Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu was a businessman, Islamic scholar, philanthropist, the leader of Tijj aniya Movement in Nigeria.
Isyaku Rabiu was born on October 9th, 1925 to the family of prominent Islamic scholar, Muhammadu Rabiu Dan Tinki, a Qur’anic preacher from the Bichi area of Kano State who led his own Qur’anic school.
He grew up memorizing the Qur’an and learning Arabic from where he moved to Maiduguri in 1942 to further his Islamic studies.
In 1946, he returned to Kano to establish himself as an Islamic scholar, and by 1949 he had become an independent teacher of Arabic and the Qur’an.
By early 1950s, Khalifa Sheikh Rabiu ventured into commercial enterprise and established Isyaku Rabiu and Sons Ltd in 1952. Originally, the firm acted as an agent of UAC and was trading in sewing machines, religious books and bicycles.
In 1958, the firm had a breakthrough when Kaduna Textile Limited was established and it became one of the early distributors, leading to the establishment of his own procurement agency for textiles produced by the Kaduna Textiles Agency.
He soon emerged as the leading distributor of the company in Northern Nigeria, By 1963, he joined a consortium of businessmen from Kano who came together to form the Kano Merchants Trading Company.
He was later to set up the Kano Suit and Packing Cases Company, producing suit cases and handbags, and by 1972, he established the Bagauda Textile Mills whilst also continuing the selling of sewing machines.
From then on he established a series of ventures in different segments of the economy, including frozen food service, real estate, sugar and a motor vehicle and parts distribution company specialised in Daihatsu products.
However, unfavourable exchange rates and economic conditions forced the company to scale back on manufacturing and return to its trading routes.
Rabiu is survived by wives, and 42 children amongst whom are his first son, Nafiu Rabiu; founder and chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and owner of IRS Airlines, Rabiu Isyaku Rabiu amongst other notable offspring, as well as by hundreds of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Khalifa Isyaku Rabiu died on May 8th, 2018 at age 93 in a London hospital after a brief illness.