Just like there are memorable times which one so much cherishes and desires to luxuriate in them, there exist some people who are priceless and indispensable. Living without them, at times, hurts badly. They may be persons we meet, sometimes fortuitously, and leave only after etching their indelible footprints in our minds. These extraordinary people are so difficult to be forgotten. They are everything one could ever wish for. Their milk of human kindness, uncommon humility, sheer honesty, genuine compassion, and in fact, everything about them leaves one in awe.
Like every person, I have plenty loved ones, acquaintances, and even kin who I passionately admire. But the pure veneration and loving affection I have for Nnagi Woro, my maternal grandmother, who recently transited to the great beyond after answering her creator’s call, is indescribable. Nnagi Woro is my grandma’s Nupe name translated as the “New Aunty” in English. But Khadija Musa is her school name. She was a sister, mother, aunt and grandma of inestimable appeal. To boot, she was also a flawless breed who represented many impeccable things to different people.
Charity is perhaps the most profound virtue that she epitomised. Nnagi Woro was not wealthy or affluent, but she gave naturally, selflessly and cheerfully. She did not mind giving away mind-boggling sums of cash to her relations and persons who visited her in appreciation of their courtesy calls. I saw instances where those she gave money to expressed bewilderment while receiving money or other charitable items from her. Not a few of them, in hushed tones, thereafter, spoke about her exceptional knack for charity when she herself deserved to be given.
When people brought her meals, Nnagi Woro would habitually offer anyone sitting with her the food. At periods when she was alone, she only ate little and spared the rest for little children or for indigent wives that lived in her neighbourhood.
“If you eat alone, you get zero reward in return. But if you share with others, the reward is immeasurable. Besides the fact that a giver attains personal joy whenever he gives, people who give are often remembered for their benevolent gestures long after their death,” she once told me, after asking her why she gave out so much, even to her detriment, and did not spare something for the rainy day.
I have an insatiable appetite for meat, and so relished celebrating the Eid-il-Kabir (Feast of Sacrifice) known as Big Sallah in my country home, where I would eat and Nnagi Woro would still give me extra meat from her ram.
Piety was another trademark virtue of Nnagi Woro. She was an insignia of spiritual consciousness. A highly devoted Muslim, Nnagi Woro did not joke with her Salawats (five daily prayers). Even while bedridden and at the twilight of her sojourn on earth, Nnagi Woro was very mindful of the time for prayers. She was quick to perform ablution and offer her prayers with absolute spiritual concentration on a sitting position. As a firm believer in supplication, she was steadfast in offering voluntary prayers and performing other rewarding acts for divine solutions to her problems.
It is to the perpetual credit of Nnagi Woro that relative peace and calmness never eluded her extended family. She was quick to douse tension, calm frayed nerves and impartially mediate among the wives of her eldest son (who stayed with her) and among her other relations. This made her to be regarded as the unofficial dispute arbitrator who resolved marital and other conflicts amicably.
Nnagi Woro was equally amiable, resilient, hospitable and soft-spoken. The fact that she was very welcoming explains why she never lacked people who treasured her company, hence they always surrounded her. Her six surviving children are what I describe as the perfect chip of the old block. In several ways, they have taken after her outstanding qualities. They all radiate kindness, religiosity, sincerity, generosity, intelligence, modesty, to mentio few.
Nnagi Woro, I learnt from my mother, Hajiya Fatima Muhammad, was a highly disciplined woman. She was the type that never condoned acts of insolence to elders by her offspring. She was intrinsically endowed with sound moral values, which she inculcated in her progenies, making them models of uprightly groomed children.
That her children have grown up to become accomplished personalities is one spectacular feat that instantly secured her place in the pantheon of legendary women. Nnagi Woro spent her last days at a private hospital in Bida, surrounded by her three daughters: Ya Jummai (my mum), Yawo-kwa and Nna, and the nurses and the doctor who looked after her had a tough time controlling the sea of well-wishers who visited her daily. The condition I met Nnagi Woro when I went to see her a few days to her death was frightening. As I bid my mum and aunts farewell to return to Abuja on Sunday, February 3, 2019, tears cascaded down my cheeks, knowing that I might not get to pay another visit to the hospital and meet her alive. And in the early morning of Wednesday, February 6, Nnagi Woro, the doting woman with 50 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren breathed her last. She followed her husband, Mallam Musa Dauda (Babayadi), who died 36 years ago. Eminent personalities from different walks of life and the good people of Essa, a hamlet under Katcha Local Government Area of Niger State, massively attended her funeral prayer on the day she passed on. Right from the day she was interred and up till a week thereafter, it was tributes galore as sympathisers who came to commiserate with our bereaved family eulogised Nnagi Woro. They spoke glowingly about her purposeful and much fulfilled life. I and the others she left behind are already comforted that Allah will (Insha Allah) repose her noble soul and make Al-jannatul Firdaus her everlasting abode. But one thing that remains certain is that we may never be blessed with another Nnagi Woro. Yet, we are saying continue to rest in peace our devoted mother and illustrious grandma.
Mahmud, a freelance journalist and social affairs commentator, wrote in from Abuja.