as per as Ghana, to Katsina. He was an opulent merchant, well-to-do and highly influenced.
When, between 1922 to 1924, when railway was constructed in northern Nigeria by the then British colonial masters, Alhaji Abu Kyafi swung into bringing kola from western side of southern province in Nigeria, popularly known as Kurmi. His influence and fascination grew to have an extension that, even the colonial masters respected him. In one moment, the then Native Authority (NA) could not have paid salary to workers due to insufficiency of finance, but Abu Kyafi was beckoned by the Emir Dikko and persuaded to lend money to pay workers. That was the reason why Emir Dikko had to appoint him as Sarkin Kudi or more commonly Finance councilor in the emirate, so as to arrest, halt financial difficulty situations of both NA and the emirate.
Next to Emir Dikko, Alhaji Abu Kyafi was the first Katsina merchant, i trader to have owned a car in Katsina.
Abu Kyafi will continue to be remembered in the next generations as one of the most popular international traders in the sub Saharan states of West Africa. Among his numerous children were: Alhaji Danmashi, Alhaji Salihu, Alhaji Bature, Alhaji Abdu Danbekuta and a host of others, who were also importantly known for their plenipotentiary, philanthropic traits. History will never forget about them, through many generations. Their descendants are at present living at Kofar Sauri, Katsina.

This piece was written by Alhaji Musa Gambo Kofar Soro, Katsina, and translated by Aliyu kankara.
The article was culled from katsina city news magazine june/July edition 2021

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