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RAMADAN AMID CORONAVIRUS 5 – ELEGY FOR BALARABE MAIKABA

We end the Holy Month of Ramadan still in the grip of grief. We today mourn Prof Balarabe Maikaba, an academic colleague at BUK Mass Comm. This is what many say about him, and apologies to the many whose contributions couldn’t get in:

ALHAJI KABIRU MAIKABA (Eldest Brother): Balarabe was the only one who fulfilled the ambition of our father on education to reach the height of Professor. We called him “Balarabe Boko Mai Ilmi”. What many do not know is that he was a professional tailor, and also an expert carpenter; adept with his hands. Blunt and direct to the point, his Yes was Yes and No, No. I never meddled in his affairs until I was absolutely certain of my conviction.

AMINU YUSUF IBRAHIM: We students knew he had a reputation of being strict and stern. Once, during an exam, something angered him and he promised to ‘deal’ with us. But after starting to mark some of the answer scripts (thankfully including mine), he started smiling because we ‘tried’. That was the beginning of our long friendship of over 20 years.

PROF MUSTAPHA NASIR MALLAM (Dean of Communication): He represented so many qualities rarely combined in one person: hardwork, scholarship, frankness and flexibility. Took his job seriously and didn’t hide feelings on issues and persons. Once he believed on a course of action, he spoke his mind irrespective of who is hurt. Yet the flexibility in him made him a good listener whose mind could change due to superior reasoning.

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AMINU HALILU TUDUNWADA: He was a great mentor and academic giant; a jovial HOD for my set, and a great character that entertained and educated us. I will never forget you ‘Kwamanda’ (as he was popularly called).

BASHIR HAYATU GENTILE (SLA to Senate President): Though my junior in age, he was my teacher and mentor. He was instrumental to my MA in Political Comm at City University in London. I wanted to do a PG in Mass Comm but he advised me to go to UK on government sponsorship. He opened my first email and taught me how to send and receive messages, and how to operate a laptop. He guided me on my MA dissertation, which I dedicated to him.

USMAN MINJIBIR (BBC Hausa): He was a source of inspiration. I wouldn’t have bagged MSc Mass Comm if he had not encouraged me – I was to go for the then newly introduced Masters in Public Relations. Again, my MSc thesis was stolen a few days before external defence. It was Maikaba who convinced my supervisor to give me the benefit of the doubt. He always wanted me to do a PhD.

  1. UMAR JIBRILU GWANDU (SA to AGF and Minister of Justice): He was an encyclopedia of Mass Comm, especially Media Research. He was neither evasive nor having dull moments. As my PhD supervisor, in addition to his intellectual guidance, he was a very supportive mentor and a goal-oriented Professor.
  2. HAJARA SANDA: Though only a year ahead of us as students, my friends and I always approached him for tutorials; he was always assisted. He impacted immensely in my academic development, as he was the person who graduated me in PhD. I regard him as mentor, teacher, supervisor and later colleague.

FUAD KABIR MAIKABA (Nephew): I have always admired the courage of public speakers. This guided my choice of Law. My uncle told me something I will always remember: “Professionalism is the key to Public Speaking”. Once you excel in your profession, he said, you will easily speak in public.

UBA ABDULLAHI: He contributed in making journalism what it is in Nigeria today. I am sure out of every ten journalists in Kano, eight would be his disciplines. I hope BUK will immortalise him.

MUHAMMAD SALISU RABI’U (BUK FM Station Manager): I have lost a mentor. Our bond became very strong when he realised I was close to his senior brothers Murtala (the journalist) and Abdu (the coach). Prof encouraged me to apply for BSc and, as HOD, facilitated my appointment as pioneer Station Manager of BUK FM.

  1. ABUBAKAR MINJIBIR: He was my student, and later my colleague. Over the years, he became a brother. I believe I was one of the people he respected much. He was hard-working, dedicated, frank, focused, committed. During his tenure as HOD, the department gained significant stability which resulted in a lot of progress.
  2. FATIMA KABIR UMAR (Sister): A brother so dear to my heart! The story of my life cannot be completed without Balarabe. He single-handedly forced me to get to my present status in my educational career, in terms of advice, financial and other supports. There was no call, visit or discussion with him that you would not learn something.

HASSAN LEGA: I got to know him as my Research Method lecturer. He taught us everything that we needed to know about Research. He supervised my final year project. He allowed me submit my manuscript in handwriting instead of typed – a favour I will never forget.

IBRAHIM ABDULLAHI: He impacted my life significantly. He was versatile and vibrant. He didn’t tolerate nonsense. I will never forget his course Writing Reviews and Criticisms when I was an undergraduate. I found the course helpful as I am still benefiting from it.

  1. HADIZA JUMMAI IBRAHIM: I used to go to his office to listen to his jokes (he had lots of them). He used to call me ‘Hadizalo’ – his pet name for me. Amidst all the jokes, sometimes he would, with all seriousness, advise me on the need for career advancement.

HARUNA ABUBAKAR: Those we love don’t go away, though unseen and unheard, you are always near, so loved so missed my Prof. Truly, I am always scared of imagining how life will look without you in the Faculty of Communication.

  1. SULE YA’U SULE: As my junior as students, he always sought my academic guidance. He helped NIPR’s dream of a successful PR PG programme. Today, that programme has become one of the most sought-after courses in the university. He insisted I taught part-time in the department, but ‘colluded’ with higher authorities to make me full lecturer.

MOSHOOD ISAH: He was my teacher both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I was fortunate to be supervised by him for my MSc dissertation. He was an embodiment of knowledge especially in the area of research.

  1. IBRAHIM SIRAJ: I had always wanted to be a lecturer, but considered it a tall dream. It was Prof Maikaba who was Allah’s agent in fulfilling that dream for, as HOD in 2012 immediately after my MSc, he had me appointed as a lecturer without anyone’s prompting.

MUSA ADAMU LABARAN: My academic father. My MSc supervisor. The best supervisor and mentor one could ever dream of having. So blunt that he preferred to tell me uncomfortable truths that would help me, rather than comfortable lies that were destructive.

IMRAN ABUBAKAR: A gentleman, a generous man and a man of integrity. I lost my second father.

ISAH NASIDI: Peace and mercy are there with you/Rest in Jannah before we meet you/Our prayers keep pouring onto you/In sha Allah we shall never forget you.

May we have witnessed Lailatul Qadr. Wishes all readers Happy Sallah celebrations, but stay safe in sha Allah.

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