A Life of Service: Remembering Alhaji Inuwa Ringim

Alhaji Inuwa Ringim

I write this piece in remembrance of my father, Alhaji Inuwa Ringim, who died a year ago on June 12, 2019.

I still remember many people extolling his sterling qualities when they came to offer their condolences.

Alhaji, as we called him, was a good father; down to earth, honest, a disciplinarian and a man of principles, who lived a simple life.   Among the eight children of his father, he was the only one that had the privilege of going to school.  He told us that his grandmother vehemently opposed to his enrollment into primary school at Ringim but his uncle weathered all odds and took him to school. He subsequently went to Kano Middle School and then Barewa College, Zaria. [His number was 707 which I used as the lock combination to my box in my college days].

This explained why he was so committed and dedicated to ensuring that his children (eleven of us) had the best  of education and I, for one, attended Federal Government College Kaduna and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

My father worked in the private and public sectors with zeal, dedication and honesty.

He had worked for the United African Company in the 1950s, first in Kingsway and later Mallam Madori Store where he was the assistant to Alhaji Wazari Ibrahim of blessed memory who was the manager then. As a young man, my father displayed a lot of zeal and energy, hence Alhaji Waziri delegated a lot of responsibilities to him. He was responsible for the store which was the biggest in the Hadeija Emirate and the purchase of groundnuts which was an export commodity then.

My father also worked as a civil servant with then Government of Northern Nigeria as Revenue Officer in Jos and Kaduna. When Kano State was created in 1967, he transferred his service to the state government in the Revenue Division where he rose to the position of Director of Revenue. Alhaji had always shared with us his experiences in life to serve as a lesson to us.

He once told us that Alhaji Nasiru Ahli, a businessman, came to his office and told him that he passed through the office the previous night and saw him working and reported to the then governor of Kano State, Alhaji Audu Bako. He told my father that the governor sent him to tell him that for his safety, an office will be built for him at home. My father replied that he was not the only one that works late when occasions demand, as such building an office for him at home was not necessary.

His dedication to duty earned him promotion as Permanent Secretary where he served in the ministries of Information and Agriculture between 1975 and 1979. At the Ministry of Information, he alongside the Commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim El- Yakub, were the arrow heads that saw to the establishment of the first colour television station in Kano now NTA Kano. He, like his peers at that time, upheld the tenets of the Civil Service.

He told me of an incident when the then governor of Kano State, Colonel Sani Bello ordered the Secretary to  the State Government to sack the Chief Information Officer of the Ministry over the failure of the public address system when the governor as a ‘Guest of Honour’ was to address the closing ceremony of a schools competition at Rumfa College.

My father met the SSG who told him that the governor felt embarrassed and has ordered for the sack of the officer. My father and the SSG had to meet the governor and persuaded him to allow for an investigation. Upon investigation, it was discovered that when the name of the school that won the competition was announced, students of the school while jubilating had trampled on the wire that was connected to the Outside Broadcast Van so that when the governor came to speak, there was no sound. The technician in charge of the OB was disciplined and a report was sent to the governor exonerating the Chief Information Officer, who later rose to become a Permanent Secretary.

My father was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture as Permanent Secretary where he served with commitment and dedication. He gave sound advice to the government in the execution of agricultural programmes.  An example will suffice here. The government wanted to implement fully a sprinkler agricultural project over a large area of land by a company. The commissioner wanted the project to be wholly implemented while my father suggested it should be tried as a pilot scheme since it was new. As the accounting officer of the ministry, my father wrote to the ministries of Works and Justice for their input and they advised that the project should be tried on a pilot basis. My father then wrote a memo to the Commissioner highlighting the opinion of the two ministries. The commissioner at the end accepted the recommendation.

Shortly after the coming in of the civilian administration in the state, my father and three other Permanent Secretaries were retired from service in 1979. He then went on to assist Alhaji Nababa Badamasi of blessed memory to establish Gaskiya Textiles Limited, one of the biggest companies in Kano then.

All his life, my father was known for his honesty which endeared him to so many people.  Islamic Scholar Malam Ibrahim Khalil was one of those that respected and came close to my father. The bond between them was nurtured in the house of renown medical doctor Dr Datti Ahmed, who introduced my father to Mallam Ibrahim Khalil as an honest and trustworthy person.

One thing my father always told us and has remained with me till date is that we should not do anything that will tarnish his reputation. Thanks to his advice and wise counsel, I retired as a civil servant with an enviable record at the Nigerian Television Authority, National Population Commission and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

May his soul rest in peace!

Aminu Inuwa sent in this tribute from Kano

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