On September 5, 2018, the people of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states, business and political associates and the Mayana’s family were thrown into the mourning of Alhaji Isah Mayana Gusau, the son of the famous Mayana ruling house in Zamfara State who joined his ancestors at the age of 80.
The Mayanas of Gusau are not only known to be associated with royalty, but were also known for avid belief in scholarship (both Islamic and western), public service, entrepreneurship, community development and philanthropy. If the world has to name one person who has taken the name of Mayanas of Gusau to every corner of the globe, then that person would be, without any dispute, the late businessman, politician and philanthropist, Alhaji Isah Mayana. Late Isa Mayana Gusau as fondly called, was not only a successful businessman, politician and a contractor who carved a niche for himself in his chosen field, but a man of many facets – altruist, integrity, decent, dignified leader. He was a portrait of a godly father and leader. It is instructive to note that the late Mayana was accommodating, a promoter of peace, unity and an avid believer who encouraged western and religious education in his domain. His contributions to the development of especially what today makes up Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states for unity and development are note-worthy. He was highly respected amongst the common folk who came in contact with him. He lived for others and went out of his way to help others. He was a tireless champion of the Muslim Ummah, unity among the faiths and community development. He demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving unity in the community with a creative spirit and drive for innovation.
In the early 70’s, he established two companies namely, Gusau General (GC) and Gusau Trading and Construction Company (GTCC). The companies contributed in creating jobs and hundreds of skilled and unskilled workers from different parts of the country, irrespective of religion or tribe, were employed. Both firms became a household name in the old Sokoto State. Among the projects his companies executed were construction of the Federal College of Education (Technical) Gusau, sections of the Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC) Gusau, Sokoto Treasury, some units of houses at Guiwa Low-Cost in Sokoto, official residential quarters in Talata-Mafara and Kauran Namoda, construction of Bukuyum and Maradum General Hospitals. Upon the creation of Zamfara State, his companies were awarded the contract for the construction of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, part of Gusau Central Market, some sections of the state secretariat and many other projects. It’s interesting that the companies under the leadership of Alhaji Isa Mayana never defaulted in their contractual agreements with clients, as all the projects given to his firm were successfully executed.
In politics, he was the vice chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the old Sokoto State in 1979 where he played a pivotal role in the success of the party in the state and federal elections. When the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC) were created by former president Ibrahim Babangida, he was a strong pillar of the NRC in the state and played a significant role which led to the success of Malam Yahaya Abdulkareem as the elected governor of Sokoto State in 1991 under the NRC. He was also the leader of the All People’s Party (APP) in Zamfara State from 1999 to 2007.
In the area of philanthropy and contributions to the community and humanity, late Isa Mayana was first among equals. For example, he was a member of the committee for the movement for the creation of Zamfara State alongside Dr. Garba Nadama, Alhaji Yushau Anka, late Abdu Gusau, Alhaji Aliyu Abara Gumi, Alhaji Yusuf Dan-Hausa and late Alhaji Usman Dangogo Bugundu under the leadership of the late Alhaji Yahaya Gusau. He and the other members gave their life, time, resources and energy to see that the creation of Zamfara State materialized in his lifetime. He, alongside Alhaji Yusuf Dan-Hausa and Alhaji Shehu Ba-Kauye, gave out most of their buildings and lands free when Zamfara State was created for the smooth and successful take-off. Late Mayana also gave free lands to the less privileges for agricultural, commercial and residential purposes, with over 100 hundreds houses in Gusau, many in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna and Abuja, all occupied by people from different backgrounds. Whoever lived and paid rent in any of his houses did so without his knowledge.
Late Mayana’s contributions to religion and humanity include the building of mosques, payment of school fees for children of the less privileged, payment of hospital bills for the less privileged, payment of Hajj fares for friends, associates and those that Allah ordained him to pay for. One of his last projects before his demise was the construction of the Gada-Biyu area Juma’at Mosque in Gusau. He was a disciplinarian, straightforward, jovial and highly principled man with a large heart that accommodated all shades of opinions particularly from his friends, business associates and staff. When the history of Gusau in past 50 years is written, the name of this unassuming but great personality will be remembered.
Late Mayana was a progressive and a far-sighted leader, a patrician who believed in fairness and a promotion of peace and unity. He had a good spirit and essential decency that drew others to him. He was committed to racial harmony, religious tolerance, economic prosperity and social justice. Above all, he was a straightforward and honest man. That personality made him to remain one of the few remaining respected and towering figures in Zamfara State before his demise. He was a type that didn’t fancy limelight or media glare. All his contributions were made from the heart without fan-fare. He taught us many things, including hard work, sacrifice, self confidence, charity, prudence and focus, that we must succeed inspite of difficulties, and that if you hear negative things people say about you then you are not sufficiently concentrating on the tasks at hand.
Despite all his contributions and support to Zamfara State, which he dedicated his time, energy, resources and struggle for its creation and development, no administration has found him worthy to immortalize. I therefore use this medium to urge the current administration of Governor Muhammad Bello Muatwalle to give him a deserving honour as given to his contemporaries in the struggle for the creation and development of the state. He is blessed with many children and grandchildren including Dr. Na-Allah Isa Mayana, a former Commissioner in Zamfara State, Alhaji Farouk Isa Mayana, Kabir Isa Mayana, a PhD student at the University of Manchester, Abdullahi Isa Mayaha, Ahmad Isa Mayana, an ICT expert and many others. As we mourn “Baba Isa”, we thank Allah for his life and what he gave to many of us and the community, for his generosity and pray that Allah forgive him all his shortcomings and grant him unconditional Aljannah Firdausi.
Ibrahim wrote from Gusau, Zamfara State