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Memories of an unforgettable trio

Sometime in 1979, a crop of an upcoming generation was admitted into GSS Gwammaja, in Kano, having successfully passed their respective examinations and subsequent interviews. These young Nigerians, at the school now renamed GSS Dala, made up my class. There were hidden talents in the fields of arts and sciences, with equally a number of skilled professionals. Our set harboured amongst us, students such as Auwalu Sani Yakasai, Kayode Adebisi, Bashir Uba Mandawari, Abdulmumeen Othman Bichi, and lately Salisu Umar Diso, as well as my humble self. Though the list is still long, posterity proved that the foregoing comrades have pursued individual God-chosen courses be it at polytechnics or universities, with a few concentrating on family businesses in tacit justification of Kano’s sobriquet of being ‘Centre of Commerce.’

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Allahu Akbar! The 1979 intake, whose members subsequently graduated and is tagged ‘DOBA Class ’84’ (acronym of GSS Dala Old Boys’ Association), has suffered a serial loss of its members with Salisu Umar Diso taking the first slot. A few months after, the leadership and members of DOBA Class ’84 were struck by yet another calamity, losing Abdulmumeen Othman Bichi.

While members of ‘DOBA Class ’84 were getting over the grief caused by their classmates’ death, death struck again. This time, it snatched our beloved and easy going colleague, Alhaji Bashir Uba Mandawari. May their gentle souls continue to enjoy the bosom of the Almighty while the light of Aljannatul Firdausi illuminates their graves till the blow of the last trumpet!

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The demise of Salisu Diso, Engr. Abdul, and that of Alhaji Bashir Uba in a couple of months interval has left a vacuum that would hardly be filled not only in their respective families but also in DOBA Class ‘84! They contributed immensely in funding the association and offered moral support when and where necessary. These men were die-hard optimists and innovative patriots having been nurtured, mentored, and groomed by a team of hardworking teachers in conjunction with parents. 

Former school principals and faculty heads like Mallam Sani Ma’aji, Kabiru Mazadu Fagge, Mallam Ali Dangora, Mrs. Clarkson, Mrs. Akinyele and our beloved Anakallah (Mallam Hussaini Madabo) deserve encomiums for the academic feat attained and moral training given us.

Members of Class 1A of 1979 built a great relationship which lived beyond the classroom, extending to our parents, siblings, and off-springs. A relationship emboldened through unfettered access to one another’s family, be it during naming/wedding ceremonies or obituaries as the case may be.

We would never shun any occasion that demands the presence of our members and this was evidenced during the final moments of the late Salisu Diso, Engr. Abdul and Bashir Uba Mandawari.

It will be interesting to note that DOBA Class ‘84 is no doubt an assemblage of teetotalers. This may not be unconnected with individual parental upbringing and the innocence of the era we grow up in, which was devoid of the present social media distraction and exposure to indecent behaviors copied from the Western world. 

Our first departed brother cum classmate, Salisu Umar Diso, would be remembered for his simplicity and easy-going demeanor; his peace loving nature leaves no one in doubt of this attribute. Over the years, he was saddled and preoccupied mostly with his official activities, family and neighborhood relationship.

While struggling to absorb the shock of the death of Salisu Diso, Allah in His infinite mercy and trial took the life of Engr. Abdulmumeen Othman Bichi in April 2018.

Engr. Bichi, an equally upright brother and subsequently business and political associate, pursued and practiced orderliness as well as trust in all his dealings. His ever composed mien, be it in the classroom or public forum, makes the late Abdulmumeen stand out. He was never perturbed in the face of challenges. 

Though unable to carve a niche frontally in the political landscape of Kano or Nigeria due to aggravated health challenges, Engr. Bichi would be remembered for his objective criticisms and being a solution provider for good governance in his home state Kano. He will be further remembered for inculcating discipline and moral training not only to his immediate family but his neighborhood. His golden hand of extending Allah’s blessings to parents, siblings, and friends remain a testimony to Bichi’s kindness. May Allah be pleased with all his deeds and where he erred may it be forgiven by no deity but Allah, the Most high, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 

It would not be a mistaken or exaggerated statement nor would it be a demonstration of ingratitude believing steadfastly in the omnipresence and Omnipotence of Allah that He alone giveth and taketh; more convincing is the contents of Suratul Mulk in the holy Qur’an which vividly addresses the subject of life and death as ordained to mankind.  One may say that the year 2018 has visited DOBA Class ’84 with untold trials and shock; we however take solace in Allah, in whose hands life and death lie.

The late Alhaji Bashir Uba Mandawari, whose death occurred on Monday 14th May, 2018 at his FHA Sharada residence in Kano metropolis, was preparing for his voluntary retirement in a few years, having lately been promoted to the substantive position of a director at the State Ministry for Local Government Affairs and posted to Ungogo Local Government. Unfortunately, he was not destined to reach the planned retirement period.  Allah knows the best.

Malam Bashir would not bite someone’s finger even if it were literally put in his mouth. This indisputable testimony has been known since we were kids.

Being the accountant and treasurer in some local government councils and subsequently director in the state did not, in any way, affect his well-known nature of simplicity and patience. The presence of multitude of mourners at the Dandolo Cemetery Gwauron-Dutse in spite of late information testifies to the late Bashir Uba’s testimonial of patience, accommodation, and benevolence.

Oh, Allah! Accept the return of your above-named servants into paradise and accord their families the fortitude to bear the loss. In addition, take care of those they left behind, Ameen.

Ayagi sent in this tribute from Kofar Waika Quarters, Kano.

 

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