Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun (Indeed we belong to Allah, and verily to Him we will return- Qur’an 2:156)
Monday 20th April 2020 will forever remain indelible in our soul. It’s the day we lost not just a father but a super dad, a confidant, an adviser, a counsellor, a reliable pillar and a jewel of inestimable value to the cold hands of death. Kullu nafsin zaikatul maut (Indeed every soul shall taste death – Qur’an 3:185).
The abrupt passing away of our beloved father Alhaji Bello Hussaini Kazaure around 11.30 pm has humbled & kept us all in a box of rumination. Still, as believers, we accept it in good faith, hoping, believing and praying that ALLAH in his infinite mercy will accept his good deeds, forgive his shortcomings and grant him Jannatul Firdaus Insha Allah.
We are still overwhelmed by grief; we were hoping Abba (as we fondly called him) would grow much older with us as he never for once showed any sign that the end was near. To the world, he was our father, but to us, he was our superhero that is rare to find. Indeed, the life of this world is the enjoyment of delusion, death is inevitable, life is not, and for death be prepared. It will surely pay a visit sooner or later.
It is still fresh in my memory when he returned home around 5.00 pm on Thursday 16th April 2020 and asked me to take him to the hospital as he had lost his appetite and was having general body weakness because he couldn’t eat much. We went to the hospital. He was examined and that evening and was given an intravenous fluid “IV Fluid” which finished around 9.30 pm. He was discharged and asked to return for a test the following day. On Friday, 17th April 2020, about 10.30 am, we did the test and waited close to 2 hours for the result. Based on the result we were informed that he had high Malaria and we needed to get an E Mal injection. We went and got the injection and he was given immediately, and the remaining 2 on the 18th and 19th April, respectively. The fever subsided; it was, in fact, wholly gone but still, Abba didn’t have much appetite, and we returned to the hospital around 4.30 pm on 20th April. Another IV fluid was given, and it finished around 8.30 pm, we went back home that night, and he changed into comfier clothes and went to bed. Upon leaving for my house around 10 pm, I asked him how he was feeling, and he replied with “Alhamdulillah”. Little did I know that was the last conversation between us. At precisely 11.15 pm I received the terrifying call from my sister that I needed to come over urgently. I rushed to the house with the intention of taking him back to the hospital. I immediately called a neighbour who is a medical doctor; he examined him using a stethoscope and told us no need to go to the hospital because Abba was no more. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun.
For all the beautiful years we spent together Abba was zestful, energetic and active until that fateful 16th April. He used to drive himself around town, go for 30-minute walk daily between Magrib and Isha’i prayers, to keep fit. He was extra careful with his diet in particular and his health in general. Although he never had any type of ailment such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, etc., he went for a medical check-up regularly.
Abba was one of the happiest people we have lived with, and as we grow older we came to realise that his happiness was tied to the fulfilment of obligations; he held on to his Creator and served Allah Almighty to his fullest capacity. He served his parents with devotion and admiration and treated his neighbours with much kindness and empathy without expecting anything in return.
He was three-in-one to me. First, he was the mirror at which I looked at life; he was bold, straightforward and supportive. Second, he was like the brother I never had, and a father I am so proud of. Only work or other significant engagements took us apart. Else, we were always together as I reside just about 15metres away from our family house. We would discuss local and international politics, current happenings within and outside the country. Daily we prayed Magrib and Isha’i and still watched NTA news before leaving for my house. On weekends, we would travel outside town for weddings, condolences, visits etc.
My consolation is that he lived most of his life according to Islamic teachings and guidance. He was a responsible family man to the core and always available for us. He sacrificed his comfort for his family, made sure we lacked nothing, particularly basic necessities of life.
Throughout Islamiya, primary and secondary schools’ days, Abba would always settle our fees and do our shopping at least two weeks before resumption of every term. He worked up early and dropped us at school on time regardless of the weather. I still remember with nostalgia vividly how he took his time in teaching us homework every evening and on weekends. He would ask us to recite some surahs which we have memorised from the holy Quran.
To our generous mother, he was more than a husband; he was a companion, a soulmate, a pillar, a backbone and a dependable shoulder. He had supported both her business and career, giving all he had to ensure she succeeded right from day one till his last breath. Together they created a conducive, “no-nonsense” but a friendly environment where we were all brought up with so much love. They had one voice when it came to decision making.
