It is exactly one year today since the cold hands of death took away our brother, friend, and colleague, Malam Imam Dalhatu Imam. Imam’s sudden death on Friday, April 27, 2018 is still not only very fresh in our hearts but every time the thoughts of his demise flash through my mind, it comes with indescribable piercing pain and soreness. It is still very difficult to believe that he is no more and that it is now 365 days.
His death left a huge vacuum in our lives. He meant so much to us all. Imam was a good man, a friend who stayed closer than a brother. A man of peace, kind-hearted and an excellent manager of human and material resources.
He was humble and unassuming, even though he had achieved a lot to his credit. He was one whose leadership qualities manifested much early in his formative years as a student and continued to grow even into his later years as a journalist.
Imam was an excellent and talented writer whose ink we all prayed and hoped would not dry this early. He was a tender plant birthed in the deep hinterland of the food basket of the nation – the land of yams and oranges.
Sired by a revered Islamic scholar into a family of scholars, that little lily sprouted and blossomed into a flint which stood tall among his peers. He treaded the earth with dignity and honour and shone as a bright morning star.
Courageous, honest, and hardworking, with a stroke of pen, he changed destinies, preached peace, lived peace and departed in peace. That sun, he was, that rose and shone brightly, putting an everlasting smile to faces around. For all the years I have known him, I never heard he went under the weather, even for a day, and so when it was said that he had a cold which later turned out to be pneumonia, no one ever thought that it would be fatal.
He was admitted in the hospital for just a week, had even recovered and a day before his death, we were together with his mother and he was upbeat and optimistic that after one week, as the doctors said, he would be well enough to return home but that he needed some rest also. Sadly, a few hours later, he was gone and I would only see his body and not him.
Indeed, Imam left a huge vacuum in the lives of many of us. He was my brother, friend, closest confidant and twice my predecessor. In him, I lost a counselor and a dependable ally. He left behind his two wives, four young children, including a two-month-old baby, an aged mother, and scores of dependents who all became orphaned on that fateful day he departed this world.
God is the father of the fatherless and He gave them a worthy father in His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who has been with them all through. Tambuwal defended, protected and supported Imam while he was alive and has extended the same to his family even after his death.
He made a solemn vow to look after his children so long as he is alive and has not only kept that promise but has adopted them as his children and there is nothing a father does to his children that Tambuwal does not do same to Imam’s family. For this act, only God will reward Tambuwal. God will never allow him to be disgraced but will ensure he continuously soars higher and higher, no matter the scheming of his adversaries.
To Tambuwal, Imam was a reliable, competent and dependable aide who gave his all in the service of his principal – protecting him against foes – and he did discharge his responsibilities with dignity and honour. To his family, he was a wonderful and loving father and husband, to friends, he was a reliable ally who you could always count on in time of your need.
To professional colleagues, he was a role model, excellent and exceptional writer, spokesman and an exemplary image manager who distinguished himself and set the pace for others to follow.
Above all, Imam was a man of peace.
May his gentle soul continue to rest in perfect peace.