By Milcah Tanimu
Friends, relatives, and colleagues gathered at the Pavilion in Abuja to remember Salihu Bappa’s contributions to society and his role as a cultural ambassador. The memorial event, chaired by Ahmadu Muazu, former governor of Bauchi State and Bappa’s childhood friend, highlighted Bappa’s ability to bridge communities and networks.
Bappa and the author started their careers together as graduate assistants at Ahmadu Bello University in 1978. Known as “O. C. Drama,” Bappa infused his theatrical training into his daily life, creating memorable moments. The memorial event’s theme, “Service and Humanness in Perpetuity,” reflected Bappa’s lifelong commitment.
The lecture by Prof Oga Steve Abah, Bappa’s departmental colleague, emphasized his dedication to theatre as a tool for emancipation and development. Bappa was part of the Ahmadu Bello University tradition of radical scholarship for liberation, focusing on theatre for development. Bappa maintained lifelong engagement with poor communities, especially Bomo.
Bappa played a crucial role in bridging societal divides, having friends across religious and ethnic lines. He served as Ahmadu Bello University’s Liaison Officer for their Alumnae Association, connecting with people nationwide. The event also discussed Nigeria’s current challenges and the need for more bridge builders like Bappa.
The author concluded by acknowledging Bappa’s family for providing refuge to friends and colleagues. The tribute ended with wishes for God’s protection and prosperity for Bappa’s family while he continues to rest in peace.