To his siblings and relatives, he was a bridge-builder, a problem solver, tolerating and accommodating. He gave a listening ear and had solutions to all family issues and challenges. He mended, stitched, and panel beat issues and marital difficulties within the family. He did his best in supporting the education, upbringing and marriage of his siblings while growing up. He helped widows and orphans morally and financially both within and outside his community. he dedicated every Tuesday for reciting the Holy Quran and visiting the sick. He maintains excellent ties of kinship with relatives, classmates, childhood friends as well as neighbours and encouraged us to do the same. In the last two decades, he consistently observed fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. He always prayed in the congregation and was addicted to observing voluntary night prayers.
Abba was a disciplinarian. It is now that I sincerely appreciate the so much scolding I received from him whenever I did something wrong during my teenage years. Among the many things he had done to us as kids, I will forever cherish and remember the Small Blue BMX, the Medium Yellow BMX, the Red Chopper with gear and the Black Phoenix bicycles he bought for me at different times while in primary and secondary schools, and the car gift (Green Toyota aka First Lady) when I got admission into the University. My siblings received their awards upon getting university admission. But the most cherished gifts are the notable characters he left for us to emulate and an ideal mother whom he carefully chose for us.
He was a teacher of all things. His character was the foundation of our conscience. He was strong both in body and personality. He fulfilled every obligation he undertook while his words were his bond. His perfect faithfulness and loyalty are evident in the way and manner he religiously maintained close ties with his childhood friends, near and far relatives, classmates, colleagues and business partners.
His grandchildren, Muad, Mu’in, Manal, Ayman, Maysam, Mahla & little Mahmoud, will grow up remembering him as the free giver of Melody Candy sweet whenever they set their foot into his sitting room and shake his hand.
Abba was born on 15th March 1951 in Kazaure local government, Jigawa State. He attended Provincial Secondary School Kano (Rumfa College) and graduated in 1969. He obtained a professional diploma in Educational Statistics from the Federal School of Statistics, Ibadan in 1974 and a bachelor’s degree in Educational Development and Statistics from the Institute of Education, the University of London in 1983.
He began his working career as Produce Inspector with the Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources Kano. He later moved to the Ministry of Education Kano, where he rose from Statistical Assistant to Director Planning Research & Statistics.
After the creation of Jigawa state in 1991, he was appointed as the first sole Administrator of Gwiwa Local Government. He was later posted to the Ministry of Education where he rose from State Coordinator Primary Education to Director General Ministry of Information, Youth Sports and Culture in 1997. In 1998, he was appointed Permanent Secretary under Jigawa State government and served in the Ministries of Education, Lands and Survey, Office of the Head of Service, and Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs from where he left the service in the year 2000. His honesty and integrity, dedication and commitment, empathy and resilience, humility and transparency earned him another appointment where he was appointed Permanent Commissioner, Jigawa State Local Government Service Commission between 2001 to 2005.
He left behind our hard-working mother Hajiya Gaji Bello Hussain; my siblings, Mufida, Mushira, Mujiba and my humble self, as well as his siblings; Alhaji Nura Hussain, Hajiya Ladi, Hajiya Aliya, Hajiya Amina (Allaba) and Hajiya Ummulkhair.
May I use this piece to sincerely appreciate everyone who sympathises with us, especially those who were at the funeral prayer and the graveyard despite the lockdown in Kano; those who called on the phone to condole us or forwarded their heart-warming condolences and prayers through text, WhatsApp messages and e-mail from far and near. May Allah reward you all handsomely, amin.
Death changes everything. I genuinely miss the sound of his voice, the wisdom in his advice, the stories of his life, the excitement and pleasure he drives whenever he set his foot at his birthplace, Kazaure, and just being around him.
May Allah the Most Beneficent, Most Merciful accept and endorse his good deeds, amin. May Allah have mercy on his soul, forgive his shortcomings and transgressions, and give us the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss, amin. May He continue to guide, protect and be with us all and the entire Muslim Ummah, amin.
Mr Hussain can be reached at [email protected] or 08023727767