Baa, you left this ephemeral world exactly six (6) years today like six minutes and since then we have been missing your humorous gist, jovial stories about your journeys to Ngaundare, Doala, Garoua, Maroua, Tibati (all in Cameroun Republic) as well as Mambila, Gembu, Mubi, Ngurore. Your stories about how your life was shaped by your uncle Late Alhaji Mamman Dafami In Dikwa, Gulumba, Bama and also how you garnered trading experience from your brother in-law late Alhaji Mallam Umara Kokari at Maiduguri Central Market in the 1960s You lived a loving and inspiring life so much that we are always gladdened when we meet those outsiders you used to closely gist with while you were alive; their first-hand information they relate to us whenever we meet are satisfyingly inspiring and consoling.
Of recent I met with a sitting Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic representing a district in Taraba State, and to my awe when I was introducing myself to him, he quickly asked again “which of the Alkali Habibs? My friend by your look, am sure you are the son of late Alkali Habib who always accommodated our Fulani Brethren whenever they visited University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital on medical ground.”. The senator further proved to me that it was our father he was referring to and prayed for his departed soul. He was even telling me that Alkali Habib’s name was a household name at one time in Mambila (Gembu), especially to all the adults that lived from 1955-1965. Alhamdulillah for this glowing testimony.
As Late Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule (Danmasanin Kano) would describe OBJ as a true Nigerian and Patriot for completing his tenure after 8years as President of Nigeria (1999-2007) having led and left Nigeria INTACT, I am pleased to inform you that as you left us in the early morning of 1st February 2016 INTACT, we are still living in peace, harmony, tranquility and equally INTACT. None of us has allowed his/her selfish judgement to becloud that of the overall interest of the family as you have always preached to us on the significance of peace and unity.
Your virtues, principles, tenets, discipline, guide and wisdom with which you raised us remained unwavering and they always serve as our driving force. Despite the periodic darkness of the world, we use those characteristics as the torchlight that give us light, being strong while feeling weak and hope in our hour of despair.
Indeed, what you bequeathed to us in terms of respect for one another, regard for the less privileged, regard for the elderly, loyalty to Teachers (Mallam) and the commoners irrespective of tribe, religion or any other primordial inclination, moral rectitude, seeking for knowledge (Islam and Western), need to be tolerant, patient, courteous, thoughtfulness, self-disciplined and independent-minded are key to our individual and collective journey in our dealings with people so far.
In your 35 years of public service, you had had sweet and bitter experiences of life. We can vividly recall how you were transferred out of your locality (Yerwa) to Machina during the Yakubu Gowon Regime in the early 1970s. Since then you have not had the luxury of staying in Yerwa until in 1991 when you were appointed Khadi Sharia Court of Appeal of Borno State by President Ibrahim BADAMASI Babangida GCFR. Prior to that, you served in Gamboru Ngola, Gujba, Buni Yadi (twice), Nguru (twice), Gashua, Askira, Geidam, Damboa and Gwoza.
During his transfer from Gamboru to Gujba in 1979, which was a punitive transfer orchestrated by Justice Kalu Anya (an NPN Chief Judge), relief came the way of our late father when Late Governor of Lagos State Alhaji Kayode Lateef Jakande visited Borno State on a state visit. Governor Mohammed Goni while touring some selected Local Government Areas out of the then 18 LGAs of defunct Borno State, deliberately visited Gujba where our father was the judge Area Court. In the presence of the then Secretary of Gujba LGA, (Alhaji Karumi Gujba) and some prominent GNPP politicians such as Alhaji Ibrahim Anas, Alhaji Shettima Ali KIDAJI, Alhaji Hassan Yusuf Damaturu, Alhaji BUKAR Jallaba, Alhaji Shettima Ahmad Mukhtar Liberty, Alhaji Abdulrahman Shugaba Darman (Majority Leader of Borno State House of Assembly) etc, Governor Goni introduced our father and informed his visiting Colleague how and why our father was transferred from a border Town of Gamboru to Gujba. In those days, Gujba was seen as not only a landlocked town but the most backward in terms of infrastructure and lacking in all the basic needs of livelihood as far as the 18 LGAs of the defunct Borno State were concerned.
