Remembering a man with a golden heart

Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkadir

It is over two months since our elder brother, Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkadir, quietly died on the evening of Friday, October 19, 2019, in Abuja, 50 years after the death of our father, Malam Abdulkadir Hashidu (Tafidan Hashidu), who died in similar circumstances, 55 years after the death of our mother, Mamma Aishatu Turakin Soro, in the week she gave birth to my younger brother, Alhaji Alhassan.

In an intimate tale 30 years ago, the late Alhaji Yahaya revealed to me that the death of our parents within a short interval made me to transmute from an extrovert to an introvert; that when she died, I used to sneak and sit alone by her doorstep, apparently expecting her to resurface and pick me, but that whenever our late step mothers sighted me there, they went forth fast to embrace, cuddle, flatter and back me. May Allah reward them and all others too many to mention here, dead or alive, who contributed in bringing me and my siblings up, with Aljanna Firdaus.


The late Yahaya partially took over from our late uncle, Alhaji Yerima Babayo (Yeriman Hashidu), and our cousin, late Malam Yahaya Lamido, the responsibility of bringing me and others up in 1973, the year in which he stepped into our late father’s big shoes under the support and counsel of our said late uncles. He continued to take good care of us till he died. He took me into his custody from late Malam Yahaya Lamido in 1974 when I was in Primary 7, till I got married.

Amid daunting challenges, he remained an undeterred, focused, affectionate and devoted Muslim, dedicated to his work and to our extended family to the admiration of everyone. May the valuable legacies he left behind and the mosque built for him by his son, continue to blossom, flourish and be earning him Allah’s bountiful rewards. He and our other deceased loved ones deserve our regular prayers till we meet them sooner or later to part no more.


Part of his principles was time management, respect for human beings and dedication to work in accordance with Shari’a. Because of his time management and respect for time, he would always be the first to appear at any function. Some of his neighbours said one never needed to look at his watch to know prayer time; but that you should wait for Alhaji Yahaya to pass; which was an indication for prayer; from Subhi to Ishai.

At the news of his death, I squeezed my phone and felt like life was being stripped from my body. I thought of the uproar at home; more than 15 thousand miles away from my student room in Malaysia. Death is the only inevitable aspect of humans, but this was not the time I expected it to happen. I still don’t know how to describe my shock and disbelief at the cessation of the life of not just an uncle, but the only person who treated me like a son. I always said I honestly don’t know what I would do without you, baba, but now I have to learn to live without you.

Indeed, life is not how you want it, but how Allah (SWT) destines it for you, and as Muslims, we must surrender to the will of Almighty Allah.

Baba, the man with a golden heart, was the person who took away the weight of my problems, together with that of many other people within and outside the family. The passing away of baba is one of the biggest cracks created in my life. Surely, baba was the person who came to my rescue many years ago; he picked me and made me his own. He gave me hope of wearing new dresses during Sallah festivals, he held me close to his heart and gave me hope when I was hopeless. He not only loved me, but taught me how to love. He did not only give me a smile, he gave me joy and confidence. He made sure I got educated to the highest level; PhD. Nobody would have believed that a man is capable of caring about someone’s child like the way baba did. Of course, you need a golden heart to be able to do that. Yes, baba was a man with a golden heart.

Baba, I am grateful for all the love, care, concern and the knowledge installed in me. Baba, as you meet our parents in the everlasting life, I am very sure they will be more grateful on how you took care of us all.

May Allah forgive Alhaji Yahaya of his shortcomings, grant him Aljanna Firdaus and bless those he left behind. Amin.

Abdulkadir and Mohammed wrote this piece from Gombe.

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