By Adnan Mukhtar Tudunwada
Every 27 of September will be remembered as a day of agony; a sad day to remember after I lost a man that always stand and defend the dignity of my family for the past 35 years.
He was not just a loyal friend to my late father, but a true brother and perfect description of a complete gentleman.
I am writing this tribute in tears, since the day that the despairing news was broken to me. I shed tears anytime the late legal icon came to my mind.
2020 is a year that came with a lot of calamities and misfortunes. There is the novel Coronavirus pandemic amid the demise of people close to us. I pray Almighty God will protect us all from the evil that 2020 came with.
Though the year is yet to wind down, Mallam Nasiru Maikano Bichi has left us. Mall. Bichi was after anything good about me. He always calls to hear from me. May Allah forgive him and other Muslim faithful, who have also departed.
Justice Shehu Atiku was my Wali (representative) during my wedding Fatiha, which took place at Darul Hadith Masjid, Tudun Yola, on the 12th of September. Two days to my wedding, he brought a new babbar riga for me. I did not wear it because I did not intend to do so when I paid him a visit, with my wife, a week after our wedding. Unfortunately, he is no more for me to do so. Rest in peace Mallam!
My late father and Shehu Atiku path crossed in 1985. My father was a pupil counsel and Shehu Atiku was a senior state counsel in Kano State Ministry of Justice. They were both products of the Faculty of Law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; with Atiku graduating in 1978 and my father in 1982.
Before his funeral prayer, people trooped to his residence to pay their last respect. It was there I set my eyes with another good friend of my father Mallam Suraj Saeeda, SAN.
Shehu Atiku has maintained a close relationship with my family, even after the death of my father. You will see him in anything Mukhtari Adamu’s. This defined his humility and simplicity. He does not choose who to relate with. He was a friend to the rich and the poor. May Allah reward the legal luminary abundantly.
I am a regular visitor to his house. In my last meeting with him, he asked me about some people he knew in my community courtesy of my late father. What about Barr. Abdullahi Iliyasu, Col. Habibu Shuaibu and another lawyer who was a former Minister, Habibu Aliyu Ningi, are all these people alive?
They are people most of whom I did not come across. I had to ask my uncle about them so as to brief the late jurist of their whereabouts.
I am hopeful that Allah will grant Shehu Atiku His mercy for the sake of his generosity and simplicity, and for taking care of the less privilege and many orphans.
When I told my mother the news of his death, she broke down in tears, praying for the repose of his soul.
When my grandmother died in 2010, Shehu Atiku was the first to arrive at the funeral ground despite his tight schedule as the Chief Judge of Kano. He did everything possible to protect and defend the dignity of his friend’s family and younger brother, Mukhtar Adamu. Shehu Atiku was the best friend that happened to the Mukhtar Adamu’s. He was a father and guardian.
Allah, I beseech you to consider his compassionate and grant Shehu Atiku, your luxurious Jannah.
The incorruptible judge, seasoned legal luminary, and ABU Zaria product bought my jamb application form in 2010 and when I applied for Mass Communication at Bayero University Kano; he asked: “Why not law”?
Indeed, he was a father to the less privilege and a breadwinner to his family. In fact, he was a father to all.
The late jurist was famously known for his role in the failed banks tribunal, in which he was very impressively uncompromising despite various attempts to tempt him with money.
He refused to compromise amid threats on his life, as he diligently adjudicated on cases brought before the tribunal, over which he presided. The late Justice Atiku retired from the bench in 2015 as the Chief Judge of Kano state.
The former Attorney-General of Kano State, Ibrahim Mukhtar described Shehu Atiku as an incorruptible and complete gentleman.
“Justice Shehu Atiku is gone. Rest in peace, My Lord. He started his career as pupil state counsel with Kano State Ministry of Justice and retired as Chief Judge, Kano State High Court of Justice. He was a complete gentleman, who proved to be incorruptible, and also dedicated his entire life to public service. He believed in supporting the young to grow. When we were young his advice was always hard work and honesty. He used to direct senior lawyers who appeared before him to address the law school students on attachment. May Allah Almighty forgive him and bless his family”.
According to another lawyer Ibrahim Sule, the late Judge was exceptionally humble and irredeemably incorruptible.
“My Lord. You had certain code that you lived by. You were irredeemably incorruptible and exceptionally humble. May Allah grant you Aljannah, Sir”.
Hon. Justice Shehu Atiku was an example of humble life. He was buried at his hometown of Ciromawa, in Jajira Ward of Ungogo Local Government Area, with hundreds of people in attendance.
May Allah forgive and grant him eternal rest. I will sorely miss you and the magnanimity you rendered to my family will never be forgotten. We shall tell our children that there was a good man called Shehu Atiku in sha Allah.
Rest well my father, my supporter and guardian. May Allah reunite you with you late friend Mukhtar Adamu Abubakar in Jannah.
Adnan Mukhtar Adamu Tudunwada, a journalist and public relations practitioner, writes from Kano State.