Governor Goni emphatically said this to Jakande: “Your Excellency, this judge was transferred based on victimization because of his sympathy to me and my government. I implore you to give him some words of courage and encouragement and assure him we are solidly with him despite his present predicament”. Governor Jakande while responding, with his right hand on the shoulder of our father, asked if there was a place better than Gujba. The Secretary of the Local Government (Karumi Gujba) responded that there was a town better than Gujba called Buni Yadi but the challenge was that there was no court facility and accommodation for the judge to relocate.
This was Jakande’s response: “Provide All…”. And that was how the Court facility and the Judge’s accommodation were provided and our father moved from Gujba to Buni Yadi in January 1980 as the first judge to commission both the court and the house and happily, these facilities continued to be utilized by successive judges till today.
For the information and benefits of our younger ones in Borno state and Nigeria, both Lagos Street and Lagos House in Maiduguri were named after Lagos because of the financial support Borno State enjoyed during the tenure of Governor Jakande by Governor Goni (from 1979-1983). The federal government then was being ruled by NPN and thus Borno State being an opposition, was starved of all the necessary resources that could have helped in revamping the state by Goni.
Notwithstanding however, and within the meager resources generated internally and provided for by the Lagos State Government, Governor Goni performed wizardry as far as infrastructural and human development of Borno state were concerned as history has recorded it so dearly in his favour till his death in 2020.
Meanwhile, I hereby pay special tribute to their Excellencies Governors Lateef Kayode Jakande and Mohammed Goni for their resilience and moral support during the moment of need of our late father.
After you left us, we have sadly experienced some colossal losses in the immediate family as well as in some of the friends of the family whom you closely related with while alive. Even though the list may be long but within those six years personalities like Professor Yaganami Karta, Alhaji SHETTIMA Ali KIDAJI, Hajja Kori Liman Wupchama, HAJJA FATI FULATA, Yaa Bintu Kawuwa (Konto), Alhaji GARBA SATOMI, Alhaji SHETTIMA Ali Monguno, Justice Kaumi Mohammed Kolo, Alhaji BUKAR Bolori, His Excellency Governor Mohammed Goni (on whose cause you were described as GNPP BORMUSUWA in the aborted second republic and vindictively transferred from Gamboru Ngala to Gujba in 1979), His Excellency Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande (former Governor of Lagos state), the Shehu of Bama, HRH Alhaji Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Dikwa, HRH Alhaji Muhammad Ibn-Masta El-Kanemi, the Galadima of Dikwa (Ba Galadima Modu MALA Sheriff), Alhaji Umara Bolori, Baba Fugu Wanzama, Baba Bakura Gazali, Alhaji Tijjani Bolori, Alhaji Jiddah Rufai, Ambassardor Usman Gaji Galtimari, Ambassador BUNU Sheriff Musa, Ambassardor Hamza Abubakar (Yirima), Hon Khadi Tijjani Yahaya DUKAWA, Justice Muhammad Sadi Mato, Hon Khadi Alkali ALIYU Mandawari, your bosom friend Late Ambassador Zannah Musa Hindi’s son Waziri Galadima Zanna, Alhaji Baba Bukar Machinama (son of Late Mai Machinama) etcetera have been lost to the cold hands of death. Incidentally, all of these men and women I mentioned had, in one way or the other, direct link with our late father.
It may interest Nigerians to note that our father was amongst the beneficiaries of Annual Alms (Zakkah) offered by Late MKO Abiola prior to his arrest and subsequent detention by the Military in 1994. His personal assistant would fly into Maiduguri through the moribund Concord Airlines and move straight to the chambers of our Father in sharia court complex around post office area with brief case; I was opportune to witness one of the payments in which I even signed one of the acknowledgment papers accompanying the payment at one time. We later confirmed that Abiola and one other member of Kaduna Mafia (name withheld) were instrumental to our father’s shortlist to the numerous goodwill he was enjoying due to his track record of administration of justice, sense of humility and how he selflessly lived his life despite having the privilege of promoting selfish aggrandizement in his career as Public Servant.
As we await our time to come, may we die when Allah is completely pleased with our deeds; and may Him grant the gentle souls of all our departed beloved ones Aljannah Firda’us.
(AKA: BABA KADUNA ALKALI HABIB)
1ST FEBRUARY, 2022.