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The Life and Time of Late Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara, the Tafarkin Borgu 1926 – 2022

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Late Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara was a prince of Gwanara Emirate, successful Teacher and a farmer – two of the noblest professions in this world. He was a complete family man and community leader who left indelible mark in the sand of time.

 

His birth:

Late Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara was born in 1926 to the noble family of the then District Head of Gwanara; late Mallam Suno Aliyu and late Madam Buyon Teu.

 

His education:

Young Salihu began his elementary education at the age of 14 in 1940 because access to education then was very hard and stressful. Children had to trek miles for days from Gwanara to Kaiama to attend School.

Despite the obvious daunting challenges, young Salihu, four years after, completed his elementary school and came out with flying colors, he along with five others out of many in that school were deemed qualified to go to the next phase which was then the middle school otherwise known as Senior Primary School.

In 1944, he began Senior Primary School, Baboko in Ilorin, Ilorin Province after which he also proceeded to Bida Teacher’s College, BTC, where he was awarded a Grade III certificate in 1947.

 

 

 

His career:

Young Salihu began his teaching career at Okuta in then old west Borgu Division (now Baruten Local Government Kwara State) as a Pupil-Teacher, young Salihu was transferred to Agwara now in Niger State, with dint of hard work and commitment to academic excellence and probity, he rose through the rank to the post of a headmaster, and thereafter in 1961, he was transferred to his home village to establish Gwanara Primary School as a pioneer teacher and headmaster robbed into one.

During this stint at Gwanara Primary School, Mallam Salihu concentrated on the business of teaching and building the future leaders of our country and today, the seeds he sown then had germinated and had also (is still) producing leaders of tomorrow. Amongst whom are the likes of Mallam Suleiman Alfa Seko, one time Chairman Borgu Local Government, and later Baruten Local, on the roll call is Alhaji Sani Boriya former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The list of pupils who passed through his tutelage is endless as some of them are now medical and legal practitioners, teachers and lecturers, Engineers and Architects, and a host of others while some are technocrats and business tycoons.

 

As a result of his quest for more knowledge, Mallam Salihu went for his Grade II certificate in 1966 at Ilorin Teachers College, Ilorin, (now Sheikh Abdulkadir College, Ilorin ), a course he also successfully completed in two years before returning to his post as headmaster in Gwanara Primary School.

 

 

His Pilgrimage to Holy Land:

Mallam Salihu, as a dutiful Muslim who believed in the five pillars of Islam, performed the pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca in 1972 and upon his return, he was transferred from Gwanara to Okuta as Adult Education Officer, a position he held for six years before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria to read Education Management and Administration, a course he also finished with flying colors. Upon completion of the course in 1978, he was posted to Zonal Education Department in Ilorin under School Inspectorate until 1979 when he was moved to the Health Management Board where he graciously retired in 1983 after decades of meritorious service.

 

 

 

His stint in politics:
Between 1980- 1983,Alhaji Salihu was appointed as a Board Member Kwara Breweries Limited Ijagbo. In 1989, Alhaji Salihu became a councillor of the then Borgu Local Government under the Chairmanship of Mallam Suleiman Alfa Seko, but his stint in politics was cut short when Kaiama Local Government was excised from Borgu Local Government in 1990 as Batonu speaking people of Kaiama Local Government council decided to resign their positions.

 

 

Life after retirement:

Since then, Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara returned home and established himself as a farmer who specialized in all kinds of plantations, volunteered in community services, and also served in an advisory capacity to his late elder brother, Mallam Ahmadu Aliyu who was then the Emir of Gwanara and the current Emir, Dr. Abdullah Idris Sabi who is his cousin brother.

 

Traditional title:

 

In recognition of his selfless service to his people and humanity as a whole, the late Emir of Borgu, New Bussa, HRH, Alhaji Senator Haliru Dantoro Kitoro III conferred on Alhaji Salihu, the prestigious title of Tafarkin Borgu, of Borgu Kingdom in 2005, the same year the former Governor of Lagos State and the All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Standard Bearer in the forthcoming 2023 general election, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was also given the title of Jagaban of Borgu.

 

 

The reward for Sacrifice:

When Alhaji Salihu was beckoned to return home to establish Gwanara Primary School, he embraced the call and denied himself an opportunity to ply his trade in a more developed settlement unlike his, this is against the practice then as most people would prefer to go out to work in a ‘better place’. This singular sacrifice endeared him more to his father, the then-District Head of Gwanara, and the then Emir of Borgu because no one was ready to pioneer the school. The two of them blessed him with prayers that Allah answered, and today testaments of the accepted prayers are abound.

 

His Mentors:

(1) The late Emir of Ilesha, Alhaji Yusuf Aage, (2) Late Alhaji Haliru A. Kaiama one time Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in the old Kwara, and (3) Chief J. T Omotowa, one time Chairman Kwara State Education Management Board.

His death:

Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara died as a fulfilled Muslim on Friday 17th June, 2022 and he’s survived by a wife, ten (10) children, forty-three (43) grandchildren, and thirty-four (34) great-grandchildren.

 

His philosophy of life:

Alhaji Salihu believed so much in being contended and he imbibed the culture of contentment in all his children and those around him, he believed in being straightforward and saying the plain bitter truth no matter whose ox is gored.

 

His legacy:

Alhaji Salihu Aliyu Gwanara left behind legacies of sincerity, honesty, humility and steadfastness. May Almighty Allah grant him Aljanat Fridaous, Aameen.

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